43 Barcelona to Europe - Western Mediterranean Carnival Magic Cruise Reviews

We joined the cruise after 12 days of traveling through Turkey and Spain for a family reunion. Decided on this cruise due to the ports and costs, much cheaper than any other cruise line for much longer cruise. We were 2 families ... Read More
We joined the cruise after 12 days of traveling through Turkey and Spain for a family reunion. Decided on this cruise due to the ports and costs, much cheaper than any other cruise line for much longer cruise. We were 2 families celebrating college graduation and 21st birthdays!! Let the party begin!! Felt we received excellent value for our cruise. Being as the cruise was so port intensive did not have time to enjoy the ship. Loved our balcony room and was surprised how roomy it was. Room steward did excellent job and loved coming back at nite to a clean room. Laundry room great, bring soap. Laundry special of $15 great as I could fit at least 2 loads in the bag. DS loved the gym and went to it every day. I never did. But I enjoyed the Serenity deck and deck 5 for peace and quiet with my kindle and a cocktail. Enjoyed our waiter George in the Northern Lights dining room. Food was fine, we were so tired after touring all day, we would have enjoyed anything. Thought all food was too salty!! Did not try any speciality restaurants. We all loved the Tandoori Grill and wish it was open longer, especially when coming back after tours. Usually had room service breakfast as up early for tours. Ate once for sit down breakfast on sea day and was a lovely way to start the day, wish they served breakfast later on sea days. Wish I had bought the wine package but did bring wine aboard and bought it in several ports. Just walked on and no one said anything. In Venice we bought boxed wine which was surprisingly good. We also bought vodka and tequila from Bon Voyage prior to cruise and made drinks in our room. Loved Red Frog Bar especially the Grapefruit Mojitos. Drinks are the same price as home. Entertainment was only ok. Liked the bands at Ocean Plaza and Red Frog. Boys like the comedy shows. Showtime theater shows boring. Samatha Jay excellent. Go to Farewell Fun Show and Past Guest party for free drinks. Boys loved the water slide and rope course. Have enjoyed John Heald blog but really didn't see him at all on the cruise. DS loved the nightclub and partied all nite!! Barcelona - Arrived 3 days early and loved it. Stayed at Continental Palacete near Las Rambles and would highly recommend it. Explored all of Gaudi's sight and enjoyed tapas and cava. Did hop on hop off bus - excellent way to see this wonderful city. Monaco - also did the hop on hop off bus; was ok. Is brand new and difficult to find the spots. Everyone was tired after all our sightseeing and jet jag and we wanted to save our energy for Rome. Rome - There were 8 of us for our Rome in Limo tour including 2 nice folks we met on the cruise critic roll call. Loved our tours and guides, paid extra for Vatican guide, Christina which I would definitely recommend. Saw everything. Great pannini place next to the Pantheon which our lovely guide Nick recommended. Vatican was hot and crowded - beautiful to see but so much wealth that could feed all the hungry of the world. Bought tickets to Vatican and Coliseum on Internet at home. Livorno - again wonderful tour with Rome in Limo and guide Laura. Saw Pisa, winery and Florence. You must see Michealango David is the Accademia - it was truly breathtaking, one of the highlights of our trip. Ask Rome in Limo to buy tickets for you. Hooked up with 2 more wonderful folks to join our tour on our roll call. Naples - toured with Johnny's tour and loved Postiano, Sorrento, the Amafli coast and Pompeii. Picked this one cuz it was cheaper than Rome in Limo and would definitely recommend both tour companies. Definitely drink water by the time we got to Pompeii I was dehydrated and felt sick; after water I was fine. Croatia - was on our own. Loved it. Boys went kayaking, tours available by city center much cheaper than booking through Carnival. Walked through town shopping and listening to music. Much quieter pace. Venice - Very doable on your own. Loved getting lost and exploring the city. Loved having the extra time to sit at a sidewalk cafe enjoying pizza and wine. Sicly - tour with Mario. Would not recommend them. They took too big of a bus up the hill to see Castlemora and it took forever with people yelling at them. Liked town of Taomoira but rather touristy. Had pizza and gelato in every port - loved it! Was very exhausting but wonderful itinerary. We saw alot on our bucket list and now know where we would go back to stay longer and explore - Barcelona, Florence and Amafli Coast. Life is too short, splurge for a trip of a lifetime and wonderful family memories. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
My wife, myself and 2 friends from the USA were on the jue 3- june 12 Mediterranean cruise on the Carnival Magic. For me and my wife it was the first cruise eventhough I have served in the dutch navy for 7 years. Our US friends where on 2 ... Read More
My wife, myself and 2 friends from the USA were on the jue 3- june 12 Mediterranean cruise on the Carnival Magic. For me and my wife it was the first cruise eventhough I have served in the dutch navy for 7 years. Our US friends where on 2 cruises before (not woith Carnival). We were surprised by the smoothness of the operation of the ship and the servise profided. The gabin was kept in perfect, clean state by the stateroom steward who cleaned and refreshed at least wtice a day. The food and the drinks on board were great, we especially enjoyed the Steakhouse, but our normal restaurant The northern Light where we were booked for the early sitting profided us with a table just for the 4 of us and excellent service and good food and drinks. The spa is a bit expensive but offers good services. The seated breakfast at the Southern light restaurant was also great. The food buffets at the Lido deck are fine for buffet meals. We had privately arranged excursions from Livorno (Pisa, Florence Tuscany), Citavecchia (Rome and the cathacombes) and Napels, Pompei, Almafian coast with Sorento and Positano. We just Carnival excursions from Messina to the top of the Edna and from Marseille to Aix en Provence. We are very happy about those excursions. In Monaco and in palma the Majorca we went to shore on our own which was also good. Minusses are that the photo's taken by Carnival phototpeople are printed only in US sizes and they don't sell anything digital. There were a few very rude people on board. More on that can be found on John Heald's blog on the carnival Side. After this great experience we will surely cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Our June 24th 9 day cruise on the Carnival Magic was our 18th cruise and 8th on Carnival. A few notes to share with everyone:1. Currently, there is only 1 formal night on the 9 day cruise (now called "Elegant" night).2. All ship ... Read More
Our June 24th 9 day cruise on the Carnival Magic was our 18th cruise and 8th on Carnival. A few notes to share with everyone:1. Currently, there is only 1 formal night on the 9 day cruise (now called "Elegant" night).2. All ship taken photos can be viewed by slipping your "Sale and Sign Card" in a scanner in the photo gallery. (This eliminates the need to search for hours for your photos.)3. The daily menu and all of your room charges can now be viewed on your in-room HDTV screen, along with other important information.4. No clocks can be found in your cabins (bring a cheap travel clock).5. Laundry on this ship is $3 to wash/$3 to dry (or $15 for all you can fit in their laundry bag).6. Unlike past cruises, you can order room service the morning of your final departure.7. "Self Assist" on Debarkation is encouraged and easy - no long lines to get off and easy to get an elevator. (Passengers allowed disembark off as early at 5:45 a.m. with all passengers off the ship by 9:00 a.m.)8. The suites on this ship have a private vanity/dressing area with His/Her closets - wow, what a plus) with a large bathroom.9. Dining room staff consisted of mostly women on our sailing and the food was excellent.10. Deck 10 food options included the normal Pizza and Burger stations, with new concept stations - Deli (wonderful) Burrito Bar, Pizza, Tandori Indian Food (spicy), and Mongolian Wok (all of these were popular and very good).11. Upgrade dinner options include the Italian Restaurant ("fair" meal but for only a $10 extra, who can complain) and the Steak House that friends raved about for $30. Make your steak house reservations the minute you get on the ship if interested.12. Neat innovations include:a. The Red Frog Pub (popular but not overcrowded, great micro brewed beer and hot snacks, friendly Caribbean staff - this place is a must!)b. Serenity area for adults is just that and well done on top deck.c. Spa is large and wonderful, but expensive and never discounted. Kids activities are all over the place - great waterpark, ropes course, 2 level miniature golf, on deck pool tables, foos ball, ping pong, etc, and a big arcade on deck 4 with fun games. Our sailing had 1000 passengers under age 21 and all seemed to have plenty to do.13. Internet - Difficult to find internet in most ports. (Had hoped for free Wi-Fi, but found only a few hard to find places that offered Wi-Fi for paying customers or a fee.)14. Entertainment On Board - all shows were great. Don't' miss the Magic Show in the big theater (not the small lounge show). Also, the 1970's show "Groovin" and the music of Samantha J (if on board for your sailing) as she has played for Prince Charles and the royal family over 50 times.15. Excursions comments:a. Barcelona - watch for pickpockets - they are everywhere! Don't carry money as even buttoned pockets are at risk. Try to avoid the subway and, if you do, watch for groups of predatory teenagers and gypsies. (Even several experienced travelers in our group were victimized.) Don't miss the Magic Fountains on nights they are illuminated. A city bus tour was interesting. Montserat Basilica is an hour train ride and fascinating.b. Monaco - bus tour to Eze was great as was seeing Nice. Great flower market in town.c. Livorno - we did wines of Tuscany. Not as much of an explanation of wine process as we would have liked. Enjoyed the wines and local foods. (Others enjoyed Pisa and Florence.)d. Rome - saw the Vatican - Hot, hot, hot. Crowded. Be prepared as it is stifling with huge crowds (one of our group fainted from heat). Save this experience for off season.e. Naples - Amalfi coast and Pompeii - Wow! Wow! Wow! Do not miss the Amalfi Coast drive or Pompei. Absolutely beautiful and fascinating. (Members of our group kept saying "unbelievable".) The drive includes many hairpin curves, so take a Dramamine if needed. (Did we mention this is unbelievable?)f. Sicily - surprisingly dirty town of Messina. 98% of all shops close from 1:00 to 3:30. Folks who did beach said they enjoyed it.g. Mallorca - Caves of Drach were interesting but not that impressive. Enjoy the pearl factory on way back. (Members of our group raved about the Flamenco show with authentic dancers, if you like that type of thing.)h. Marseille - Don't miss a tour to any of the Provence areas. Our tour was called Le Castlellet and Bandol. Le Castlellet reminded us of Eze, but greener, covered with vineyards and with more spectacular views. Bandol is a beautiful seaside town. Clean, flowers everywhere, palm trees - a great place to go back to see again and again. i. Toilets are hard to find in Europe and generally charge. Bring Euro coins with you (and never pass one up during these excursions).A final note - this 3500 passenger ship offers so much to do that we felt like we saw only 75% of it. So much more to see and do! Our group consisted of 55 family and friends and we enjoyed this great new ship. Many of us have booked our second trip on the Magic next summer out of Galveston. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
This was the most special trip imaginable. Most of us had cruised before (14) and we were all overwhelmed with the ship, the ports, the food, and the service. Our staff throughout the ship was outstanding. The food was delicious, ... Read More
This was the most special trip imaginable. Most of us had cruised before (14) and we were all overwhelmed with the ship, the ports, the food, and the service. Our staff throughout the ship was outstanding. The food was delicious, plentiful, and their was variety at every meal. Dinner meals were high end featuring gourmet to comfort selections. The Italian restaurant was unique as we ate lunch there two days. We enjoyed our dinner staff so much, we did not want to leave our regular evening dining crew to go to the Italian restaurant or Steakhouse for dinner. We could not select a favorite port as each stop offered its own special blend of local attractions and special moments. Our group booked private tours through local tour companies which was very affordable and we could personalize our tours. Our staterooms featured US and Euro outlets, a safe, hair dryer, and an surprise supply of shampoo and body wash. Our group was located side by side and we were able to open our balcony doors for a nice three room open balcony space. The two rooms on the ends of our group were unable to open their balcony as they would be unable to exit their stateroom.Our Cruise Director was none other than John Heald who was funny and informative throughout the 12 days. This was our third cruise with John and his evening show was the best evening entertainment to me.We have typically cruised the Caribbean and this was a completely different experience. The amenities of this large, beautiful ship was impressive. There was something for every person, every age, every interest. A favorite happy hour spot for the adults was the Red Frog Pub. This was a new featured Caribbean-style pub. It seemed like just another place for beer, but RedFrog beer was featured along with the beer Tower. This was a fun location to hang out after a day's excursions and before getting ready for dinner or later for the guitar playing singer for late night entertainment.If there was one thing I would recommend, it would be to have more washers/dryers. (Who does laundry on a cruise?) We did laundry onboard the ship, and so did many of the other 4100 passengers! There were about 12 washers and 24 dryers. Lines were long unless you wanted to do laundry early in the morning or stay onboard while others were in port. I would recommend this cruise for families who want a nice sample of Europe (mostly Italy). What a perfect blend of luxury, variety, and economy. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Being experienced cruisers, we were easily able to adapt to Magic, also having been on its sister ship Dream in 2010. Magic was one of the best cruise ships we have been on and our selection of a Spa Balcony was quite a treat. All ... Read More
Being experienced cruisers, we were easily able to adapt to Magic, also having been on its sister ship Dream in 2010. Magic was one of the best cruise ships we have been on and our selection of a Spa Balcony was quite a treat. All the stops were well planned and came off without a hitch. The Southern dining room was excellent and the crew headed by M'D Ken Byrne was just outstanding. If you have never experienced the musical treat in their dining room, they you are in for a real nice event. Ken is a very fine singer. We cannot complain about anything, and the hiccups that were well reported on Dream were not there on Magic. For the first time we took good advantage of the Spa and found it very pleasant and the staff quite nice, although the services were a little on the costly side. The ship was not sold out, with about 3800 guests, so there was no overcrowding. Flying to Barcelona was not difficult but the airfare these days is costly as Continental Airlines charged us each $320 for a fuel surcharge. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Spent 2 days pre and 1 day post in Barcelona at the Hotel Colon. Great hotel location, in plaza with the cathedral. Short walk to La Rambla. Ate at La Locanda, around the corner from hotel. Great food. Embarkation was very smooth. Very ... Read More
Spent 2 days pre and 1 day post in Barcelona at the Hotel Colon. Great hotel location, in plaza with the cathedral. Short walk to La Rambla. Ate at La Locanda, around the corner from hotel. Great food. Embarkation was very smooth. Very clean and modern terminal. Great VIP lounge.Embarked about 10:30. As with all cruises, waited on Lido deck until cabins available at 1:30. If you don't like waiting on Lido deck with your carry on luggage, wait until later to embark.The ship is great. I did not feel any crowding at all. I love the glitz of Carnival ships so I did miss that. I know there were a lot of kids on this cruise, which I am aways sensitive to, but I did not encounter any rude ones. I think the water park was a great addition and kept them busy. It looked like a lot of fun and if I was younger I would have liked it myself. I really liked the Red Frog Pub and think it is a great addition. The new Carnival brew is very good. For those people who complain about chair hogs, there were so many loungers on this ship there is no way you could NOT find a place to sit. They were on lido deck as normal, all along deck 11, aft area and all along deck 5. I loved the cushioned chairs and small couches on deck 11. Great area for those who are not sun lovers, but still like to be in the open areas. I did not visit the casino so can't commit on that, did walk through and it looked like a normal casino. We had a balcony cabin which we always enjoy. Normal Carnival balcony cabin with lots of storage space. Cabin steward was good and very attentive.We were a little disappointed with the MDR food. We did your time dining for the first time. We requested a table for two, but the tables for two are so close together you might as well be at a table for four. We did like the fact that we could go anytime we wanted. We always go early and never had a wait. Food was just so so, not up to Carnival standard as on other ships. We actually started going to the buffet where the food was much better. Breakfast was normal eggs, ham, bacon and variety of fruits, cereals, pastry's etc. I never ate the omelet, but partner always has it and likes them very much.Lunch was good variety of buffet food, grill, sandwiches, pizza etc. I ate one day in the pasta bar which was very good. Lunch is free in the pasta bar, but at night there is a charge which I think is a little ridiculous. Would like for the grill and sandwich bar to stay open in the evening. There are other areas with food that I did not visit, one can only eat so much. Only did room service once for coffee.We were a little disappointed with the night time entertainment. The two variety shows were ok, but other than that, they were just so so. Since John Hearld is so famous, I guess I expected a little more. John has a morning show which is shown on the big screen on Lido which was entertaining. Since this is such a port intensive cruise, we were to tired to visit the bars, so can't commit on themWe booked this 12 day cruise for the ports. I booked all Carnival excursions except one. I was not disappointed, the buses were clean, and all of our guides were very knowledgeable. I booked a private guide in Rome. I booked DriverinRome, had Stephano as my driver and he was absolutely great. As I did this tour alone, he was able to take me to a lot places not normally seen on a regular tour. I highly recommend this company. Croatia was an absolute surprise port for me. It was so beautiful and so clean. I did the country home tour and it was great. We went to a home outside the city and had lunch along with some local entertainment. It was great. Did not walk the wall, did not have time. Old city was very crowded.Debarkation was painless although it did start a little early at 5:00am for those who had early flights. I thought this was thoughtful on Carnivals part. We stayed an extra day in Barcelona so were not in a hurry to get off the ship. We debarked about 8:00am and did not have any trouble getting a taxi. They were lined up outside the terminal.Taxi's are not all created equal as far as prices. Arriving trip from airport to hotel was 28E, trips to port and from port about 28E. Departing trip from same hotel was 38E, go figure.Barcelona airport leaves at lot to be desired. For those on Delta flights, their check in counters are located in the far left corner of the terminal. We had a hard time finding it. Don't bother asking anyone, no one knows anything. Also for those wanting to get a tax refund for purchases, be sure and go to customs before going through security. I went through security and what I thought was customs but ended up being just a passport check. Once I went this far I could not go back out, very confusing. I do not know where customs is, just that it is somewhere before you go through security. I am VIP with Carnival so obviously I am a fan. Can't wait for the Magic to go to Galvestion.Would I do this itinerary again, in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
This was our first cruise and it was more than we ever dreamed it would be. We had family with us so that of course made the experience so much nicer. The food was just awesome and freshly prepared daily.. I felt like a princess and so ... Read More
This was our first cruise and it was more than we ever dreamed it would be. We had family with us so that of course made the experience so much nicer. The food was just awesome and freshly prepared daily.. I felt like a princess and so very special.We do not know how we can ever top this experience but we are ready to try.. All the staff we very helpful and friendly. The cruise director John Heald made things so easy to understand and he made sure we all understood what we were to do. Our dinning room staff were so friendly, informative and catered to our every need. Piotr was our head waiter and Jelena was also our second server. If Jelena saw me in other areas of the ship she always called me by name and talked with me.. I was very pleased with both of them. Our cabin was kept very tidy and extra clean. We loved the little towel creatures left for us each night.. We had fun with our grandsons with all the activities on board.. We loved the serenity deck and used it lots.. We enjoyed the many hot tubs and pools also. The ship was always kept very clean and the food was just so wonderful and delicious. You could get anything you wanted all you had to do was ask and it was provided.:)We enjoyed listening to all the different types of music in the lounges. My only complaint would be that it was very difficult to find a lounge chair in any prime location. People would come down for breakfast and mark their place and even if they left for awhile they would leave their stuff and no one else could/would take it.. That was very frustrating. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Overall we were very happy with our cruise. We had a large back balcony which was big enough for 2 lounge chairs, 2 chairs and one table. Our room was a very nice size with 3 closets and a desk. The bathroom was the worst part of the ... Read More
Overall we were very happy with our cruise. We had a large back balcony which was big enough for 2 lounge chairs, 2 chairs and one table. Our room was a very nice size with 3 closets and a desk. The bathroom was the worst part of the cabin, it seemed to be a "cheap" when everything else was so nice. Our room steward was great, he got everything we needed and was very friendly. The only negative is that people from the Lido deck smoke and then flick their ash not believe that there are balconies below and it either lands on you or the balcony....The boat holds around 4,000 passengers but at no point did we feel crowded. There are 2 dinning rooms, we were in the Southern one which we thought looked better then the northern one. Ken is in charge of the Southern Dinning room and he is a great maitre' de. All of the staff in the dinning room did a great job in food service and they also capped each night of by performing a dance/song routine. The steak restaurant is great along with the italian restaurant. We did the chef's table which is a must do! We had 10 or more great courses and it is a great atmosphere eating in the galley. This boat is always having food being served.Our trip was very port intensive and we wished that we had a few more sea days to enjoy the boat. We did not do any tours through carnival since we believe we get a better experience and a discount by forming our own groups and doing them on our own. The shows were good. You can see that carnival poured plenty of money into the shows but in the end they are still cruise boat performances.The pools are very nice and there a plenty of hot tubs located around the boat. The best hot tubs are located on deck 5 and hang over the edge of the boat (they are a lot less crowded then the main ones on the lido deck). We did do both water slides which are a whole lot of fun.The piano bar and the club on our trip were very popular places. Usually when on a cruise the club is empty but this time I felt like I needed to get bottle service it was so popular and fun!Some of the other guests, mainly the Russians are very Rude and pushy on the boat. Carnvial is trying to get more European travelers on their boat but it seems that they are finding customers that make it hard for loyal carnival people to enjoy their company. This could be specific to my cruise but we heard they are trying to make a market in this area with these Rudy Russian people...It acutally become funny because when you saw someone being rude who knew exactly who they were and everyone around us started to laugh...Overall Carnival did a great job with this boat, their service was great and personal. We would recommend this boat to anyone! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
My husband and I are both retired and enjoy cruising. We have cruised on four different cruise lines but we much prefer Carnival because we believe it offers better value and more fun. The new Carnival Magic is a beautiful ship which never ... Read More
My husband and I are both retired and enjoy cruising. We have cruised on four different cruise lines but we much prefer Carnival because we believe it offers better value and more fun. The new Carnival Magic is a beautiful ship which never seemed crowded even with over 4000 passengers and crew. Our balcony cabin was roomy enough to easily have another couple visit, offered ample storage, and provided luxury linens and a comfy bed. On many of the upper decks inside cabin passengers can easily access the outside by going to the forward outside deck. On most other cruise ships this highly desirable area is for private balconies. Before the cruise we stayed in Hotel Ciutat Del Prat. I highly recommend this four star hotel that provided airport and cruise terminal shuttles plus a great breakfast for less than $150 per night. Embarkation and debarkation were flawless as was debarkation at the ports of call. Since this was our first visit to Italy this 12 day cruise was perfect. We visited all the most popular sites with two days in Venice which allowed us time "to get lost" in this fascinating city. We booked tours privately with other passengers met through Cruise Critic's roll calls. This is a great service. I must put in a good word for Aequa Limo tours of Amalfi Coast, a great and great tour and they didn't even require credit card great tour and they didn't even require a credit card #to reserve a tour. Service on the ship at all levels was friendly and professional. The ship's staff went out of their way to be helpful. When I got word from home that my Mom had fallen and was hospitalized, the ship's staff not only rescheduled our flight home but arranged a call to the hospital. Food was always good in the dining room. Lido deck food was ok but desserts not so good. This was a fantastic cruise. My only complaint is a problem seen on many ships and that is passengers who reserve lounge chairs and leave them unattended and unused. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Vacations were a thing of the past since our autistic son hates to leave the house, or when we have tried to travel, the hotel room. We decided to gamble on a cruise and crossed our fingers that our son's love of history would get ... Read More
Vacations were a thing of the past since our autistic son hates to leave the house, or when we have tried to travel, the hotel room. We decided to gamble on a cruise and crossed our fingers that our son's love of history would get him off the ship. We booked a Cove Balcony and set out with expectations of sitting on our balcony and watching Europe sail by. Well, the Cove Balcony was wonderful and we didn't want to leave. Private and quiet with a beautiful water level view. Our room was spotless and roomy, the beds very comfortable. We had left over drawer space after unpacking. If we had never left the room, we would have had a wonderful vacation.Boarding was a breeze. We booked through Autism on the Seas and they provided Carnival with our son's information including his quirks and limitations. We had priority board and were on board relaxing within minutes. Once on the ship we were given a cell phone to carry so that our son could reach us when we were out of the room. He never called but it gave us peace of mind to go to shows or get a drink at night while he watched a movie in the room. Carnival was more than happy to have our son participate in either of the teen clubs but he choose not to and was actually so worn out by sight seeing that he needed to crash in our room after dinner each night. We were assigned a table for four in the Southern Lights dining room by the window in the back. Watching the water and the sunsets provided us with a show each night which was followed by Ken the maitre d's song of the night and dancing by the staff. We loved it. Our server Bianca was fabulous and attentive as was the entire wait staff. Our son had a made to order dinner each night that Bianca tweaked the first few days until she came upon the perfect combination of chicken fingers, basmati rice and papadam. Not on the menu but always ready when we arrived. Our skinny son who has been loosing weight for the past year put on over five pounds during the cruise. A miracle! And the food was so good that we ended up canceling our reservation at the Steak House. We did do the Chef's table and had the meal of our lives. Wonderful wine and creative, gourmet courses made for a memorable experience. That night our son's dinner was brought to our room which made our night that much easier. For lunch, the Tandoori grill had Indian food better than anything available at home. We ate there every day when we were on the ship.We enjoyed the shows, particularly anything with the CD John Heald. Yes, we are huge fans of his. Faulty Towers, Extras and John. Love British "humour". The two main singers were very talented and the magic show had the expected glitz and tricks that still have us scratching our heads.All in all, the trip was what we dreamed of and more than we ever hoped for. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
The Carnival Magic is a beautiful ship. We were looking forward to our second Med cruise with Carnival. New port of departure for us; Barcelona was dazzling and different from what we experienced in other trips to Europe. Nice weather, ... Read More
The Carnival Magic is a beautiful ship. We were looking forward to our second Med cruise with Carnival. New port of departure for us; Barcelona was dazzling and different from what we experienced in other trips to Europe. Nice weather, nice food, friendly (for an urban setting) people, and breathtaking architecture and history. This cruise was a month after the maiden cruise and it was interesting for us to see crews still hurrying about finishing "the punch list": corrections (prior table/umbrella design didn't hold up on rear deck so they were being retrofitted); chaise and chairs were breaking and being replaced so initial tight budget items being re-examined; finishing certain repairs every morning had hammering and drilling waking my wife up early. Thank goodness for good coffee. These are things you might think about with new buildings, interesting to see it apply to a big, beautiful ship. I learned that that was part of advantage for Carnival to sail in Med after maiden trip: closer to construction company. The crew was friendly and trying hard to get into the groove that helps them in their time onboard. Some were still learning differences between the Magic and where ever they had last served. The cruise director, John Heald, was already on script by our trip; an odd advantage of CruiseCritic reviews was that we had already heard his "Nice & Ezy" joke online. The itinerary was fantastic -- like going through a dessert buffet where everything looks good: Monaco, Rome, Florence/Pisa, Naples, Dubrovnik, Venice and Messina. We stuck with the menu theme and tried a little of everything: some ports on our own, some with excursions, and even one staying on the boat (we had cruised to Messina the previous summer; had the hat and scarf already). Looking forward to future Med Cruises. Still haven't seen Istanbul! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
I am married and 47 and a history buff while my wife is 43 and still likes to bar hop and sit in the sun. We boarded in Barcelona on May 22 for a 12 night cruise to the Mediterranean. We stayed in Barcelona for 2 days prior to the cruise ... Read More
I am married and 47 and a history buff while my wife is 43 and still likes to bar hop and sit in the sun. We boarded in Barcelona on May 22 for a 12 night cruise to the Mediterranean. We stayed in Barcelona for 2 days prior to the cruise with my mom, her sister, and my cousin (ages 69, 74, and 48) to acclimate to the time change which was a good idea. We did the hop on hop off buss (ho-ho bus) to tour Barcelona which was a great deal and the best way to see the city. Most of the the food and the drinks off the Las Ramblas were fairly priced while the ones on the main strip were extremely high. We thought the Tapas were okay but the best meal we had was off of the Las Ramblas and was a take away restaurant selling a burrito that was made with meat from a rotating slab (like you see in a Gyro)...actually we all agreed it was the best meal of the trip!! Of course the wife wanted to go to the Hard Rock Cafe and after 2 beers and 2 cheeseburgers and $63 later I have reflected that it was horrible!! We boarded the ship on a Sunday and it was very efficient and easy which is always nice. The first thing I should say is the drink prices will kill you on this cruise. We not only had to pay the 15% gratuity but also an additional 3% or so VAT tax. They have a beer that they have made for them called the Red Frog at the Red Frog Pub which is the best deal at $5.50 for 20 oz, but with taxes it is closer to $6.75. You get a slight break for a picture but very little. You can also get a bucket of beers for $17 (4 beers @$5/beer but they take $3 off). The best deal is Fosters Lager for $8 for a 25 oz can. Mixed drinks like a Mojito will run you $10.50 or so. Wine with tax runs about $7-15 a glass. The ship itself is really nice and the rooms were well kept. We found the staff to be very good as usual and Sirema (from Thailand) in the the dining room was awesome. Another stand out was Timmy Pierce who is an acoustic guitar singer and was a lot of fun to hear and talk to. If you go on board make sure to look him up and tell him Jeff Warwick says hi....we bought his CD and watched several of his shows. We did find the other entertainment to be lacking considerable on this cruise and it was disappointing. The ports we all good and we always found things to do. In Marseille we took the Little Train tour for 6 euro which was a great deal to see the church of Notre Dame which was awesome. Savona was fun to just walk around and get some drinks at the local off the beaten path places but we also took a 1/2 day trip with the cruiseline to do Genoa on our own. In Naples we successfully took the train to Pompeii for 6 euro round trip instead of the $90 the cruise line wanted. Go here for directions (http://www.europeportreviews.com/Naples5.htm ) as it worked great!! The best pasta I had on the trip was at Pompeii and it was reasonable price. In Rome we prearranged a tour driver and it was great but cost about $1200 for the 12 hours....we spent too much time at the Vatican and should have left sooner....too much art for all of us and we got board. In Messina we just wondered around and it was a nice place to do that and get a drink or two. The thing with Italy that I was disappointed in was the amount of graffiti everywhere and just how dirty everything was. The exception was Venice which was awesome and great to explore on your own. The best thing is to buy a water taxi pass for at least 12 hours but the 24 hour one is only 2 euro more so it is a better deal since you stay over night there. The food was greatly over priced through out Italy and I did not think it was very good. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Carnival Magic 10 May 2011 sailingWe had a fabulous cruise on the Carnival Magic in Europe. Some background: We are an older couple who cruise about 5-8 times a year. We mostly cruise on Carnival lately, but have we cruised other lines in ... Read More
Carnival Magic 10 May 2011 sailingWe had a fabulous cruise on the Carnival Magic in Europe. Some background: We are an older couple who cruise about 5-8 times a year. We mostly cruise on Carnival lately, but have we cruised other lines in the past. We have been to Europe many times before but, this was our first cruise in Europe. My husband likes history and I am a writer who booked this cruise for historical research for a series of books, and to write some articles on the Magic cruising in Europe.We flew from New York City 2 days early and stayed in Barcelona with friends. We have been here before and it is a great pre-cruise port. Streets are clean and safe except for pickpockets. We have never had a personal problem with them in Europe but there are countless stories, so watch your possessions.Embarkation: We are platinum a used VIP checkin which would have been quick except for the fact that it was first embarkation in Barcelona and there were some scanners that didn't work, that slowed things down. I am sure these things were fixed by the next cruise.Ship: It is new and the dEcor is nice. Our cabin was a suite balcony that, due to the port intensive itinerary, we never got to use. If you choose to do this cruise on the cheap in an inside cabin on a lower deck, on this particular cruise, you will not notice. The all day ports keep you pretty tired and the cabin tends to be used just for a quick sleep before the next day's port. The smoking restrictions were nice as the air was clean and we didn't find any of the usual smoke filled rooms to avoid. The piano bar is not only non-smoking but, there is a wall removed making it open seating blending with the promenade deck. The waterworks area is very nice and they had an abundance of sport themed activities out on the deck including exercise equipment. Of note, this is necessary because the pay-for-spa/spa cabins have reduced the gym itself to about ¼ the size of the smaller ships as far as equipment goes. It is obvious that to make room for the fancy spa rooms, they sacrificed quite a bit of the gym. It seems they make up for this by putting machines up on the sports deck. The ropes course is OK, in my opinion, it is not that difficult and once you do it, you are done. Some ziplines definitely would make this more appealing. It is also "one time" activity, so if you cruise this ship again, it becomes a "been there, done that" attraction. I really think that once the novelty of walking around on a walkway up in the air wears off, it isn't something that is going to attract people over and over. Some better water rides, another pool or maybe a big tube slide like Disney has would have been something that could be used over and over. The casino was nice and big but lacked video poker machines which seemed odd. They had 4 machines back to back in one spot making 8 machines, and 6 along the back wall for smokers. 14 video poker machines - definitely not enough as these are really popular games and we actually gave up trying to get one on a sea day or in the evening. The times we visited, and walked through there were no machines available for video poker so we left. The pools were larger than we have seen on ships and the water was heated. They were salt water pools.Staff: Can't say enough here, everyone was great. There wasn't an employee who didn't go out of their way for us and there we have no complaints here. Food: Typical Carnival that we really like so, we have no complaints about the quality. We did have problems with the room service for the continental breakfast. The first day in Monaco it came at 6:15am as requested, after that is was downhill from there. I believe the problem was the port intensive itinerary with everyone trying to use it as most excursions left very early. Our 6:15am breakfast never arrived after the first day and even with phone calls, we left the cabin at 8am, almost 2 hours after we ordered it. We left hungry as it never arrived two days in a row. After day 3 we gave up and went with the Lido breakfast and never ordered it again.Ports: We did all Carnival excursions and we couldn't be more pleased with the excursions. The guides were very good and did cover a lot of ground. They are a bit fast and a little rushed, but we expected that with the amount of things we saw and the distance from the ports, as well as the distance of the venues from each other. The buses were all top notch and we felt safe at all times with our drivers. Bathroom stops were a little lacking but it was in all areas of Italy, as we already know from traveling there previously. The rule in Italy is, if you see a bathroom, use it and don't wait. It is not like the USA and you will pay anywhere from .25 cent Euros on the coast of France to 1.50 Euros in Venice.Entertainment: We had John Heald as a cruise director and we have had him before. You will never be disappointed in his shows as the effort he puts forth shows he truly loves his job. He puts his all into the job of entertaining the passengers. We were too busy to go to the shows and this is not usually a big part of our cruise so I really can't comment on them. Because this was only the second cruise, there were shows that were not ready yet so, it was a little sparse in that area for people who were expecting big productions shows every night. Although, how you would stay up that late every night on this itinerary is beyond me.Internet: As usual it was expensive, but it is something we expect to pay, and the rates were the same as other Caribbean rates on the ships. The problem this cruise was that the wireless did not work for days for your own equipment, and articles I write have to be submitted from my laptop, so this became a problem for me as I missed deadlines. Interesting I was writing an article on the Magic and the cruise we were on and missing a deadline because their internet didn't work, didn't help the article. Many writers make their presence known on cruises, but I like to write my articles from a passenger perspective that you do not get if they know you are writing about their company. I ended up contacting the Rome office of the New York publishing house and they came and met me when we were in Rome to pick up the material.Ports: They were all great! Livorno, Rome, & Venice are the absolute standouts. We have been in Venice and actually lived there for a short time while I was writing a book, but nothing beat sailing in and out of Venice on the Magic. Eze, France on the Monaco stop should not be missed and we will be definitely returning there in the future. Monaco is great to see once, but it is small and after seeing it, I would use the Monaco stop to journey into France. It is much more interesting than the small Monaco. Dubrovnik is a surprising gem of a port, easy to do on your own as it is a walled city. There is enough to see in 2 visits before you would have to venture out into the countryside and coastline for more to do.Overall, this is a great cruise, well worth the price they are charging for it. We booked the Transatlantic on the ship through their "book on the ship incentive" so we will be enjoying this ship on the transatlantic. That part is nice because, with the number of port stops, we actually missed doing a lot of things on the ship that we would have like to have done. Watch out for that salesman at the future cruise desk, not only did they get us for the TA on the Magic, but 2 more cruises on the new Breeze. They have a great product, and since we were having such a great time, it is easy to come back for more on the next ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
My Significant Other (Sig-O)and I usually travel on our own and like to stay in one place for 3 to 7 days to settle in a little and get some feel for the area. Last year we signed up for 2 cruises, this one and on MSC Orchestra last ... Read More
My Significant Other (Sig-O)and I usually travel on our own and like to stay in one place for 3 to 7 days to settle in a little and get some feel for the area. Last year we signed up for 2 cruises, this one and on MSC Orchestra last September (see my review there). After the bad experience on MSC and some negative remarks from others about Carnival, we were worried. Let me tell you up front, our experience was very positive on the Magic. The food was from good to excellent, the overall environment was relaxed and non-stressful, and there was as much (or as little) activity as you wanted. I may have some negatives, but Sig-O and I would go again in a heartbeat.Embarkation was a bit slower than we expected, as buses from the airport started arriving before embarkation started, so quite a queue had built up when we arrived at the start time. Also apparently luggage left at dockside was delivered to cabins last-in first-out, and I stupidly gave them my large bag of medicines and CPAP. I did not receive the bag until 5 minutes before we sailed, so I was stressed. Although I would have preferred another go-round, disembarkation could not have been smoother. I understand there was at least one person who refused to get off, although they did not want another 12 day cruise.Out cabin was center ship, about 3 decks above the water, with a cove balcony. I felt like like I had my own private area, just above the water. I chose that location for minimum movement, and to be close, but not too close, to the the mid-ship lifts, and it was perfect. The cabin steward kept the room clean and well supplied, and fulfilled our need quite well. The crew was friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable.We signed up for Any Time dining so we did not have to worry about time back from excursions. It turns out we need not have worried as most excursions get back in time for early seating. The plus on Any Time is of course its flexibility, and you can meet lots of people at dinner, but the negative is you meet them and your servers, but don't get to know them. The food and service in Main Dining Room for lunch and dinner was always very good to excellent. The service for breakfast was not to those standards. Sometimes at breakfast we were not offered juice, coffee or rolls/danish, on other occasions two or three waiters asked. The order of dishes served sometimes were reversed or served at the same time, or were cold or over cooked, and one occasion not served. Part of the problem is that they tried to fill every chair at a 10 person table, even if some at the table had been seated 10 minutes earlier, when the room was mostly empty tables.We ate one night at the Steakhouse and one night at the Chef's Table. For $30 each extra, we did not feel we got the added value - the ambiance is nicer but the food was not significantly better. On the other hand the Chef's Table at I think $75 each was a definite must do if you are into food like we are. All the food served in MDR is well presented, but the dishes at the Chef's Table are, well, stunning.Not so stunning, though, is the wine list. For the main part the list is low-end, mass production wines of little note other than the well known label. It would appear that all the wine first went through US distribution before being sent to the ship, which means European wines are "pre-aged". The wine service was also spotty; sometimes pouring too much into the glass and one of the "Sommeliers" not knowing the difference between a Pinot Gris and a Vin Gris. On the other hand, when I found I did not like a bottle I had selected (weak vintage or too many ocean crossings) the bottle was exchanged for another selection without a problem.The ship, even with 3500+ guest, did not seem crowded, except on one at-sea lunch, when all 3500+ want to eat at about the same time and the MDR is closed. Some of the lines did get pretty long then. There are so many different venues for eating and entertainment that with a little looking, you can find a quiet area. I think Carnival has heard prior comments about adults wanting these areas and responded. My Sig-O and I generally do not like excursions, but we signed up for one in Marseille before boarding to be sure we could go to Arles and Aix. While on board we signed up for excursions to Pompeii and Taormina. All of the excursions were well organized and executed. Arles and Aix were OK but of course could only skim the surface, but Pompeii and Taormina are strictly tourist trap crap. Carnival has nothing to do with that: these towns are doing what brings in the money. When we made our reservations last year for the Magic, the second port was to be Livorno, which would allow us to visit wineries in Tuscany. That ended up being changed to Savona, which does not have many "attractions". It turned out to be our favorite port, because the city is not a tourist spot - it is a mid-sized town, easily walkable, friendly, with very good prices.Overall, as I said, a great experience and we will probably book another cruise in a year or two. A few things could/should be tuned up, and I think Carnival management should realize the guest going to Europe may be more interested in wines than the Caribbean cruiser, and do more tailoring of the wine list. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
One word for this cruise= AMAZING :) This trip was 12 nights (May 22-June 3) We went on the sister ship Carnival Dream last year, so this was our second cruise and again with Carnival. It was also our first time on Europe which was ... Read More
One word for this cruise= AMAZING :) This trip was 12 nights (May 22-June 3) We went on the sister ship Carnival Dream last year, so this was our second cruise and again with Carnival. It was also our first time on Europe which was FASCINATING! So here is a brief summary about everything:PORT & EMBARKATION: We flew the day before to Barcelona, Spain. With all the connections the whole flight lasted 12 hours! (PS: If you're traveling long, DONT choose American airlines :S) We got there the day of embarkation. My first impression of Europe was.. WOW! We took a taxi from the airport then drove to the port... when I saw the Magic it instantly brought memories of the Dream.. so beautiful (; Embarkation was very smooth and fast.THE SHIP: Pretty much the same as the Dream but BETTER :) The design was ok. It had new features like Cherry On Top, we loved that candy store! The Sportsquare was awesome! We met new friends and played mini golf, foosball, etc. Oh and the SkyCourse was my favorite! The first day I was really scared but then I did all the hard ones! The crew staff were nice and friendly! Oh and the Redfrog Pub reminded me of my home.. the Caribbean haha :p Also enjoyed the Waterworks and other old features! Sometimes it got chilly to go in the pools and stuff, but we were brave!! :DCABIN: We stayed on the same cabin as last year! It was the same except the room steward who was so nice and friendly!FOOD & DINING: We had late dining on the Southern Lights. The food was very good! Especially my famous caesar salad and warm chocolate melting cake [already miss them :( ] We ate on night at the prime steakhouse, my God BEST FOOD EVER! :) The steak was the best I had ever tried! Unfortunately we didn't went to Cucina del Capitano. I didn't really eat that much of pasta, how could I've missed it!PORTS: It would take me a lifetime to describe each of them! We stopped at Marseilles (France), Savona, Rome, Naples, Messina, Venice (Italy) and Palma de Mallorca (Spain). All the ports were beautiful and we enjoyed each one of them! My favorites were Marseilles and Rome. We booked all tours with Carnival, also great! Though the euro is expensive.. but I would definitely come back to Europe, that's for sure! :)ENTERTAINMENT: For us, we were never bored on the cruise. We went to the teen clubs... we saw the shows "Destination: Unknown" and "WIN!" they were fantastic! The senior cruise director (John) was hilarious! And Dick Little hahaha! There were so many activities also! Like the Venice mask parade, the contests, etc. There was always something to do on the cruise!DEBARKATION: Since we booked a tour on Barcelona for the last day, we were called early by our tour number to get our luggage and onto the bus. We took the tour then they left us on the airport but we stayed in an hotel for one more day to explore Barcelona more. OVERALL EXPERIENCE: Though there were some rough days... like one day the ship was shaking all day because of the winds and everything was cancelled... it was a disaster :S I got sick and all... but overall I would say this has been the best vacations so far! We met so many people and new friends (like Henry and Wilhelmina from the dining room, well never forget you guys!) And also the crew members, waiters, and staff on the cruise were so friendly and nice! I had the best time ever! It was FUN! :DSo far, best vacations ever! I will really miss this ship! We heard there was the new ship Carnival Breeze... but were gonna take a break from Carnival and try Royal Caribbean. But Carnival will always be in our hearts, and someday well definitely cruise with them again :) Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Mediterranean Cruise - Carnival Magic - May 10-22, 2011Overall, this was a wonderful 12-day cruise on the Magic. This was my ninth cruise, and the fifth time on a Carnival ship. I was travelling "solo", however, it was nice to ... Read More
Mediterranean Cruise - Carnival Magic - May 10-22, 2011Overall, this was a wonderful 12-day cruise on the Magic. This was my ninth cruise, and the fifth time on a Carnival ship. I was travelling "solo", however, it was nice to meet many wonderful people (a number of whom were Cruise Critic members).THE SHIP:The Magic was a huge ship. It was brand spanking new (second voyage). My porthole stateroom (Category 1A) was on Deck 2, cabin 2212. It was close to the bow and the cabin was much larger than a regular inside cabin but not quite as large as a balcony cabin (approx. 160 sq. ft.), bright with 2 large porthole windows and could easily sleep 2 people. It had a very comfortable single-sized bed with lovely linens, etc. There was a sofa that converted into a single bed which was a treat - most 1A cabins only have a chair to sit on, no sofa. There was plenty of closet and storage space. The bathroom was a decent size (shower only; no tub) with lots of room to put away toiletries, etc. The towels were plush and the bathrobe was very comfortable. There was a desk/vanity and chair, a flat screen tv and a refrigerator. There were two electrical outlets in the room (above the desk) and one outlet in the bathroom (up high near the ceiling). There was a hairdryer in the top drawer of the desk/vanity that worked quite well. The cabin was quiet except for the early mornings when we were docking and then I would wake up to the sound of the thrusters and the ropes being lowered. There were small laundry areas on three of the decks with coin operated washers and dryers and there were "pressing rooms" with irons/ironing boards on a few of the decks. The dEcor of the ship was quite understated for a Carnival ship. The main colours were gold/brown and green/blue. The artwork was bright with a Caribbean feel. There was a large atrium in the center of the ship that went all the way from Deck 2 to Deck 12. At the very top of the forward part of the ship (Serenity Deck) was the "Serenity" area (an adult only area outside with deck chairs, lounges, hammocks, hot tub, etc.). Below that was Deck 14 which contained the Spa. Deck 12 (there was no Deck 13) contained the Gym and fitness area and Cloud 9 Spa Cabins. The gym was located at the very front of the ship and had walls of glass. The gym had lots of modern equipment and it was normally quite busy. I never used the spa facilities nor the hair salon, however, it always seemed busy (especially on "formal night" sea days). Also on this level at mid-ship was the entrance to the waterslides, and then towards the back of the ship was a sports area (basketball/volleyball), mini-golf, ropes course, ping pong table, pool table, foozeball tables, an outdoor fitness area and a jogging track. The track was 7 laps to a mile long and busy on sea days with runners and walkers out getting their exercise. Deck 11 had cabins at the front of the ship and then a large area of open decks overlooking the main pool. Also on this deck was the Camp Carnival for children and the Cucina del Capitano Restaurant (an Italian themed "family-style" restaurant that is free at lunchtime and has a cover charge of $10/person for dinner). There was a large pool in the center of the Lido Deck (Deck 10). And at the very back of the ship was a pool and 2 hot tubs. All the pools seemed to be very popular. The surrounding decks were always full of people relaxing on deck chairs, etc. Above the main pool area on the Lido Deck was a large theatre screen. There were movies and concerts playing on the screen throughout the day and evening. Because the outdoor area was so large, it never felt overly crowded. There were lots of deck chairs and tables/chairs surrounding the pools and also on Deck 11 and at the back of Deck 10 (where the smokers hung out). Inside the Lido Deck was the Marketplace Buffet which served a great variety of foods. There were stations on each side of the ship including a deli/sandwich area and a tandoori grill beside the aft pool, and at mid-ship a pizzeria on the port side and a grille area on the starboard side. The Mongolian Wok station was probably the most popular and always had a bit of a line up. There were salad bars, a burrito bar, carvery, and a dessert bar. There seemed to be a much larger range of food offerings on this ship. Although it was always busy, I never had a problem finding a place to sit. There were soft serve ice cream and yogurt stations located throughout the Lido area. Decks 9, 8, 7 and 6 all contain only passenger cabins. On the Promenade Deck (Deck 5) was where to find the upper level of the Showtime Theatre, the shops, the Casino, Fun Hub (Internet area - there were other Fun Hubs scattered through out the ship, so it meant that you had a choice as to where you sat at a computer and it meant that there were more computers for use), Red Frog Pub (a new addition to Carnival and very popular) and various bars/lounges, piano bar, and the Prime Steakhouse. At the back of the ship was the Spotlight Lounge, a smaller show lounge. The shops were typical and, for the most part, fairly expensive. The Casino was a decent size and always busy. Also on the Promenade Deck was an area called the "Lanai" - an area to sit out on deck and enjoy the scenery, have a smoke, or hop into one of the hot tubs that jut out over the side of the ship. The outdoor promenade completely encircled the ship, so it was a great place to walk with a bit of shelter. At lunch time they had an outdoor BBQ set up on this deck as well as a sandwich station and a sushi bar at 5 pm. On the Mezzanine Deck (Deck 4) was the mezzanine level of the Showtime Theatre and a small library and the photo gallery area. Circle C and Club O were located closer to the back of the ship. Also on this deck were the upper level of the Northern Lights Dining Room (mid-ship) and the upper level of the Southern Lights Dining Room (at the back of the ship). The last deck with public rooms was the Lobby Deck (Deck 3). The main level of the Showtime Theatre (were the daytime activities such as bingo and evening shows took place) was large and was very comfortable. The sight lines, sound system, lighting, etc. were all fine, with just a few seats blocked by pillars. The Northern Lights and Southern Lights Dining Rooms were large, well lit, well laid out, etc. I was sitting at a booth for 4 on the bottom level of the Southern Lights Dining Room at the back of the ship (6:00 pm; main seating). I never ate in the Prime Steakhouse, but everyone I spoke with who ate there really enjoyed themselves. I gather the food and service were very good. The guest services desk, shore excursions desk, front office, etc. were also found on the Lobby Deck. The atrium area on the Lobby Deck was always very busy. There was musical entertainment throughout the day and evening and a large dance floor. As well, there was a nice bar area for drinks before dinner.Decks 2 and 1 were cabins only. The infirmary was on the "0" deck and was very well equipped and prepared for pretty much any type of emergency. Overall, the ship was easy to navigate and there were lots of elevators and staircases and wide hallways, etc. Therefore, it never felt overly crowded. For the able-bodied, the ship was great. For those with mobility issues, there seemed to be good access to all the public spaces, with room for scooters, wheelchairs, walkers, etc. There were some bottleneck areas near the elevators in the atrium, and also near the entrance to the dining rooms. Similar to other ships with a dining room at mid-ship and at the back of the ship and the galley between the two dining rooms, you cannot walk through deck 3 (Lobby Deck) from front to back. You need to use either deck 2 or 4 and then use the stairs or elevator to access the main level of the dining rooms.THE PASSENGERS:Not so typical of Carnival, the majority of passengers were older. I believe the average age was about 60. About two-thirds of the passengers were from the United States and the rest were from Australia, Canada, the UK and assorted European countries. I think there were about 3,700 passengers on board. Overall, I found the majority of people on board to be friendly and kind. CREW and CUISINE and ENTERTAINMENT:I found all the crew members I dealt with to be friendly and professional. My cabin steward was amazing. The Guest Services desk staff were always very helpful. As were the Shore Excursion desk staff. The dining room staff were terrific and overall my dining experience was great. Our maitre d' was Ken Byrne, who sang every second evening and the waiters got up to dance with him. It was entertaining and lots of fun. However, entertainment in the dining room is not eveyone's cup of tea and there were some complaints. Personally, I really enjoyed it. The cruise director (John Heald) was terrific, and his staff (James, Calvyn, Christian, John, Katie, Leonnie and Ryan) were fun and energetic. Carnival makes a point of hiring staff from around the world and I expect that there were at least 30 countries represented.I thought the food on board the ship was very good. Every evening I got to try new things. The presentation was good and the food was always hot when it arrived at the table. The food in the Lido was also very good. I enjoyed all the variety of foods... a much larger selection than what I was expecting. I went to about half of the shows in the Showtime Theatre. The staff singers and dancers were very good and the 2 "production" shows that they put on were excellent. The rest of the shows were typical...comedians, jugglers, singers, etc. The orchestra was comprised of a very good group of musicians and they were excellent. There were good musicians performing in the various lounges. All in all, the entertainment was above par. PRE-CRUISE AND EMBARKATION:This cruise left from Barcelona, Spain. I flew to Barcelona before the cruise and spent two nights at the Hotel Jazz (Pelai 3 - very close to Plaza Cataluña and The Ramblas). This was a good choice as a pre-cruise hotel. I took the Airporter Bus from the airport to the Plaza Cataluña (5.30 Euros - about 30 minutes) and it was a short 10 minute walk to the hotel. The Hotel Jazz is fairly modern with comfortable rooms, a roof-top pool and deck, free WiFi, etc. I met 2 couples at the hotel (part of our Roll Call) and we shared a van to the cruise ship terminal. Taxis are plentiful in the city and the hotel can make arrangements for transportation to the port, airport, etc. Embarkation was similar to what I've experienced in the past at other ports. I had entered all my information online before hand, and it took about 15 minutes to check in. PORTS and SHORE EXCURSIONS:For this cruise I decided to book some shore excursions through Carnival. Because I was travelling solo, I found it easier (and safer) to book through the cruise line for certain ports of call. If I had been travelling with others, then researching and booking private excursions would have been appropriate.MonacoThe ship docked right in the harbour and it was a pleasant walk up to the Old Town where I toured the palace, museum, cathedral, and the public gardens. After lunch I took the "Bateau Boat" (1 Euro) from the pier over to the Casino area where it was a fairly short walk to the Casino, etc.Livorno, Italy"Beautiful Tuscany"This was a long, full day Carnival excursion by bus to San Gimignano and Volterra. Both towns were old, beautiful and interesting to walk around in. Lunch was served at a vineyard in the Tuscan countryside - couldn't get much better than that.Civitavecchia, ItalyThe port is about 1.5 hours from Rome. I took the train into the City (9 Euros, which included round trip train fare and unlimited use of the subway/bus system in Rome) and spent the day touring. The train takes about 1.5 hours to get to the city and is an inexpensive and easy way to travel - as opposed to paying for the Carnival bus transfer which was quite expensive and only gave you a few hours in the city.Naples, Italy"Amalfi Coast by Boat & Pompeii"This was a full day Carnival excursion. We travelled by bus from Naples to Salerno and then boarded a boat (with an open top deck) which slowly made its way up the Amalfi Coast to the town of Amalfi. The scenery along the way was great. We had time to wander around Amalfi on our own and then returned to Salerno by boat. We had lunch near the entrance to Pompeii and then toured the ruins. Pompeii was hot and dry, so remember to bring water with you and a light jacket would be good for the boat trip if you wish to sit outside on the top deck.Dubrovnik, CroatiaThere was a shuttle bus running from the port to the Old Town (8 Euros/return) that was very convenient. You can easily do this port on your own - just wander the Old Town and walk the City Walls, etc. This was a beautiful port of call.Venice, Italy"Murano and Burano Islands"This was a 5 hour Carnival excursion on the first afternoon that we arrived. You travel by boat and get to see Venice as you travel to the 2 islands. An interesting tour and 5 hours was plenty of time. You can walk into Venice quite easily from the port which I did the first evening and also on the second day. Part of the charm of Venice is getting lost and then easily finding your way back to your destination.Messina, Sicily"Taromina and Mt. Etna"This was a full day Carnival excursion by bus that drove through Messina and down the coast to Taormina. We toured the town and the Greek theatre and had time on our own to wander around. Lunch was in a town at the foot of Mt. Etna and then we drove up to Mt. Etna. The views were amazing. Remember to wear closed toe shoes and you'll need a jacket for Mt. Etna.This was a very port intensive cruise with only 3 "sea days". I found the sea days to be very relaxing. The weather was hot and sunny for the first 2 sea days, so I was able to be out on deck quite a bit walking or just sitting and reading a book, etc. There were lots of activities planned throughout the day, so there was never any chance to become bored. DON'T MISS MOMENTSThe sail into Venice at noon to 1:30 pm was wonderful. To see the city from the vantage point of the ship was an unexpected highlight. Sail away was at 7:30 pm - again an opportunity to see the city as the sun was setting.After leaving Messina, Sicily, we slowly sailed past Stromboli at 7:30 pm and saw it smoking and there was a small eruption - awesome to see!DISEMBARKATION:Disembarkation was very smooth and efficient. We arrived in port at 5 am and the ship was cleared by customs agents by 5:30 am. My zone was called at 6:30 am and I took the Carnival transfer bus ($29.99) to the Airport. Our luggage was waiting for us at the terminal close to the check-in area. It was so hard to say good-bye to the ship...I certainly wasn't prepared to leave.FINAL COMMENT:As stated at the beginning, I had a wonderful cruise vacation. The 12 days I was on board certainly lived up to all my expectations. Carnival is known for their 7-day "fun ship" cruises to Mexico and the Caribbean, so this whole experience of a longer cruise to European ports was great. I will certainly cruise Carnival again (long or short cruise, I don't care). Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
The ship is VERY big, yet, with the exception of breakfast the first day, I never was aware of the large number of fellow passengers. Embarkation was a breeze. Our cabin was perfectly located on deck 11 with easy access to my favorite area ... Read More
The ship is VERY big, yet, with the exception of breakfast the first day, I never was aware of the large number of fellow passengers. Embarkation was a breeze. Our cabin was perfectly located on deck 11 with easy access to my favorite area (the spa). Our cabin steward was attentive and as requested kept a constant supply of clean fresh towels in our room. The foreward walkway at the end of the hall provided a fantastic panorama for those of us without balconies. Food was very good and offered a more highly seasoned and ethnic variety than I remember (a plus for us). Drinks overpriced but we took a wine package which gave us a nice offering of fairly priced wines to enjoy nightly with dinner. We did most of our tours privately though we had on board credit that we used for a few. Of the ship's tours, one was mediocre, other two very good. As has been stated previously, the pools on the Dream class of ships on Carnival are too few and too small and there exists a major problem with people saving deck chairs for the day to have them available when they wanted, leaving a shortage for others. Shops on board were same old same old, but heck I don't cruise to shop (though I did have to pay 5.50 for a $2 tube of toothpaste and resented it). This trip there were less than 10 children on board (that's why we chose to travel at this time!!) and a more international crowd than Carnival usually gets. Shows very okay, nothing great, but we chose the ship for the itinerary. We got GREAT VALUE for our money and would do this trip again in a heartbeat. Debarkation was even easier than embarkation. We could have made an early flight out but not realizing it would be that easy we stayed an extra day in Barcelona. Barcelona: We enjoyed a wonderful variety of sights, museums, artifacts, food and entertainment. Experienced tapas, Flamenco, Gaudi, Monsterrat, tour of the city, Picasso museum and people watching. Had no problems with pick pockets but maybe that's, because having grown up in NY, our antennas are always up. Monaco: What an unexpectedly terrific port. We hired Sylvie DiCristo who did a private tour for 8 of us. She showed us the Grand Prix track, the Princess Grace Rose Garden and took us on a magnificent tour of Nice and Eze. Beautiful day. Pisa/Florence: Finally fulfilled my lifelong dream of seeing Michaelangelo's David. He lived up to my expectations and Pisa exceeded them. We had a guide from Easitalytours and Marco showed us "his" city. What a joy. Rome: A month wouldn't be long enough to spend in Rome. What a fantastic day with Antonello of Easitalytours. I don't think there was anything we missed except for not having enough time in the Vatican due to the large crowds that day. Antonello's knowledge of the city and its history and his love for his city was definitely a trip highlight. It was an exhausting day but one never to be forgotten. The Sistine, the Pieta, the Colosseum, Circus Maximus, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and more and more and more. Naples and Amalfi Coast: While everyone ran to Pompeii we had Herculaneum all to ourselves. Fantastic. Only surpassed by the views of the Amalfi Coast and our visit to Sorrento and Positano. Mauro arranged for us to dine at a family run restaurant with dramatic views and great food. Dubrovnik: Quaint city with great views, but not one I'd rush back to. Perhaps nothing could compete with the previous ports. Messina: Mt. Etna was terrific. Guide from Sicily Life stopped at a winery and honey factory for us to sample and enjoy. Then off to Taormina with its history and views. This cruise was a balance between beauty, art, history, culture and food. We used the ship as a floating hotel. We were off it by 8 am and didn't return until dinner time, which is why we chose n inside cabin. We (wisely) saved out money for the excursions. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
First of all I'm a Dutch resident, so if my English sometimes is not correct, you know why. We were travelling as a couple ages 50-60. The cabin Our first cruise with Carnival. We took an inside cabin while the cruising ... Read More
First of all I'm a Dutch resident, so if my English sometimes is not correct, you know why. We were travelling as a couple ages 50-60. The cabin Our first cruise with Carnival. We took an inside cabin while the cruising is mostly at night and with one sea day, far away from land, there was no need for a balcony. The cabin space was sufficient, the beds were good. There are three closets that are a good size and a dresser with three small usable drawers. The bathroom small but efficient. Located mid-ships you're in the middle with everything. The beds are high enough to slide a good size suitcase under them. The cabin stewards were excellent, which we had aimed for since deck 7 is the deck with the most expensive cabins and the best staff is working there. We didn't miss the balcony at all. Pool deck The pools are rather small. But the music at the Seaside Theatre is sometimes that loud that after one hour we relocated to the side boards of the ship, where always was plenty of room. For a cool down you could use the showers at the spot. In general there were always loungers available. The band playing Blood Power was good. Entertainment I found the entertainment, with exception of the comedians in the Spotlight Lounge, a big disappointment. But why have one comedian perform for 30 minutes, pause 30 minutes, and than the second one. By the time you finally had gotten your drink the show was over! Some of the musicians playing at the ship were not up to level, sometimes really lousy, with a repertoire that is very limited. I guess that Carnival can do way better at this. Food The food was OK. Except for the day at sea there were hardly no queues. The Lido buffet is large but could do with a bit more variation in the food offered. Both Tandoori and Mongolion Wok were good. The dinner in the Southern Lights was in general good. Disappointment was that after purchasing a wine package we were informed that only half of the wines were available! So there was a very limited choice. Excursions The excursions offered are a rip off! So we organized everything, except for Naples, ourselves and that went perfectly. A Birg ticket to Rome that includes public transport in Rome, for example is about $ 5! The shuttle bus in Marseille, which you really need to avoid a more than 1 hour walk, costs € 12,00 rt. Also here Carnival could do much better. In Livorno we stayed aboard, since public transportation was on strike. Livorno has nothing to offer, it's a dirty city with pidgins everywhere. The advantage is that you have the ship for yourselves. Embarkation and debarkation went very smooth. Annoying Going from the Southern Lights dining room to the Spotlight Lounge you had to pass at least 6 or 7 photographers, all of them stepping in your way trying to push their photo's. Every night again! Well that is becoming really annoying. Conclusion Looking at the price/value this cruise in general met our expectations and sometimes exceeded it. Sure, there were some flaws, and some niggles need to be sorted out, but we would not hesitate to book another Carnival cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
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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