92 Barcelona to Europe - Western Mediterranean Carnival Magic Cruise Reviews

We travelled as two parties - one couple with kids (12yo and 10yo) from Queensland and the grandparents from Canberra. Both parties booked through Worldwide Cruise Centre, an Australian company, which went MIA once the money was paid. Had ... Read More
We travelled as two parties - one couple with kids (12yo and 10yo) from Queensland and the grandparents from Canberra. Both parties booked through Worldwide Cruise Centre, an Australian company, which went MIA once the money was paid. Had to remind them to send the tickets (they went missing in their office); no flexibility regarding the pre-cruise hotel in Barcelona, even though we were willing to pay for changes; incapable of recording our frequent flyer numbers on the flights they had organised (we ended up having to do this ourselves); and unable to secure our family the My Time dining option. I've had better service from overseas cruise agencies. Barcelona was a lovely introduction to the cruise. We arrived a day in advance and took the opportunity to enjoy the fantastic shopping. We stayed overnight in the Petit Palace Boqueria which was very adequate and well-located. At embarakation, we met up with the grandparents, who had arrived separately, having organised their own flights and stay at the Hyatt. They mentioned the Hyatt had provided excellent service. Unfortunately, Air France had lost the grandparents' main suitcase and were not looking particularly competent at finding it in time for embarkation. (It turned out they were one of only many who had this problem with Air France on the cruise.) After a terse exchange with the Air France contact, we were assured it would be delivered to the terminal in time. Check-in was smooth. Upon boarding, however, we were faced with long queues of people trying to change dining times and speak to Guest Services. We joined the Guest Services queue first to seek help with the suitcase. We were greeted by a very pleasant Croatian girl who advised us that it was very unlikely the suitcase would be delivered. She stated that she had only seen a suitcase arrive one other time in such circumstances. This was a bit distressing for the grandparents, given most of their clothing was in the particular bag. Nevertheless, Guest Services assured us they would do their absolute best to coordinate with Air France. In the end, the suitcase was delivered in time, so that was a huge relief and a big surprise to Guest Services (maybe our growling at Air France actually achieved something!). No such luck in the dining queue. After being assured by the stressed-looking Maitre D' that he would do something for us regarding the My Time dining request, we later found out there were to be no changes to our dining arrangements. It turned out that most people were made empty promises and were left with their original allocations. We weren't thrilled with this, given we were travelling with relatives who live thousands of kilometres from us in Australia and this was a chance to spend time together. In the end, however, they did accommodate us on the same table each night, at a fixed dining time. DINING: I can't say we were thrilled with the quality of the food, but having travelled widely, we know Australians have fairly high expectations compared to others. I guess it's because we have such easy access to great quality meat and produce at home. Having said this, however, we found on a previous cruise that Royal Caribbean's main dining room was exceptional, both in service and food quality, when compared to Carnival. Also, Carnival's offerings in the buffet were invariably over-dressed and way too sweet, often due to the liberal use of sugar substitues. There was just no authenticity in any of the flavours, which was very disappointing. For us, food is a deal-breaker and, for this reason alone, we wouldn't cruise Carnival again. Also, the service was just nowhere in the vicinity of Royal Caribbean, which seemed to do the whole experience so much better. We found the wait-staff on Carnival a bit masochistic - they seemed to only respond well when spoken to rudely (which many of the passengers seemed happy to oblige). That's just not our style; in fact, we found such behaviour more than a little bit strange. ROOMS: The grandparents had an ocean-view balcony room which was nice and spacious. Definitely a better way to travel. Having travelled this way previously, we opted to go it basic this time, knowing we would spend minimal time in the room on such a port-intensive cruise. We had a four-berth interior (10231) which was a tight fit, but still adequate. Our room attendant, an Indian gentleman, was excellent. Nothing was ever too much trouble and we ensured he was rewarded, accordingly, at the end of the cruise. By the way, be wary of rooms near the laundries. Some people were prepared to queue outside cabin doors for hours (and at all-hours) to get access to a washing machine! FACILITIES: As the ship's cruise director acknowledges, the Magic doesn't have enough pool space. Quite woeful, in fact. We did what they no doubt want people to do and paid for access to the thermal suites. These were fine, but a bit claustrophobic in that you can't get any access to fresh air. The entire area is enclosed and, not unusually, steamy! I don't think it in any way makes up for the lack of pool areas. In terms of the pool deck areas, the ambience is nice (particularly in the adults only section), but good luck trying to secure a sun lounge. Much is said about this issue on cruises, so no need to elaborate, other than to say I think it's very poor form when you see one person lying across two lounges on one side of the ship and reserving another two on the other side for when the sun moves. Such people are beyond reproach, as they have absolutely no concept of good manners. And there were many of them on this cruise. Carnival would do well to try and address this issue in the future. There were quite a few additional spas (whirlpools) on board, which were scattered on a number of decks. Often, they were too cold to use in the evenings (they turned off the heating) and sometimes were occupied by the ship's officers during the day. Nevertheless, they are a good idea if serviced properly.The day spa was impressively presented and the few services we used (nails and massage) were delivered well. The sports deck area is one of the best we've seen and the waterpark is a sensational idea for those with kids. Unfortunately, the ropes course is weather-affected, so aim to do it early in your cruise or you may miss out. Our children are very sociable and participated in the kids' clubs, but didn't find them as well run as those on Royal Caribbean. The on-board entertainment was generally average, with the exception of Blood Power, a band on the pool deck, who were exceptional. PORTS AND EXCURSIONS: The itinerary was faultless and this was the reason we chose the cruise. We used romeinlimo for most of our on-shore excursions and this went very well, though I wouldn't bother again with such expense in Messina. SUMMARY: Lovely looking ship and a fantastic itinerary, but not enough substance behind the glitz. Stick to more quality cruising if you enjoy good food, good service and like-minded passengers. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
I booked this cruise over a year ago when I saw the prices that Carnival charged that were much lower than we had paid before with Costa or other advertised cruises. The best deal is the 2-port hole cabin for the inside cabin price. ... Read More
I booked this cruise over a year ago when I saw the prices that Carnival charged that were much lower than we had paid before with Costa or other advertised cruises. The best deal is the 2-port hole cabin for the inside cabin price. There's only about 6 forward cabins with the port holes. We wanted to see more of Italy and if you're paid in US dollars this is about the cheapest way to do it. My wife & I enjoyed our experience with the Carnival Magic. We had the any-time dining at the Northern Lights Restaurant and liked it very much. We also enjoyed the food & service with our meals. Our 7-night cruise from Barcelona was very busy with an excursion each day except for the one sea day returning to Barcelona so we didn't see any shows or spend time at the casino or bars much. I was surprised how many 20's & 30's couples there were on board. It certainly wasn't a cruise for old geezers though we are rapidly approaching that age group! We enjoyed talking to all the other Americans, Europeans & Aussies on board. Everyone was very friendly & fun to talk with. The pool area with the out-door movie screen was very popular. They'd show a family film in the early evening so couples with children could have a good time watching a film together eating pop-corn! We did spend some time at the Red Frog Pub in the evening and enjoyed Danny playing his guitar & songs. There was also a damn good rock band that did some good cover versions of Led Zeppelin at the pool area. We met a few Americans that had never been to Europe before & I think Carnival offered them a good way to experience Italy with low stress & low cost. Overall, we enjoyed this cruise and had a lot of fun. With their new smoking restrictions coming into place in December we won't be on Carnival again but if you don't smoke & want to experience Europe at an affordable price, I don't think you'll find a better deal than what Carnival has to offer! I enjoyed hearing the cruise director John Heald'shumorous announcements. Especially to discover if the Salmonds made it back to the ship before we sailed! It seemed that couple were always at the last minute to get back to the ship! John made it an hilarious nightly airing! The crew work hard and are cheerful. It is a Fun Ship! Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Good points: 1. Children's programming seems quite good. 2. Housekeeping staff keep the cabins very clean and tidy. 3. Three coin laundries for guest use. 4. Section of deck dedicated for adults (no children) so adults can ... Read More
Good points: 1. Children's programming seems quite good. 2. Housekeeping staff keep the cabins very clean and tidy. 3. Three coin laundries for guest use. 4. Section of deck dedicated for adults (no children) so adults can get away from noise. 5. Nice water slide (although need to increase water volume because you can feel seems in tubes as you are passing through) 6. Plenty of hot tubs. 7. Plenty of bars 8. Sochi bar in afternoon seems popular with passengers 9. Pizza bar seems popular with kids 10. Ice cream machines are popular with passengers 11. Wait staff in dining rooms very good 12. A very good female vocalist accompanied the show band sometimes. Bad points: 1. Heavy emphasis on commercializing passengers. Frequent exposure to marketing messages throughout cruise. 2. Art auction continually promoted. 3. No more free motion sickness pills from Carnival. There is now a premium price for this once free service. 4. No midnight buffet 5. No captain's greeting or reception. 6. Price of drinks has increased. Mixed drinks around $10. Beer around $6. a. It seemed to us that a much smaller proportion of passengers were buying beverages than what we have seen in our previous cruises. 7. Shore excursions too expensive. For example, a round trip bus ride offered by the cruise cost us $60/person and another passenger took the public bus for $12. 8. Quality of food is not characteristic of fine dining. a. You could make reservations at the "upscale" steak house for an extra $30/passenger. b. Poor quality of coffee on Lido deck and room service. You could get good coffee by ordering a cappuccino in the dining rooms (free) or at the cafe on the ship for a fee. 9. Unenthusiastic entertainment staff. Weak presence among passengers. Little passenger interaction or involvement. Seemed disinterested. a. Cruise director (John Heald) needs to do a better job at learning how to be humorous without lowering the dignity of passengers. b. Surprisingly little on-ship entertainment (trivia contests, etc.) offered during port days 10. Salt water pools are too small for a ship this size (too crowded) a. Salt water in pools not changed at night. 11. Insufficient pool side music during cruise. I've been on smaller ships that offered much more. 12. Noise travels easily into cabins from other cabins and hallway. 13. Need a king size matrice instead of two twins pushed together. 14. Need more variety of television programming a. Now emphasizing pay television 15. Internet is too expensive at 75 cents/minute for a slow connection. 16. Quality of entertainment could be improved. a. Generally it feels like you're getting B list talent. b. An emphasis on comedians, but quality was inconsistent. c. The show band was good but small. d. The main shows emphasized scenery, lighting, and costuming. There were two productions which were weak on story but strong on the singing of the two performers with microphones. Only two performers ever sang. The rest danced 17. Heavy emphasis on preparing passengers for a quick debarkation that began two days before end of cruise. Overall ratings: Ports of call A Entertainment B Emphasis on selling D Entertainment B Cruise director & staff B Dining experience B+ Cabin B+ Sleep quality B Overall B Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
We are a couple who are retired and holiday 7 or 8 times a year including cruises about once a year. This cruise was taken as part of my 60th birthday treats. We travelled to the ship independently and stayed in Barcelona for 1 night pre ... Read More
We are a couple who are retired and holiday 7 or 8 times a year including cruises about once a year. This cruise was taken as part of my 60th birthday treats. We travelled to the ship independently and stayed in Barcelona for 1 night pre trip and 3 nights after which worked very well. Embarkation was smooth and well organised. I have split the review into 4 sections for clarity: Superb The real star the Ship, spacious and comfortable. The Staff were very friendly and helful to us, all of them. The food especially the dinners in the Northern Lights. The lido and carvery all produced excellent food at lunchtime (and we did not use them in the evening.) Good The entertainment staff with special thanks to Danny Black the singer guitarist in the Red Frog Pub. The ports of call, especially Venice. The Red Frog pub itself. Comfort in the cabin even though we had an inside. Plenty of space in the cabin and the bathroom was great. Bad Lack of information for independant travellers. Cost of excursions. Ugly Misinformation to independant travellers. Distance to train station said to be a mile when it was 400 yards etc. Disembarkation (or debarking as it was called also was efficient and well organised. Our only critisism was you has to debark by 9am at the latest. Overall a great cruise to some nice ports of call Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We joined the cruise after 12 days of traveling through Turkey and Spain for a family reunion. Decided on this cruise due to the ports and costs, much cheaper than any other cruise line for much longer cruise. We were 2 families ... Read More
We joined the cruise after 12 days of traveling through Turkey and Spain for a family reunion. Decided on this cruise due to the ports and costs, much cheaper than any other cruise line for much longer cruise. We were 2 families celebrating college graduation and 21st birthdays!! Let the party begin!! Felt we received excellent value for our cruise. Being as the cruise was so port intensive did not have time to enjoy the ship. Loved our balcony room and was surprised how roomy it was. Room steward did excellent job and loved coming back at nite to a clean room. Laundry room great, bring soap. Laundry special of $15 great as I could fit at least 2 loads in the bag. DS loved the gym and went to it every day. I never did. But I enjoyed the Serenity deck and deck 5 for peace and quiet with my kindle and a cocktail. Enjoyed our waiter George in the Northern Lights dining room. Food was fine, we were so tired after touring all day, we would have enjoyed anything. Thought all food was too salty!! Did not try any speciality restaurants. We all loved the Tandoori Grill and wish it was open longer, especially when coming back after tours. Usually had room service breakfast as up early for tours. Ate once for sit down breakfast on sea day and was a lovely way to start the day, wish they served breakfast later on sea days. Wish I had bought the wine package but did bring wine aboard and bought it in several ports. Just walked on and no one said anything. In Venice we bought boxed wine which was surprisingly good. We also bought vodka and tequila from Bon Voyage prior to cruise and made drinks in our room. Loved Red Frog Bar especially the Grapefruit Mojitos. Drinks are the same price as home. Entertainment was only ok. Liked the bands at Ocean Plaza and Red Frog. Boys like the comedy shows. Showtime theater shows boring. Samatha Jay excellent. Go to Farewell Fun Show and Past Guest party for free drinks. Boys loved the water slide and rope course. Have enjoyed John Heald blog but really didn't see him at all on the cruise. DS loved the nightclub and partied all nite!! Barcelona - Arrived 3 days early and loved it. Stayed at Continental Palacete near Las Rambles and would highly recommend it. Explored all of Gaudi's sight and enjoyed tapas and cava. Did hop on hop off bus - excellent way to see this wonderful city. Monaco - also did the hop on hop off bus; was ok. Is brand new and difficult to find the spots. Everyone was tired after all our sightseeing and jet jag and we wanted to save our energy for Rome. Rome - There were 8 of us for our Rome in Limo tour including 2 nice folks we met on the cruise critic roll call. Loved our tours and guides, paid extra for Vatican guide, Christina which I would definitely recommend. Saw everything. Great pannini place next to the Pantheon which our lovely guide Nick recommended. Vatican was hot and crowded - beautiful to see but so much wealth that could feed all the hungry of the world. Bought tickets to Vatican and Coliseum on Internet at home. Livorno - again wonderful tour with Rome in Limo and guide Laura. Saw Pisa, winery and Florence. You must see Michealango David is the Accademia - it was truly breathtaking, one of the highlights of our trip. Ask Rome in Limo to buy tickets for you. Hooked up with 2 more wonderful folks to join our tour on our roll call. Naples - toured with Johnny's tour and loved Postiano, Sorrento, the Amafli coast and Pompeii. Picked this one cuz it was cheaper than Rome in Limo and would definitely recommend both tour companies. Definitely drink water by the time we got to Pompeii I was dehydrated and felt sick; after water I was fine. Croatia - was on our own. Loved it. Boys went kayaking, tours available by city center much cheaper than booking through Carnival. Walked through town shopping and listening to music. Much quieter pace. Venice - Very doable on your own. Loved getting lost and exploring the city. Loved having the extra time to sit at a sidewalk cafe enjoying pizza and wine. Sicly - tour with Mario. Would not recommend them. They took too big of a bus up the hill to see Castlemora and it took forever with people yelling at them. Liked town of Taomoira but rather touristy. Had pizza and gelato in every port - loved it! Was very exhausting but wonderful itinerary. We saw alot on our bucket list and now know where we would go back to stay longer and explore - Barcelona, Florence and Amafli Coast. Life is too short, splurge for a trip of a lifetime and wonderful family memories. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
My wife, myself and 2 friends from the USA were on the jue 3- june 12 Mediterranean cruise on the Carnival Magic. For me and my wife it was the first cruise eventhough I have served in the dutch navy for 7 years. Our US friends where on 2 ... Read More
My wife, myself and 2 friends from the USA were on the jue 3- june 12 Mediterranean cruise on the Carnival Magic. For me and my wife it was the first cruise eventhough I have served in the dutch navy for 7 years. Our US friends where on 2 cruises before (not woith Carnival). We were surprised by the smoothness of the operation of the ship and the servise profided. The gabin was kept in perfect, clean state by the stateroom steward who cleaned and refreshed at least wtice a day. The food and the drinks on board were great, we especially enjoyed the Steakhouse, but our normal restaurant The northern Light where we were booked for the early sitting profided us with a table just for the 4 of us and excellent service and good food and drinks. The spa is a bit expensive but offers good services. The seated breakfast at the Southern light restaurant was also great. The food buffets at the Lido deck are fine for buffet meals. We had privately arranged excursions from Livorno (Pisa, Florence Tuscany), Citavecchia (Rome and the cathacombes) and Napels, Pompei, Almafian coast with Sorento and Positano. We just Carnival excursions from Messina to the top of the Edna and from Marseille to Aix en Provence. We are very happy about those excursions. In Monaco and in palma the Majorca we went to shore on our own which was also good. Minusses are that the photo's taken by Carnival phototpeople are printed only in US sizes and they don't sell anything digital. There were a few very rude people on board. More on that can be found on John Heald's blog on the carnival Side. After this great experience we will surely cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
This is a review for the June 24th Carnival Magic voyage out of Barcelona. We booked our flights through Carnival and arrived at Barcelona on the morning of the sailing. We took a shuttle to the port and embarkation was very easy. The only ... Read More
This is a review for the June 24th Carnival Magic voyage out of Barcelona. We booked our flights through Carnival and arrived at Barcelona on the morning of the sailing. We took a shuttle to the port and embarkation was very easy. The only problem was that the cabins were not ready and accessible till 1:30PM and we had to carry all our luggage throughout the ship. The Carnival Magic resembles the other carnival funships. I have sailed the Valor on other occasions and you cannot tell the difference between one and the other. This ship does have more hot tubs, pools, an amazing rope course and slide. The hot tubs were not hot sometimes and the pools were cold. Even though the days are hot the wind is cool and coming out of the water was a chilling experience. We stayed on the Lido deck and that made it very easy to catch a bite. The Lido deck buffet was well varied and balanced. The also had a 24hour pizza station, hamburger grill, sandwich area, 24 hr ice cream, Indian food station and a sushi station on the 5th deck.We ate at the Northern Lights restaurant on 7 out of the 9 days. I was not impressed with the food at the restaurant> I have had better at the other ships. It seemed to take forever to get my food. Dinner was a 2 hour event. It was not worth it. I found my food to be cold and bland. On the other had we ate at the Prime Steakhouse twice and it was FANTASTIC. We had never visited steakhouse on the other cruises and we decided to try it this time. It was money well spent.Our first spot was Monaco. Took the hop on off bus, visited the Oceanografic Museum, and all the stops. I felt the museum was not worth the entrance fee but my kids enjoyed it. Be ready to spend big bucks for everything here. If you can go back to the ship for lunch and then venture out again. Florence was a mission. We arrived at Livorno on a Sunday and there was a train strike. I wish we had booked a shore excursion for this one. I suggest you book a shore excursion for any stop you have on a Sunday. I had purchased online tickets to see the "David" and we did not have to make a long line,we walked right in. I suggest you buy all your tickets to the Vatican, Colosseum, etc online IF YOU ARE NOT PLANNING TO BOOK SHORE EXCURSIONS.We did get to Rome on our own. We took a train out of Civitavecchia at 9:15 and we got off at the Ostiense terminal and there we got on the Subway and stepped right out to the Colosseum. What an amazing sight. The lines were HUGE but again we walked right in with our tickets. We saw the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Roman Forum, Pantheon, and Finally the Vatican using the subway service. Be aware of tourist traps. Take your water with you, a water bottle can run between 2.50 to 3.50 Euros. We tried to eat lunch at a restaurant by the Trevi Fountain. The pizza was horrible and expensive. From this experience we learned to carry our fruit or small snack and wait for our meals on board. Besides you have to be able to spend about an Hour of your time to dedicate to lunch. You will find that you do not have a minute to spare because you need to be back on board at about 7:30PM. There is a train station called Roma San Pietro which is near the Vatican. If you are planning to start your day our end your day at the Vatican you can catch a train to Civitavecchia from there. Rome is beautiful but I found the people there to be rude and pushy. Be very CAREFUL manners are not a custom there. The Vatican Museum is a must see.We did a cruise shore excursion to Pompeii and Sorrento in Naples. It was great. Sorrento was great for food and shopping. Pompeii is a must see. We did the Godfather tour in Sicily. It was nice but I did not feel it was worth what we paid for it. In Palma de Mallorca we did the Caves of Drach. It was okay. We were not given much time to venture on our own because we had to be back on board at 3:30PM.Marseille France was my surprise port. I enjoyed it. We ventured on our own and went to the Notre Dame church on a steep hill. You can skip your morning workout if you want to climb on your own. You can catch the little train or Hop On bus and it will take you there. The local bus will take you there too. The town has beautiful architecture, great little bakeries, and shops. We bought a french baguette a a local bakery and then ham and cheese at a local market and made our own french sandwiches, YUMMY !!! We tried the Gelato at every port. It is delicious and refreshing. Must try the Sicilian Lemon Graniti !!!Visiting Europe using a cruise is definitely the best way in my opinion. Coming back to the ship every day is a plus. Once you are on the ship you feel like you are back in the states and that is a relief. I cannot imagine having to struggle with the rudeness every breakfast, lunch and dinner. I never think about how much I am going to spend when I am on vacation. You just do not get what you pay for when you are out and about on the ports. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Our June 24th 9 day cruise on the Carnival Magic was our 18th cruise and 8th on Carnival. A few notes to share with everyone:1. Currently, there is only 1 formal night on the 9 day cruise (now called "Elegant" night).2. All ship ... Read More
Our June 24th 9 day cruise on the Carnival Magic was our 18th cruise and 8th on Carnival. A few notes to share with everyone:1. Currently, there is only 1 formal night on the 9 day cruise (now called "Elegant" night).2. All ship taken photos can be viewed by slipping your "Sale and Sign Card" in a scanner in the photo gallery. (This eliminates the need to search for hours for your photos.)3. The daily menu and all of your room charges can now be viewed on your in-room HDTV screen, along with other important information.4. No clocks can be found in your cabins (bring a cheap travel clock).5. Laundry on this ship is $3 to wash/$3 to dry (or $15 for all you can fit in their laundry bag).6. Unlike past cruises, you can order room service the morning of your final departure.7. "Self Assist" on Debarkation is encouraged and easy - no long lines to get off and easy to get an elevator. (Passengers allowed disembark off as early at 5:45 a.m. with all passengers off the ship by 9:00 a.m.)8. The suites on this ship have a private vanity/dressing area with His/Her closets - wow, what a plus) with a large bathroom.9. Dining room staff consisted of mostly women on our sailing and the food was excellent.10. Deck 10 food options included the normal Pizza and Burger stations, with new concept stations - Deli (wonderful) Burrito Bar, Pizza, Tandori Indian Food (spicy), and Mongolian Wok (all of these were popular and very good).11. Upgrade dinner options include the Italian Restaurant ("fair" meal but for only a $10 extra, who can complain) and the Steak House that friends raved about for $30. Make your steak house reservations the minute you get on the ship if interested.12. Neat innovations include:a. The Red Frog Pub (popular but not overcrowded, great micro brewed beer and hot snacks, friendly Caribbean staff - this place is a must!)b. Serenity area for adults is just that and well done on top deck.c. Spa is large and wonderful, but expensive and never discounted. Kids activities are all over the place - great waterpark, ropes course, 2 level miniature golf, on deck pool tables, foos ball, ping pong, etc, and a big arcade on deck 4 with fun games. Our sailing had 1000 passengers under age 21 and all seemed to have plenty to do.13. Internet - Difficult to find internet in most ports. (Had hoped for free Wi-Fi, but found only a few hard to find places that offered Wi-Fi for paying customers or a fee.)14. Entertainment On Board - all shows were great. Don't' miss the Magic Show in the big theater (not the small lounge show). Also, the 1970's show "Groovin" and the music of Samantha J (if on board for your sailing) as she has played for Prince Charles and the royal family over 50 times.15. Excursions comments:a. Barcelona - watch for pickpockets - they are everywhere! Don't carry money as even buttoned pockets are at risk. Try to avoid the subway and, if you do, watch for groups of predatory teenagers and gypsies. (Even several experienced travelers in our group were victimized.) Don't miss the Magic Fountains on nights they are illuminated. A city bus tour was interesting. Montserat Basilica is an hour train ride and fascinating.b. Monaco - bus tour to Eze was great as was seeing Nice. Great flower market in town.c. Livorno - we did wines of Tuscany. Not as much of an explanation of wine process as we would have liked. Enjoyed the wines and local foods. (Others enjoyed Pisa and Florence.)d. Rome - saw the Vatican - Hot, hot, hot. Crowded. Be prepared as it is stifling with huge crowds (one of our group fainted from heat). Save this experience for off season.e. Naples - Amalfi coast and Pompeii - Wow! Wow! Wow! Do not miss the Amalfi Coast drive or Pompei. Absolutely beautiful and fascinating. (Members of our group kept saying "unbelievable".) The drive includes many hairpin curves, so take a Dramamine if needed. (Did we mention this is unbelievable?)f. Sicily - surprisingly dirty town of Messina. 98% of all shops close from 1:00 to 3:30. Folks who did beach said they enjoyed it.g. Mallorca - Caves of Drach were interesting but not that impressive. Enjoy the pearl factory on way back. (Members of our group raved about the Flamenco show with authentic dancers, if you like that type of thing.)h. Marseille - Don't miss a tour to any of the Provence areas. Our tour was called Le Castlellet and Bandol. Le Castlellet reminded us of Eze, but greener, covered with vineyards and with more spectacular views. Bandol is a beautiful seaside town. Clean, flowers everywhere, palm trees - a great place to go back to see again and again. i. Toilets are hard to find in Europe and generally charge. Bring Euro coins with you (and never pass one up during these excursions).A final note - this 3500 passenger ship offers so much to do that we felt like we saw only 75% of it. So much more to see and do! Our group consisted of 55 family and friends and we enjoyed this great new ship. Many of us have booked our second trip on the Magic next summer out of Galveston. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
This was the most special trip imaginable. Most of us had cruised before (14) and we were all overwhelmed with the ship, the ports, the food, and the service. Our staff throughout the ship was outstanding. The food was delicious, ... Read More
This was the most special trip imaginable. Most of us had cruised before (14) and we were all overwhelmed with the ship, the ports, the food, and the service. Our staff throughout the ship was outstanding. The food was delicious, plentiful, and their was variety at every meal. Dinner meals were high end featuring gourmet to comfort selections. The Italian restaurant was unique as we ate lunch there two days. We enjoyed our dinner staff so much, we did not want to leave our regular evening dining crew to go to the Italian restaurant or Steakhouse for dinner. We could not select a favorite port as each stop offered its own special blend of local attractions and special moments. Our group booked private tours through local tour companies which was very affordable and we could personalize our tours. Our staterooms featured US and Euro outlets, a safe, hair dryer, and an surprise supply of shampoo and body wash. Our group was located side by side and we were able to open our balcony doors for a nice three room open balcony space. The two rooms on the ends of our group were unable to open their balcony as they would be unable to exit their stateroom.Our Cruise Director was none other than John Heald who was funny and informative throughout the 12 days. This was our third cruise with John and his evening show was the best evening entertainment to me.We have typically cruised the Caribbean and this was a completely different experience. The amenities of this large, beautiful ship was impressive. There was something for every person, every age, every interest. A favorite happy hour spot for the adults was the Red Frog Pub. This was a new featured Caribbean-style pub. It seemed like just another place for beer, but RedFrog beer was featured along with the beer Tower. This was a fun location to hang out after a day's excursions and before getting ready for dinner or later for the guitar playing singer for late night entertainment.If there was one thing I would recommend, it would be to have more washers/dryers. (Who does laundry on a cruise?) We did laundry onboard the ship, and so did many of the other 4100 passengers! There were about 12 washers and 24 dryers. Lines were long unless you wanted to do laundry early in the morning or stay onboard while others were in port. I would recommend this cruise for families who want a nice sample of Europe (mostly Italy). What a perfect blend of luxury, variety, and economy. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Being experienced cruisers, we were easily able to adapt to Magic, also having been on its sister ship Dream in 2010. Magic was one of the best cruise ships we have been on and our selection of a Spa Balcony was quite a treat. All ... Read More
Being experienced cruisers, we were easily able to adapt to Magic, also having been on its sister ship Dream in 2010. Magic was one of the best cruise ships we have been on and our selection of a Spa Balcony was quite a treat. All the stops were well planned and came off without a hitch. The Southern dining room was excellent and the crew headed by M'D Ken Byrne was just outstanding. If you have never experienced the musical treat in their dining room, they you are in for a real nice event. Ken is a very fine singer. We cannot complain about anything, and the hiccups that were well reported on Dream were not there on Magic. For the first time we took good advantage of the Spa and found it very pleasant and the staff quite nice, although the services were a little on the costly side. The ship was not sold out, with about 3800 guests, so there was no overcrowding. Flying to Barcelona was not difficult but the airfare these days is costly as Continental Airlines charged us each $320 for a fuel surcharge. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
After taking one Carnival cruise many years ago to Mexico, my expectations were very, very, low. We selected the Magic and Carnival for two reasons - Carnival had the best port itinerary and the Magic is a new ship. I must say, I ... Read More
After taking one Carnival cruise many years ago to Mexico, my expectations were very, very, low. We selected the Magic and Carnival for two reasons - Carnival had the best port itinerary and the Magic is a new ship. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We booked an Ocean Suite (7244) which was very comfortable and roomy. The staff was friendly, the food was good (not great, but fine), the entertainment on the ship was excellent for the most part - especially the music in the Piano Bar (Ron). We arranged our own shore excursions, so I can not comment on those provided by the ship. The highlight of the ship experience was the Chefs Dinner where twelve guests are hosted by the Head Chef in the galley of the ship for an 8 course over the top meal. A must do. We also loved the Anytime Dining option - no pressure to get back to the ship for early seating, or getting too hungry to hold out for the late seating. Some slight downsides - the internet connection was difficult and expensive. The decor was a bit cheesy - fake wood does not do it for me! All in all, I went in with low expectations and came away pleasantly surprised. It was a good value. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Spent 2 days pre and 1 day post in Barcelona at the Hotel Colon. Great hotel location, in plaza with the cathedral. Short walk to La Rambla. Ate at La Locanda, around the corner from hotel. Great food. Embarkation was very smooth. Very ... Read More
Spent 2 days pre and 1 day post in Barcelona at the Hotel Colon. Great hotel location, in plaza with the cathedral. Short walk to La Rambla. Ate at La Locanda, around the corner from hotel. Great food. Embarkation was very smooth. Very clean and modern terminal. Great VIP lounge.Embarked about 10:30. As with all cruises, waited on Lido deck until cabins available at 1:30. If you don't like waiting on Lido deck with your carry on luggage, wait until later to embark.The ship is great. I did not feel any crowding at all. I love the glitz of Carnival ships so I did miss that. I know there were a lot of kids on this cruise, which I am aways sensitive to, but I did not encounter any rude ones. I think the water park was a great addition and kept them busy. It looked like a lot of fun and if I was younger I would have liked it myself. I really liked the Red Frog Pub and think it is a great addition. The new Carnival brew is very good. For those people who complain about chair hogs, there were so many loungers on this ship there is no way you could NOT find a place to sit. They were on lido deck as normal, all along deck 11, aft area and all along deck 5. I loved the cushioned chairs and small couches on deck 11. Great area for those who are not sun lovers, but still like to be in the open areas. I did not visit the casino so can't commit on that, did walk through and it looked like a normal casino. We had a balcony cabin which we always enjoy. Normal Carnival balcony cabin with lots of storage space. Cabin steward was good and very attentive.We were a little disappointed with the MDR food. We did your time dining for the first time. We requested a table for two, but the tables for two are so close together you might as well be at a table for four. We did like the fact that we could go anytime we wanted. We always go early and never had a wait. Food was just so so, not up to Carnival standard as on other ships. We actually started going to the buffet where the food was much better. Breakfast was normal eggs, ham, bacon and variety of fruits, cereals, pastry's etc. I never ate the omelet, but partner always has it and likes them very much.Lunch was good variety of buffet food, grill, sandwiches, pizza etc. I ate one day in the pasta bar which was very good. Lunch is free in the pasta bar, but at night there is a charge which I think is a little ridiculous. Would like for the grill and sandwich bar to stay open in the evening. There are other areas with food that I did not visit, one can only eat so much. Only did room service once for coffee.We were a little disappointed with the night time entertainment. The two variety shows were ok, but other than that, they were just so so. Since John Hearld is so famous, I guess I expected a little more. John has a morning show which is shown on the big screen on Lido which was entertaining. Since this is such a port intensive cruise, we were to tired to visit the bars, so can't commit on themWe booked this 12 day cruise for the ports. I booked all Carnival excursions except one. I was not disappointed, the buses were clean, and all of our guides were very knowledgeable. I booked a private guide in Rome. I booked DriverinRome, had Stephano as my driver and he was absolutely great. As I did this tour alone, he was able to take me to a lot places not normally seen on a regular tour. I highly recommend this company. Croatia was an absolute surprise port for me. It was so beautiful and so clean. I did the country home tour and it was great. We went to a home outside the city and had lunch along with some local entertainment. It was great. Did not walk the wall, did not have time. Old city was very crowded.Debarkation was painless although it did start a little early at 5:00am for those who had early flights. I thought this was thoughtful on Carnivals part. We stayed an extra day in Barcelona so were not in a hurry to get off the ship. We debarked about 8:00am and did not have any trouble getting a taxi. They were lined up outside the terminal.Taxi's are not all created equal as far as prices. Arriving trip from airport to hotel was 28E, trips to port and from port about 28E. Departing trip from same hotel was 38E, go figure.Barcelona airport leaves at lot to be desired. For those on Delta flights, their check in counters are located in the far left corner of the terminal. We had a hard time finding it. Don't bother asking anyone, no one knows anything. Also for those wanting to get a tax refund for purchases, be sure and go to customs before going through security. I went through security and what I thought was customs but ended up being just a passport check. Once I went this far I could not go back out, very confusing. I do not know where customs is, just that it is somewhere before you go through security. I am VIP with Carnival so obviously I am a fan. Can't wait for the Magic to go to Galvestion.Would I do this itinerary again, in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Our one previous Carnival cruise was the worst experience I've ever had on a ship, so I was eager to give Carnival another chance with the promise of a cruise out of Barcelona on the inaugural cruise of the Magic. NOT SO VIP--The ... Read More
Our one previous Carnival cruise was the worst experience I've ever had on a ship, so I was eager to give Carnival another chance with the promise of a cruise out of Barcelona on the inaugural cruise of the Magic. NOT SO VIP--The disappointment began with our alleged VIP boarding. We parted from our friends who weren't booked in a suite, and we were ushered upstairs for the VIP treatment. We waited a long time on a sofa and were finally registered and on our way--only to find we were in line to board with our friends who had no VIP treatment! Since we boarded at the earliest boarding time (right after noon), we expected our luggage to be there fairly quickly. Wrong! Everyone in our group, including the non VIP boarders, got their luggage first--ours came at about 6 p.m. GREAT ROOMS--That disappointment aside, the room was marvelous with literally tons of storage space and room under the beds for our large suitcases. The only design flaw was that while I sat at the lovely, lighted vanity table, my husband could barely open his closet or the bathroom door. The hairdryer was installed in a drawer, that, when open, blocked the bathroom door as well. The over-sized vanity stool, blocked most of that room when pulled out, and it didn't completely fit under the counter. The mini refrigerator was stocked so tightly with mini bar items for sale, that we couldn't even put our gift champagne in it. Beds and linens were fabulously comfortable. SERVICE SKETCHY--My biggest complaint about the cruise was that service was very sketchy. Our wait staff in the dining room were not particularly friendly, though they improved as time went on. Much energy was wasted in "shows" that the wait staff were forced to perform each evening about dessert time. The shows were corny and time wasting and the staff seemed embarrassed to be forced to perform. The Lido deck cafeterias were crowded at all visits, and while there were many specialty stations, the lines were so long that we often didn't have time to enjoy them. Tables were cleared quickly, but the dining areas stayed full. Our room was kept clean and well-stocked, but we rarely saw our steward to ask for service. It was a very different level of service than we've experienced on other lines. OVER CROWDING--The adults-only pool was always full of children, and pools were crowded much of the time. It was a very family-oriented cruise, with more than a thousand children and teens. There were wonderful activities for kids including a fabulous water park area with large slides and other features. Because of the strenuous port schedule and the long drives to reach destinations such as Rome, we spent long days touring and then had little time to relax around the pools--then to find them so crowded was disappointing. FOOD--The food was good and got better as the days went by. Often the Lido deck food was actually better than the dining room food, which was a nice surprise. LAUNDRY--There were only three laundry rooms available for the entire ship and they were always full. I tried to iron several times, but could never get to the board inside the crowded laundry room. For $15 we could get "wash and fold" service for a bag of laundry--that was a bargain since the washers and driers were $3 each. It did take two days rather than the next day service promised. Overall, we really enjoyed the ports and the cruise in general, however Carnival needs to work out a lot of kinks for this ship to be truly "magic." Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
My wife and I are loyal Princess cruisers. However, based on the itinerary, date, and price, we thought we would give Carnival a try since it would be on their newest ship. There was really nothing wrong or bad with the cruise, but there ... Read More
My wife and I are loyal Princess cruisers. However, based on the itinerary, date, and price, we thought we would give Carnival a try since it would be on their newest ship. There was really nothing wrong or bad with the cruise, but there were several things that we have really come to expect and enjoy on Princess that we didn't experience on Carnival. We stayed a night in Barcelona at the Hilton after we arrived from Atlanta. We have done the Mediterranean on Princess before out of Barcelona, so we were already familiar with getting around. The embarkation was very smooth. However when we got on the ship about noon, the rooms were still unavailable, so we had to drag our carry on to the buffet lunch with us. The stateroom was nice but offers no privacy other than the bathroom. The food in the marketplace buffet was average. There is no beverage service in the buffet area like on Princess. They don't do anything extra in the evening to make dinner a little more special. The line for stir fried was always long and wasn't worth the wait. We bought a coke pass which was too expensive. $66 for a 9 night cruise. And it didn't include the drink tumbler like on Royal Caribbean and Princess. In hindsight, we shouldn't have bought the drink pass because we didn't come close to drinking $66 worth. Also, they only serve can drinks. We prefer fountain drinks on Princess. We were surprised that there wasn't an opening night show on the first night. We had dinner most nights in the your time dining area. The service was fine, but the cruise director interrupted our dinner every night for ridiculous announcements or letting us know someone hadn't made it back on board. Who cares! let's go to the next port. They'll only miss the ship one time before they'll learn. Also, every night the staff in the dining room had to do a song and dance routine which I suppose for some people, that was cute, but for us, it was an interruption to good conversation with fellow passengers. The complementary pasta bar at lunch in the Italian restaurant at the back of the ship was good but it was right under the basketball court. So during lunch you heard constant banging of players and basketballs while you ate. They says the basketballs are not available in the evening during dinner, but you still will hear kids running around. Could have been a better way to isolate the noise. We were also surprised that on a new ship that size, there is no adult only pool. The only thing is an adult only hot tub in the serenity area. Smoking areas around the pools are also not marked. You just have to know that the port side is smoking and there are ashtrays on that side. A few people had to be told they were smoking on the wrong side. There wasn't anyone in the buffet area that seemed to be in charge. One morning, a man in just a bathing suit with a towel around his waste was going through the buffet. How disgusting! I told atleast 3 guys attending tables that he needs to get out dressed like that. The information sheets says what is appropriate dress in the different areas. They all looked at me like they didn't speak english and didn't know what I was referring to. We enjoyed all our ports of call and Carnival handled all the logistics just fine. Again, the cruise itself was fine, there were several differences that we preferred on Princess. The captain did take the time to steer us next to the island of Stomboli where we got to experience an active volcano and see if erupt. Very cool and was definitely a highlight. One of the most disappointing aspects of our evenings was the buffet closed at 9:30pm. We usually like going to get a light meal and dessert after a show around 10pm. The only thing opened that late was the deli and pizza. A light snack which was hamburgers was going to be available at midnight. Of course with the all day excursions we were taking during the day, midnight wasn't possible. On the last morning we were to disembark, we set our clock for 7am since we didn't have to get off the ship that quickly. Well, we didn't need the alarm clock at all. The cruise director started announcing disembarking zones at 6:30am. We spent 3 more nights in Barcelona and had a wonderful time touring. The metro works well and we used it often. We even took a train out to Montserrat one day. All in all it was a great vacation and a good cruise. We still prefer Princess and probably won't sail Carnival again unless we're with a group. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Last week we returned from generally a great cruise on the Carnival Magic to Monaco and Italy including the star Venice and Dubrovnik. Having never wanting to cruise at all until bullied by my wife last December I am now a very ardent fan ... Read More
Last week we returned from generally a great cruise on the Carnival Magic to Monaco and Italy including the star Venice and Dubrovnik. Having never wanting to cruise at all until bullied by my wife last December I am now a very ardent fan of cruising. I use to believe that cruising was Butlins at sea (All Brits will understand for others like a holiday camp with games to play and none stop tannoy announcements but i now find this is definitely not the case on the now 3 cruise companies we have used (the other two being RCL and Norwegian) and really all are very professional and well organised). Its just the exceptional that makes the difference and that's the reason for penning this note. We did initially think the itinerary strange having four straight days of port calls, going to Rome before Florence from Monaco and then back to Naples before a sea day. Only on this fifth day at sea with lovely weather did we fully understand how busy and crowded this ship was. We were told in excess of 4000 people were cruising on-board when the ship has a quoted capacity of 3700. With so many people we found it difficult to get a decent seat which wasn't by an air-vent or noisy pool area and people did persist in saving loungers with towels and books etc even though they are asked not to, but who wants a confrontation when they are on holiday. This is something i think all cruise lines have a problem with. The general facilities on the ship were excellent and varied, but we found the staff (particularly the guys in whites) mainly Eastern European very surly and none communicative and lacking any idea of customer service. Other members of staff then shone out, like all the stateroom staff we chatted too were extremely helpful and pleasant our dinner service team were always friendly and had time to speak. We nightly went to the Red Frog Pub, again some of the staff were excellent. But does it require so many waiters to run a small bar?? Our main reason for going was to watch the very excellent guitarist/vocalist Danny Black, who we believe is wasting his talents just playing on board a ship, particularly as he had to finish each evening by midnight because of noise levels in the staterooms. For a new ship this has to be a design fault with a number of other areas like the piano bar and Italian restaurant having unacceptable noise levels coming through the floor/ceiling. We did go to some of the shows and to see all the other entertainment offering on board most were very average and we thought this also of the cringe giving John Heald whose tannoy announcements reminded us very much of the dreaded holiday camp, his previous life obviously Hi di Hi John !!! Compared to our two previous cruises the daily information sheet was abysmal, it was never consistent with its placement of information with unnecessary duplication and notable omissions. Somebody really does need to revamp this very important sheet for all passengers to get the very best out of the ships excellent facilities. One daily omission was for us the best food on board which was the Tandoori bar which only served food between 1.30pm & 2.30pm again why we don't know. This was a really fabulous eatery with authentic Indian cooking ovens. Carnival you missed a trick here it should have been used for a greater time in the day and advertised more. But for all that we enjoyed it on several days because of the lack of customers. The other good places to eat on board were the excellent free lunchtime Italian restaurant and most of the evening dinners we had in the fixed dining Southern Lights. The not so good was the Marketplace Buffet style, the seating was good with sectioned booths, but the food was bland and the food service areas were far too cramped with queues at most times. The layout for the food service area again for a new ship was appalling. We tried the Deli once, why does so much meat have to be put on a sandwich the food here was not very good neither was the burger bar which invariable had you waiting around for ages to serve you chicken. But worst of all we thought was the Steakhouse, the food was very average but expensive. But the worst thing about it was the ambiance and what should have been a special dining experience. This didn't happen. The area was cramped and we were seated on a bench seat at the side of some very noisy neighbours who had started dining before us and wanted everybody to know what a good time they were having. This was definitely not worth the additional 30 dollars each. We didn't take any of the cruise tours which we think are extremely overpriced but prefer anyway to explore places on our own. We usually find the people we meet are extremely friendly and love for you to visit and admire their country and city and are always willing to help and give advice. The in board stateroom that we had was excellent in size very comfortable with space all round the very large bed plenty of draws and hanging space very well thought out as was the bathroom. We did get an extremely good deal on this cruise so we will probably cruise with Carnival again but only if RCL are not doing a similar itinerary at a similar price Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Room steward was excellent, he knew more about our ports than cruise director as far as time needed how to get there where to get best buys et.Our waiter was one of the best we have had on any cruise but her assistant was hardly around and ... Read More
Room steward was excellent, he knew more about our ports than cruise director as far as time needed how to get there where to get best buys et.Our waiter was one of the best we have had on any cruise but her assistant was hardly around and her next assistant was very slow and could hardly wait to get back to sleep and end this contract. Room was great two showers wonderful. Food was good but when I wanted to get a waffle, two fried eggs and a sausege two of the three were cold as I had to line up three times. Entertainment was so, so and not every night. We wanted to try one of the super ships but never again three times as many passengers but no more staff at the guest, or shore excursions desk it took me 45 minutes to change american to euros. We swallowed the threat from carnival about booking shore excursions through them or the ship would leave without us so we booked the only tour of Rome that went inside the coliseum and allowed us the afternoon in Rome on our own. What really happened was over two hours to get to Rome less than 1 hour on our own to see Trevi fountain ( 12 minutes ) Pantheon ( 6 minutes ) coliseum rushed through in less than 1/2 hour because we drove 1/2 hour outside Rome for lunch spent two hours at lunch and half hour back wasted 45 minutes in gift shop at St. Peter's. When several of us complained it was not what we were sold or was advertised we received 25% rebate and basically told "too bad go home and forget about it" taking it up later with customer service same response. Steam bath or sauna? Not for us only for the passengers who paid extra. Hot tubs are not hot only warmed by the sun. Menus on T.V.yes if you wanted to see what was being served on the next cruise. All in all there are a lot of bugs to be worked out on this ship. Next time Royal Caribbean or Princess. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
I had high hopes for the new Carnival Magic, since the only other Carnival cruise we've taken was a three day disaster to Cozumel. This ship is far superior and the ports were, for the most part, wonderful. However, there were a ... Read More
I had high hopes for the new Carnival Magic, since the only other Carnival cruise we've taken was a three day disaster to Cozumel. This ship is far superior and the ports were, for the most part, wonderful. However, there were a lot of areas where improvement is called for. SERVICE: Since we reserved a suite on the 7th deck, we received VIP boarding. What that meant was that we were ushered to the second floor of the departure terminal, while our standard cabin friends went to a longer line below. We were kept waiting, seated outside the registration room for about 10 minutes. When we were called in, we registered and then took an escalator back downstairs. There, we ended up in line almost next to our friends! We had checked in close to noon, the earliest time possible, but our luggage never materialized until 6 p.m. All of our friends got their luggage much sooner, even the ones in standard cabins. Some VIP service. Our cabin steward was friendly and efficient, though we rarely saw him on the trip. The room was cleaned twice daily and the ubiquitous towel animals appeared each evening, until we had 8 of the creatures occupying space in the room! Wait staff in the Southern Lights dining room was efficient, though not very friendly, unlike what we've experienced on other cruise lines. Around dessert time every evening, the staff were forced to put on a show which meant coffee wasn't served with dessert most nights and second cups were slow to come. The shows were silly, if mildly entertaining, but the staff would have been more appreciated at the tables! They seemed embarrassed to be performing, too. ROOMS: Our room was fantastic with storage space to spare. The little vanity room was a nice touch, however the over-sized stool didn't fit under the vanity and was always in the way. When I was seated at it, my husband could barely get by it and into the bathroom or his closet. The hairdryer was installed inside a drawer, so when I was using it, the bathroom door couldn't be fully opened--a real inconvenience when we were both hurrying to get ready for early-morning excursions. The bed was super comfy and plush linens were high quality. The mini fridge was fully stocked with pricey bar items, leaving no room for chilling a bottle of wine or storing anything else. The only option was to keep it locked. The TV stations were very limited with a couple of constantly repeating movies on the movie channels. Fortunately, we weren't there to watch TV. The private balcony was nice with two chairs, a tiny table and a lounge chair. Apparently a herd of elephants roomed above us, and we heard slamming doors or jumping children at all hours--not very well sound-proofed. There were only three laundry rooms for the entire ship, so they were always packed with people waiting to claim one of the three washers or dryers. For $15, ship personnel would wash and fold one bag of dirty clothes, so we took advantage of that to save time. The washers and dryers cost $3 per load, so that was not much more expense either. FOOD: The dining room food grew better every day after a few mediocre meals early in the cruise. The Lido deck cafeterias had all kinds of interesting stations, such as a Mongolian Wok, deli sandwiches, omelette bar and burrito bar, but lines were always long, so we tried only a few of those. Wait staff was efficient, however the seating areas always seemed packed. SHOPS: The shops were amazingly devoid of merchandise other than jewelry and apparel copiously labeled with "Carnival." I tried to find a can of hair spray in the tiny sundries section of one store and they didn't carry any. The photo sales area took up an entire floor! They did have screens into which you could insert your Ship card and through facial recognition matching your ID photo, the pictures of you would pop up on the screen--very Big Brotherish, but convenient. Unfortunately, it wasn't perfect and we missed a few group photos that showed up on other people's screens. SHOWS: After long days of touring, we weren't too interested in further entertainment, however friends who tried some of the late-night shows said they were corny and the friends often fell asleep or left early. FITNESS AREAS: The work out room was huge and seemed well equipped. The walking/jogging track was short and took 7 laps to make a mile. No other deck had a wrap-around waling area like other ships we've been on. The two pools were always crowded, especially with jumping, splashing, noisy children. There was a huge water park area with two huge slides and fun splash areas for children, as well as a creative ropes course on the 12th deck. DEPARTURE: Very easy! Thanks to the televised bills, we were able to review our charges easily. They encouraged taking your own luggage off the ship for early, privately arranged departures, and that avoided the dreaded night-before, suitcases in the hall nightmare that other ships use, although that was possible. CONCLUSION: Overall, we had a delightful time and enjoyed our cruise very much thanks to some interesting excursions and great friends who accompanied us. The ship needs to work our a lot of kinks to be truly "magic" however! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
I travelled with my DH, DS aged 14, and DD's aged 5 & 3. I will try and make this quick the positives first - * Embarkation was fast and smooth. * Food ok for first 4 days * Room big, two washrooms a ... Read More
I travelled with my DH, DS aged 14, and DD's aged 5 & 3. I will try and make this quick the positives first - * Embarkation was fast and smooth. * Food ok for first 4 days * Room big, two washrooms a bonus. * Outdoor screen showing movies was great with blankets and free popcorn. Now for the not so positives * DO NOT pick 1443 or 1447!!-I'd say most rooms on deck one are near enough the same noise wise. We were woken up every night from 4-6 am with room shaking vibrations. These vibrations were enough to wake up my very heavy sleeping husband and of course the rest of us who were then kept awake all morning. Missed going ashore at most ports as we were usually all exhausted. * The room service menu is very limited and the quality of food is awful. * The food all over the ship was made with cheap ingredients. MDR was ok, I only went a few times was difficult to keep the little ones occupied. Lido and room service, leftovers were obviously used over and over again. I overheard one of the cooks saying 'absolutely nothing is wasted'..The 'free' coffee was so weak, I had to get my caffeine fix from one of the rip off cafes - set me back nearly $5 a go. * The kids club, looks great but did not deliver. Most of the crew here were not bothered making an effort with the welcoming or entertaining the kids. They have a great schedule with activities lined out- most of these did not happen. They had scheduled teddy making and other activities which all came with a very hefty charge. My two girls attended for an hour three times. On the third time I went to check them and saw my 3 yr old crying with no one doing anything to help her. When I asked why she was crying I was met with a blunt 'she only started crying now'. She was sobbing with tears were rolling down her little face. Later on, I gave my 'camp cell phone' back and told them we would not be returning. My 14yr old was not into his club and spend his days at the pool (tiny pools) with us or watching in-room movies(had to pay over $10 each) * Cheap interiors, plastic everywhere. Charged for everything half way decent. You get what you pay for. HAL outshone by a thousand miles Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
This was our first cruise and it was more than we ever dreamed it would be. We had family with us so that of course made the experience so much nicer. The food was just awesome and freshly prepared daily.. I felt like a princess and so ... Read More
This was our first cruise and it was more than we ever dreamed it would be. We had family with us so that of course made the experience so much nicer. The food was just awesome and freshly prepared daily.. I felt like a princess and so very special.We do not know how we can ever top this experience but we are ready to try.. All the staff we very helpful and friendly. The cruise director John Heald made things so easy to understand and he made sure we all understood what we were to do. Our dinning room staff were so friendly, informative and catered to our every need. Piotr was our head waiter and Jelena was also our second server. If Jelena saw me in other areas of the ship she always called me by name and talked with me.. I was very pleased with both of them. Our cabin was kept very tidy and extra clean. We loved the little towel creatures left for us each night.. We had fun with our grandsons with all the activities on board.. We loved the serenity deck and used it lots.. We enjoyed the many hot tubs and pools also. The ship was always kept very clean and the food was just so wonderful and delicious. You could get anything you wanted all you had to do was ask and it was provided.:)We enjoyed listening to all the different types of music in the lounges. My only complaint would be that it was very difficult to find a lounge chair in any prime location. People would come down for breakfast and mark their place and even if they left for awhile they would leave their stuff and no one else could/would take it.. That was very frustrating. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Overall we were very happy with our cruise. We had a large back balcony which was big enough for 2 lounge chairs, 2 chairs and one table. Our room was a very nice size with 3 closets and a desk. The bathroom was the worst part of the ... Read More
Overall we were very happy with our cruise. We had a large back balcony which was big enough for 2 lounge chairs, 2 chairs and one table. Our room was a very nice size with 3 closets and a desk. The bathroom was the worst part of the cabin, it seemed to be a "cheap" when everything else was so nice. Our room steward was great, he got everything we needed and was very friendly. The only negative is that people from the Lido deck smoke and then flick their ash not believe that there are balconies below and it either lands on you or the balcony....The boat holds around 4,000 passengers but at no point did we feel crowded. There are 2 dinning rooms, we were in the Southern one which we thought looked better then the northern one. Ken is in charge of the Southern Dinning room and he is a great maitre' de. All of the staff in the dinning room did a great job in food service and they also capped each night of by performing a dance/song routine. The steak restaurant is great along with the italian restaurant. We did the chef's table which is a must do! We had 10 or more great courses and it is a great atmosphere eating in the galley. This boat is always having food being served.Our trip was very port intensive and we wished that we had a few more sea days to enjoy the boat. We did not do any tours through carnival since we believe we get a better experience and a discount by forming our own groups and doing them on our own. The shows were good. You can see that carnival poured plenty of money into the shows but in the end they are still cruise boat performances.The pools are very nice and there a plenty of hot tubs located around the boat. The best hot tubs are located on deck 5 and hang over the edge of the boat (they are a lot less crowded then the main ones on the lido deck). We did do both water slides which are a whole lot of fun.The piano bar and the club on our trip were very popular places. Usually when on a cruise the club is empty but this time I felt like I needed to get bottle service it was so popular and fun!Some of the other guests, mainly the Russians are very Rude and pushy on the boat. Carnvial is trying to get more European travelers on their boat but it seems that they are finding customers that make it hard for loyal carnival people to enjoy their company. This could be specific to my cruise but we heard they are trying to make a market in this area with these Rudy Russian people...It acutally become funny because when you saw someone being rude who knew exactly who they were and everyone around us started to laugh...Overall Carnival did a great job with this boat, their service was great and personal. We would recommend this boat to anyone! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Having read many reviews before booking the Carnival Magic 12-day cruise, I feel compelled to return the favor and add my comments on the cruise we just finished yesterday(2 adults & 2 children):The ship is an awesome ship..even with ... Read More
Having read many reviews before booking the Carnival Magic 12-day cruise, I feel compelled to return the favor and add my comments on the cruise we just finished yesterday(2 adults & 2 children):The ship is an awesome ship..even with 4,000+ passengers, it was never crowded...many different things to do...the kids were never bored and had a great time.The food was okay...food at the main seating rooms was great...the food in the market place was so-so. The desserts at the Marketplace .looked great but tasted terrible.The service/staff for the room and main seating restaurant was exceptional. Very friendly and went out of their way to make the vacation memorable. The rest of the staff, mainly from Eastern Europe, were not friendly.One side comment....there was about 700+ kids on the ship(including 2 of mine)...there appeared to be many kids running around, with no supervision at all hours of the day/night. What bothered us the most was some of the kids were very rude, loud and intrusive. Several times I had to say something to these kids.Overall, the vacation/cruise was memorable. It was worth the price and we are glad that we went on the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
This was our first ever cruise and we chose Carnival Magic because of its ports of call. As cruise novices we worried about choosing the right room - we didn't like the sound of an 'inside room' but didn't think ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and we chose Carnival Magic because of its ports of call. As cruise novices we worried about choosing the right room - we didn't like the sound of an 'inside room' but didn't think we'd need a balcony, so taking the advice of our Virgin Cruise rep we went with his suggestion of room 2497 on the second floor that had a window overlooking the rear of the ship. This was a huge mistake and one I blame solely on our Virgin rep who actually laughed when we asked the seemingly ridiculous question, "Can you hear the noise of the engine from the lower decks, as we are light sleepers?" "There is no noise on modern cruise ships," was the reply. So he booked us in stateroom 2497 and we spent twelve nights in a room that shook, rumbled and rattled, especially when the ship went in and out of port. We actually filmed it to capture the level of noise and vibration, but after compaining the best the steward could offer was to suggest we pack towels round everything! Sleep was often difficult and an alarm call really not needed as the engines had us awake by 5 -6am most mornings. For a first time 'cruiser' I have to say the ship itself was pretty spectacular - I doubt they can all look that amazing, and the level of service and cleanliness was excellent. A plus was definitely the food served in the two main dining rooms, which was very good - we couldn't fault it. We didn't try the ships Italian restaraunt because we were travelling around Italy and had a few meals off the ship, but as it was our anniversary during the trip we booked a table in the Steakhouse, where the staff tried so hard to make us welcome that they never left us alone for a minute, to the point that we wondered if they were rushing us through our meal because they were after our table!! It spoiled the evening and to be frank the food was no better than that served in the dining room. The Lido on the 10th floor was a general buffet that looked great but somehow never tasted quite as good as it looked, and other eateries such as the Tandoori, the Deli, the Pizza place and the Grill were much the same. Hit and miss - great hotdogs and Indian, tasteless low quality icecream and coffee. The same could be said for the entertainment - it was never quite as good as it could or should have been. A lot of the acts and shows in my opinion were second rate, but we really enjoyed the Red Frog Pub and the band Blood Power were excellent, but sadly undersold because they were usually on in the Ocean Plaza, a walk through bar/food area that had all the hospitality and atmosphere of an airport lounge. Yet the Spotlight Lounge was a lovely setting that was very poorly used. My husband was looking forward to the promised opportunity of 'singing karaoke with a live band', which had been advertised but in reality didn't exist. On the few occasions we saw karaoke it was a limp, sad affair, poorly presented and struggling to be heard over music played through the ship's piped music system. Cheesy John Heald, the Entertainment Director took every opportunity to go for the hard sell on everything from tours to ladies watches and he was fond of reminding us we were on a 'luxury cruise' - a bit more time spent organising better entertainment and upgrading the uninformative Fun Times bulletin would have been a better use of his time. I'm not sure we'll do another cruise - the theory is great, but the cost is high and the ship was full to over capacity, so it was impossible to get a sunbed or find a quiet place away from the Las Vegas - holiday camp vibe espiecally on 'fun days' at sea. But seeing Florence and Venice for the first time was fantastic and something we'll remember always! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
My husband and I are both retired and enjoy cruising. We have cruised on four different cruise lines but we much prefer Carnival because we believe it offers better value and more fun. The new Carnival Magic is a beautiful ship which never ... Read More
My husband and I are both retired and enjoy cruising. We have cruised on four different cruise lines but we much prefer Carnival because we believe it offers better value and more fun. The new Carnival Magic is a beautiful ship which never seemed crowded even with over 4000 passengers and crew. Our balcony cabin was roomy enough to easily have another couple visit, offered ample storage, and provided luxury linens and a comfy bed. On many of the upper decks inside cabin passengers can easily access the outside by going to the forward outside deck. On most other cruise ships this highly desirable area is for private balconies. Before the cruise we stayed in Hotel Ciutat Del Prat. I highly recommend this four star hotel that provided airport and cruise terminal shuttles plus a great breakfast for less than $150 per night. Embarkation and debarkation were flawless as was debarkation at the ports of call. Since this was our first visit to Italy this 12 day cruise was perfect. We visited all the most popular sites with two days in Venice which allowed us time "to get lost" in this fascinating city. We booked tours privately with other passengers met through Cruise Critic's roll calls. This is a great service. I must put in a good word for Aequa Limo tours of Amalfi Coast, a great and great tour and they didn't even require credit card great tour and they didn't even require a credit card #to reserve a tour. Service on the ship at all levels was friendly and professional. The ship's staff went out of their way to be helpful. When I got word from home that my Mom had fallen and was hospitalized, the ship's staff not only rescheduled our flight home but arranged a call to the hospital. Food was always good in the dining room. Lido deck food was ok but desserts not so good. This was a fantastic cruise. My only complaint is a problem seen on many ships and that is passengers who reserve lounge chairs and leave them unattended and unused. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
I would rate my cruise on 5/10/11 a disappointment. We took this sailing only due to its itinerary; Barcelona/Monaco/Venice/Rome which was not offered in any single cruise by another line. You get what you pay for - especially on ... Read More
I would rate my cruise on 5/10/11 a disappointment. We took this sailing only due to its itinerary; Barcelona/Monaco/Venice/Rome which was not offered in any single cruise by another line. You get what you pay for - especially on Carnival.**Ship Exterior - Classic ship, but the water slides make the ship look cheap - which it was with lots of plastic and fake wood. There were only two small pools and therefore, appears not to be a good selection for its future home post of Galveston. Did like the whirlpools on the side of the ship though.**Ship Interior - Public Areas - Lots of bars and meeting places to sit down, but awful noisy. Theatre was good size holding 1,300+ but had a lot of obstructed views due to poles. Casino was very large, but table games were very limited - did have two video poker for Texas Hold-Em. Again, lots of plastic and neon lights and not artwork - unless you include Park West. Dining rooms same as other ships.**Ship Interior - Stateroom - Do not waste money on Balcony rooms unless in spa level. Would suggest the Delux Ocean View with a normal bathroom and a jr. tub/shower and sink - great for two people or family to have more then one take a shower at same time.**Food - MDR - nothing spectacular. Menu did not offer many selections and the standard menu was also limited and had a flat iron steak instead of a NY strip that many lines serve. Also, the lobster bisque had little brandy in it compared to the serving in the Steakhouse - why the diff??? Desserts were served on plates incl cherries jubilee and others - no baked alaska dance nor any other spectacular presentations.**Food - Chef's Table/Steakhouse - The $75 for Chef's Table is worth the money for 10 course meal w/unlimited wine. Great food - too bad some that were also offered in MDR did not match up to quality. Do not waste $30 on steakhouse. Atmosphere was too noisy and lots of neon. Does not look like the steakhouses with wood and everything. My steak had to be returned and the lobster entree consisted of only three small tails - same size as MDR.**Food - Room Service - Very good and on time. needed RS due to 10/11 shore excursions that left in 7 a.m. hours. Entertainment - The shows in the theatre were better than expected. The opening night Magic Show was very glitzy. The comedians were not too good both in the theatre and Comedy Club - can't they stop talking about "penis" and using the "f" word in the unsencored shows - tacky and lack of good material is probably reason.**Shore Excursions - Spent almost $3K, and were normal SE from ship. Buses in port were fairly new, but no bathrooms aboard!!**Staff & Crew - Friendly, but did not like having the crew smoke in a passenger smoking area - paid to relax and not hear business talk. Don't know what's the big deal about John Heald except he is BIG!!**Embarkation/Debarkation - Very efficient on/off w/o waiting. Only complaint was that in first couple of ports did x-ray at port entrance and redid upon boarding - took carnival a couple of ports to realize that they were doing extra work.**Overall - As this was only 2nd Carnival cruise out of 43 taken over the last 36 years, was expecting more from a new ship. All I got was a ship made from plastic and fake wood. The food served was good, but the quality and selections were not. Enteretainment was better than expected, except the water slides made the ship look cheap - did I say CHEAP! I guess I might be baised, but I expected a more refined ship for a Europe cruise and did not get it. Would I sail on the Magic again - yes if the price was good - $70/day. but would pay double or more if I wanted to take my usual cruise on say HAL or Celeb based on itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Vacations were a thing of the past since our autistic son hates to leave the house, or when we have tried to travel, the hotel room. We decided to gamble on a cruise and crossed our fingers that our son's love of history would get ... Read More
Vacations were a thing of the past since our autistic son hates to leave the house, or when we have tried to travel, the hotel room. We decided to gamble on a cruise and crossed our fingers that our son's love of history would get him off the ship. We booked a Cove Balcony and set out with expectations of sitting on our balcony and watching Europe sail by. Well, the Cove Balcony was wonderful and we didn't want to leave. Private and quiet with a beautiful water level view. Our room was spotless and roomy, the beds very comfortable. We had left over drawer space after unpacking. If we had never left the room, we would have had a wonderful vacation.Boarding was a breeze. We booked through Autism on the Seas and they provided Carnival with our son's information including his quirks and limitations. We had priority board and were on board relaxing within minutes. Once on the ship we were given a cell phone to carry so that our son could reach us when we were out of the room. He never called but it gave us peace of mind to go to shows or get a drink at night while he watched a movie in the room. Carnival was more than happy to have our son participate in either of the teen clubs but he choose not to and was actually so worn out by sight seeing that he needed to crash in our room after dinner each night. We were assigned a table for four in the Southern Lights dining room by the window in the back. Watching the water and the sunsets provided us with a show each night which was followed by Ken the maitre d's song of the night and dancing by the staff. We loved it. Our server Bianca was fabulous and attentive as was the entire wait staff. Our son had a made to order dinner each night that Bianca tweaked the first few days until she came upon the perfect combination of chicken fingers, basmati rice and papadam. Not on the menu but always ready when we arrived. Our skinny son who has been loosing weight for the past year put on over five pounds during the cruise. A miracle! And the food was so good that we ended up canceling our reservation at the Steak House. We did do the Chef's table and had the meal of our lives. Wonderful wine and creative, gourmet courses made for a memorable experience. That night our son's dinner was brought to our room which made our night that much easier. For lunch, the Tandoori grill had Indian food better than anything available at home. We ate there every day when we were on the ship.We enjoyed the shows, particularly anything with the CD John Heald. Yes, we are huge fans of his. Faulty Towers, Extras and John. Love British "humour". The two main singers were very talented and the magic show had the expected glitz and tricks that still have us scratching our heads.All in all, the trip was what we dreamed of and more than we ever hoped for. Read Less
Sail Date May 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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