92 Barcelona to Europe - Western Mediterranean Carnival Magic Cruise Reviews

It was very exciting to visit all the exciting Europe for the first time, and very exhausting as well. My cousin and I had to fly in the day of because of a wedding... big mistake. Despite all the warnings from the experts on the boards, ... Read More
It was very exciting to visit all the exciting Europe for the first time, and very exhausting as well. My cousin and I had to fly in the day of because of a wedding... big mistake. Despite all the warnings from the experts on the boards, we kept our flight plans just to accommodate the wedding.. never again! Delta airlines @ JFK airport in NYC didn't process our tickets properly, so when we arrived in Rome we barely made the second plane to Barcelona. No one seemed to know where they were going in Rome airport, the blind leading the blind! but when the woman @ the ticket counter finally gave me the time of day, she gave us the proper boarding passes... However our luggage did not make it to Barcelona.. we cruised our dream vacation w/ out our luggage,, only had outfits in our carry-ons! It was quite amusing to see ourselves dressed in the sparkly outfits from the gift shop! we had no other choice. luckily I had packed quite a bit in my carry on. Words of Wisdom I wish I took from the experts on the boards!!!: Never fly in the day of your cruise to Europe!! It leaves you quite exhausted and if you make your cruise,, it'll be by the skin of your you know what! next time I'll skip the wedding and fly in 2 or 3 days ahead,, it's worth the money! The ship was great.. it was my second cruise, first inside cabin. It was bearable and saved me money to spend in ports. The food was just ok, we did eat @ 'Cucina De Capitano' for a small $10 fee,,, the food was good, and the waiters were great fun singing Italian songs for us.. it was a nice experience. The shows were lacking again,, the comedians and karaoke were the best entertainment second and third to John Heald.. He is quite a nice fellow, and excellent cruise director with a great sense of off the wall humor.. I ran into him at the Red Frog Pub very late one evening, and even though he was visibly exhausted, he and his entourage still welcomed me with open arms for a nice chat.The ship was humongous and it was easy to lose track of front or back! the pools and hottubs were hopping.. kids seemed to enjoy the slides and other outdoor activities. i enjoyed the hammocks in the adult only "serenity" area.. even though people "saved" the hammocks by placing their belongs on them, I moved them aside until they would return.. they never did. This was a truly relaxing area, you can even order lunch from a limited menu from up there. Which brings me to the staff,, nothing short of fantastic!! My room steward and his assistant were wonderful,, always kind and attentive. the wait staff throughout the entire ship, indoors & out were also so much fun and great to be around! They were so enjoyable to be around! Now about the ports, it you're going to a bustling place like Rome.. please do yourself a favor.. book a tour with pros! We hired Albertina Cottuno from Michelangelo tours. I highly recommend her to pick you up in Civitivecchia .She was Fabulous!! you can contact her through her email: albertinacottuno@gmail.com. her rates were very affordable and reasonable, she was very professional and gave us the tour of a lifetime in Rome...believe me, with the small amount of time you have, use it wisely.. hire a driver! you won't be sorry. Ask her to take you to her 'secret place',, it's truly amazing!! For Livorno we hired "Travel Tuscany for Cruise" You can contact them @ simonabagnolia@gmail.com. She was also very kind and patient, and gave us a fabulous tour of Florence & Pisa. I highly recommend her as well, she also had great affordable rates. You will be quite exhausted on this cruise, so rest when you can! it was quite a memorable time & i'm very grateful to cruise critic for helping us 'meet' people ahead of time. i also met other friends that I keep in contact with. Live life... live your dream... go to Europe! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
As seasoned cruisers who have travelled the world extensively and who rated the Carnival Liberty as our favourite cruise a few summers ago out of Civitavecchia (Rome), it was a shock to experience our Cruise from Hell aboard ... Read More
As seasoned cruisers who have travelled the world extensively and who rated the Carnival Liberty as our favourite cruise a few summers ago out of Civitavecchia (Rome), it was a shock to experience our Cruise from Hell aboard Carnival's new Magic from Barcelona. We knew it was a big ship with about 4600 passengers and 1400 crew members but we expected smooth sailing with lots of amenities. The ship has the potential to be great and the crew in general were polite and friendly but we were put off by all the extra costs for things that used to be included on a cruise. For example, we both like the spa and used the (free) dry sauna daily BUT were shocked to learn that the steam sauna was located on a different floor and at a cost of $175 per person for the duration of the cruise. Locating the saunas on different levels doesn't make any sense and only means inconvenience. The food was quite good both in the dining room and in the Lido buffet area although we did notice the absence of fresh berries and smoked salmon. The dining room assigned us a table for eight even though we had requested a table for two many months in advance. We ended up walking out of the Southern Lights dining room the first evening and managed to secure a table for two at the Northern Lights. We were happy with our servers who were personable and very bright. We ordered some wraps, salad and dessert through room service only once: the food was satsifactory but the dressing arrived with no salad. We enjoy watching movies on our t.v. to relax but the choice was pitiful: they played the same James Bond movie (a few years old) every 3 hours and then replayed the same movie a few days later (!) There was a movie preview channel that only showed previews in the hope that we would fork over our dollars to watch what used to be free. We did enjoy, however CNN, the BBC and Sky News, as well as a French channel to follow current events. Luckily we brought some good books with us to read. As wonderful as the ports were, we were dismayed to find no city history/background information; instead just a list of stores to spend your money plus a blank page to keep 'notes.' We appreciated the complimentary ice cream and frozen yogurt station, as well as the tandoor and pizza stations. The pizzas are well done but you need to order and wait for a specialty pizza like goat cheese. The complimentary coffee was okay but my first - and last -pay for latte on the lobby deck following a smooth embarkation was terrible. Our cabin was kept clean but when we asked for another stool to sit on our attendant promptly refused. And now for the worst part that ruined our cruise: directly across from us were two teenagers whose parents decided to have a separate holiday six decks up. Unfortunately they and all their friends had decided to party all night and they used their cabin as Party Central all night (they went to bed at 6 a.m. and got up at 4 p.m.). After a couple of sleepness nights we complained to Guest Relations and Security but little was actually done besides a couple of visits and warnings by security. The problem continued until the very last night and this ruined what was supposed to be a relaxing and memorable cruise. Carnival supposedly has policies but doesn't enforce its own rules with consequences and that is the core problem. We saw this several times,such as passengers placing towels on deck chairs first thing in the morning, then walking away and leaving their chairs empty for hours at a time. My partner and I walked by early one morning at sea and were amazed to see every single deck chair - we're talking hundreds! - covered with a blue towel and/or a magazine but nobody occupying them. We watched with dismay one evening as four young unattended boys fought in the hot tub in the aft of the ship and pushed each other under the water. Nobody intervened, whether it be passenger or crew member. The huge outdoor entertainment screen overlooking the pool would blast noise (only on some occasions would it actually be something akin to music) and this translated into headaches and cacophony. We were constantly put off by all the rude passengers who walked right in front of you without saying 'Excuse me.' It was quite upsetting after a few days of this. The crew members were all polite and well mannered, it must be said. The entertainment in the main lounge was substandard with the exception of one British singer who impersonated several female singers. Overall, a big disappointment. We skipped the comedians as we prefer intelligent humour without all the swearing. Being both non-smokers, we were upset to have to inhale second hand smoke further down our corridor each time we had to navigate to a different part of the ship. It would be nice to sail on a truly smoke free ship one day! Disembarking took longer than normal and there was a terribly long lineup for taxis (well over an hour) as there were other cruise ships that had docked that day. Lastly, the cruise review questionnaire that was supposed to be emailed to us two days after disembarking has not yet arrived almost 3 weeks later. Nor have any of the postcards we handed over to Guest Relations at the end of our cruise after purchasing $22 worth of European stamps. We're keeping our fingers crossed but right now we're not impressed. Think we'll vote with our feet and our pocketbooks - sorry, Carnival, but we're not happy customers. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Just off the Carnival Magic. The good, the bad, the ugly and dispelling the myths. First, we arrived into Barcelona a day and a half early. We stayed at the ME Hotel, absolutely amazing hotel. If you are into the W hotels and like ... Read More
Just off the Carnival Magic. The good, the bad, the ugly and dispelling the myths. First, we arrived into Barcelona a day and a half early. We stayed at the ME Hotel, absolutely amazing hotel. If you are into the W hotels and like that super contemporary vibe and cosmopolitan feel, you will love it. The pool was amazing, the lounges were awesome. It is however, not located in the most central part of Barcelona, but walking distance to the beach. Our flight arrived 10 hours late, so, we did not get a chance to really explore the areas around the hotel as much as we would have liked to, but the hotel in and of itself was a great place to explore. We arrived at the Carnival Magic around 2:00 pm. When we arrived, we saw a line outside of the terminal doors, zigzagging around into the terminal entrance for security screening. It moves relatively quickly so no reason to be alarmed, if you arrive and see the same thing. Once through security, you are divided into 2 areas based on the deck your cabin is located. Decks 1-7 are on the upper concourse, decks 8-12, you are located on the ground concourse level. Once you are divided into your area, our cabin was on deck 8, we were greeted with yet, another line. This line takes a little longer. This line is the line where you register either cash deposits or credit card deposits and check in for the ship (you get your keys, maps, etc.). We stood in line for probably about 45 mins or so, but once we registered our Credit Cards, got our Sail and sign cards, we took the escalator up to the second level. We were given a zone number, but they were just collecting them and allowing people on board, it was very quick! In the terminal where Carnival was docked, they have a few shops with alcohol, flip flops, and misc. items you can purchase before getting on board. Well worth the stop. You can carry your alcohol purchases right onboard. Off to the ship. We boarded the Carnival Magic, nothing to be overly wowed at. It's a nice ship, larger than some others I've been on. But, if you've been on 1, you've been on them all. It was very nice and clean, still had the new smell. We took, what bags we had to our room, changed into flip flops and headed up to the Lido deck. The Cabin. We had a balcony cabin on deck 8. Standard Carnival orange. The room was well appointed, with a sofa, flat screen, bar and ample storage. I read in another review that things were falling apart and falling off the walls, etc., we didn't happen to see that in our cabin. Everything was in great condition, the room still had its new smell. Our cabin Steward Noor, was great. He kept the room clean, the ice bucket filled and the balcony doors and windows clean. Lido Deck. We ran up to the Lido deck to get food. I think Carnival learned a lot from past ships. The Lido food deck is broken into 8 areas. You have your burgers and pizza on the outside close to the pool; you then have The Wok just one level inside broken into two separate lines. Directly across from that, you have general food and whatever they are serving for the day, broken into another 2 lines. Down a little ways, heading to the back of the ship, you have another 2 areas of food, usually serving whatever the food of the day is and dinner. Across from that area is desserts and ice cream and the stairs that lead to El Capitano, the private Italian restaurant. I'll talk about that later. Just outside, by the adult pool, you have Tandoor (Indian Food) and the sandwich shop, which serves, you've guessed it...sandwiches, Panini's etc. With all of the reviews I've read, they said this area is crowded and people had to wait in long lines, well, I didn't really see that. You have to wait for the wok, as they are cooking your food to order. You may have to wait for an omelet, again, they are cooking to order; otherwise, we didn't wait very long for much throughout our entire trip. We had a chance to eat at El Capitano, it was great. The service was good and the pasta amazing. Worth the $10. The Ship. Okay after eating we decided to do some exploring to see what was new. Immediately, we noticed how they changed the main pool area. I love the comfortable chairs with cushions and padding aligning the pool area they've added on deck 10 and 11. It's a great area to relax and watch a movie under the stars or catch some sun. Another great new thing was the rear eating area. They've added an additional eating area on the rear of the ship with padded seats in a Tiki feel. Very nice look. On the other decks. We walked down to ocean plaza on deck 5, loved the Vibe night club, the piano bar area and the 4 cantilevered hot tubs hanging over the ships edge, nice touch. The highlight of Ocean Plaza is Red Frog Pub. What a great idea this was. It's set in island colors and all the staff are from one of the islands, you almost feel like you are on a beach somewhere. The Spa on this ship is 3 decks high. Very Very nice. We did manage to get in some spa time and it was well worth it. The best time to purchase is at the beginning after we've sailed, and towards the end of the cruise. Side Bar. We generally book Carnival during off peak times to avoid being overrun with kids in the pools etc. I could count the number of kids on board. The information desk stated the cruise before ours they had 900 children between 3-16 and this sailing they had roughly about 90. It was good. Please don't get me wrong, I love kids, but not when I am on vacation. Now back to my review. Entertainment: I went to 2 of the shows and the first one called "win" was cheesy and half way through, people were walking out. The 2nd show, which was like a Broadway production was GREAT! It totally made up for the previous night's show. I don't for the life of me, know why Carnival is still doing the Carnival Legend's show. It is truly time to let it go. We've been on multiple Carnival ships and they've done it on every single ship. Let it go already, think outside the box. Ports: I won't detail you with all of the Port details but some highlights. If you have a balcony cabin in Monaco, it is well worth it. I sat on my balcony for hours watching the yachts come in and out of the Port...AMAZING! Livorno, if you aren't going to Florence, no need to stop in Livorno. The city was pretty rundown, some decent shopping, but not worth spending much more than an hour there. Rome...the Port is about an hour and a half form the city. OMG! We had the best tour guide I met off line and it was well worth the price. He took us to Trevi Fountain, Palatine Hill, The Coliseum, The Vatican/Sistine Chapel (Totally buy the skip the line tickets...we did, walked out of the car right into the front doors, past thousands of people), The Roman Forum, The Pantheon and a Secret Garden...AMAZING TOUR! Naples, we walked right off the ship, did some shopping, ate some authentic pizza and took a small tour. Napoli, as it's called, is a very large city and has some beautiful beaches and the tour of the Amalfi Coast, AMAZING!! Messina, we walked off the ship again. There is a Cathedral that sits at the highest point of the island and has the most spectacular views. Amazing! But be prepared if you walk, it's a steep climb uphill. On the way down, we walked through some great shopping and tasted a few local wines. Good stuff! Palma De Mallorca, beautiful beach day. The weather was great. Marseilles was the last port. We took the shuttle from the ship into town, walked, shopped, ate. Great Port. All in all, we had a fantastic trip. The ship was great, the staff was amazing and the ports were all well worth the trek. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
I booked this cruise as a gift for my daughter's high school graduation. It was the first cruise for both of us. Overall, we were thrilled with how the trip turned out. One thing I'll say right off the top is that this is the way ... Read More
I booked this cruise as a gift for my daughter's high school graduation. It was the first cruise for both of us. Overall, we were thrilled with how the trip turned out. One thing I'll say right off the top is that this is the way to explore Europe for people who aren't travel-savvy. It was fantastic to have a home-base in the ship. After a day of struggling through language barriers and differences in customs, we could go back to an American base where our luggage was stowed away in a very comfortable room. In the future, I want to be more adventurous and explore Europe more independently, but for this trip, it was really nice to have the logistics handled for us. Rather than go through details of everything, including the things that were as we expected, I am going to hit on the things that we loved about this cruise and the things that we hated. The top thing that we loved was the customer service that we received from our dining room waiter, Jiri, and our room steward, Clemente. These two individuals both went above and beyond to make our stay on the ship fantastic. Clemente would come out into the hallway to say "Hello," and greet us by name every time we walked out of the room in the morning. Once we expressed a preference for something, he made sure that we had it. He was top-notch. Jiri made our dinners so much fun. He also greeted us warmly by name, and remembered our preferences. These two individuals helped to make the ship feel like home to us. Another thing we loved was the food in the main dining room. We had dinner there every night but one, and every meal was phenomenal. We couldn't have asked for better. As I said above, this was our first cruise, so I cannot compare the stateroom to any others. However, I had always heard that ship staterooms are tiny and cramped, and I must say that we loved our room. We were in a Spa Balcony room - stateroom 12014. There was plenty of room for the two of us, and more than adequate storage space. In addition, the beds were incredibly comfortable. I would warn any first-time cruisers to read the boards on this site to get tips on things to bring to make your stateroom more comfortable. We did several of those things and they really made a difference. I will do a subsequent posting on the boards related to that. Now for the things that we hated on this ship - there are really only two. The first thing was the spa. I can't state strongly enough what a horrible experience this was. First let me give credit where credit is due - the treatements that we had were very nice. The problem was that any relaxation that we got out of the treatment was wiped away by the unprofessional pan handling that went on afterwards. I understand that the spa is a revenue generator for the cruise line. That is why I was willing to pay the exorbitant prices that they charge for treatments. However, to have to spend 30 minutes after my treatment saying "No," to more treatments and to overpriced products is ridiculous - especially when the staff just gets snottier and nastier as you say no. As bad as we felt about the spa experience while we were on the ship, our opinion got even worse after we got home and realized that my daughter had gotten a nail fungus on her finger nails after receiving fills in the salon. Needless to say, we wished we had skipped the spa on the ship. The second thing that we hated was the whole complex beverage situation on board. Soda card, or no soda card? If you want more than two sodas a day, you should get a card, but if you get a card, you can only get a glass at a time from certain places on the ship. If you want a soda with your lunch in the buffet, you have to get the soda from the bar and then go to the buffet. If you want some ice water, you have to go find a place to get water. I know that this really isn't a big deal, but the effort that it took to think about our beverages was just silly. If I find myself cruising again, I think I will take bottled water on board and keep it in the mini-fridge, and skip the soda card. Given that those were our only two big complaints, and one was more of an inconvenience, we can easily say that we loved our cruise on the Carnival Magic. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
The cruise was a great laugh. The main two factors for it being such a good laugh were the people we were with and the fact that there is so much to do on the ship...you could stay on it for two weeks without getting off and never get ... Read More
The cruise was a great laugh. The main two factors for it being such a good laugh were the people we were with and the fact that there is so much to do on the ship...you could stay on it for two weeks without getting off and never get bored. The red frog pub was great as was the gym...gotta have a balance! three down points were: 1) Alkcoholic drinks are a rip off!!! 2) Longers are all taken on sea day by people that never come back so take there stuff off after an hour and give it to the staff to teach them a lesson. Germans seemed to like doing this the most, but we sorted that little problem with some subtle English wit. 3)It has a holiday camp feel with all the loud speaker calls trying to flog you their stuff every five minutes - 'watches at low low prices', 'get your pictures...must have memories' blah blah blah...I got a watch, and I got a camera! Overall the cruise was great, the staff were brilliant, the ship looked classy and the food was good...give the staff a good workout and oder room service as much as possible...wear a towel...one of em said to me that he'll never feel like a man again after I forgot. My standout tip for everyone is....TAKE LOTS OF MONEY IF YOU LIKE A DRINK!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We had a wonderful nine day cruise on the Carnival Magic. I want to preface my comments by saying our cruise was the trip of our lifetimes. While we are used to slightly higher level of service this cruise was an incredible value. We got ... Read More
We had a wonderful nine day cruise on the Carnival Magic. I want to preface my comments by saying our cruise was the trip of our lifetimes. While we are used to slightly higher level of service this cruise was an incredible value. We got far more value than what we paid. I have so many comments to give that I will break them up. While we had a very good time I will start with perhaps the end of the cruise, which turned out to be one of the low points. It starts the day before we were to disembark. On the television John Heald gave a 'three to four minute' (his words) instructional speech. In looking back it is incredible how much horsey pucky he was able to pack into those three or four minutes. Here are some of the areas he covered. 1. The ship will dock in Barcelona at 5 am. (Pretty accurate) 2. We will begin to disembark at 5:30 am. (This actually started at six, which John would probably tell you is at the mercy of the port authorities) 3. We will disembark by zones which have been determined by an analysis of the urgency of the next leg of your journey. (Everyone turned in a form. We were not catching a flight so our zone was 32) 4. Everyone must be off the ship by 9:00 am by order of the port authorities. (Horsey Pucky!!! At 7 am an announcement went out that already 1,000 people have left the ship. Now I am not quite sure why they were proud of this. If you calculate from when they said they would start, having 1,000 out of 4,400 people get off the ship in the first hour and a half, or hour if you calculate from when they actually started, 1,000 people with only two hours left is pretty bad. There were probably about 1,000 people still on board when 9 am rolled around.) 5. There will be absolutely no waiting or loitering in the lobby to leave the ship. If you are in the lobby a crewmember will ask you to leave immediately. (More horsey pucky!!! When we finally left the ship there were hundreds of people still in the lobby. Why they were in the lobby, I have no idea - see #6) 6. You can leave the ship whenever you want even though your zone has not been called!!! (This is absolutely true, but see #7) 7. If you leave the ship before your zone is called your luggage will not be waiting for you if you set it outside the cabin the night before. We call your zone once your luggage is off the ship. There is very little room in the terminal to wait so the best place to stay is on the ship. (Definitely horsey pucky. We had a balcony suite overlooking where the luggage was coming off and it was completely unloaded by 7:30 am. At 9 am they still had not called our number. We got off the ship anyway, after all didn't everyone have to be off the ship by 9 am? The luggage for our zone 32 was there along with the luggage for 33, 34, and 35. I am not sure if the zones even went any higher than 35. Also, there was much more room to wait in the terminal than the ship's lobby.) 8. If you lug every single piece of your luggage off the ship on your own you can leave shortly after the start of the disembarkation process. In fact, if you can get off the ship before they start calling the zones for general population, which does not have an urgent transfer, you will not have to wait in a 40 minute line for a taxi. (There is so much truth to this it hurts. Unfortunately for us the line for a taxi turned out to be more like 75 minutes. If you doubt this I have pictures of the line. We figured we would be charitable since we were not in a hurry to get to our hotel. This was not a good idea. I wonder if Carnival understands that if the people who can handle their luggage all get off first, that leaves the infirmed and families with lots of kids to wait for over an hour for a taxi. There were especially many families with babies in the line. Babies tend to travel with quite a bit of paraphernalia. True to form I did not see even one baby lending a hand. These two groups, the infirmed and the families with young children, were definitely overly represented in the taxi line.) There was more information in John's instructional video, including information on tipping that I do not really want to go into during my coverage of the disembarkation process. I want to discuss four points that John did not cover in his speech. The first should have been covered. 1. Even though everyone must be off the ship by 9:00 am you must be out of your stateroom by 8:30 am. This would have been good to know!!! Instead since we were not in a hurry to get off the ship we went back to our stateroom at 8:55 to get the last of our stuff. Our steward just screamed at me. "Don't you know you have to be out of the stateroom at 8:30 am so the room can be prepared for the next passengers !!!!", she screamed. No I didn't, I wanted to say, but can I have the extra $50 back I left for you? I did not say this, because a) I really do not think I would get it back, and b) even though I outweighed her by about 100 lbs. I was afraid her fury would put me at a disadvantage. And John if you read this I am sure you warned the fake purse lady about the police surveillance before she got the 400 euro fine, but if you try to tell me the video contained a warning about getting out of the stateroom at 8:30 am, please send it to me. If it truly does I will donate $100 to your favorite charity, which I hope does not have the initials JH. 2. There is an issue with drinking lots of coffee at breakfast and then waiting in a taxi line for an hour and fifteen minutes. My wife tried to go back in the terminal, but was not allowed due to security reasons. Fortunately for me the 75 minute wait in the Barcelona sun was hot enough to sweat a sufficient amount of uric acid to prevent my bladder from bursting. 3. We read quite a few reviews before going on this cruise. As a result we were very wary about being overcharged by the cabbies. Then you wait in line for over an hour and you get towards the front of the line. You see that about six cabs pull up at one time and six (hopefully not seven or eight) units of people scrabble to grab one. Not all cabs are the same size. Most of them are small compact cars, but a few of them are vans. This made for some interesting entertainment, while waiting in line. One rather high count unit of people tried to get all of their luggage and people into a standard cab and failed miserably. The next cab to pull in was a van. This high number of people unit tried to yank all their stuff out of the smaller cab and started to try to put it in the van. But wait!!! Of course the next unit of people in line rightly thought the cab was theirs. To make things more entertaining the next unit of people had a rather large number of people themselves, although not quite as high as the cab switching unit of people. Now throw in the fact that these two groups were from countries on opposite sides of the world and did not speak the same language. This was so enthralling I barely noticed the stroller rolling up the back of my calves. The addition of the Barcelona female police officer was just the icing on the cake. Anyway I digress. What I really wanted to say is that because I had read the reviews I knew in advance that I needed to negotiate the cab fare before I got in. We were at the front of the line. Six cabs pull up and we take the first cab. I ask how much it will cost to go to the 1898 hotel. The cabbie answers "18 to 20 euros". This didn't seem bad to me, but I don't know what I would have said if the quote was 250 euros. Would I have tried to switch cabs? I would not. It did not work out very well for the large number of people unit I saw try to do it. Would I stand there for half an hour negotiating with the guy like I was buying a blanket in Cabo San Lucas? One thing I am sure of after this trip is that Spain is very different than Mexico. So all my wife and I could do was get in the cab. I had studied the city map very much before the trip. To me the cab went all over the city before we arrived at the hotel, but you know what-the fair ended up being 18 euros. I was happy to give him 25. 4. As my profile says this was our fifth cruise. We have never had to wait for more than 10 minutes for a cab. There were always far less people on board and at least twice as long to disembark. What was Carnival thinking?!? Let's build a ship with 50% more people and let's try to get everybody off the ship in half the time using the exact same methods we use for the smaller ships with twice the time. I am not sure I have a better way but I would like to make a couple points. First, transfers on a bus help relieve the line for cabs. Have more transfers on buses!!! How can Carnival do that? Here is one way. Carnival transfers passengers to their hotel on buses/vans, but they only do it if they book their hotel through Carnival. Why? Allowing passengers who booked their own hotel to use the transfers generates more revenue for Carnival and could make it a shorter ride for the passengers that did book through Carnival. Carnival would have to limit the hotels to those clustered around the ones they use for their own bookings, but every person taken off the taxi stand would help. The second thing is don't let mostly people that are taking transfers off the ship from 5:30 am to 8:00 am and then let predominately cab riders off for the last hour and a half. There must be a way to spread the cab riders out over the entire three and a half hours without impacting the transfer to the airport that are on a tight schedule. I want to go back to the beginning of my review and remind everyone that we had the cruise of our life. Carnival provides great value. We would not have been able to go on this cruise unless Carnival kept a tight control on costs and provided limited service. The cuts, for the most part, were in areas we were willing to give up to get a lower price. Hopefully, I will find the time to cover those areas in another review. At the same time there must be a better way to get 4,400 people off a ship. The whole thing reminded me of the new Boeing 787. The 787 cannot go to a standard terminal and gangway. It is too high and holds too many people. They have to build special terminals and longer runways before the 787 can use a particular airport. The bottom line is that disembarking from the Carnival Magic is like trying to get out of a 787 at an airport terminal that wasn't built for it. Eventually you figure out a way to get off, but in all likelihood whatever you try will be very painful. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
My family's opinions and experience on Carnival Magic were probably very different from many others as we were not prepared to spend massive amounts of money on overpriced things. We also had the lowest price cabins and we are ... Read More
My family's opinions and experience on Carnival Magic were probably very different from many others as we were not prepared to spend massive amounts of money on overpriced things. We also had the lowest price cabins and we are British/New Zealanders and the ship was American with many American's. Kids Club: My 14 year old said this was one of the best holidays she has had. All staff aboard were amazing. I have never had such wonderful service. Gym: Fantastic machines but far too hot to train at a really high intensity. Cabins: Not nice,noisy,could not sleep and had to sleep in a single bed without my husband. Tiny T.V.near my husbands bed but there was nothing to watch anyway. Food: The main restaurant on Lido deck it had a variety of food and it is open more or less all the time. It surprised me that the plates and glasses were plastic. I did not mind, in a way it is a good idea. There was a large range of nice food. The other restaurant was formal, the food was great but my husband hates anything formal so from the elegant night onwards we did not go there. Many extra costs came up which made us angry, tips $10 a day per person, paying to get off the boat e.g. paying 5 euro's at various ports (shuttle bus) with lots of long queues. Overpriced Carnival trip e.g. Pompeii $199 per person, if you go yourself train plus entry cost 15 euro (children under 18 free at Pomeii). Very crowded on the ship if you were not avoiding other passengers you were avoiding staff and even when you were relaxing people were busy everywhere. Everywhere you were bombarded all the time with things that Carnival pushed you to buy, they pushed you into photos, entertainment was things like bingo or the casino which you would have to walk through. Most of the other entertainment was just quiz's, however there was a fantastic illusions show. Plastic painted gold was the general decor throughout the ship - cheap looking.Lovely and quiet in the evening on lido deck under the stars watching Cinema with free popcorn. Stops: Great places to see but hard work as after you got to each port there was still a lot of travelling. I think you need more time to see some of these places as they are so amazing. Although we had some very good times on board we could not wait to get off and go home to relax. We felt like black sheep being herded with white sheep a lot of the time. We now realise that cruises don't really suit us but everyone else seem to love it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Excellent cruise. Monaco port was closed on first day of cruise itinerary due to bad storms, so Captain reversed itinerary and we had a Day at Sea then started at Messina and finally the last port was Monaco! It was nice that the cruise ... Read More
Excellent cruise. Monaco port was closed on first day of cruise itinerary due to bad storms, so Captain reversed itinerary and we had a Day at Sea then started at Messina and finally the last port was Monaco! It was nice that the cruise still saw all the ports. Service was stellar. Been on 6 cruises in the last 10 years, majority with Carnival. All employees were exceptional and met any needs. Room Steward was very personable and also did an excellent job with her daily routine in our room. Food was great. Cruised RC last summer and their food was lousy. Was not sure what to expect on Carnival with the economy and recession. But the food was really great. Went to teh Main Dining every night except once when at the "Chef's Tables". Only the initial night on the cruise (Sunday) was I disappointed in the dinner selections. Every night onward was fantastic! Breakfast buffet was a large selection and standard every morning. The lunch buffet was a huge selection in addition to the burrito bar (yummy!) Tandoori (very authentic!) and the Mongolian Grill -- I did not think the Mongolian Grill was worth the wait after I tried it once -- but just my opinion. Chef's Table --- INCREDIBLE experience! Only if you are "in the know" do you hear about it -- no advertisements on the ship, etc since it only occurs 2x in a 7 day cruise and limited to 12 people. $75 but worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY! Head Chef spent 3 hrs with us, we ate in the galley, toured the galley etc. The preparation that goes into make each of the 12 courses is unbelievable and understandable why it should be limited to a small number of people. I was just blown away with all the courses and how much thought went into them. If you get lucky enough to get a reservation, it's not to be missed and worth it! (Reservations made via email the same way you make a Steakhouse reservation! Chef Table starts at 6:30 pm.) Entertainment was also 5-Star. I had heard mixed reviews on the entertainment on the Magic but wow, we were impressed. The main show -- "Unknown" is incredible, the most lavish Las-Vegas style-themed show we have ever seen on a ship. It is supposedly the most expensive show to produce on any of the Carnival Ships. We were also luck to see a phenomenal ventriloquist and some great comedy shows -- John Heald was hilarious -- never had him on a cruise before but an excellent cruise director. I can see why he is paid the big bucks -- gotta love his rendition of Dick Little. The band that played in the pool area was fantastic, they had a great voice and really kept the crowd going. Only bummer was when they took breaks...a dumb DVD was shown on the screen....Only negative I have of the entire cruise was out in the main pool area, they showed this stupid video of all the ports of call advertising to buy it and take home. What made it terrible was the awful music that goes along with the video -- not pool music at all. Carnival needs to change that!Only other thing I want to add is save your money and get an interior room on a western med cruise. All the ports are ugly to look at in Italy except Monaco's port. We had an inside cabin and it was fine, didn't spend much time inside and if we had a window or balcony doubt we would have spent any more time in it. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
(1) BACKGROUND I am a 22 year old soon to be college graduate from central Texas. Go Texas State Bobcats! :) This was my 7th cruise (4th with Carnival). Other ships that I have travelled on include: Carnival- Celebration and Conquest ... Read More
(1) BACKGROUND I am a 22 year old soon to be college graduate from central Texas. Go Texas State Bobcats! :) This was my 7th cruise (4th with Carnival). Other ships that I have travelled on include: Carnival- Celebration and Conquest (2x), and Royal Caribbean- Voyager OTS, Freedom OTS, and Oasis OTS (amazing! try it out if you haven't!). For this trip I travelled with my mom (got old after 9 days and over 30 hours total on planes) and we chose this sailing and ship because of the price. Was it worth the price? YES. Was I impressed? NO with the ship, YES with the ports. Since Magic is coming and staying Galveston very soon, I'll try to direct as much to the Texas/Caribbean market as possible. (2) THE SHIP Ok, if you are an avid Carnival person then I'm sure you will be impressed and like this ship. Basically it looks like every other Carnival ship (lots of plastic and cheesy decorations that scream trashy instead of classy). To me, it was like the Conquest, but on steroids. Thats basically the layout. Things I was impressed with: Waterworks (really fun and fast slides!), Serenity (ONLY when it was not crowded otherwise it sucked), service from all the staff (they are GREAT), Red Frog Pub (this will be a hit Texas people!), the spa (mom paid for a massage one day because the Europe itinerary is a killer!)... and that's about it. Now, the things that SUCKED! (in my opinion): #1 HOT TUBS. More like COLD TUBS! It's pretty pathetic when you have to go in a hot tub to cool down when you are in the sun. That is SAD! They sucked hardcore! #2 POOL SPACE. There is not enough for the Caribbean sea days. Not even close. Enough said. Go in the middle of the night and save a spot. #3 ENTERTAINMENT. Maybe since I like Royal Caribbeans entertainment that's why I wasn't impressed or else maybe Carnival's just sucked. Not sure. Either way, I wasn't impressed. If anything, the shows were OK, but nothing to be talked about long (although other people we heard were floored by them... they must have not seen Freedom OTS or Oasis OTS?) ... Those were my biggies. Other stuff that I didn't like was pretty miniscule and didn't apply much to Texas/Caribbean (ie. rude foreign passengers... one night I, an adult, was cussed out by what had to be two 7 year old boys... no joke). But overall, basically this ship didn't give me the WOW factor that Royal Caribbean ships do. (3) THE PORTS We did the 7 day Mediterranean with an additional night in Barcelona before. Our itinerary was- Barcelona/Barcelona/Monaco/Rome/Livorno/Naples/Messina/Sea day/Barcelona. The ports were AMAZING. AMAZING! I won't ramble on and on about them because I'm sure a majority of people reading this will be looking for their future Caribbean trips, but if you are looking for Carnival's Europe excursions, these are the ones we did and I HIGHLY recommend them. Monaco- Nice & Eze, Rome- Rome at its best, Livorno- Pisa & Florence (with tower enterance), Naples- Taste of Sorrento & Pompeii, Messina- Winery & Mt. Etna. Of them all, the Naples and Messina ones are the best! They are more personalized and offer a lot less people than the others did. Plus enjoying homeade Italian food and wine in a vineyard or on an authentic Italian farm, who wouldn't love it?! In Barcelona we did the Hop on and Off bus which is good for seeing the city on your own in a day. Sagrada Familia is a highly recommended stop there. (4) FAT JOHNNY John Heald is a loser. He thinks he is funny but he is not. Even though we had a really busy trip and only one sea day, we did have a little time on the ship where we went to shows or other events around the ship. Did I ever EVER see John Heald (whom I nicknamed Fat Johnny)? NO!!!!!! The only time I saw him, and this is not a lie, is when we were walking on deck 5 and we saw him sitting in his office. Oh and at the past guest party (which was a staged piece of crap on his part) I thought the cruise director did more than that. I know Richard Spacey on Oasis did! (Side note, go on Oasis OTS just for him) I got so tired of hearing Fat Johnny's lame jokes over the PA and his set up "entertainment" at the past guest party. Whatever. He is a crappy cruise director in my opinion. But that's just me. ... Go Richard Spacey! :P (5) OTHER STUFF This ship will do good in the Texas/Caribbean market, if they make some changes... mainly in the pool/hot tub area. After this trip, we have decided that we will be going back to Royal Caribbean all the time, unless we can make a fantastic cheap deal with Carnival on a trip with lots of ports where we don't have to see that god awful Joe Farcus design a lot. If you like Carnival, you will like this ship, if you are thinking of trying out Carnival after doing other lines, such as Royal Caribbean, don't. (Unless you get a really good deal). ... Don't get me wrong, this was a FANTASTIC trip, but mainly because of the ports, had I done this same ship from Galveston, I would have been disappointed. The crew of the ship is amazing (other than Fat Johnny) and the food is certainly better than Royal Caribbean, but I'm still not sold on Carnival. Hope this review is useful to anyone that reads it! Happy travels! :) Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This was my first cruise, so of course I had no idea what to expect. This cruise had 6 nights and 5 ports of call, so there was very little time spent on-board the ship. My group left the ship for different excursions - only one of which ... Read More
This was my first cruise, so of course I had no idea what to expect. This cruise had 6 nights and 5 ports of call, so there was very little time spent on-board the ship. My group left the ship for different excursions - only one of which was a Carnival excursion (Messina). We did Monaco on our own and hired RomeInLimo for the other three ports. The ship was good. The first thing I noticed, as I was at the bar in the lobby waiting for our luggage, was that the circular staircase was glass on the rise (ya know - rise & run) so you could potentially see up the skirts of women on the steps. I didn't test it - but I did avoid the steps. Kinda icky. And when I did go down the steps - my thighs were pretty tight together. The drinks were fine. Bartender was okay. Stateroom was great. Balcony was nice. Robes were comfy. Bed was new. Could hear the neighbor coughing through the connecting door - but couldn't hear the kids on the other side of us. The cruise director? was announcing stuff but we couldn't hear it unless we opened the door - which was fine I guess - probably wasn't that important. I think we missed the 8:45 dinner time one night (thought it was still 8:15) - but that was it. Combo of bad mic & bad speakers & bad accent - couldn't understand him at all, even with the door open. Good food in the dining room. Expectations were probably too low - but everything tasted really good and looked good and service was very special. Ionel and Audi were fantastic waiters. The way the other tables looked - the whole waitstaff was well trained and the people were happy. Of course, some people are always cranky about something or the other. Spent some time in the RedFrog and the Casino. Bartenders were great. The Movie on the deck is just cool - felt like a drive-in movie theater. Should've brought a blanket out there - kinda cold. the solo guitar acts were very good - the only good acts on ship. Magician was very good. Piano bar was great. The excursion to Mt.Etna w/the ship was fine. Kinda expensive. Saw Mt.Etna spout some steam. yay. RomeInLimo for Rome, Tuscany, & Amalfi Coast was a better bargain - great tour guides (Luka, Clara, & Ansel). Highly recommend romeinlimo - great drivers. I only talked to one N. American worker on-board the ship - she works in the make-up/jewelry shop. (or I think she was American or maybe Canadian) The rest were European or Asian or something else. odd. It was nice to have a N. American working there. It was like a floating hotel for me. It was wonderful. I enjoyed the ship very much.Make sure you get your chair early for the day at sea. They get reserved early and they sit empty for hours w/towels or other reserved markings on them. I guess the quality of the ship depends on your attitude when viewing it. I had a great time, but I was relaxed and happy about my port trips & group, so it was a wonderful vacation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
It was the wrong time for us to cruise. We are in our 60's and July 2011 was school holiday time and there were many children on board. Children running up the hallways while we had a nap was disturbing. Trying to dance on the dance ... Read More
It was the wrong time for us to cruise. We are in our 60's and July 2011 was school holiday time and there were many children on board. Children running up the hallways while we had a nap was disturbing. Trying to dance on the dance floor with toddlers running around was dangerous to the kids. This was a 12 night cruise but on 4 nights there wasn't a show instead we had passengers called onto the stage & interviewed..... enjoyable but not a show.Also on other cruises we had 2 shows per night (early show & late show) despite 4,500 passengers we had ONE at 10.30pm. & on 4 nights no Show.One night we had to argue with 2 youngsters who "reserved 8 seats in the theatre" Despite it's increased size there doesn't seem to be much public space. We much preferred Carnival Pride & Miracle with less passengers. Something has to be done regarding the lounges on the open Lido deck; by 9am. every morning every lounge is reserved by passengers throwing a towel on one then going away; which means they reserve lounges then go away for as long as they like. On a positive note the Cruise Director John was one of the best & his morning show was so funny we had tears in our eyes from laughing. The best music was a duo called White Mouse in Ocean Plaza & the young woman vocalist was terrific, but the rest of live music was disappointing to us. Shopping on board was very good & good prices as we always expect from Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
My first impression of the ship was really positive although the dEcor is still "over the top" Carnival, but it did not distract from our enjoyment of the cruise. On the first day there were crew members all over the ship ... Read More
My first impression of the ship was really positive although the dEcor is still "over the top" Carnival, but it did not distract from our enjoyment of the cruise. On the first day there were crew members all over the ship who wore "Ask Me" t-shirts and who were busy helping cruisers find their way around the ship. I thought that was a great addition to the cruise experience as this was our 4th Carnival cruise and we still had a few questions! I found the staff/crew to be very friendly, responsive to my needs and motivated to please the guests; I give them an A+ and I'm impressed how well everything went. I never saw long lines anywhere, not even in front of the Purser's desk. 70% of passengers were North Americans, 30% a mixture of Europeans (mostly UK) and 10% Asian. There were 1100 passengers under the age of 21 on our sailing, lots of kids, teens, families. There were also some older cruisers, but the overall impression was young and very active. I didn't ask how many passengers were on board, but the ship probably exceeded its full capacity (of 3646) which is based on a 2 per cabin occupancy, lots of cabins had 3 and 4, so my guess is there were close to 4000 passengers on board. Yet it never felt "crowded", I never had a hard time getting into something I wanted to do, I didn't line up for more than a couple of minutes at any time. Because there were so many young people on board Sports Square was usually busy and we had fun there. The Splash Zone and slides were great, the ropes course was not scary at all. FOOD Lido Food: first thing we ate on the ship was a Chèvre pizza, YUMMMM! I enjoyed the and husband loved the Deli. I am not a fan of buffets in general but the Magic buffet was actually really good! I had some Boston fish that was so tender and flakey, it was amazing. Actually I enjoyed everything, I didn't find anything that looked tired or dry or overcooked. Breakfast on the Lido was great, made-to-order omelets in at least two areas (not a lot of wait), really good stuffed French Toast, really tasty fruit, plenty of bacon and sausages, I enjoyed the coffee (I'm not picky, my husband is and he went to the coffee bar a few times), good juices, it was all good. I heard you could get ready to order waffles but didn't see it on the Lido. Then on the last day of the cruise I saw it: you can get fresh waffles on Deck 5 right by the coffee and cake area. Will try that next time. The dining room was wonderful as always, we had Your Time Dining and I love how you can just show up, no need to reserve, you just show up when you're ready. With RCI they wanted us to reserve a time that could be different every day, but we still had to reserve. I prefer how Carnival does it. We never waited at all other than on formal night. I think that food quality is as good or better than ever. CABIN Our cabin was #10251, an inside on the Lido deck (underneath the slides), it was a great location within 30 steps of the main pool yet quiet at all times. And we had a great steward who was really kind to us. I think another great cabin location on this particular ship would be deck 5, the Lanai, as there are several whirlpools there as well as bars, open deck all around, plenty of places to sit and lie, yet much quieter than the Lido. Quad cabins are very crammed and closet space was tight, do pack light! I hit my head on one of the upper bunks so many times I think a bike helmet might have been wise. But the bedding was really comfortable, sheets soft and pleasant, bathroom space adequate, and water pressure WONDERFUL. Temperature control worked well, both for water and air. As always air ventilation was outstanding, you could do a stinky in the bathroom and within 3mn the smell was all gone, and that's in an inside cabin! ENTERTAINMENT All entertainment and announcements were in English-only. John Heald was our Cruise Director and he was outstanding, warm and caring. Since we were on a port-intensive European cruise we didn't go out every night and we did not attend all of the shows, but we really liked two of them: Claire Gobin (classical violinist who played with the band) and Steve Rawlings (physical comedy and juggler). They were both great because their shows were fresh and new and the kept us on the edges of our seats. We did not like the magic show very much (Destination Unknown), same old-same old. We very much enjoyed the comedians in the Spotlight Lounge—watch out virgin ears! They don't censor themselves in the adult show and they do cater to an American audience, which is mostly who they had. I particularly LOVED the Karaoke with the band, it's too bad they only do it once on the first night of the cruise when everyone is jetlagged and not in the mood yet. Mark who hosts in that lounge was great. GYM There is a very nice gym on the ship as well as a mediocre outdoor gym on the Lido deck. It was crowded at times, but we managed. Overall we found most passengers were active and average age was pretty low. We did not use spa services. CONCLUSION We had a great time on this cruise, would do it again in a heartbeat and got home relaxed and missing all the services. We look forward to our next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
A bit of background, we have cruised with Princess, Celebrity, NCL, Cunard and RCL. Our children are 15 and 13. We didn't choose the cruise for the itinerary as we have visited all the ports except Sciliy before. We were keen to try ... Read More
A bit of background, we have cruised with Princess, Celebrity, NCL, Cunard and RCL. Our children are 15 and 13. We didn't choose the cruise for the itinerary as we have visited all the ports except Sciliy before. We were keen to try Carnival as we had heard good things and the boat looked to have lots of child friendly features. We spent 4 days in Barcelona before the cruise which we enjoyed, staying at the Gravina hotel just of the Rambla's The embarkation process was excellent - Cunard could do with learning from this ! We went straight to the pool as we had swimwear all prepared and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon. Our stateroom was very nice and probably the largest we have had from a standard balcony room. The kids had an inside cabin directly opposite which was also a good size. The bar area's, casino and nightclub were all very good with excellent staff who quickly learnt our regular drinks. We had chosen anytime dining - do not do this it is a disaster. The first night we waited for 40 minutes in a queue before being seated. The dining experience is not great there is no option to share, which we enjoyed on Princess, the service is slow, poor and disjointed. We had to wait to get a bottle of wine which only turned up with the starter. If you order a glass of wine the order is taken by someone else and is far quicker. The second night we waited for 50 minutes in a queue to be given a buzzer which would take another 30 minutes. The food was good though. We did not get of the ship except for Monaco and Scilly. On arrival in Napels we sat on the balcony and saw a dead squid, a dead seagull and a dead cat floating by! The kids had a great time, their clubs were great and we rarely saw them as they did not emerge until lunchtime on most days. They enjoyed the water park, the skywalks and pools. We enjoyed the comedians in the headliners lounge, but the other entertainment did not excite. We would certainly cruise with Carnival again when with the kids. Next time we would chose the set late dining. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Carnival Magic cruise in Western Mediterranean was a wonderful trip and great way to explore Europe. The cruise was great way to have housing at night and all the food you can muster during the day. I don't want to rehash all that was ... Read More
Carnival Magic cruise in Western Mediterranean was a wonderful trip and great way to explore Europe. The cruise was great way to have housing at night and all the food you can muster during the day. I don't want to rehash all that was mentioned before - so here are my summaries: Staterooms - we had balcony room on 6 - the rooms were large and comfortable. Staff kept everything well kempt and towels well stocked everyday. For those of us experiencing jetlag and could not sleep through the night, the 24 hour rotation of the same 2 movies every 3 hours was not helpful. Food - we had Your Time Dining (6:45 PM - 9:00 PM), never had trouble getting a table but did rotate about the dining room every night. At least we got a chance to meet a variety of diners and staff! Food was delicious - quite a feat since need to serve thousands of people every night. Lido deck was my least favorite for breakfast since there is always rush of people. During sea day we had lunch at Cucina Capitana - pasta was good - chicken was standout since I don't usually like white meat. Red Frog pub - great fun - we tried to see how much "tubes" we can finish but the staff retrieved them for other patrons to use. I wish we could get those pictures. Did not try their special brew. Casino - I was surprised by how clean and how well the filtering system must have been working - maybe new ship? Last time I cruised, I had asthma attack and sinus infection from smoke in the casino. Did not leave the ship coughing at all! Skytrack - I wish I can go back and run the skytrack again. It was so much fun - even though I was outraced by 7 yr old. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This was our first time in Europe, so we didn't know what to expect. Embarking was pretty fast and easy. The terminal in Barcelona is nice and modern. The ship I personally found was very nice and modern. I know a lot of people say ... Read More
This was our first time in Europe, so we didn't know what to expect. Embarking was pretty fast and easy. The terminal in Barcelona is nice and modern. The ship I personally found was very nice and modern. I know a lot of people say it's tacky and cheap but I didn't feel this way about it. It was very clean and the public spaces were nice and open. The buffet was always very good, and the dining room was great too, except some nights service was slow and ate up a lot of the night. John Heald was very funny but I never saw him in person once. Messina: We did not like this port. We took the train to Taoromina but by the time we got there we had to leave right away. That was our fault for getting off to a late start. Just not much to do in Messina.Naples: Probably my favorite day. Toured Pompeii (very cool), and the Amalfi Coast which is very scenic. The towns built into the cliffs were amazing and the road is extended out over the cliff which is very neat. Rome: We did Rome at its Best thru Carnival. Tiring day but got to see the colosseum which was very cool. Ate lunch at an authentic restaurant but we couldn't pick what we wanted. Livorno: Went to see Florence and Leaning Tower of Pisa. Neat cities but watch out for the guys selling sun glasses and watches in Pisa. They will NOT take no for an answer. Just keep walking. Monaco: We were so tired at this point we decided to just have a relaxing day on the ship. Very neat looking city though. Overall it was a pretty good trip. The ship is very nice, no complaints there. The ports are tiring but it's neat to see. If you want to see Italy, go by cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
I was excited to get on board Carnival's new ship, the Magic, when I booked our sailing back in the early part of the year. She looked like she was going to be an amazing ship and one we would enjoy immensely. The itinerary was ... Read More
I was excited to get on board Carnival's new ship, the Magic, when I booked our sailing back in the early part of the year. She looked like she was going to be an amazing ship and one we would enjoy immensely. The itinerary was absolutely outstanding sailing out of Barcelona and hitting the ports of Monaco, Civitavecchia, Livorno, Naples, Venice, Dubrovnick and Messina. The itinerary and ports of call did not disappoint, however, the Magic did! While the ship is beautiful and magnificent in many ways, at the end of the day it is simply too big. Finding space on the deck during the sea days was next to impossible unless you were able to get up at 6am to secure a chair. There was never enough seating in the theater, part of the problem here was the fact there were at least 25-30 Carnival employees taking up seating for the paying passengers, but even had they not been there, the seating capacity was simply not enough. While I'm on the subject of the theater, specifically the entertainment, outside of 1 show (the 70's show the first show of the trip) the entertainment was below average at best. The comedians and juggler were the best shows the entire trip. The piano bar, usually a frequent stop for me, was not the case this trip. The piano player had a very small selection of songs that he knew and even with some of those, he didn't know all of the lyrics. Back to the Carnival employees that were ever present in the theater and in the Red Frog pub and Vibe dance club. I had never seen so many employees hanging out, drinking, socializing before on a cruise. Maybe it was the fact that this cruise was longer than 7 days that the company allowed them to be out in force like they were but I found it to be very unprofessional. At times the employees would be engaging in public displays of affection with children and families present, which in my eyes is just wrong. As a business owner, it would seem like they are setting themselves up for potential lawsuits or other problems should a passenger take offense to an employees advances or overindulgence. Back to what I found to be another major problem, we joined some friends for anytime seating and had to wait for nearly an hour to be seated. The buffet lines were ridiculously long for breakfast and many other meals as well. I met a gentleman while waiting in one of these lines who informed me that he had taken 17, yes that's right, SEVENTEEN Carnival sailings and he'd never written a complaint before but he was going to for the first time after this trip on the Magic. There simply just isn't enough space to handle all the passengers on this ship. At the end of the day we made some amazing new friends and saw some wonderfully, beautiful places and the trip was one we will remember forever. However, there simply was no Magic provided by Carnival. One final note, Blood Power is an absolutely amazing band and a great group of guys. Please support them as much as you can. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Upon flying into Barcelona, we were met by Carnival representatives and efficiently transferred to the ship. The boarding process was extremely well done. So far, so good. Our balcony cabin was a decent size. Very comparable to our ... Read More
Upon flying into Barcelona, we were met by Carnival representatives and efficiently transferred to the ship. The boarding process was extremely well done. So far, so good. Our balcony cabin was a decent size. Very comparable to our last cabin on Holland America except there was a shower and no tub. The balcony was a little smaller but perfectly adequate. The bed was very comfortable. Our cabin steward provided first rate service. Magic is a very large (4500+ passengers)brand new ship. It was quite attractive but did not have the "wow" factor of the new Royal Caribbean ships or the elegance of the Holland America ships. Nohing bad, but nothing special. We had open dining and ate in the dining room five nights and in the specialty restaurants twice. Two of the meals I had in the dining room were good, two were tasteless and one was awful. The specialty restaurant served one of the best steaks (a porterhouse) I've ever had, although $30 per person is steep. We ate the other night at La Cocina di Captaino. We were surprised to find the menu to be limited and the food nothing special. The dining room and restaurant service was excellent. My wife has mobility issues so we only took tours described as Easy. Easy Rome was a problem. The bus dropped us quite a distance from St. Peter's. Much too far to walk in the summer heat. Many on the tour just gave up walking to the Vatican and went to grab some pizza a place to sit in the shade. Our tour in Messina was a ride to Mt. Etna and a visit to a jewelry factory. The sightseeing at Mt. Etna was very interesting but my wife was very upset when we found that the factory was in a villa and it was necessary to climb an eleven step marble staircase, without a banister. We wound up sitting outside for an hour. I believe that Carnival did not adequately describe these two excursions. We had a major problem with Guest Relations that I won't get into other than to say that they had the worst attitude I've encountered on any cruise. Overall, I was disappointed in this cruise. The ship was okay but nothing special. The food was not up to the competition. The attitude at Guest Relations was totally unacceptable. I don't expect to cruise on Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
My wife and I visited Europe for the first time. We had a great itinerary visiting ports & tours at Barcelona, Monaco (tour of Nice/Eze/French Riviera), Rome, Florence/Piza, Rome, Naples (Island of Capri, Pompeii, Almafia Coast, etc), ... Read More
My wife and I visited Europe for the first time. We had a great itinerary visiting ports & tours at Barcelona, Monaco (tour of Nice/Eze/French Riviera), Rome, Florence/Piza, Rome, Naples (Island of Capri, Pompeii, Almafia Coast, etc), Dubrovnik (Croatia), Venice (1 1/2 days), Messina/Sicily (Taromina & followed "Footsteps of the Godfather" movie), & return to Barcelona. The tours we took were long-hours (8-10hrs), much walking over cobble streets & hilly, hot in 80s, especially in Rome, Florence, Island of Capri. Ship tours were expensive but worth it. Our one problem with the tours were the tour guides walked too fast. Fortunately, we had headsets from most of tour guides so we could listen to their descriptions and discussions of the various points of interests. Our long hours of tours included a sit-down lunch at various Italian restaurants. Our cruise director strongly recommended bringing a bottle of water, wearing a hat, & secure against "pick-pocket" attempts especially in crowds. Carnival Magic ship is a beautiful ship with its inagaural voyage was May of 2011. The decor, the casino, the clubs, the theatre & our inside stateroom was suitable for us. However, the theatre did not have enough seats. Maybe, 2 theatres would have accommodated most of the 3600 guests aboard. It's new, clean. We had a very nice, friendly & helpful stateroom attendant. Their were many activities on-board. However, although there were 2 pools, they were small for the amount of guests. There were not enough lounge chairs around the ship. Unfortunately, there were many guests aboard who placed towels or personal belongings on lounge chairs to reserve them. The ship also had 6 hot-tubs with 2 of them in their "Serentiy" adults-only area. We have been on 6 cruises and no matter what the itinerary is, Carnival always seems to have the most "kids" under 18 (about 1100 this cruise). Because of long and late tour-returns, it was only convenient & timely for to eat once in the regular dining rooms & we even took the free-style (anytime dining-time). But we did select to eat in their speciality dining restaurants, their Steakhouse and the Italian restaurants. We felt that the Italian restaurant should have more menu choices. We had $560 shipboard credit for booking on the "early saver" account; so we used some of it for the specialty dining. The buffet areas is where we ate on our late tour-returns. It was above-average. Their one buffet area needs a convenient area to prep your coffee or tea. For our overall rating we would give this cruise an A- rating including the ship & its amenities, the itinerary, the tours and the crew. It was Magic's new ship & its itineary which "hooked" us on choosing this cruise. We are most satisfied we took this cruise & the excursions. This cruise was the best so far and lifetime of memories, pictures & new friends we met aboard. Great job, Carnival !!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
I traveled on this cruise with my fiancE (DF) and this was our first trip to Europe. We have cruised on Royal Caribbean twice (Oasis/Liberty), Holland America once (Eurodam), but this was my first Carnival Cruise. In addition, my DF ... Read More
I traveled on this cruise with my fiancE (DF) and this was our first trip to Europe. We have cruised on Royal Caribbean twice (Oasis/Liberty), Holland America once (Eurodam), but this was my first Carnival Cruise. In addition, my DF cruised Carnival and Celebrity in the past, but this was our first Mediterranean and European Cruise. I tend to like newer Ships and always wanted to visit Europe so the Carnival Magic was very appealing. (This review is long, but informative)We allotted two days to travel to Barcelona from the USA, but it seemed that may not have been enough time because we almost literally missed the boat due to the Airline (I will say their initials stand for "UnStable"). They cancelled our flight to Barcelona at 2:20AM after an eight hour delay and made absolutely no efforts to rebook "us" other than to provide an 800 number for 300 passengers to call all at the same time. They also lost our luggage for the entire Cruise containing 95% of our clothes and especially those outfits we needed for dinner and to enter Holy buildings on our excursions. We had no sleep for two straight days and very little food.We MUST thank Carnival and the Magic Staff for all of their efforts in helping us track our luggage, complimentary laundry services and allowing us to eat in the Main Dining Room with Shorts.We had planned to stay two days in Barcelona and booked a 5-Star Hotel, but thanks to the airline we only saw the hotel on the taxi ride between the Airport and the Cruise Terminal. We were VERY grateful to land in time for the start of our Cruise as many other stranded passengers did not arrive/board until Tuesday in Roma or missed the trip entirely.Arrival- landed at BCN 9:15am on July 3, and cleared Customs, picked up one of our bags from the Carousal, made a Lost Baggage Report and was in a taxi to the Cruise Terminal D by 10:30AM. The taxi cost €25, but the taxi driver pushed his "magical" luggage button and charged €8 more for the carry-on bags we had with us making our total cost €33. We exchanged Euro prior to leaving the USA.Embarkation- Very Smooth and we were in the lido eating by 11AM and our rooms were ready by 1pm.Breakfast- Not a very good selection in the lido for those of us who do not eat pork. Other passengers were also upset that at breakfast in the lido there was no turkey bacon or chicken/turkey sausages. Only in the Main Dining Room (Southern Lights) could you order the non-pork breakfast meats and the one morning I did so, they did not fry the turkey bacon, but lightly microwaved it where is tasted raw. The chicken sausage was not good either. I made a suggestion to the Dining Manager to provide non-pork cooked breakfast items in the lido as many other Cruise Liners do.Lunch- We only at on the lido deck. Great selections and food tasted ok. I enjoyed the garden burger, but had to order is separately on the side of the grill stand and when I went to add fries and condiments many people thought I was cutting line. They should have the fries and condiments in a separate area away from the beef burgers line. Some people only wanted fries.Dinner- Assigned to the Southern Dining room and the table number is printed on your Sea Card (room key). We changed our table and I would suggest if you have to change anything about your dining you do so on the first day because I was 5th in line and once I finished the line had at least 100 people. They started around 1pm on the first floor of (I think) the Northern Dining room. Food was just ok. We thought the best Meal was during "Elegant Night" as we had lobster and shrimp, which were very delicious. Menus had fair selections, but again I thought too many pork options, which outweighed all other options.Room- We had a deck 7 balcony room 8C on the portside of the ship. The bed was extremely comfortable and the balcony was adequate. We loved the bathroom shower as it has adjustable temperature levels that held the temp your entire shower. We loved the idea of a curtain instead of a shower door. More room, especially for my DF who is 6'3. The best part of our cabin was the storage, especially in the bathroom. I was able to keep all of my toiletries in the bathroom on the shelves attached to the mirrored wall. Kudos to Carnival. Our room steward was very friendly and tended to our needs with a smile. I did not like the fact that our balcony overlooked one of those hot tubs on deck five and that is not shown on Carnival's deck plan map. People, including children were inside all day and night and could see us sitting on the balcony as we could see and hear them, even with our balcony door closed. If we had known that, we would have rebooked another room because we prefer the sea view, peace and privacy of sitting on our balcony watching a panoramic sea view without noise and people. (beware)Shows- We did not attend any. Nor did we eat at any of the Ships Specialty Restaurants.Casino- Good. The smoking was at a minimum, which I really appreciated and I hope one day to not have smoking at all. However, I thought the area was too cold. We did not win at any slots, but I did well at the Roulette Table.Ports- Great and we seemed to have docking priority in most Ports as we saw Princess Passengers being tendered in Monaco. We seemed to have at least four or more ships at each Port the entire cruise.Monaco/Monte-Carlo- Great Views as the Magic docked Starboard side. We had a little rain and we took a 2:30pm excursion booked through Carnival. I am so glad we booked the afternoon excursion as we did not know how important sleeping in the next morning would be after not sleeping for two days due to the airline. Both cities are ritzy, clean and well preserved. The Royal Wedding had just taken place and many of the dEcor was still visible. Our Tour was adequate for the price, but definitely appreciated the information provided by our Guide. Some of the Monte-Carlo Casinos require a Passport, so bring yours in you plan to enter. Also all Casinos require you leave hats and umbrellas in their "Cloak Rooms." Very European.Roma- Great City, store clerks not so much. The locals were very friendly, but as we were shopping for desperately needed clothing we thought the store clerks were rude and I even spoke adequate Italian. I ate some pizza, but it was very different and not so good.We did Rome on our own. We did not want to pay Carnival's the ridiculous price for an excursion that took you by bus and did not include all of the main attractions within one excursion. We saved a boatload of money staying on our own. We had entrance visits to the Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel, Roman Colosseum with entrance, Trevi fountains, Spanish Steps and St. Peters Square. We went to all sites, two with entrance tickets, all within 4 hours.We left the port by 8am in a ferocious thunderstorm (missed the free port shuttle bus to the port entrance) walked to the Civitavecchia Train station by 8:40. Purchased two BRIG tickets at the counter, validated them, left on the 8:59 local train to arrive (1hr: 10min ride) and walked a few blocks and across the street to St. Peter's Square by 11am. The rain stopped, sun came out and the weather was great the remainder of our day. All of our site visits were completed by metro and the last site was an entrance visit to the Colosseum. Since we were done with all attractions by 3pm, we had over 3 hours left to shop before heading back by train to the Magic Ship. Our total cost for each person came to, including credit card conversion fees, $60.00. Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel- $55.00 (Vatican Website two tickets)Colosseum Entrance- $39.00 (Omni tickets two tickets)BRIG (all day metro/bus pass) - €9 ($12) per person. Total $24.00 (Train Station or Trenitalia site).The key is you MUST purchase your tickets in advance for the Colosseum and the Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel or you will never enter in time before they close or before the ship leaves. Each of those lines had hundreds if not thousands of people in line, but with our advance ticket purchases we walked right in. I'm from the TriState area and I am use to a Metro system and Rome is no different. I just mapped out the sites and the metro stops to get to each. Pisa- Booked a Carnival Excursion with entrance inside. My DF sat on the side, but I climbed all 294 leaning steps to the top. What a marvel to behold. The other buildings included a Baptistry, Cathedral and Cemetery, which are all leaning as well. We even had a lady sing while we were inside the Baptistry and her voice echoing off of the walls sounded angelic.Naples- Parts were vey unclean, but most of the city was fine. We originally booked the Ruins of Pompeii Tour through Carnival for the afternoon, but they cancelled due to low enrollment, so we had to again get up early to take the morning tour and it was adequate. We had an audio tour and I must say all the buses on each tour were very new, clean and air conditioned. Our guide was very knowledgeable and it was very hot. I took an umbrella, which helped keep me cool. The surface of Pompeii was uneven so wear very comfortable shoes. I was surprised that real dogs roamed the Ruins, but they did not bother any of the tourists. Great shops and vendors allowed negotiating prices. There was a Shop that will make a pair of shoes on the spot and was located inside of the Mall Building next to the Lemon Citrus Wine making Factory, great samples!Sicily- We wanted to book a tour, but we were too exhausted to even get off the ship. Great port views from our balcony, but the waterways were littered with debris floating downstream with the current. Fun Day at Sea- Very crowded on the lido deck and people hogging chairs with their belongings. I could not believe that at 9am the Cruise Director and those simple bells "ding, ding, ding" came on the speaker to announce everything you could read in the Fun Ship daily schedule. It woke us up and gave me a headache. ALL Cruise Liners should refrain from those loud, early and global announcements. Some cruisers want to relax, but with that daily and much too early noise, forget-about-it! Disembarkation- Very Smooth. We kept the little luggage we had with us and did not sit it outside our stateroom so we could depart on our own time. We wanted to catch a taxi back to the airport, but their prices started at €55 without the bag rate being included. We turned around and purchased the Carnival transfers to the airport on the spot costing $30 each. The VAT line was long and you must get a form in addition to a receipt from each store you shop at and purchase goods totaling €90 or more. We did not have the addition form from the shops in Roma, only our receipts and could not get the stamp, but we got the stamp for the Carnival Shops and you still have to mail in the receipt/form to get actual money. There was another line in the airport if you wanted the VAT credited to your credit card, but there is a fee on your credit card to do so.Overall, this trip was exciting, but exhausting. The Carnival Magic staff is the best in the industry and the Ship is adequate. The itinerary was GREAT and I would visit Europe again in a heartbeat, but I'm not so sure if we'll do it again by sea because of the time constraints and not being able to rest. The ship has a very busy schedule and will put you on their schedule whether you want to be or not. A middle day at sea between cities would have been good, but only if the ship would allow you to rest without those loud, early annoying announcements. The ship sailed very smoothly and I did not need my motion sickness patch. I did not find the time change very difficult (6 hours), as I kept my watch to EST (great to keep medication schedule) and my alarm clock on European local time. Constantly being on planes, trains, automobiles, buses and a ship is causing me to have a slow recovery. We may try the Breeze, but we could definitely sail Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Booking- easy.I liked being able to pre-book tours and Spa sessions in advance, on the internet. Boarding in Barcelona- great! Handed cases over to staff who placed them on a conveyor (after checking tag had cabin number on) and ... Read More
Booking- easy.I liked being able to pre-book tours and Spa sessions in advance, on the internet. Boarding in Barcelona- great! Handed cases over to staff who placed them on a conveyor (after checking tag had cabin number on) and entered large, cool terminal building. Up an escalator to a hotel style reception desk to register credit card and collect 'sign + sail key card'. Then they take a photograph so when the card is swiped for any payments on board, your picture comes up on the screen. Entered ship on deck 3- the Atrium. Not quite as spacious as advertised, OK its 7 or 8 floors high but only near the lifts. Disappointing decor, green motif on lights strange and altogether neither cutting edge modern nor classic ship decor. Amazing organisation with 4,500 passengers to embark- also true in ports we visited! Cabin on deck 2 easy to find but corridor running full length of ship dauntingly long- could barely see the end of it in the distance. Cabin was adequate- lots of storage/wardrobe space and comfy bed and pillows. Very strange 70's style pictures of leaves on the walls. Shower was good, lots of bathroom shelving for toiletries. Shower gel and shampoo dispensers. Strange complimentary toiletries- 2 razors and whitening toothpaste but no shower cap, moisturiser or cotton wool pads. 1,400 children on board but didnt seem that many apart from around pools at times. Food- quite good selection for breakfast & lunch & interesting options including Burrito bar, Tandoori, deli (sandwiches), pasta bar, etc. But nothing much at tea time- from 3pm to 5.30pm you could buy cake & starbucks but buffets were closed. Dinner at the Steakhouse was wonderful but cost additional $30 each. Entertainment- disappointing overall. Only one typical singing & dancing show. Nothing at all for first 3 nights. Several 'single artist' shows- a soprano, a male singer, an instrumentalist. Last night was a passenger show, a bit like X-factor auditions. Spotlight lounge had magic act and comedians which were Ok. Big screen movies in Ocean Plaza were great with free popcorn BUT timings meant it was difficult to get to if you dined at 8.15pm Red Frog pub had good live singer and great ambiance inside and out. Also loved the piano bar and excellent Martinis each night BUT with 15% service charge on all drinks any cocktail cost $10. Service was generally reasonable, good in the restaurant, exceptional in the Steakhouse. There is an automatic $10 per person per day service charge which I disliked- prefer to tip individuals for good service. Better still, include tips in total cost! 2 pools were good, main one could have been bigger. Often spoilt on 'sea' days by children splashing and jumping in/ Perrenial problem of people putting towels out on best located sunbeds then dissappearing for hours- sometimes for a whole excursion ashore! There were in fact plenty of beds if you walked around a little and didnt mind not being close to a pool. We loved the Sports area with the mini golf and connect 4 and its own little bar. Serenity was a lovely 'adult only' area near the Spa with hammocks and double sunbeds but again, many beds often reserved and unoccupied for hours. Lacked a pool though it did have a hot-tub. Spa was great, cool and tranquil area, great teatments. (I had 3) Disembarcation. Our flight wasnt until 21.30. but latest disembarcation was 0900. Announcements started at 05.30 so any hope of sleep was spoiled. Also they neglected to inform people about cheap bus into Barcelona and luggage storage facility (near top of Rambla, €7.50 for XL locker which held 2 cases and 1 carry on bag) 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
First off let me start by saying the ship was beautiful. At first I was going to say I wasn't happy with the Lido deck food but after realizing that it would be a total waste to have all the buffet's going when everyone was off ... Read More
First off let me start by saying the ship was beautiful. At first I was going to say I wasn't happy with the Lido deck food but after realizing that it would be a total waste to have all the buffet's going when everyone was off doing excursions I reconsidered. The food on the Lido for lunch time was always good with a decent selection. The only complaint was coming back from Rome... almost everyone on the ship did Rome on the 2nd day and all the people seemed to return at the same time and then deciding to eat on the Lido deck since they missed their main dining room seating time. Well that day the lines were awful since only 2 stations were open. It took a really long time to get your food, seemed that maybe they should have thought ahead and had more stations open for that day. The rest of the time however it was excellent. I am going to say that the quality of the food in the Main dining room has changed since I first started cruising Carnival. The wonderful quality of food that you get in the Steak house was the exact quality of food you got way back when I sailed on the Jubilee. Now it seems that the quality came down a bit and you have to pay for the better quality. Only my observation though. If it was my first time cruising I would have thought it was wonderful. What happened to the Midnight buffet and meeting the captain on elegant night? There use to be a meeting the captain night and on the elegant night was the midnight buffet with ice sculptures and bread's in all shapes and sizes and decadent desserts... that didn't happen this time. Where did it go? I wonder. Our room and room steward were awesome it was like magic if we left the room for even a short time and came back it was made up and neat ready for us. This man seemed better than any I have ever had. Be prepared to spend a lot of money on your shore excursions. Everything is so expensive I suppose it's just a tourist thing though. I mean everything is more than double what you would pay in the states. Cab drivers are the worst. Get your price before you get in the cab it can be a mind blowing experience if you don't. Gypsies are everywhere but we really didn't have a problem with pickpockets or the gypsies. All our excursions except for Monaco was booked with Carnival. I would suggest Carnival so you are assured a ride back to the ship with no problems. The shows were great. The uncensored comedians at the comedy club at night were hilarious. It was an all around good experience. I'm happy Carnival has a ship in the Mediterranean now. Thanks Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date July 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
We sailed on the Carnival Magic from July 17 to 24. We are a family of four and this was our third cruise as a family in the last three years. We booked extended aft cabins, with our teenagers in the cabin next to us. Overall, I ... Read More
We sailed on the Carnival Magic from July 17 to 24. We are a family of four and this was our third cruise as a family in the last three years. We booked extended aft cabins, with our teenagers in the cabin next to us. Overall, I was quite satisfied with the cruise. There are aspects to Carnival of which I'm not terribly fond, but there are other things they do that make their cruises ideal. There was, unfortunately, a grievous lack of communication on board from Carnival about a significant last minute itinerary change. However, vacations rarely go perfectly and I think it is a mistake to do anything but bring your best attitude with you and roll with the punches. We had a fabulous time with great weather as well as fun and interesting ports. We enjoyed being on the ship immensely. We had arrived in Venice a week earlier and flew to Barcelona two days before our sailing. When we arrived at the port by taxi, it was unclear what the system was for loading luggage. I'm used to the "porter intimidation" system, where you are more or less forced to pay a couple dollars per bag to porters who will "strongly discourage" you from simply loading your own bags into the luggage bins. At the Barcelona port, the bags were loaded onto a long conveyor outside the terminal building. There appeared to be two or three porters "servicing" the taxis that arrived nearest to the conveyor. However, if your taxi stopped 30 feet up the curb and you walked up with your own bags, it was just a matter of throwing them on the conveyor. The porters did seem to be "shooing" passengers away from the conveyor, but they didn't seem to be directing them anywhere else. Nor did they seem to be intercepting passengers to take their bags from them (for a fee, obviously). We loaded our own bags and since we could see them run up the long conveyor and disappear through an opening into the building, we couldn't see any reason why loading our own bags might put them in jeopardy. We entered the terminal building and went through the regular round of security screening and check-in. The process was very quick with no delays and no "holding areas". This is in significant contrast to our most recent Carnival boarding process in Galveston, which must have taken an hour and a half. The boarding photo was fast and efficient and didn't cause any sort of bottleneck. We were on the ship within 25 minutes of dropping off our bags. The Magic is a new, large ship, but other than minor (in my view) details, it is largely indistinguishable from other large Carnival vessels. Compared to the Conquest, for example, the Magic is 1 deck larger (14 rather than 13) and only about 5% longer. As a result, it doesn't have the "feel" of being a monster ship (at least, not any more than the Conquest class ships do). Overall, the Magic has exactly the same look and feel of other larger ships in the Carnival fleet. As we were on one of its first few sailings, I was actually a little surprised that there weren't more things that made it stand out as being obviously new. Had I been led into my cabin blindfolded, nothing would have jumped out at me to reveal I was in a brand new ship. Perhaps that just says something positive about the state of the rest of Carnival's fleet. The food was excellent. We always ate breakfast at the Lido Buffet and dinner in the main dining room. With the exception of the sea day and one day when we just didn't get hungry in port, we ate all our lunches off the ship. Our first two bags arrived within a couple hours. We found our third bag in front of another cabin a little later (three digits of the cabin number matched, but the second digit did not match). Our properly-numbered tag was still attached to the bag. My daughter's suitcase didn't arrive until late in the evening. We go on cruises to spend time together as a couple and as a family, so we didn't attend any of the entertainment (other than watching about 25 minutes of a movie on the poolside big screen), so I can't really comment on the quality of entertainment. I go on cruises to have a good time and I always do. But having a good time does not depend on, nor does it have much to do with "being entertained". Make no mistake about your European adventure on the Magic. This is an American vessel and you're signing up for an American experience. The fact that it was a sailing on the Mediterranean makes no difference when you're on board. All general announcements, as well as the safety briefing, are conducted in English only. Given that this is a sailing out of Spain that spends most of its time in Italy, I was very surprised that Carnival made no attempt to give the cruise any sort of international flavor. In fact, it wasn't so much that Carnival didn't give the cruise any European flavor; it's more that they suppressed any such flavor it might otherwise have had. It was hard to get a handle on the demographic breakdown of the passengers. Initially, it seemed that English speaking North Americans far outnumbered Europeans and others. At other times, it seemed that languages other than English prevailed. When we boarded the port shuttle bus in Civitavecchia to return to the Magic, the bus was packed full and everyone was talking, but there seemed to be only a handful of English voices among the 70-80 passengers. If I had to guess, I would estimate that about half the ship's passengers were North American with the other half Europeans and a few others. Languages other than English seemed as prevalent as English. To a certain extent, Carnival's approach was disappointing. Last year when we sailed with Louis Cruises out of Athens, the ship had much more of a European/international feel to it. All announcements were done in multiple languages (Greek, English and either French or Spanish, I can't remember - maybe both). There was no presumption that your fellow passengers spoke English, so if you started a conversation with a stranger, it always began by identifying your language. There was similarly not a presumption by the crew and staff that you were English speaking. The Magic had none of this and I imagine that local (i.e., European) passengers may have felt somewhat like second-class citizens. And even though I appreciate that the Magic is, other than its flag, an American ship destined eventually for an American route that just happens to be currently sailing in Europe, I was still not expecting the laundry facilities to require American quarters (which required me to go to Guest Services, which sent me to the Casino, which would not accept my Euro coins and would only issue quarters charged to my account with a 3% service charge at a $20 minimum). I realize that Carnival isn't going to get its washers, dryers and coin dispensers re-keyed to European currency for six months in the Mediterranean. But when you're in the middle of three weeks in Europe, you're not expecting to need U.S. quarters to be able to do your laundry. Overall, the cabin and dining room/buffet service was excellent. One of the buffet staff members made a special effort to get some fruit for me late one night so I would have something to eat the next morning (which was a problem because I had to be up well before the breakfast buffet was open). Although I was happy with the service, there are some areas in which I think they overdo it. Having received the on-line, post-cruise survey, it is obvious that Carnival devotes a lot of effort to generating high service/satisfaction ratings in these surveys. As a result, they devise crew practices that seem designed to generate the desired survey results, whether or not the practices actually result in better service. That is, they want to put you in a position where you can't help but give high ratings to questions about service, even if what they are actually doing is a little annoying and sometimes intrusive. For example, the dining room wait-staff practically hover over you during your meal. More frequently than you could ever possibly want, they ask whether you want something replenished (e.g., bread or water). Similarly, if you walk down the corridor to your cabin, every crew member will stop what he/she is doing to greet you. I'd probably criticize them if they were too far on the opposite end of the spectrum, so I don't want to be too harsh. However, after a while it is hard not to start feeling that the "service" is really more of an "act" or "performance", not so much designed to give you the best experience possible, but rather designed so that when you respond to the post-cruise survey, you have no choice other than to answer Carnival's carefully-worded questions in a manner that gives them the ability to posture about their high "service" rating. When I go to a good hotel or restaurant, I get good service. But I never feel as if the employees are making a show of things. On the Magic, I think they were overdoing it. That's not a criticism of staff. I'm sure they're doing exactly what they're being asked to do by management. The staff do an excellent job. Our cabins were great. We enjoyed the aft balconies, although the extent of the "extension" is fairly limited, especially with the angled balcony railings cutting into the usable space. If you get an aft extended balcony, get it for the "aft" part, not the "extended" party. I wouldn't necessarily turn down an aft balcony again, but I'm not sure I'd necessarily seek one out. You have the advantage of being able to see toward both sides of the ship. But you're also looking backward all the time. There were two single Type-B (i.e., standard North American) electrical outlets, as well as a single European socket in the main cabin. There was also a North American outlet in the bathroom (almost near the ceiling, I think), although I think it was a Type-A (ungrounded). As we had brought two 3-outlet extension cords, as well as a European socket adapter, we had plenty of outlets for our phone, camera, laptop, etc. This is the one area where the cabins have been improved. As usual with Carnival, there was more than enough storage space for suitcases, clothes, etc. I also found the shower design had been improved. Either the shower curtains were longer, or they had increased the height of the lip around the base of the shower stall. In any event, I didn't regularly flood the bathroom floor while showering, which has been a pet peeve of mine on past Carnival sailings. Our two teenagers (16 and 13) enjoyed the Carnival teen programs - not so much for the specific activities, but rather as an easy way to quickly meet people their own age and make new friends. As five of our six days were port days, our regular routine was to spend the day in port, get back an hour or two before the ship sailed and then have dinner together. Our kids were free to hang out with their new friends before and after dinner, so we didn't see them too much during those times. Carnival does a very good job in creating a venue for kids to come together and meet each other. In addition, because Carnival has a reputation of being family-friendly, there are plenty of passengers the same age as my kids, so they find it very easy to meet people their own age. This is one reason we generally favor Carnival as a cruise line. We attended the one elegant night. I'm not a big fan of "dressing up", because that's something I go on vacation to avoid. And I certainly wasn't going to lug a jacket, tie and dress/suit pants across to Europe just to wear for 90 minutes. Initially, it appeared that men who were more formally dressed up (jacket or tie or both) would outnumber the men who were not at our (early) seating, but mid-way through dinner I did a count and it was almost exactly 50-50. I saw no tuxes in our dining room, but we did see two on our way to dinner (they may have been in the other dining room, or just seated out of our view). I would estimate the breakdown of men's attire as 15% in suits, 15% in a sport coat/blazer and dress pants, 10% in a shirt and tie but no jacket, 10% in a jacket with no tie. The remaining 50% were in a range from khakis to dress pants and t-shirts through golf shirts to short-sleeve dress shirts. I didn't see anyone wearing anything I thought was inappropriate. My single biggest disappointment with the July 17 sailing of the Magic was the manner in which the itinerary change was announced to passengers. Sometime around 2:30 on embarkation day, the cruise director, John Heald, came on to the PA to invite passengers to the port briefing at 3:30. He mentioned that there was a "minor change" in the itinerary, but that it was nothing to worry about. We decided that my wife and daughter would attend. The port briefing is usually a snoozer filled with over-promotion of the ship's excursions. But we find it is good to have someone there, even if it is just for that one nugget of important or useful information. My son and I did not attend the briefing and stayed out on deck. However, when we overheard a portion of the briefing on the big screen on the Lido deck, we realized that the "minor change" in itinerary was actually a major overhaul of the itinerary. What they ended up doing (ostensibly to avoid bad weather) was reversing the order of the ports. Instead of touring the western Mediterranean in more or less a clockwise direction, starting with Monaco, we were heading for our last port first and doing it in a counter-clockwise manner (finishing with Monaco on our last full day). Given that we had made specific plans involving either train schedules or rental cars in four of the five ports and had two sets of museum/entry tickets, any change in plans would be a big deal. My son and I immediately headed to the theater to try to track down my wife so we could agree on what plans to try to start changing while we were still in port and what new plans, if any, to make. But the theater room was packed full and it was standing room out to the door, with nowhere to budge. I spend the next 20 minutes trying every entrance and scanning the audience for my wife and daughter, all to no avail. But I did pay enough attention to hear the cruise director doing his usual thing, which included providing extremely misleading "advice" to try to steer passengers toward expensive ship's excursions. Carnival is already infamous for telling Mediterranean passengers that if they want to visit Taormina, Italy from Messina, Sicily, they can't get there using public transportation. John repeated this statement at our briefing. They say that because the Taormina-Giardini train station is just outside the town of Taormina. However, even the train company's web site calls it the Taormina Station. There is a bus stop right in front of the station so it is a simple matter to take the train from Messina to the Taormina train station, then take the bus to Taormina. Saying you can't get to Taormina via public transportation is sort of like saying you can't travel by plane if you want to visit Manhattan. What Carnival gains from the few extra excursions it sells from this misleading information it must surely lose in goodwill from passengers who hear these things and know better. In any event, since I couldn't find my wife in the theater, we had to wait until the CD's talk was over and our family had reassembled in our cabin before we could start trying to change our plans. It wasn't until after we had returned, if my recollection is correct, that they announced the itinerary change more generally by PA. They also announced that they were doing this to give us the opportunity to visit Monaco on the last day of the cruise (instead of the first full day, when it was scheduled) because otherwise the Port of Monaco would be closed due to bad weather and we would have to skip it. This change was a big deal. We were still scrambling with internet connections and phone calls when dinner came at 6:00 pm. We took our laptop to dinner and worked on our personal itinerary changes through dinner. The phone calls and emails continued that night and well into the next day (a "day at sea"). My issue isn't with Carnival's decision to change the route. Seasoned passengers know that itinerary changes can happen. Passengers who let those changes ruin their experience will often be left disappointed. The fact that we were spending the first day at sea rather than in Monaco wasn't a big deal. That said, the decision to change the itinerary was really just a guess, which turned out to be wrong (more about that later). My issue is with the manner in which the change was communicated. The cruise director first alluded to the change some time around 2:30 pm (which leads me to believe the new route was charted and laid out hours before that). However, the change wasn't announced generally until some time around 5:00 pm. During that time, the ship left dock (which we missed because we were scrambling to make changes to our plans). There are only two reasons I can think of why the announcement was delayed: either Carnival was oblivious to the needs of passengers to change their plans, or Carnival deliberately withheld the information for business/profitability reasons. I would like to believe that there was a third reason, because I usually find Carnival to be a customer-focussed organization, but I can't think what it might be. I invited Mr. Heald to respond to my concerns via a private message to his website, but after about 10 days with no response, I assume he's chosen not to comment. I know that because of the delay, we didn't start making plans until we had left dock. So I wasn't able to use my pre-paid international cell phone plan minutes using the Barcelona/Spanish cellular system, nor was I able to use my smart-phone's 3G internet connection and my prepaid international data plan to send emails and make new arrangements. Instead, I had to use the ship's very expensive internet service and cell phone service. We spent $210 on internet service compared to something like $15 on our last cruise (when we didn't have to deal with planning changes). I also heard from other passengers who had made plans but realized they couldn't put together new plans at the last minute, so they just gave up and signed up for the expensive ship's excursion. While the CD indicated that passengers could get help from guest services, this came with mixed results. Some passengers reported that guest services took their plans and tickets and did all the work to get them corrected. The only service they offered us was to look up telephone numbers for us, which ultimately wasn't useful. They refused to grant us internet access and while they offered to place telephone calls for us, they were not able to do so the one time we took them up on their offer. Ultimately, the revised route worked out and we didn't miss out on any plans or incur any additional expense (other than the cell phone cost, which I have yet to see, and the $160 in shipboard internet charges, which I reluctantly paid). We did, however, end up spending 6-8 total hours revising our plans. Our car rental in Civitavecchia was easily changed. The Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Accademia in Florence (site of Michelangelo's David) both issued revised tickets for no extra charge. But that doesn't change my view of Carnival's communication and therefore their service related to this matter. Making it somewhat worse is the fact that after we returned home, I checked on the fortunes of other cruise ships that were also scheduled to be in Monaco with us on the first full day of our cruise (i.e., when the port was supposedly closed due to bad weather). The Star Princess arrived in Monaco that day without incident. Passengers have posted here and elsewhere that it was a warm sunny day. I don't necessarily fault Carnival on their decision to divert. They made their best guess based on the information they had. It happened to be the wrong guess, but I can't expect them to always be right. My issue is that they failed to communicate with us accurately and on a timely basis and its hard not to be cynical and question their motives for the delay in communication. This review contains many more words summarizing the problems we had than it does reporting on the positive things. However, I still view the cruise as an enjoyable, positive experience. It is just the way it is that we need more words to explain something that went poorly than we require to describe something that went well. In Messina, we took the 40 minute train to Taormina-Giardini station, then took the public bus up to the town of Taormina. It was a simple journey and it is disappointing that Carnival actively discourages passengers from taking it. The bus segment is a slow 10-minute ride up a steep winding hill. Looking on a map, a healthy person might think this is walkable. It is, if you're in great shape and you don't mind hiking uphill at an aggressive pace for more than an hour. I don't recommend it. Because there are so many people on the train and a limited number of busses, there is a long line-up for the bus at the Taormina train station. If possible, be the first off the train and dash through the train station to get to the bus stop. It is right in front of the train station (same side of the street, with busses coming from left to right). If you are not one of the first 30-40 people in line for the bus, I suggest doing what we did, which was to walk back (to your left, toward the oncoming busses) to the preceding bus stop (it is maybe a 5 minute walk). That will guarantee you a seat on the next available bus. We boarded the bus there and took it back to the train station, where people who had been on our train still couldn't get on and had to wait for the third bus. When boarding the bus, just make sure you ask the driver whether the bus is going to Taormina. In Naples, we took the train from the Napoli-port station to Pompeii. We listened to an audio tour (downloaded from home) and generally toured the area for about 3 hours. Then we went to Herculaneum (Ercolano train station), which is a less well-known and much smaller, but better-preserved site than Pompeii. We got back to the ship at 4:15 pm. In Civitavecchia, we rented a car (booked in advance) and drove to Lake Bracciano. We had been to Rome last year and didn't feel we missed anything. Not wanting to go back to see the same sites again, and not wanting to visit more obscure sites in Rome, we decided instead to see the countryside, visit the Orsini-Odescalchi Castle and generally have a low-stress day. In Livorno our original plan was to take the train to Pisa and then take the train to Florence. We had tickets to go up the Leaning Tower at 10:40 am and tickets to enter the Accademia to see the statue of David at 1:45 pm. However, the CD announced the night before that there would be a train strike the next day. We spent a good part of the evening making alternate plans that involved renting a car in Pisa. However, the next morning we stepped off the ship on to the dock to find an Avis desk set up on a folding table with the rental cars sitting right there on the dock. We quickly snapped up a vehicle for 100 Euros and had a very-low stress day of driving rather than rushing for trains and worrying about buying the right tickets, finding the right platform and getting back to the port in time. The cost of the car worked out to about 35 Euros each, including gas and parking. But that was only about 15 Euros more than we would have spent each on train tickets and a whole lot more comfortable and convenient. If you drive into Pisa or Florence, you need to know the zones (generally the city centers) where driving without a specific permit results in an automatic fine. For Pisa it was easy to stay out of the no-go zone and park within a 5 minute walk of the Leaning Tower. In Florence, we identified in advance a parkade where we would stop, which was about a 30 minute walk away from the Accademia. We walked from the parkade to the Accademia, but decided to take an 8 Euro cab ride to get back to our car a the end of our visit to Florence. In Monaco, we just got off the ship and walked around. We happened to be not too far from the Prince's Palace at 11:30 or so when we realized the changing of the guard was at noon (11:55 am, it turns out), so we quickly made our way to the plaza in time to see it, albeit behind a bit of a crush of other tourists. We just enjoyed walking around Monaco and I went into the Grand Casino at Monte Carlo for about 5 minutes, just to say I did. We had paid for eight hours of internet time and on our departure day, I still had 10 minutes left (90% of the remainder went to changing our port-day plans on the fly and checking train schedules). The Magic theoretically has "bow to stern" wi-fi, but it is extremely weak. In fact, we would routinely disconnect in our cabin until I realized that the signal would remain (barely) strong enough if I left my cabin door propped open. But that morning, instead of struggling with the spotty service, I went down to the "fun hub" (internet/computer area) and checked our flight for later that day and looked up laundromats in the area of Barcelona where we'd be spending the day. I realized there was a steady stream of customers coming to the internet service clerk to complain about their bill. Carnival does something very sneaky with their internet service charges. First, they charge you something like $4.70 for the first minute. Complain if you like, I suppose, but if you don't like the cost, don't use the service. Then what happens is that you either pay by the minute (75 cents per minute) or you can buy a plan (37-50 cents a minute if purchased in 2 or 4 hour increments). However, if you've purchased a plan and are logged in when the time runs out, the terms of the agreement are that "for your convenience" (as they word it) the service continues at the per-minute rate (i.e., 75 cents per minute) "so that your browsing session will not be disconnected." The problem with this is that they don't tell you when your prepaid time is up. They just keep letting you use the system and they keep billing you at the high per-minute rate. The obvious solution to the problem they claim to be trying to avoid with this price gouging would be simply to have a pop-up that warns you that your session is coming to an end and asks you if you want to extend. Most pay-for-use systems I've used have an applet that continually counts down your unused time so you can check regularly. But it appears that Carnival's "automatic extension" practice is more for their benefit than for any passenger's "convenience". Even better, if you are logged in and end your session by shutting down your browser (i.e., without logging out), you are still considered logged in and your charges will continue to accrue (or your prepaid minutes will erode). This happened to us once, although we caught it immediately because we shut down our own wireless device and went to use the ship's computer and found we couldn't log in because we were already logged in. Of course at that point we couldn't log out either. The wi-fi instructions are that when you want to log out, you're supposed to type "logout.com" into the address bar. This is the only example I can recall of having to log out of a system by manually typing a URL. On that last day, as I sat looking up laundromats, there was a line of passengers coming in to complain about the account statements they had received overnight. Each one of them complained about the same issue - charges accumulating without them knowing about it. One passenger was clearly very knowledgeable about IT systems and standards and even explained back to the clerk how Carnival's system did work, how it should work and how it was designed to gouge the customers. He was particularly incensed. Disembarkation was a chore. We self-assisted because we were in no hurry (our flight to Nice, France was at 6:00 pm) and stayed in our cabin until the very last minute. As a result, it was so busy that we waited for an elevator on our deck for probably 15 minutes before giving up. Eventually, we just hauled our large suitcases and carry-ons down three flights of stairs to get into the long line to exit. I appreciate that everyone needs to be off the ship more or less at once, but I can't help but wonder if there isn't a more efficient way to do it. Once outside, we got into the very large snaking line-up for taxis. We were in that line-up at least 50 minutes. With so many passengers heading either into the center of town, or to the airport, it is hard to believe that no one (the port, the city of Barcelona or Carnival) thinks they wouldn't be better off setting up a shuttle-bus service. The issue wasn't the cost of the taxis (we paid 17 Euros for our cab from the port into town) or even the time it took to get one. It was more the obvious inefficiency of having a giant line of people moved by individual car to the same place. I would have gladly spent 10 Euros per person for a shuttle into town. It didn't help that the taxi stand, although designed to accommodate at least 10 taxis loading at a time, was only loading two or three cabs at once. All in all, we had a great time on the cruise. Other than the first partial day of the cruise, the weather was perfect. I'm not sure I'd sail the same route again, because there are so many new and different places to explore. I don't think I'd choose to go back to the same place first. But I really enjoyed the opportunity to see those parts of Spain, Italy and Monaco. You can look at a cruise as either a great way to see Europe or as a very unsatisfying way. If the itinerary hits cities that interest you, then the cruise does all the work to get you there (at least, to the ports) and takes care of your accommodation. In that sense, it is great. Alternatively, you may distinguish between "vacationing" and "travelling" and feel that a European cruise is trying unsuccessfully to be both. You really can't "see" a whole city by arriving in the morning and leaving in late afternoon. In addition, the choice between taking your time and enjoying things vs. rushing around to try to "see everything" is heightened. So, for example, if you're only going to be in Rome for seven hours in your whole life, it doesn't make a lot of sense to sleep in and miss two of those hours. But given the heavy touring we did, it didn't make the trip particularly relaxing. Each day was sort of: up at 7:00, leave before 8:00, visit various sites with lots of walking all day, get back around 5:00, dinner from 6-7:30 or so, then we would have a couple hours to relax (although much of that time was spent re-jigging our plans for the next day) before starting again. So, while in some ways a cruise is a great way to see a good part of Europe, you really have to make a decision as to whether you're taking the cruise to travel and sight-see, or whether you're going to relax. It can't be both. All that is not a complaint, and it is more or less exactly what I signed up for. But when people ask me if the cruise was a good way to see that part of the Mediterranean, I explain that if they go, they will either see a lot, but it won't be very relaxing, or it will be very relaxing, but they won't see much. And there isn't really a compromise that gives you a good combination of both. Read Less
Sail Date July 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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