17 Barcelona to Europe - Western Mediterranean Carnival Magic Cruise Reviews

We went on the Carnival Magic in October for a 9 day cruise around the Mediterranean. The ship itself, even being so new, showed some signs of wear and tear but was for the most part very clean. Clientele was generally older and not as ... Read More
We went on the Carnival Magic in October for a 9 day cruise around the Mediterranean. The ship itself, even being so new, showed some signs of wear and tear but was for the most part very clean. Clientele was generally older and not as quite downscale or rowdy as you might find on Carnival ships sailing in the US. The buffet food on the Lido deck, as many have mentioned, is cafeteria quality. It was difficult to find options that we really wanted or liked. It became repetitive, even with different options like the burrito bar. Typically, we think of cruises as a time where we will just eat constantly and come back satisfied (and a few pounds heavier). However, we found as the days went on, and especially with all the walking we were doing in port, we were bound to lose weight. We would look at the menu for the main dining room during the day and at times it was tough to find anything we were really excited about. I was also disappointed to see that there was not a lot of variation with the dessert selections from night to night. Overall, I would say the food that we did order in the MDR was decent, but I wasn't raving about anything. Although, I will say I was surprised how great the lobster was on lobster night. Aside from the food, the service in the main dining room was disappointing. I didn't know that there had been such a trend towards smaller tables lately and I think this changed our service significantly. We were at a table of 4, and our wait staff had to look over about 8-10 other small tables. (I'd say as opposed to having 3-4 large 8 or 10 person tables) Because of this, our waiter had time to hand us menus and take our order, nothing more. No recommendations, no explanation of any dishes. Not sure if this is something we just took for granted on other cruise lines, but I had come to expect a little more interaction and recommendations. Our wine rarely got poured for us and our water sometimes got refilled often, sometimes never. All of the staff were very friendly and really worked their butts off to try and make sure everyone was happy, but it's just impossible to provide good service to that many tables when they all sit down at once. It would typically be about 45 minutes before we would see our appetizer and the whole meal would average about 2 hours. Let's just say we were lucky to have good table mates, otherwise we would have really noticed the huge gaps between courses. We didn't go to all the shows on the ship, partly because we wouldn't make it out of dinner on time but mainly because none of them seemed too appealing. The ones we did go to were just ok - not the same quality that we have seen on other cruise lines. The other activities hosted throughout the days were fun, good variety. The 'shopping' sales were annoying to say the least, and the announcements that went along with them were even more nagging. Many other people have noted the fact that they excessively push merchandise and products on to you throughout the duration of the cruise. I feel like this is just part of being a business, but they could tone it down a bit. I wish there was also a way to access your photos from your stateroom, since the photo stations were always really crowded and congested. We had a balcony stateroom on deck 8. We would have been frustrated to be lower than that since the main deck and jacuzzis would have been closer to us. It's definitely better to be up a few decks to get your privacy. Our stateroom was large enough and very clean. Nothing to complain about there. Overall, I feel like if we had paid a lot more to go on a more upscale cruise line, it wouldn't have been worth it since we spent so much time in the ports. The site seeing was definitely more of the highlight of the trip, rather than the actual cruise. This made it easier to stay off the ship longer or even eat our meals in port and not feel like we were missing out on our cruise experience. Nevertheless, it was always nice and relaxing to come back to our ship everyday. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
CARNIVAL MAGIC -â€" A MIXED BAG We recently took a 9 night Mediterranean cruise on the Carnival Magic. We are experienced cruisers, but most of our recent cruises have been on Princess or Celebrity, and we had not been on ... Read More
CARNIVAL MAGIC -â€" A MIXED BAG We recently took a 9 night Mediterranean cruise on the Carnival Magic. We are experienced cruisers, but most of our recent cruises have been on Princess or Celebrity, and we had not been on Carnival for many years. We have avoided Carnival for our Caribbean cruises because we do not particularly like all the hyper-activity party environment that we associate with Carnival. However, we booked this cruise mainly because its timing and itinerary fit our schedule, and thought that the downsides of Carnival warm-weather cruises would not be an issue on a European cruise in October, because most people would be off the ship during the daytime and there would not be many children on board. We had a mixed reaction to the our experience on this cruise. We were pleasantly surprised by certain aspects and disappointed in others. All in all, the experience was better than we had expected, but we likely would not select this line or ship over Celebrity or Princess for any future cruise. Because this ship is so new, and Carnival is relatively new at cruising in Europe again, we thought that it might be helpful to detail our reactions to the cruise. EMBARKATION: We were very pleased with the embarcation process. The ship offered boarding very early, at 11:30 a.m. We had filed out all the required paperwork ahead of tme, and the boarding process was a breeze. Maybe because we were so early, it took us only about 20 minutes to check in, go through security, and get on board. Our luggage arrived relatively early, about two hours after boarding, which was really nice. SHIP COMMON AREA DESIGN AND DECOR: The design and décor of the ship, in our opinion, had pluses and minuses. The first thing you see upon boarding is the atrium lobby. No doubt, other people may have found it very attractive, but we found it 1980s tacky. It was laden with light fixtures that change colors. The finishings throughout had a plastic feel. There was nothing really elegant about it. On the other hand, the floors with the cabins were appealing. The entertainment rooms (the theater and other show room) were not particularly attractive, and also had a feeling of economy to us. On the other hand, the dining room was very attractive. In addition, everything was brand-spanking new and in top condition. There were also some flawed design aspects that we observed, but they were not big deals. For example, the ship offered live entertainment in the atrium lobby at night, but that created a lot of noise on the cabin floors because there was nothing to muffle the loud music from the atrium. Similarly, the ship has a wonderful room for the piano bar, but it is right next door to one of the show rooms (the Spotlight Lounge), and the noise from one permeated into the other. In addition, the ship has very good computer availaibility (in fact, I have never seen a ship with more computers and computers located around the ship, such as on the pool deck ), but the main computer area is flush in the middle of the main entertainment floor with all the computers in a row. As a result, there is no privacy when you are working on the computers, which you have with the separate work stations in the separate computer lounge on the Princess ships, and you are subjected to the noise from one of the hallway music lounges which is right next to the computer area. On the plus sign, the main reception desk and the other service areas were well located. CABINS: The cabins are suprisingly nice. We had a stateroom with balcony towards the front of the ship. The cabins have a very nice layout and had a relatively spacious feel. They have a very large desk area, sofa and coffee table, which were very nice touches. There are two separate closets and a larger than average amount of drawer space. The bathrooms were adequate and offered enough shelf and storage space. The showers have separate soap gel and shampoo dispensers, which we thought was an improvement on the little packages that we usually see. The only downside to the cabins were that the walls were paper thin, so we could hear noises of every type from the adjoining rooms, and the balcony was pretty small (but that may have been a product of the location of our fore cabin). FOOD: The food service on this ship was the worst part of the cruise and second rate, which really confirmed our concern that Carnival is not a top-tier line. Again, I am sure that others may disagree, but we were very disappointed overall. The choice of entrees and appetizers in the main dining room was not particularly impressive. They offered three courses (appetizer or soup or salad, entrée and dessert), unlike Princess, which offered four. What made it worse was that the "every day" options that were available when you didn't like the menu were almost laughable. We did not go on a cruise to be offered fried chicken, hamburgers, or flat iron steak (not sirloin). The food itself was mediocre at best and, even when the food itself was acceptable, the portions were really small. As experienced cruisers, we knew would could order more courses or extra food if we wanted to, but most people would not know this. Even worse was the buffet. On the plus side at breakfast was the made-to-order omelets. But the variety was limited, the food was not very well prepared, there was no attention to detail (like making sure that the milk for cereal remained chilled). In addition, the ship offered pre-cooked pancakes, french toast and waffles, but only at the hamburger bar next to the pool and away from the rest of the buffet. As a result, you had to go all the way to the pool to get it and then come back in wait in line for the rest of the selections at breakfast. This is a major conceptual design flaw that proved very inconvenient. The salad bar was almost laughably limited compared to other ships we have been on. At lunch, the burrito bar was a nice touch, as was the option to have made-to-order pasta in the Italian restaurant for free at lunch. The Mongolian wok was also a nice option, but it lost all appeal because there was not enough staff to cook the selections and serve the number of people who wanted to partake, which led to really long lines. The dinner options at the buffet were also pretty limited and the food (some of which included certain of the dining room options) was not particularly good. The desserts were mostly tasteless, but that is not uncommon on ships in our experience. Maybe the best experience we had on the ship was the night we ate in the Prime Steakhouse. We live in a major city and eat at good restaurants regularly, but the dinner we had on ship compared favorably with some of the better steakhouses in our city. The menu was varied and interesting, and the food was beautifully presented on elegant dishware and with imaginative garnishes and other touches. The portions were very generous. We got a meal that would have costed in excess of $100 per person in a restaurant for only $30. I would strongly encourage everyone to try this restaurant at least once. In fact, had we planned better, we would have eaten there at least two or three times because of our dissatisfaction with the dining room food, but it was booked by the time we got around to discovering how good it was. Nice touches were the now routine hamburger grill and pizza bar around the pool area. The food at both was very good. However, a big downside was that the hamburger grill closed around 6 p.m., before many people could go there for a dinner option if they wanted a burger instead of dinner. The pizza was surprisingly good. The ship also offered what it called a "deli", but it looked pretty unappealing. There also was an Indian food option, but we are not into Indian food, and did not try it. My guess is that the ship will shut down both of these and use the space for something more popular because we did not see many people going to either. Another huge disappointment for us was the availability of food in the later evening. We are not gluttons, but we do like on some evenings to have a light snack, such as fresh fruit, or perhaps a light desert or a little salad. The late night options on this ship were virtually non-existant after around 9:30, consisting only of the 24 hour pizza s and, a soft-serve/yougurt machine, and a dessert stand on the entertainment floor, which offered gelato, fancier desserts and coffes (all at an extra charge). In our opinion, this was really inferior to other experiences we have had. OUTDOOR RECREATION AND POOLS: This ship obviously was designed for Caribbean cruises and for families. Once again, the amenities were a mixed bag. On the plus side, this ship offered realy first rate outside seating. There was a lot of very nice seating in the shade around the pool decks, including very nice cushioned love seats and other interesting seating. The lounges around the pools were nice. Perhaps, one of the nicest features on the ship was the adults-only Serenity seating area with large covered bed-like lounges for two or more people to relax in. In addition, the ship offered more whirlpool spas than any ship I had ever seen, and even had spas on the Promenade deck overlooking the ocean, which was a very nice touch. Even nicer were the eating area just outside the enterntainment floor and some really nice outdoor seating areas for a couple of casual dining places on the entertainment floor, including under the Red Frog. Another really nice touch is the outdoor theater around one of the pools and the generous availability of towels by the pools and blankest for the hardy souls who wanted to watch movies outdoors at night, when it is cool on the ocean at this time of year. There also were lounges chairs spread all over the outdoor space on the recreation floors -â€" far more than I anticipated and have seen on other ships. There should be no problem getting a lounge chair in sunny areas on this ship, provided that you are not wedded to being around the pool. All in all, these were really nice features that surprised me. We were less impressed with the pool areas themselves. The main pool was really surprisingly small for a ship that is designed for warm weather sailing. On the other hand, there is a nice pool at the very rear of the ship that has a large enough feel to it. It, too, offered very nice seating options in the sun and shade. Although we did not use any of the outdoor sports options, they seemed to be varied and plentiful (miniature golf, basketball, rope climbing, etc.) One minor downside of the Promenade deck is that it also hosts some of the seating and dining options, so that is not as easy to use just for walking (and believe me, you can get a lot of exercise doing walking laps on this ship) as on other ships, where the Promenade provides unobstructed walking space. But this is just a nit. SERVICE: We generally were pleased with the service. The cabin steward, like most cabin stewards we have met, was really excellent. He cleaned the cabins promptly and well. A nice touch, if you care about these things, is that he made nice little animals out of towels each evening. Our dining room staff, comprised of one waiter and two assistants, could not have been nicer. We had a table for two (thankfully) at the late seating. They were very accomodating in handling any quriky requests we had (like lemon on the tables for the water and iced tea and an extra glass of ice). On the other hand, through no fault of their own, the entire dining experience always felt rushed. They came to take orders almost immediately after seating, and the food came flying out of the kitchen. As a result, you could easily go through a three course meal in 45 minutes. In reality, we do not mind eating and leaving reasonably quickly, but this was rushed even by our standards. Again, while some people might disagree with us, we were a little put off by all the "entertainment" that the wait staff is compelled to provide late in the dinners, such as singing, conga lines, etc. In our opinion, there is no place for this in what is supposed to be a relaxing time for meals. We also heard a fair amount of grumbling from people who had chosen the "Your Tiime" dining option. It seems that some people thought it was pretty disorganized, but we have no personal experience on this. Most of the other staff were very friendly and accomdating, including the waiters (who really cleared tables in the buffet room very quickly), the bartenders, the front desk staff, etc.). One exception to this is that I did not find the excursion staff particularly outgoing. One huge negative for us, which distinguished Carnival as a lower-end line, is that when we asked a waiter in the buffet to get us a Diet Coke and gave him our room charge card, he told us that they don't get drinks, but there was a bar by the pool. That do me was very disappointing and a lack of service that I had not experienced before. The ship was generally very clean, which appears to have been a priority. ENTERTAINMENT: This was another mixed bag to us. A couple of the production shows were ok, and others were just tacky. The piano bar was very nice, and the lounge player there was very good. The various bands and combos were adequate to good, in our opinion. The ship rotated comedians, and several of them were pretty funny, particularly at the x-rated late night adult shows. The reliance on magicians seemed a bit low-end to us but, again, reasonable people could easily disagree. The karaoke options are abundant for people into that. These events culminated in a passenger talent show, which sounds cheesey, but really turned out to be among themost fun entertainment options of the whole cruise. The disco was compact and adequate, but might get crowded when the ship is filled with younger people. The cruise staff generally was good. The cruise director, James, generally was very good. The cruise offered a wide variety of activities, enough to keep almost everyone on-board entertained while on ship. The casino was sufficiently large to accommodate most cruisers. (I only wish that they would have more no-smoking tables.) The shops were what you would expect on a cruise ship, although the candy store was a nice touch, but I doubt it will survive, given the lack of traffic. One big negative is the relatively frequent announcements over the public address system of upcoming entertainment events. These got downright annoying. I wish they would dial these back a notch. EXCURSIONS: We found the choice of excursions to be sufficiently varied, with half-day and full day alternatives offered. Our advice, however, is to do some research on your own well before departing for your cruise and try to book the excursions on your own. You no doubt will save a lot of money. While the cruise lines don't guaranty the performance and timing of the independent tour operators, most of the better independent tour operators depend on cruise passengers and are highly reliable. If you can afford it, we strongly recommend trying to put together a small group and hire a private driver/tour guide to take you wherever you want to go. You will see far more with them than you will ever see on a cruise excursion, and the price probably will be a lot less. DISEMBAKCATION: Carnival handled the departure of the ship with military precision. Kudos to them for that and the smooth transfers, which include them carrying luggage directly to the airport, so you never have to touch your luggage. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS: The ambience on this ship clearly is not one of elegance, or even upscale. It clearly is middle-of-the road. I generally like casual dress onboard, and do not even like to dress up for dinner. However, this cruise line welcomes people to come to the dining room in shorts and blue jeans, rather than, for example, khakis or similar wear. Again, I am sure some people enjoy this, but we think that this is a bit lower-end than we would have preferred. But this is Carvinal, not Celebrity. BOTTOM LINE: We love huge ships, and this is huge. There are many nice features to it, particuarly the cabins and outdoor seating, but it has a plastic feel to it overall. The food quality (except for the steakhouse) is really a deal-killer for us. This is probably a good choice for first-time cruisers, those on a tighter budget, those who like a lot of activity and entertainment, and those who tend to be easier to please. It also should appeal to Caribbean travelers who like party ships and people travelling with families. But, on balance, I do not think that this would be a good choice for those who have enjoyed more upscale cruise lines because of the lower-end ambiance, lack of attention to niceities, and second-rate food service. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We had previously cruised Europe on Celebrity and there was no comparison. I decided to try Carnival for the ports and the fact it was a new ship. The ship was fine- large with plenty of lounges- but it lacked the ambiance of other cruises ... Read More
We had previously cruised Europe on Celebrity and there was no comparison. I decided to try Carnival for the ports and the fact it was a new ship. The ship was fine- large with plenty of lounges- but it lacked the ambiance of other cruises I have been on, the service at some places, and the food was poor. Embarkation was very easy at 11 AM and we were on the ship within 10 minutes after arriving at the port. We immediately headed to the buffet for lunch which was not yet crowded. At 1:30 PM our cabin was ready and our luggage arrived shortly thereafter. We had a balcony room (I guess a mini-suite but not called that) which was fine although it did seem smaller than on other cruises. Our room was always clean but this is the first cruise that the room steward did not come and introduce himself. We never saw him except an occasional wave in the hall. Our main complaints were the rudeness of some of the staff plus the lack of knowledge of the ports. The shore excursion desk was not at all helpful. We were given the wrong information on several times. I do not think they cared about answering questions about the port unless you took their excursions. With the exception of Naples where we took the ferry ourselves to Capri, all of our excursions were booked through the ship. On our first night, we received word after 8 PM that our tour the next day in Monaco was canceled due to not enough people signed up. By then the desk was closed and all tours were filled. If there were on 6 signed up for a tour for 40, they should have contacted us early in the day to say there was a possibility the tour would be canceled and what was our second choice. Then when I did speak to someone the next morning, he led me to believe there would be tours you could take at the port. Other than the 30 minute train ride around Monaco, there were none. Luckily, I guess they had a lot of complaints so they added a bus and made an afternoon tour to the French. They misled us about the shuttle services to town in other ports also. The time was not properly utilized on excursions- we were given 45 minutes in places that had nothing and yet less time in places with a lot of shops and cafes. The staff in the perfume shop were very unfriendly and rude. I saw that a sample of perfume I wanted to try was empty and asked if they had another tester. I was rudely told "not until the next cruise." The staff in the casino was also rude. We asked one attendant how to cash out a few dollars we had won and she acted like she was doing us a favor by showing us and was fresh. The same with the man in the cashier cage. The hours for currency exchange was also limited if you had an excursion booked or dining plans. However, our dining staff in the main dining room were great. Our waiter, Caesar, was wonderful as well as Made and Suraj. We thoroughly enjoyed their attentiveness and service. The comedians were great! I was not impressed at all with any other show. TV in the room just featured showing the cruise director and news. We were not on the cruise to watch tv but when we were getting dressed or relaxing, it would have been nice to have a choice. The food was nothing special - with the exception of a few entrees or desserts in the main dining room. The breakfast buffet was very poor- everything was not presented in a convenient location (pancakes, waffles, and french toast were only by the pool) and the selection was poor. There were no nice fruits like strawberries, pineapples, sliced oranges - only cantaloupe and water melon everyday. It never changed. Most items were cold. The deli was very good as well as the grill by the pool- the pizza didn't compare to that on Princess. Room service was very limited for breakfast if you had an early excursion. I just felt Carnival lacks something major. I doubt if I would cruise it again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Where to begin....let me first say that these are my own opinions, obviously, and others may disagree with me on some of these points. I don't intend to insult anyone. Our main intent for this cruise was just to get to the ... Read More
Where to begin....let me first say that these are my own opinions, obviously, and others may disagree with me on some of these points. I don't intend to insult anyone. Our main intent for this cruise was just to get to the destinations without having to pack and unpack in each city, on a strict budget. My companions and I are in our late 20s to mid 30s, so this may be an entirely different experience for older folk. CRUISE ITSELF Embarking: we were able to drop our bags off at 10am and explore Barcelona a bit before entering the ship, which was nice. Taxis are aplenty at port, though you may have to wait in a long line to go back into the city depending. Room: we had three girls in an interior room towards the middle of the 7th deck. It was really the perfect location, in the middle of everything. I thought it would bother me not to have a window, but it wound up being fine. I wouldn't have more than three people in a room, though. The bathroom, as you can imagine, is really, really small. The shower is nearly impossible to shave in. But we expected all of this so it wasn't a problem. The TV has very few channels, but if you're not spending a lot of time in your room, this won't come into play much. There are three closets that are a pretty good size and a dresser with three small usable drawers. The beds are high enough to slide a good size suitcase under them. Pool & Pool Deck: the pools are smaller than we had expected. The one in the back of the ship is the quieter one. The front is where they have a live band or loud music. The back has music playing but more in the background. It's difficult to find a lounger by the pool if you don't get up early, but we had no problem finding one on the 11th or 12th decks no matter what time of day it was. Food: Horrible. There's no way around that. We heard some people say that it was terrific, and I feel sorry for those people because they haven't been exposed to truly good food. We tried the buffet, the dining room, and the Italian restaurant that requires a fee for each guest ($10). The buffet: the omelet bar, burrito bar, and wok bar were okay, but everything else was awful. Burgers sit there for hours; buns are stale; hotdogs are boiled until they're mush instead of grilled; meat and seafood are overcooked; somehow the salad bar wasn't even that great and that was just straight up veggies and beans. Southern Lights dining room: We were at the youngest table and were served last every night. As a result, almost every entrEe was served cold. Our app plates would sit in front of us for way too long before being cleared away. Desert was nearly always melted by the time it was served. It took over 2 hours every night, which was not necessary in my opinion. Servers have more than one large table, so they are run ragged by the look of things. And each night dinner ends with a man singing Sinatra and the servers getting up on pedestals to dance a "friendship dance". I know cruises can be cheesy but this was waaaay too much for me. Italian restaurant: not great, not terrible. The pasta was cooked well, but it was served luke warm and wasn't great. I don't think it was worth the extra $10. Entertainment: Danny in the Red Frog is good, but everything else we heard music wise was cheesy to the max. All onboard musicians LOVE Bon Jovi and have a very limited selection of music that they play. We didn't watch any of the comedians or see any of the other shows, so I have no opinion of those. Service: our room porter was great; waiters at the Red Frog are terrific; other service was alright - not great, not horrible. People: Most people on the ship were seniors with very few children since school had just started. We were shocked at how rude the majority of the people on the ship were. Pushing and shoving to get into the buffet. No "please" or "thank you" or common courtesy. No manners at all. It got to be really, really annoying by the end of it. Disembarking: we had no problem. We were allowed to begin disembarking at 5:45am. We left the ship between 7-7:30am and just breezed through. We didn't even have to wait for a taxi. DESTINATIONS Buy this book: Seriously, do yourself a favor and pick up Rick Steves' Mediterranean Cruise Ports. It was our bible throughout the entire trip. When you have only hours in a city the size of Rome, you don't have time to mess around. This book gives directions by walking, transit, highlights of the city to hit up, restaurant recommendations, what to do if you miss your ship, etc. I don't know what we would have done without it. Itinerary: Be prepared for changes in the itinerary. We were told on our first day that Rome was having a transit strike the day we were supposed to be in port, so they had to shuffle things around. As a result, we would no longer be going to Naples, and that Naples was replaced with Marseilles. Many people, including ourselves, were very upset with this. We chose this cruise specifically for the destinations, and they can just change them on a dime. They said they'd notified us the week before, but they had not. The times you think you'll be in port are also likely to change. I believe Florence was initially supposed to be 7:30am to after 7pm and it wound up being 10:00am to 6pm. Excursions: In the interest of saving money, my companions and I opted not to do any excursions through Carnival. They are way too overpriced in my opinion, and I am not a patient person. I am also comfortable with public transit. If you do choose to go on them, be prepared to wait on people and not have any say in how you spend your time in cities. Our tablemates told us that no matter the amount of free time they say you'll have, it never winds up being that much time. Self-transfers into main cities from port: Italian trains are VERY unreliable. Trains get cancelled and break down all the time. Both happened to us in Florence. Do not wait until the last minute to come back, because a cab ride from Rome or Florence back to port is going to run you hundreds of euros. Liverno requires a 1 hour and 20 minute train ride into Florence. We split a cab to the train station. You'll need to make sure that the train you are on is either direct or requires a transfer in Pisa. Be sure to ask this (we almost wound up not transferring, ending up god knows where). Once into Florence you can take a bus to wherever you want to go. Rome requires a 1.5 hour (or less) train ride from Civitavecchia. The train station is within walkable distance from port. Once in Rome, you can take the subway to the Colliseum or Vatican, or wherever you want to go. It's really easy once you figure out what line you need. The book I suggested gives explicit directions that we followed seamlessly. When going back to port, give yourself at least 20 minutes to walk to the platform once in the train station. Taxis: be sure to ask how much it should cost you if you can, because they will try to rip you off. If it winds up that you need to take a cab back from Rome, I know friends of ours talked a cab driver down to 120 Euro. They'll likely aim for 200. Theft: be smart with your belongings. Thieves run rampant and they're not all scary looking men. We had someone tell us that a little old woman attempted to jack his wallet. I hope this helps! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We were traveling around Europe for two months and decided it would be nice to break the trip with a few days of living the easy life and not being hassled by street beggars, pickpockets and conmen continually trying to fleece us as we ... Read More
We were traveling around Europe for two months and decided it would be nice to break the trip with a few days of living the easy life and not being hassled by street beggars, pickpockets and conmen continually trying to fleece us as we toured. But they were on the Carnival Magic waiting for us! I won't give a long winded tirade of the way Carnival Magics staff continually harass those on board to spend more. I'll just say that it is unrelenting. The ship is all glitz and bling but very little class. Poor quality materials are beginning to show damage already in the corridors and lifts. The food is of cafeteria quality on the lido deck and about average restaurant quality in the other dining areas. The wine list and the availability of the wine on it was appalling. Our cabin was a stern extended balcony. A great room but the fittings again were only average. The bathroom door would not stay shut and a large picture on the wall was anchored into place crookedly. (drove me crazy lol) The staff were all from central Europe (Bosnians etc.) and sadly many were a miserable lot, who gave the impression they resented being there. But in fairness they were polite. Because the prices of tickets is quite cheap, prospective cruisers must realize that the class of clientele might not be all they hope for. It is apparently ok in the USA to attend dining areas in your bathrobe ! Entertainment was not up to the standard we have experienced in the past. It was left to the customer to entertain themselves a lot, Line dancing, bingo, karaoke etc. No handy advice on getting around the ports was a constant complaint from those on board who chose not to join an excursion. I guess if you were not spending money with them they did not care about you! We enjoyed ourselves on the cruise because we pretty much wanted to do our own thing and did so, but if we had relied on Carnival to provide us with more than that, we would be very disappointed. We almost certainly will not sail with them again. . Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
My wife and I took our first Med cruise in 2010 with the 12-day Ruby Princess Grand Med itinerary. We loved it so much, that we couldn't wait to get back and bring our kids. We thought a 9-day itinerary on a brand new ship that was ... Read More
My wife and I took our first Med cruise in 2010 with the 12-day Ruby Princess Grand Med itinerary. We loved it so much, that we couldn't wait to get back and bring our kids. We thought a 9-day itinerary on a brand new ship that was very affordable would be a great way to get back. The pricing was great and Carnival makes Med cruises affordable to our family of four. I am a firm believer that ports are much more important than Cruise lines or ships. We had a great time and did a lot of planning. We did ZERO cruise line excursions. Here is a quick summary of what we did in each port: Barcelona: Hop On Hop Off, Funicular, Parc Guell, Casa Batllo, Casa Mila, Beach, Gothic Quarter, dinners at Cerveceria Catalana (great tapas and dinner) and Mariscco. Monaco: Bus to Nice, Cours Saleya, Hotel Negresco, Oceanographic Aquarium & Museum in Monaco Livorno: Papillon Tour to Florence, Accademia to see the David, Piazza Signoree, Bargello Museum, climbed Giotto's Bell Tower, shopping in leather markets, lunch at Ristorante Toto Civitavechhia: Train to Rome, Walking tour of Ancient Rome with Roman Candle, lunch in Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps Naples: Hydrofoil to Capri, 3-hour boat ride with Gianni's Boat and swimming in grottos, funicular to Capri Town Messina: Tour with Mario Astone to Mount Etna, Taormina Mallorca: canceled port strike Marseille: Tour with Provence Reservation to Provence (Arles, Les Baux, and Pont du Gard) No matter what else we did, with the lineup of attractions and itinerary above, we were going to have a great time. We did. Mission accomplished. Okay, on to the Magic, Carnival's newest ship. Cabin: Spa Balcony Cabin 12023 sleeps four and we were comfortable. Great cabin comes with spa benefits including free gym classes, use of T Pool in spa, and thermal suite in spa. I would do one of these cabins again in a second. Dining: Did anytime dining. When we got there before 7:30, we never had to wait for a table of four. Service on two nights was bad to awful. Servers never checked after serving any course how things were. They seemed preoccupied and overworked. We once waited too long for our meal and server apologized and blamed our section of the galley who were concentrating more on Chef's Table dinner. RIDICULOUS. Food was okay. Some meals were good while others were forgettable. Didn't spend much time in the buffet with only one sea day. Entertainment: Subpar. Carnival seems to have cut back in this area too. No show on the first night and on the last night, there was the "legends show" which is an excuse to not use professional entertainment and instead rely on passengers to sing and dance. UGH!!!! Other nights had game shows hosted by cruise director, John Heald. The one production show we caught was pretty good. Alternative entertainment in other lounge was comedy, which we skipped. Some nights, just used the spa because of boredom. Pool deck: a bit of an improvement as the Magic has the sports square with ropes course, which kids loved and a nice mini golf course, among other things. Hot tubs really didn't have hot water. Oh well. Carnival pools still are too small. Other venues: New Red Frog Pub is a major hit. The bar itself works. It's a fun atmosphere with a guitarist/singer (two take shifts and one was better and much more fun than the guy in the piano bar) who play contemporary music of the 70's, 80's to Now. Bar food, even with the small charge, is well worth it. Steakhouse is much smaller on this ship than others. Book it early and avoid getting shut out. New family Italian restaurant is pretty good and one of the waiters sings Amore around 7:30 with others with him. Very nice touch. Carnival keeps their cruises affordable and the Magic is a great way to do a family cruise in the Med. The cutbacks are evident and we would think twice about ever booking another Carnival cruise in the Caribbean or anywhere else. But I would recommend their new ship coming out next year (Breeze) for an affordable family Med cruise for anyone. There were hits and misses. But we had a great time and saw great things and had great experiences. It didn't come close to our Ruby Princess Grand Med cruise. But that's a different product. My scores are tough on the ship. But the experience was a 5. 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
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
(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
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
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
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
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
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
The ship was 5 star with a 3 star entertainment and dining experience. Breakfast was predictable nothing exciting, and lunch was not much better. The food in the dining room was often cold, we did complain a few times, it wasn't the ... Read More
The ship was 5 star with a 3 star entertainment and dining experience. Breakfast was predictable nothing exciting, and lunch was not much better. The food in the dining room was often cold, we did complain a few times, it wasn't the fault of the waiters, they did their best.The entertainment was poor out of the 12 days on board only 3 shows stood out, and there was not a show every night.The cabin was very nice, we had a balcony it was clean.Our steward was helpful, so was the guest reception. There is a standard charge for gratuities per person per day which we were aware of for the crew, but were asked time and again towards the end of the cruise not to forget the maitre'd and to tip more if we felt waiters, room stewards deserved it.How cheap can you get!! Disembarkation was efficient we had to be off the ship by 8.30 am Would I cruise with Carnival again? No I don't think so I've cruised with better!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We booked the cruise and flight separately as Barcelona has cheap flights from the Uk.We liked the itinary and the ports of call lived up to our expectation. However the ship did not.It is an American ship and as such be prepared for high ... Read More
We booked the cruise and flight separately as Barcelona has cheap flights from the Uk.We liked the itinary and the ports of call lived up to our expectation. However the ship did not.It is an American ship and as such be prepared for high drinks prices, cheapest bottle of wine 26$, can of fosters 6$.The entertainment was very poor, a show lasting 1 hour, only 3 cabaret shows and the others quest singers/comedians/jugglers. On 3 nights, John Heald cruise director uses the audience to entertain, the usual topic 'how long have you been married?'The kitchen is in the center of the ship located on deck 3, and all the food in the main restaurants comes from there although the standard is very good, it is luke warm when it arrives on your table, and for the 3 courses will take you almost 2 hours, they group nationalities together, so there were lots of tables with just 2 people on, incidently the tables were rectangle to accommodate the numbers.The Lido food is just OK, not a lot of choice at 3.30pm cleared away, all thats available till evening meal is burgers and pizza's, even on sea days.I am not a fussy eater or one to complain, this is the first time I have ever done a review on a cruise ship. I would compare this to Ocean Village which sadly we no longer have, and it is not in the league of celebrity, which has high prices but food to die for.The food is average, the entertainment is average, it is casual dining and should not be more than 3 stars.I have never seen so many shorts and T shirts worn on the evenings and even in the dining rooms, 2 formal evenings and about 60% made the effort. I strongly reccommend that you book an overnight stay at the end of your cruise.Carnivals policy is to empty the ship by 8.45am at the latest (only if you carry of your own luggage) if not they give you an earlier time to collect of the dock.As a result of this it was mayhem at the port in Barcelona, we were docked behind, Fred olsen Braemar, iberia, and NCL epic, and all 4 ships were using the port shuttle service, we waited well over an hour in the sun with our suitcases, the queue for taxi was even bigger.If you had a shuttle service from carnival booked to the airport, they took you straight there regardless of the time of your flight, the couple sharing our table, were shipped of to the airport at 8.15am and their flight was at 8.50pm. If you had an excursion they loaded your suitacases on the coach and dropped you off at the end.The only way to avoid lugging your suitcases around all day is to book a Hotel and go there to store them till you can check in.This ship leaves a lot to be desired and you feel all they want is money all the time and when its time to go, they want you off as quickly as possible, as if they do not care at all.I have been on 5 cruises and never experienced this before.LivornoWe docked with the cargo ships so the views were not good and you could not walk directly in. The shuttle service was 5 euro. We joined another group of people there were 8 of us and had a mini bus for the day for 320 euros, it took us to Florence about an hour and half away and then Pisa on the way back. 40 euros each, well worth it, as it would have cost us at least 22 euros to do shuttle, bus, and train, plus lots of waiting and lost time. 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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