21 Barcelona to Europe - Western Mediterranean Carnival Magic Cruise Reviews

Pools too small very crowded, hot tubs not hot at all,plus chairs by the pool very scarce. The information given by the cruise director was very often conflicting to what was printed in the daily planner in the room. Much of the ... Read More
Pools too small very crowded, hot tubs not hot at all,plus chairs by the pool very scarce. The information given by the cruise director was very often conflicting to what was printed in the daily planner in the room. Much of the information in regards to excursions was inconsistent which caused unnecessary aggravation and lost time trying to explore ports. Shuttle buses told to be available at port and were not, times between shuttle and destinations were also incorrect. The dining room food was great selection sometimes lukewarm. Waitstaff sometimes seemed overwhelmed. My cabin was very roomy and always clean, but never received body soap,good thing we had hand soap. This is the consensus we got from other people at the pool and at our dining table. Entertainment was fair, only one contest at poolside on the first day at sea,other 2 days nothing. Shows at night not Broadway by any means, but I had been told that on European cruises they don't invest the money on shows because of the long day excursions. But having passengers volunteer to karaoke stars and perform for the last night show was a little lame. don't want this to be all negative, I had a great trip of a lifetime, ports of calls were just beautiful and the ship was like coming back home at night after a full day and having everyone wait on you till bedtime. Great way to see Europe! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Our cruise on the Carnival Magic started off on a bad note. When we checked in we were told that the itinerary was changed. Instead of going to Naples Italy, the ship was diverted to Marseilles,France this was due to a worker strike in ... Read More
Our cruise on the Carnival Magic started off on a bad note. When we checked in we were told that the itinerary was changed. Instead of going to Naples Italy, the ship was diverted to Marseilles,France this was due to a worker strike in Italy. I think we should have been notified prior to the departure date so we had time to change our plans. I do not hold Carnival at fault for this situation, in fact they helped us make the changes we had committed to. Now comes the next problem. My wife and I were put in a cabin that was located above the Steak House Galley. We turned in about 10:30 pm and at 11:45 pm we were woken by load noise coming from the galley. It continued for about an hour or more then quit. Just as we were finally getting back to sleep the noise woke us again about 3 - 3:30am. After the 2nd night we got up up at 3am and went to deck 5, the door to the Steak House was open and went in. We discovered the source of the noise, it was a cleaning crew cleaning a stainless steel galley at 3am. At that time we wnet to guest services and complained. The next day Anna the guest service mgr and my wife and I met and discussed our problem. We asked for a different cabin but there were none since the ship was full. I do believe Anna tried her best to rectify the problem especially since they duplicated the noise in the galley and listened in our cabin. The noise continued for the rest of the cruise although after our complaint it seemed like they were aware of the problem. Although the Magic is a larger and newer ship it was designed to make room for more cabins and everything else was downsized. The entertainment was not great and they had fewer 8 o'clock shows. In the future we will stick to the smaller ships. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We sailed on the magic on sept 4 th from Barcelona, having done the carriibean the year before the first thing my husband and I noticed was---- the food wasn't up to our last cruise,so this time we ate in the dining room, we did find ... Read More
We sailed on the magic on sept 4 th from Barcelona, having done the carriibean the year before the first thing my husband and I noticed was---- the food wasn't up to our last cruise,so this time we ate in the dining room, we did find we got warmer food, as on our last cruise the food was cold every night Our balcony state room was fantastic-- We thought it was us expecting too much with the entertainment, we could not believe John the out standing cruise director ( so HE says) would have those kiddie shows, using the guests as entertainment, wow!! What a insult to our intelligence , and we were told by one of the " props" it was all a setup, Anyway we flew to Venice to do our grease cruise on the norwegian jade, we had been told by bored guests we met on the magic, we would love the entertainment on the jade, we thought yep right! Well we did love it, we could not keep up with the entertainment, and it was nearly as good as broadway. I just had to meet the entertainment officer, to congratulate her, I had the cruise staff in fits of laughter, on our experience with " big fat John,and his entertainment, especially his mornings with Calvin who we loved, and I might add every time Calvin said he was going to leave, because John was insulting him--- we wished he had-- I feel the big wigs-- like the bearded ones as John calls them-- never follow these critic views, if you do reply. Bearded ones We are Aussies, not Americans , so I agree with the London lady Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
I booked this cruise as a gift for my daughter's high school graduation. It was the first cruise for both of us. Overall, we were thrilled with how the trip turned out. One thing I'll say right off the top is that this is the way ... Read More
I booked this cruise as a gift for my daughter's high school graduation. It was the first cruise for both of us. Overall, we were thrilled with how the trip turned out. One thing I'll say right off the top is that this is the way to explore Europe for people who aren't travel-savvy. It was fantastic to have a home-base in the ship. After a day of struggling through language barriers and differences in customs, we could go back to an American base where our luggage was stowed away in a very comfortable room. In the future, I want to be more adventurous and explore Europe more independently, but for this trip, it was really nice to have the logistics handled for us. Rather than go through details of everything, including the things that were as we expected, I am going to hit on the things that we loved about this cruise and the things that we hated. The top thing that we loved was the customer service that we received from our dining room waiter, Jiri, and our room steward, Clemente. These two individuals both went above and beyond to make our stay on the ship fantastic. Clemente would come out into the hallway to say "Hello," and greet us by name every time we walked out of the room in the morning. Once we expressed a preference for something, he made sure that we had it. He was top-notch. Jiri made our dinners so much fun. He also greeted us warmly by name, and remembered our preferences. These two individuals helped to make the ship feel like home to us. Another thing we loved was the food in the main dining room. We had dinner there every night but one, and every meal was phenomenal. We couldn't have asked for better. As I said above, this was our first cruise, so I cannot compare the stateroom to any others. However, I had always heard that ship staterooms are tiny and cramped, and I must say that we loved our room. We were in a Spa Balcony room - stateroom 12014. There was plenty of room for the two of us, and more than adequate storage space. In addition, the beds were incredibly comfortable. I would warn any first-time cruisers to read the boards on this site to get tips on things to bring to make your stateroom more comfortable. We did several of those things and they really made a difference. I will do a subsequent posting on the boards related to that. Now for the things that we hated on this ship - there are really only two. The first thing was the spa. I can't state strongly enough what a horrible experience this was. First let me give credit where credit is due - the treatements that we had were very nice. The problem was that any relaxation that we got out of the treatment was wiped away by the unprofessional pan handling that went on afterwards. I understand that the spa is a revenue generator for the cruise line. That is why I was willing to pay the exorbitant prices that they charge for treatments. However, to have to spend 30 minutes after my treatment saying "No," to more treatments and to overpriced products is ridiculous - especially when the staff just gets snottier and nastier as you say no. As bad as we felt about the spa experience while we were on the ship, our opinion got even worse after we got home and realized that my daughter had gotten a nail fungus on her finger nails after receiving fills in the salon. Needless to say, we wished we had skipped the spa on the ship. The second thing that we hated was the whole complex beverage situation on board. Soda card, or no soda card? If you want more than two sodas a day, you should get a card, but if you get a card, you can only get a glass at a time from certain places on the ship. If you want a soda with your lunch in the buffet, you have to get the soda from the bar and then go to the buffet. If you want some ice water, you have to go find a place to get water. I know that this really isn't a big deal, but the effort that it took to think about our beverages was just silly. If I find myself cruising again, I think I will take bottled water on board and keep it in the mini-fridge, and skip the soda card. Given that those were our only two big complaints, and one was more of an inconvenience, we can easily say that we loved our cruise on the Carnival Magic. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
The cruise was a great laugh. The main two factors for it being such a good laugh were the people we were with and the fact that there is so much to do on the ship...you could stay on it for two weeks without getting off and never get ... Read More
The cruise was a great laugh. The main two factors for it being such a good laugh were the people we were with and the fact that there is so much to do on the ship...you could stay on it for two weeks without getting off and never get bored. The red frog pub was great as was the gym...gotta have a balance! three down points were: 1) Alkcoholic drinks are a rip off!!! 2) Longers are all taken on sea day by people that never come back so take there stuff off after an hour and give it to the staff to teach them a lesson. Germans seemed to like doing this the most, but we sorted that little problem with some subtle English wit. 3)It has a holiday camp feel with all the loud speaker calls trying to flog you their stuff every five minutes - 'watches at low low prices', 'get your pictures...must have memories' blah blah blah...I got a watch, and I got a camera! Overall the cruise was great, the staff were brilliant, the ship looked classy and the food was good...give the staff a good workout and oder room service as much as possible...wear a towel...one of em said to me that he'll never feel like a man again after I forgot. My standout tip for everyone is....TAKE LOTS OF MONEY IF YOU LIKE A DRINK!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
This was my first cruise, so of course I had no idea what to expect. This cruise had 6 nights and 5 ports of call, so there was very little time spent on-board the ship. My group left the ship for different excursions - only one of which ... Read More
This was my first cruise, so of course I had no idea what to expect. This cruise had 6 nights and 5 ports of call, so there was very little time spent on-board the ship. My group left the ship for different excursions - only one of which was a Carnival excursion (Messina). We did Monaco on our own and hired RomeInLimo for the other three ports. The ship was good. The first thing I noticed, as I was at the bar in the lobby waiting for our luggage, was that the circular staircase was glass on the rise (ya know - rise & run) so you could potentially see up the skirts of women on the steps. I didn't test it - but I did avoid the steps. Kinda icky. And when I did go down the steps - my thighs were pretty tight together. The drinks were fine. Bartender was okay. Stateroom was great. Balcony was nice. Robes were comfy. Bed was new. Could hear the neighbor coughing through the connecting door - but couldn't hear the kids on the other side of us. The cruise director? was announcing stuff but we couldn't hear it unless we opened the door - which was fine I guess - probably wasn't that important. I think we missed the 8:45 dinner time one night (thought it was still 8:15) - but that was it. Combo of bad mic & bad speakers & bad accent - couldn't understand him at all, even with the door open. Good food in the dining room. Expectations were probably too low - but everything tasted really good and looked good and service was very special. Ionel and Audi were fantastic waiters. The way the other tables looked - the whole waitstaff was well trained and the people were happy. Of course, some people are always cranky about something or the other. Spent some time in the RedFrog and the Casino. Bartenders were great. The Movie on the deck is just cool - felt like a drive-in movie theater. Should've brought a blanket out there - kinda cold. the solo guitar acts were very good - the only good acts on ship. Magician was very good. Piano bar was great. The excursion to Mt.Etna w/the ship was fine. Kinda expensive. Saw Mt.Etna spout some steam. yay. RomeInLimo for Rome, Tuscany, & Amalfi Coast was a better bargain - great tour guides (Luka, Clara, & Ansel). Highly recommend romeinlimo - great drivers. I only talked to one N. American worker on-board the ship - she works in the make-up/jewelry shop. (or I think she was American or maybe Canadian) The rest were European or Asian or something else. odd. It was nice to have a N. American working there. It was like a floating hotel for me. It was wonderful. I enjoyed the ship very much.Make sure you get your chair early for the day at sea. They get reserved early and they sit empty for hours w/towels or other reserved markings on them. I guess the quality of the ship depends on your attitude when viewing it. I had a great time, but I was relaxed and happy about my port trips & group, so it was a wonderful vacation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This was our first time in Europe, so we didn't know what to expect. Embarking was pretty fast and easy. The terminal in Barcelona is nice and modern. The ship I personally found was very nice and modern. I know a lot of people say ... Read More
This was our first time in Europe, so we didn't know what to expect. Embarking was pretty fast and easy. The terminal in Barcelona is nice and modern. The ship I personally found was very nice and modern. I know a lot of people say it's tacky and cheap but I didn't feel this way about it. It was very clean and the public spaces were nice and open. The buffet was always very good, and the dining room was great too, except some nights service was slow and ate up a lot of the night. John Heald was very funny but I never saw him in person once. Messina: We did not like this port. We took the train to Taoromina but by the time we got there we had to leave right away. That was our fault for getting off to a late start. Just not much to do in Messina.Naples: Probably my favorite day. Toured Pompeii (very cool), and the Amalfi Coast which is very scenic. The towns built into the cliffs were amazing and the road is extended out over the cliff which is very neat. Rome: We did Rome at its Best thru Carnival. Tiring day but got to see the colosseum which was very cool. Ate lunch at an authentic restaurant but we couldn't pick what we wanted. Livorno: Went to see Florence and Leaning Tower of Pisa. Neat cities but watch out for the guys selling sun glasses and watches in Pisa. They will NOT take no for an answer. Just keep walking. Monaco: We were so tired at this point we decided to just have a relaxing day on the ship. Very neat looking city though. Overall it was a pretty good trip. The ship is very nice, no complaints there. The ports are tiring but it's neat to see. If you want to see Italy, go by cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
I traveled on this cruise with my fiancE (DF) and this was our first trip to Europe. We have cruised on Royal Caribbean twice (Oasis/Liberty), Holland America once (Eurodam), but this was my first Carnival Cruise. In addition, my DF ... Read More
I traveled on this cruise with my fiancE (DF) and this was our first trip to Europe. We have cruised on Royal Caribbean twice (Oasis/Liberty), Holland America once (Eurodam), but this was my first Carnival Cruise. In addition, my DF cruised Carnival and Celebrity in the past, but this was our first Mediterranean and European Cruise. I tend to like newer Ships and always wanted to visit Europe so the Carnival Magic was very appealing. (This review is long, but informative)We allotted two days to travel to Barcelona from the USA, but it seemed that may not have been enough time because we almost literally missed the boat due to the Airline (I will say their initials stand for "UnStable"). They cancelled our flight to Barcelona at 2:20AM after an eight hour delay and made absolutely no efforts to rebook "us" other than to provide an 800 number for 300 passengers to call all at the same time. They also lost our luggage for the entire Cruise containing 95% of our clothes and especially those outfits we needed for dinner and to enter Holy buildings on our excursions. We had no sleep for two straight days and very little food.We MUST thank Carnival and the Magic Staff for all of their efforts in helping us track our luggage, complimentary laundry services and allowing us to eat in the Main Dining Room with Shorts.We had planned to stay two days in Barcelona and booked a 5-Star Hotel, but thanks to the airline we only saw the hotel on the taxi ride between the Airport and the Cruise Terminal. We were VERY grateful to land in time for the start of our Cruise as many other stranded passengers did not arrive/board until Tuesday in Roma or missed the trip entirely.Arrival- landed at BCN 9:15am on July 3, and cleared Customs, picked up one of our bags from the Carousal, made a Lost Baggage Report and was in a taxi to the Cruise Terminal D by 10:30AM. The taxi cost €25, but the taxi driver pushed his "magical" luggage button and charged €8 more for the carry-on bags we had with us making our total cost €33. We exchanged Euro prior to leaving the USA.Embarkation- Very Smooth and we were in the lido eating by 11AM and our rooms were ready by 1pm.Breakfast- Not a very good selection in the lido for those of us who do not eat pork. Other passengers were also upset that at breakfast in the lido there was no turkey bacon or chicken/turkey sausages. Only in the Main Dining Room (Southern Lights) could you order the non-pork breakfast meats and the one morning I did so, they did not fry the turkey bacon, but lightly microwaved it where is tasted raw. The chicken sausage was not good either. I made a suggestion to the Dining Manager to provide non-pork cooked breakfast items in the lido as many other Cruise Liners do.Lunch- We only at on the lido deck. Great selections and food tasted ok. I enjoyed the garden burger, but had to order is separately on the side of the grill stand and when I went to add fries and condiments many people thought I was cutting line. They should have the fries and condiments in a separate area away from the beef burgers line. Some people only wanted fries.Dinner- Assigned to the Southern Dining room and the table number is printed on your Sea Card (room key). We changed our table and I would suggest if you have to change anything about your dining you do so on the first day because I was 5th in line and once I finished the line had at least 100 people. They started around 1pm on the first floor of (I think) the Northern Dining room. Food was just ok. We thought the best Meal was during "Elegant Night" as we had lobster and shrimp, which were very delicious. Menus had fair selections, but again I thought too many pork options, which outweighed all other options.Room- We had a deck 7 balcony room 8C on the portside of the ship. The bed was extremely comfortable and the balcony was adequate. We loved the bathroom shower as it has adjustable temperature levels that held the temp your entire shower. We loved the idea of a curtain instead of a shower door. More room, especially for my DF who is 6'3. The best part of our cabin was the storage, especially in the bathroom. I was able to keep all of my toiletries in the bathroom on the shelves attached to the mirrored wall. Kudos to Carnival. Our room steward was very friendly and tended to our needs with a smile. I did not like the fact that our balcony overlooked one of those hot tubs on deck five and that is not shown on Carnival's deck plan map. People, including children were inside all day and night and could see us sitting on the balcony as we could see and hear them, even with our balcony door closed. If we had known that, we would have rebooked another room because we prefer the sea view, peace and privacy of sitting on our balcony watching a panoramic sea view without noise and people. (beware)Shows- We did not attend any. Nor did we eat at any of the Ships Specialty Restaurants.Casino- Good. The smoking was at a minimum, which I really appreciated and I hope one day to not have smoking at all. However, I thought the area was too cold. We did not win at any slots, but I did well at the Roulette Table.Ports- Great and we seemed to have docking priority in most Ports as we saw Princess Passengers being tendered in Monaco. We seemed to have at least four or more ships at each Port the entire cruise.Monaco/Monte-Carlo- Great Views as the Magic docked Starboard side. We had a little rain and we took a 2:30pm excursion booked through Carnival. I am so glad we booked the afternoon excursion as we did not know how important sleeping in the next morning would be after not sleeping for two days due to the airline. Both cities are ritzy, clean and well preserved. The Royal Wedding had just taken place and many of the dEcor was still visible. Our Tour was adequate for the price, but definitely appreciated the information provided by our Guide. Some of the Monte-Carlo Casinos require a Passport, so bring yours in you plan to enter. Also all Casinos require you leave hats and umbrellas in their "Cloak Rooms." Very European.Roma- Great City, store clerks not so much. The locals were very friendly, but as we were shopping for desperately needed clothing we thought the store clerks were rude and I even spoke adequate Italian. I ate some pizza, but it was very different and not so good.We did Rome on our own. We did not want to pay Carnival's the ridiculous price for an excursion that took you by bus and did not include all of the main attractions within one excursion. We saved a boatload of money staying on our own. We had entrance visits to the Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel, Roman Colosseum with entrance, Trevi fountains, Spanish Steps and St. Peters Square. We went to all sites, two with entrance tickets, all within 4 hours.We left the port by 8am in a ferocious thunderstorm (missed the free port shuttle bus to the port entrance) walked to the Civitavecchia Train station by 8:40. Purchased two BRIG tickets at the counter, validated them, left on the 8:59 local train to arrive (1hr: 10min ride) and walked a few blocks and across the street to St. Peter's Square by 11am. The rain stopped, sun came out and the weather was great the remainder of our day. All of our site visits were completed by metro and the last site was an entrance visit to the Colosseum. Since we were done with all attractions by 3pm, we had over 3 hours left to shop before heading back by train to the Magic Ship. Our total cost for each person came to, including credit card conversion fees, $60.00. Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel- $55.00 (Vatican Website two tickets)Colosseum Entrance- $39.00 (Omni tickets two tickets)BRIG (all day metro/bus pass) - €9 ($12) per person. Total $24.00 (Train Station or Trenitalia site).The key is you MUST purchase your tickets in advance for the Colosseum and the Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel or you will never enter in time before they close or before the ship leaves. Each of those lines had hundreds if not thousands of people in line, but with our advance ticket purchases we walked right in. I'm from the TriState area and I am use to a Metro system and Rome is no different. I just mapped out the sites and the metro stops to get to each. Pisa- Booked a Carnival Excursion with entrance inside. My DF sat on the side, but I climbed all 294 leaning steps to the top. What a marvel to behold. The other buildings included a Baptistry, Cathedral and Cemetery, which are all leaning as well. We even had a lady sing while we were inside the Baptistry and her voice echoing off of the walls sounded angelic.Naples- Parts were vey unclean, but most of the city was fine. We originally booked the Ruins of Pompeii Tour through Carnival for the afternoon, but they cancelled due to low enrollment, so we had to again get up early to take the morning tour and it was adequate. We had an audio tour and I must say all the buses on each tour were very new, clean and air conditioned. Our guide was very knowledgeable and it was very hot. I took an umbrella, which helped keep me cool. The surface of Pompeii was uneven so wear very comfortable shoes. I was surprised that real dogs roamed the Ruins, but they did not bother any of the tourists. Great shops and vendors allowed negotiating prices. There was a Shop that will make a pair of shoes on the spot and was located inside of the Mall Building next to the Lemon Citrus Wine making Factory, great samples!Sicily- We wanted to book a tour, but we were too exhausted to even get off the ship. Great port views from our balcony, but the waterways were littered with debris floating downstream with the current. Fun Day at Sea- Very crowded on the lido deck and people hogging chairs with their belongings. I could not believe that at 9am the Cruise Director and those simple bells "ding, ding, ding" came on the speaker to announce everything you could read in the Fun Ship daily schedule. It woke us up and gave me a headache. ALL Cruise Liners should refrain from those loud, early and global announcements. Some cruisers want to relax, but with that daily and much too early noise, forget-about-it! Disembarkation- Very Smooth. We kept the little luggage we had with us and did not sit it outside our stateroom so we could depart on our own time. We wanted to catch a taxi back to the airport, but their prices started at €55 without the bag rate being included. We turned around and purchased the Carnival transfers to the airport on the spot costing $30 each. The VAT line was long and you must get a form in addition to a receipt from each store you shop at and purchase goods totaling €90 or more. We did not have the addition form from the shops in Roma, only our receipts and could not get the stamp, but we got the stamp for the Carnival Shops and you still have to mail in the receipt/form to get actual money. There was another line in the airport if you wanted the VAT credited to your credit card, but there is a fee on your credit card to do so.Overall, this trip was exciting, but exhausting. The Carnival Magic staff is the best in the industry and the Ship is adequate. The itinerary was GREAT and I would visit Europe again in a heartbeat, but I'm not so sure if we'll do it again by sea because of the time constraints and not being able to rest. The ship has a very busy schedule and will put you on their schedule whether you want to be or not. A middle day at sea between cities would have been good, but only if the ship would allow you to rest without those loud, early annoying announcements. The ship sailed very smoothly and I did not need my motion sickness patch. I did not find the time change very difficult (6 hours), as I kept my watch to EST (great to keep medication schedule) and my alarm clock on European local time. Constantly being on planes, trains, automobiles, buses and a ship is causing me to have a slow recovery. We may try the Breeze, but we could definitely sail Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Booking- easy.I liked being able to pre-book tours and Spa sessions in advance, on the internet. Boarding in Barcelona- great! Handed cases over to staff who placed them on a conveyor (after checking tag had cabin number on) and ... Read More
Booking- easy.I liked being able to pre-book tours and Spa sessions in advance, on the internet. Boarding in Barcelona- great! Handed cases over to staff who placed them on a conveyor (after checking tag had cabin number on) and entered large, cool terminal building. Up an escalator to a hotel style reception desk to register credit card and collect 'sign + sail key card'. Then they take a photograph so when the card is swiped for any payments on board, your picture comes up on the screen. Entered ship on deck 3- the Atrium. Not quite as spacious as advertised, OK its 7 or 8 floors high but only near the lifts. Disappointing decor, green motif on lights strange and altogether neither cutting edge modern nor classic ship decor. Amazing organisation with 4,500 passengers to embark- also true in ports we visited! Cabin on deck 2 easy to find but corridor running full length of ship dauntingly long- could barely see the end of it in the distance. Cabin was adequate- lots of storage/wardrobe space and comfy bed and pillows. Very strange 70's style pictures of leaves on the walls. Shower was good, lots of bathroom shelving for toiletries. Shower gel and shampoo dispensers. Strange complimentary toiletries- 2 razors and whitening toothpaste but no shower cap, moisturiser or cotton wool pads. 1,400 children on board but didnt seem that many apart from around pools at times. Food- quite good selection for breakfast & lunch & interesting options including Burrito bar, Tandoori, deli (sandwiches), pasta bar, etc. But nothing much at tea time- from 3pm to 5.30pm you could buy cake & starbucks but buffets were closed. Dinner at the Steakhouse was wonderful but cost additional $30 each. Entertainment- disappointing overall. Only one typical singing & dancing show. Nothing at all for first 3 nights. Several 'single artist' shows- a soprano, a male singer, an instrumentalist. Last night was a passenger show, a bit like X-factor auditions. Spotlight lounge had magic act and comedians which were Ok. Big screen movies in Ocean Plaza were great with free popcorn BUT timings meant it was difficult to get to if you dined at 8.15pm Red Frog pub had good live singer and great ambiance inside and out. Also loved the piano bar and excellent Martinis each night BUT with 15% service charge on all drinks any cocktail cost $10. Service was generally reasonable, good in the restaurant, exceptional in the Steakhouse. There is an automatic $10 per person per day service charge which I disliked- prefer to tip individuals for good service. Better still, include tips in total cost! 2 pools were good, main one could have been bigger. Often spoilt on 'sea' days by children splashing and jumping in/ Perrenial problem of people putting towels out on best located sunbeds then dissappearing for hours- sometimes for a whole excursion ashore! There were in fact plenty of beds if you walked around a little and didnt mind not being close to a pool. We loved the Sports area with the mini golf and connect 4 and its own little bar. Serenity was a lovely 'adult only' area near the Spa with hammocks and double sunbeds but again, many beds often reserved and unoccupied for hours. Lacked a pool though it did have a hot-tub. Spa was great, cool and tranquil area, great teatments. (I had 3) Disembarcation. Our flight wasnt until 21.30. but latest disembarcation was 0900. Announcements started at 05.30 so any hope of sleep was spoiled. Also they neglected to inform people about cheap bus into Barcelona and luggage storage facility (near top of Rambla, €7.50 for XL locker which held 2 cases and 1 carry on bag) Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This was my first cruise, in what will hopefully be one of many. I traveled with a family group of 8. To start off, the embarkation onto the boat was flawless. Even though it has been noted that you could not board until 11:30, we ... Read More
This was my first cruise, in what will hopefully be one of many. I traveled with a family group of 8. To start off, the embarkation onto the boat was flawless. Even though it has been noted that you could not board until 11:30, we had made the mistake of booking a cab too early (or so we thought) and arrived at the port an hour early. I was chagrined to see lines upon lines of people everywhere - waiting for taxis, hanging outside of the port building, looking miserable. To my delight, we got out of our taxi, was immediately met by a porter who whisked our luggage away and we were ushered into the modern, immaculate building. I later learned that I would be one of the huddled masses looking for a way out of the port at the end of the trip. Check in was a breeze, and anticipating having to wait around in the port building before we'd be allowed on the Carnival Magic, we were instead welcomed upon the boat and invited to start strapping on the feed bag immediately. That was my introduction to cruising, and it was a heady delight, that spread out before me was a magnificent buffet and it was mine for the taking. Sitting out on the Lido deck, gazing out into the ocean, dining al fresco, having my dishes whisked away the second I was done with them....amazing. That was the type of moment you'll always remember on your first cruise. Now, for exploring the boat. How bizarre it was remember that this was a brand new boat, only having a few other sailings before mine. I was somewhat chagrined to see that many things already appeared worn (wooden steps, some furniture) or dirty (windows, carpets). I've read in other reviews that Carnival ships usually lean towards a "cheesy" design, and I would wholeheartedly agree. I was expecting things on a grand, modern scale, but that was absolutely not the case. I felt much of the decor was straight out of the 70's, and not in a good way. The only area I felt had a sleek, interesting design was the Spa area, which was beautiful - aqua glass, ocean colored tiles, soothing colors, muted patterns. Otherwise, it was boring beige-ness, hideous carpets, fixtures and lightings that seemed dated already. For the number of people on the boat, it seemed that there should be more actual pool as well, for once the ship was full, you had to cram yourself in for some swim time...forget about swimming laps or having any space. And really, unless you are like the other passengers and hog a deck chair with your personal belongings though you may be decks away and have no intention of returning to it any time soon, you'll find that having a area to sit can be difficult to come by. That infuriated me time and time again that people were no where to be found, but towels,books, etc. were always strewn over the chairs, "holding them" but remained empty for hours at a time. That held true for the adult area, the waterslide area and the pool areas. Not that this should come as any surprise, but though you've paid for your cruise, Carnival will continue to try and part you from your money from the time you enter the ship until you leave. Truly, it would have been easy enough to avoid extra costs beside the $10/day gratuities, but it was sad to see how many things you had to pay extra for. Of course, any alcohol, which is understandable, and goodness knows, there will be a server asking constantly if they can bring you a drink, though no one was ever pushy about it. Things like a "coffee house" where you had to buy frou frou coffees or large desserts... that was ridiculous to me. In the pub, you have to pay extra for any grub. Pictures, pictures, pictures all over the place, but exorbitant prices to buy them. Ridiculous bingo games constantly. I thought there would be more shopping aboard the boat, like souvenir type items, but they have wasted space on having a candy shoppe (where of course, you pay for everything). As this is a port heavy cruise, I wasn't expecting a huge amount of on board entertainment, but thank goodness I wasn't, because there was very little of interest, especially during the day. Some trivia games, casino tournaments, kareoke, but I guess I was just expecting more little classes or lectures, crafts...I don't know, just more. I went to one of the evening shows, singers and dancers were good, set was very nice, songs were somewhat "meh", but since most of them were from the 70's, it fit with the overall environment of the boat, I suppose. Saw the comedians, they were decent. Magic show was abysmal, literally 2-3 "tricks" per performer, and lame at that. Back to my favorite thing, and that's food. There was plenty to be had onboard. Eating at the buffets, there was always something tasty. Some of the desserts were hit or miss (especially any cheesecake product...blech!). When it was busy, waiting in line is excruciating. When I am hungry, I am not patient, but I was a sight better than many people who would just barge in and jump the line, grab something and be on their way, making the rest of us sucker wait that much longer in the line. I sampled most of what they had to offer on board. One thing that I should have mentioned about the ship itself, is that I was constantly turned around and confused, though that might be more due to my lack of sense of direction. In any case, there were indoor buffets, then outdoor kiosk specialty restaurants, which I could never remember which one was where. From my recollection, there were 4 - a deli, hamburger/hotdog stand, tandoori food and pizza place. Never ate at the deli, but sandwiches my sister got looked good. Hamburger/hotdogs were good, fries excellent. Tandoor was awesome, though naan bread was always snatched up, needing to be replaced. Pizza was OK, staff never seemed to be there, you had to wait if you ordered anything beyond cheese. Inside at the buffets, there was a burrito bar, a la Chipotle, that was quite good, though the buffet came with tortilla chips and had the odd experience of having 1 out of every 3 chips be stale and disgusting, and the remainder delicious. Huh. Mongolian Wok line was also long and infuriating and the sauce choice was poor the day I went and ended up not even liking what I had "created". And no rice? That was odd. Now, the dining room experience - ate there a few times for breakfast, and that got old quickly, since the menu was pretty limited. For dinner? Phenomenal! The service, the food, the selection... top notch! Was always happy, if anything was not good, just asked for something different and it was whisked to the table in no time. Probably since we had a private table next to a window, we were luckier and happier than most, but I looked forward to every single dinner. To the cabin - my better half decided not to come on the cruise, so I had to share a room with two other family members. However, it was not as miserable as anticipated. Was very pleased to find that there were two separate bathroom areas in the oceanview cabin - one with toilet, sink and shower, the other with sink and bathtub. Outside of both, a long shelf and dressing table for storage and for prepping for the day. Ideal for 3 women sharing a space, and all three like to primp. The closet space was great and shelves/drawers aplenty to hold all our junk. The bathrooms also had great space for toiletries, of which I brought way too many, but still was able to spread them out. Bed was comfy - service to the room, again was phenomenal. Like ninjas, the staff cleaned the heck out of the room the minute we stepped out of it, never running into them servicing the room, either in the morning or evening. To have turn down service, mints on the pillow, towel animal at night.... aaah, that will also be the takeaway love of the cruise along with the food. To be honest, I was initially somewhat miffed at the idea of being charged an additional $70 for gratuities, especially with three people in the cabin...did they (dining, room staff) really deserve $210? They sure did, and I was scraping together my dollars to give them even more by the end, because I was that impressed at the level of service. Everyone was friendly, helpful... I could never do that job and still be in such a good mood and keep a smile on my face. The casino was marginal...I was hoping for a lot more video slots, but Vegas , it was not. I don't like the "one armed bandit" reel slots, and they had majority of those. I like to be entertained by ridiculous cartoons, etc. while I'm losing my money :) My shore excursion experiences ended up being pretty boring. To save money, I only booked one excursion, Rome at It's Best. The organization to get off the boat and onto your bus was fine, coach was comfy, initial guide was good, taking us into the city, giving us free time. The included lunch was at a random restaurant, and food was given to us, no choice at all, which was disappointing, especially since the main course was meat filled lasagna, which while tasty to me, was no good for picky kids or vegetarians, especially since the salad was filled with tuna, so it was bread for those who didn't eat meat. But a ton of wine was included, so the rest of the tour was somewhat blurry, if not completely boring. The second tour guide that met us in Rome for the afternoon was awful, and it is not even worth describing how excruciating she made the Basillica and the Colloseum with her vast amounts of talking and making us stand in one place instead of actually exploring Rome's magnificence. Thank heavens I had visited Rome before and will not carry just those memories of the worst tour guide ever. However, I should probably thank her for giving me the most hilarious pictures of the entire trip, when I took pictures of every single person in my family looking exhausted, angry, bored and mutinous all in one expression while in the Colosseum. However, don't let that dissuade you from taking this tour...we just got the worst tour guide is all. Rome deserves a lot more time than a day excursion, anyway... For the other ports, despite my initial plans to have tours on my own, they turned into more wandering than anything. Monaco was very nice to explore on your own and it was easy enough to walk through the country without trouble. Livorno, I should have gone to Florence or Pisa, but since it came right after the Rome day, we were tired and just not in the mood to plan. After getting a shuttle bus (5 euro for round trip) into town was good enough, getting some lovely gelato. Naples, had every intention of going to Capri, but again, just wandered around the city, which had a lot more to explore than Livorno, but was very real and gritty, not touristy the way I thought a port city would be, but good. Messina, nothing struck my fancy, so again, just walked the city and there was some neat things to see, churches, church bells, souvenir shops, restaurants, shops. So then, it was time to return to the real world. Debarkation was easy enough, though early in the morning, starting at 6, they were shoving you off the boat via overhead announcements as fast as they could. Who could blame them, with a whole new group of travelers getting on that same day, but a jarring end to it all. We walked off ourselves with luggage, easy enough. Fortunately found the shuttle bus to our hotel and didn't have to wait in the inhumane taxi line or sit with our bags on the curb like a hobo family for very long...only 15 minutes or so, looking with jealousy at the fresh faced new group going into the terminal for their upcoming cruise on the boat we just left. Finally, a word about Barcelona...I absolutely loved it. It was never on my radar as a city (or Spain as a country) I had any interest in visiting - I've traveled extensively elsewhere - England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland (N and S), France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, etc. but was really surprised at how accessible Barcelona was as a city, it's beauty and architecture, great transportation system, especially the Metro. The people were friendly, accomodating and took pride in keeping their city nice. Before embarkation, we stayed at Apartments Spain Square in Eixample for three nights and then at the Renaissance Airport Hotel for two nights afterwards, and both places provided advantages for seeing the city. Using self catering accomodations saved a lot of money in the beginning as well. Overall, it was a trip to remember, and I will carry many more positive memories than anything else. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This is a review for the June 24th Carnival Magic voyage out of Barcelona. We booked our flights through Carnival and arrived at Barcelona on the morning of the sailing. We took a shuttle to the port and embarkation was very easy. The only ... Read More
This is a review for the June 24th Carnival Magic voyage out of Barcelona. We booked our flights through Carnival and arrived at Barcelona on the morning of the sailing. We took a shuttle to the port and embarkation was very easy. The only problem was that the cabins were not ready and accessible till 1:30PM and we had to carry all our luggage throughout the ship. The Carnival Magic resembles the other carnival funships. I have sailed the Valor on other occasions and you cannot tell the difference between one and the other. This ship does have more hot tubs, pools, an amazing rope course and slide. The hot tubs were not hot sometimes and the pools were cold. Even though the days are hot the wind is cool and coming out of the water was a chilling experience. We stayed on the Lido deck and that made it very easy to catch a bite. The Lido deck buffet was well varied and balanced. The also had a 24hour pizza station, hamburger grill, sandwich area, 24 hr ice cream, Indian food station and a sushi station on the 5th deck.We ate at the Northern Lights restaurant on 7 out of the 9 days. I was not impressed with the food at the restaurant> I have had better at the other ships. It seemed to take forever to get my food. Dinner was a 2 hour event. It was not worth it. I found my food to be cold and bland. On the other had we ate at the Prime Steakhouse twice and it was FANTASTIC. We had never visited steakhouse on the other cruises and we decided to try it this time. It was money well spent.Our first spot was Monaco. Took the hop on off bus, visited the Oceanografic Museum, and all the stops. I felt the museum was not worth the entrance fee but my kids enjoyed it. Be ready to spend big bucks for everything here. If you can go back to the ship for lunch and then venture out again. Florence was a mission. We arrived at Livorno on a Sunday and there was a train strike. I wish we had booked a shore excursion for this one. I suggest you book a shore excursion for any stop you have on a Sunday. I had purchased online tickets to see the "David" and we did not have to make a long line,we walked right in. I suggest you buy all your tickets to the Vatican, Colosseum, etc online IF YOU ARE NOT PLANNING TO BOOK SHORE EXCURSIONS.We did get to Rome on our own. We took a train out of Civitavecchia at 9:15 and we got off at the Ostiense terminal and there we got on the Subway and stepped right out to the Colosseum. What an amazing sight. The lines were HUGE but again we walked right in with our tickets. We saw the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Roman Forum, Pantheon, and Finally the Vatican using the subway service. Be aware of tourist traps. Take your water with you, a water bottle can run between 2.50 to 3.50 Euros. We tried to eat lunch at a restaurant by the Trevi Fountain. The pizza was horrible and expensive. From this experience we learned to carry our fruit or small snack and wait for our meals on board. Besides you have to be able to spend about an Hour of your time to dedicate to lunch. You will find that you do not have a minute to spare because you need to be back on board at about 7:30PM. There is a train station called Roma San Pietro which is near the Vatican. If you are planning to start your day our end your day at the Vatican you can catch a train to Civitavecchia from there. Rome is beautiful but I found the people there to be rude and pushy. Be very CAREFUL manners are not a custom there. The Vatican Museum is a must see.We did a cruise shore excursion to Pompeii and Sorrento in Naples. It was great. Sorrento was great for food and shopping. Pompeii is a must see. We did the Godfather tour in Sicily. It was nice but I did not feel it was worth what we paid for it. In Palma de Mallorca we did the Caves of Drach. It was okay. We were not given much time to venture on our own because we had to be back on board at 3:30PM.Marseille France was my surprise port. I enjoyed it. We ventured on our own and went to the Notre Dame church on a steep hill. You can skip your morning workout if you want to climb on your own. You can catch the little train or Hop On bus and it will take you there. The local bus will take you there too. The town has beautiful architecture, great little bakeries, and shops. We bought a french baguette a a local bakery and then ham and cheese at a local market and made our own french sandwiches, YUMMY !!! We tried the Gelato at every port. It is delicious and refreshing. Must try the Sicilian Lemon Graniti !!!Visiting Europe using a cruise is definitely the best way in my opinion. Coming back to the ship every day is a plus. Once you are on the ship you feel like you are back in the states and that is a relief. I cannot imagine having to struggle with the rudeness every breakfast, lunch and dinner. I never think about how much I am going to spend when I am on vacation. You just do not get what you pay for when you are out and about on the ports. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
After taking one Carnival cruise many years ago to Mexico, my expectations were very, very, low. We selected the Magic and Carnival for two reasons - Carnival had the best port itinerary and the Magic is a new ship. I must say, I ... Read More
After taking one Carnival cruise many years ago to Mexico, my expectations were very, very, low. We selected the Magic and Carnival for two reasons - Carnival had the best port itinerary and the Magic is a new ship. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We booked an Ocean Suite (7244) which was very comfortable and roomy. The staff was friendly, the food was good (not great, but fine), the entertainment on the ship was excellent for the most part - especially the music in the Piano Bar (Ron). We arranged our own shore excursions, so I can not comment on those provided by the ship. The highlight of the ship experience was the Chefs Dinner where twelve guests are hosted by the Head Chef in the galley of the ship for an 8 course over the top meal. A must do. We also loved the Anytime Dining option - no pressure to get back to the ship for early seating, or getting too hungry to hold out for the late seating. Some slight downsides - the internet connection was difficult and expensive. The decor was a bit cheesy - fake wood does not do it for me! All in all, I went in with low expectations and came away pleasantly surprised. It was a good value. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
My wife and I are loyal Princess cruisers. However, based on the itinerary, date, and price, we thought we would give Carnival a try since it would be on their newest ship. There was really nothing wrong or bad with the cruise, but there ... Read More
My wife and I are loyal Princess cruisers. However, based on the itinerary, date, and price, we thought we would give Carnival a try since it would be on their newest ship. There was really nothing wrong or bad with the cruise, but there were several things that we have really come to expect and enjoy on Princess that we didn't experience on Carnival. We stayed a night in Barcelona at the Hilton after we arrived from Atlanta. We have done the Mediterranean on Princess before out of Barcelona, so we were already familiar with getting around. The embarkation was very smooth. However when we got on the ship about noon, the rooms were still unavailable, so we had to drag our carry on to the buffet lunch with us. The stateroom was nice but offers no privacy other than the bathroom. The food in the marketplace buffet was average. There is no beverage service in the buffet area like on Princess. They don't do anything extra in the evening to make dinner a little more special. The line for stir fried was always long and wasn't worth the wait. We bought a coke pass which was too expensive. $66 for a 9 night cruise. And it didn't include the drink tumbler like on Royal Caribbean and Princess. In hindsight, we shouldn't have bought the drink pass because we didn't come close to drinking $66 worth. Also, they only serve can drinks. We prefer fountain drinks on Princess. We were surprised that there wasn't an opening night show on the first night. We had dinner most nights in the your time dining area. The service was fine, but the cruise director interrupted our dinner every night for ridiculous announcements or letting us know someone hadn't made it back on board. Who cares! let's go to the next port. They'll only miss the ship one time before they'll learn. Also, every night the staff in the dining room had to do a song and dance routine which I suppose for some people, that was cute, but for us, it was an interruption to good conversation with fellow passengers. The complementary pasta bar at lunch in the Italian restaurant at the back of the ship was good but it was right under the basketball court. So during lunch you heard constant banging of players and basketballs while you ate. They says the basketballs are not available in the evening during dinner, but you still will hear kids running around. Could have been a better way to isolate the noise. We were also surprised that on a new ship that size, there is no adult only pool. The only thing is an adult only hot tub in the serenity area. Smoking areas around the pools are also not marked. You just have to know that the port side is smoking and there are ashtrays on that side. A few people had to be told they were smoking on the wrong side. There wasn't anyone in the buffet area that seemed to be in charge. One morning, a man in just a bathing suit with a towel around his waste was going through the buffet. How disgusting! I told atleast 3 guys attending tables that he needs to get out dressed like that. The information sheets says what is appropriate dress in the different areas. They all looked at me like they didn't speak english and didn't know what I was referring to. We enjoyed all our ports of call and Carnival handled all the logistics just fine. Again, the cruise itself was fine, there were several differences that we preferred on Princess. The captain did take the time to steer us next to the island of Stomboli where we got to experience an active volcano and see if erupt. Very cool and was definitely a highlight. One of the most disappointing aspects of our evenings was the buffet closed at 9:30pm. We usually like going to get a light meal and dessert after a show around 10pm. The only thing opened that late was the deli and pizza. A light snack which was hamburgers was going to be available at midnight. Of course with the all day excursions we were taking during the day, midnight wasn't possible. On the last morning we were to disembark, we set our clock for 7am since we didn't have to get off the ship that quickly. Well, we didn't need the alarm clock at all. The cruise director started announcing disembarking zones at 6:30am. We spent 3 more nights in Barcelona and had a wonderful time touring. The metro works well and we used it often. We even took a train out to Montserrat one day. All in all it was a great vacation and a good cruise. We still prefer Princess and probably won't sail Carnival again unless we're with a group. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Last week we returned from generally a great cruise on the Carnival Magic to Monaco and Italy including the star Venice and Dubrovnik. Having never wanting to cruise at all until bullied by my wife last December I am now a very ardent fan ... Read More
Last week we returned from generally a great cruise on the Carnival Magic to Monaco and Italy including the star Venice and Dubrovnik. Having never wanting to cruise at all until bullied by my wife last December I am now a very ardent fan of cruising. I use to believe that cruising was Butlins at sea (All Brits will understand for others like a holiday camp with games to play and none stop tannoy announcements but i now find this is definitely not the case on the now 3 cruise companies we have used (the other two being RCL and Norwegian) and really all are very professional and well organised). Its just the exceptional that makes the difference and that's the reason for penning this note. We did initially think the itinerary strange having four straight days of port calls, going to Rome before Florence from Monaco and then back to Naples before a sea day. Only on this fifth day at sea with lovely weather did we fully understand how busy and crowded this ship was. We were told in excess of 4000 people were cruising on-board when the ship has a quoted capacity of 3700. With so many people we found it difficult to get a decent seat which wasn't by an air-vent or noisy pool area and people did persist in saving loungers with towels and books etc even though they are asked not to, but who wants a confrontation when they are on holiday. This is something i think all cruise lines have a problem with. The general facilities on the ship were excellent and varied, but we found the staff (particularly the guys in whites) mainly Eastern European very surly and none communicative and lacking any idea of customer service. Other members of staff then shone out, like all the stateroom staff we chatted too were extremely helpful and pleasant our dinner service team were always friendly and had time to speak. We nightly went to the Red Frog Pub, again some of the staff were excellent. But does it require so many waiters to run a small bar?? Our main reason for going was to watch the very excellent guitarist/vocalist Danny Black, who we believe is wasting his talents just playing on board a ship, particularly as he had to finish each evening by midnight because of noise levels in the staterooms. For a new ship this has to be a design fault with a number of other areas like the piano bar and Italian restaurant having unacceptable noise levels coming through the floor/ceiling. We did go to some of the shows and to see all the other entertainment offering on board most were very average and we thought this also of the cringe giving John Heald whose tannoy announcements reminded us very much of the dreaded holiday camp, his previous life obviously Hi di Hi John !!! Compared to our two previous cruises the daily information sheet was abysmal, it was never consistent with its placement of information with unnecessary duplication and notable omissions. Somebody really does need to revamp this very important sheet for all passengers to get the very best out of the ships excellent facilities. One daily omission was for us the best food on board which was the Tandoori bar which only served food between 1.30pm & 2.30pm again why we don't know. This was a really fabulous eatery with authentic Indian cooking ovens. Carnival you missed a trick here it should have been used for a greater time in the day and advertised more. But for all that we enjoyed it on several days because of the lack of customers. The other good places to eat on board were the excellent free lunchtime Italian restaurant and most of the evening dinners we had in the fixed dining Southern Lights. The not so good was the Marketplace Buffet style, the seating was good with sectioned booths, but the food was bland and the food service areas were far too cramped with queues at most times. The layout for the food service area again for a new ship was appalling. We tried the Deli once, why does so much meat have to be put on a sandwich the food here was not very good neither was the burger bar which invariable had you waiting around for ages to serve you chicken. But worst of all we thought was the Steakhouse, the food was very average but expensive. But the worst thing about it was the ambiance and what should have been a special dining experience. This didn't happen. The area was cramped and we were seated on a bench seat at the side of some very noisy neighbours who had started dining before us and wanted everybody to know what a good time they were having. This was definitely not worth the additional 30 dollars each. We didn't take any of the cruise tours which we think are extremely overpriced but prefer anyway to explore places on our own. We usually find the people we meet are extremely friendly and love for you to visit and admire their country and city and are always willing to help and give advice. The in board stateroom that we had was excellent in size very comfortable with space all round the very large bed plenty of draws and hanging space very well thought out as was the bathroom. We did get an extremely good deal on this cruise so we will probably cruise with Carnival again but only if RCL are not doing a similar itinerary at a similar price Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Room steward was excellent, he knew more about our ports than cruise director as far as time needed how to get there where to get best buys et.Our waiter was one of the best we have had on any cruise but her assistant was hardly around and ... Read More
Room steward was excellent, he knew more about our ports than cruise director as far as time needed how to get there where to get best buys et.Our waiter was one of the best we have had on any cruise but her assistant was hardly around and her next assistant was very slow and could hardly wait to get back to sleep and end this contract. Room was great two showers wonderful. Food was good but when I wanted to get a waffle, two fried eggs and a sausege two of the three were cold as I had to line up three times. Entertainment was so, so and not every night. We wanted to try one of the super ships but never again three times as many passengers but no more staff at the guest, or shore excursions desk it took me 45 minutes to change american to euros. We swallowed the threat from carnival about booking shore excursions through them or the ship would leave without us so we booked the only tour of Rome that went inside the coliseum and allowed us the afternoon in Rome on our own. What really happened was over two hours to get to Rome less than 1 hour on our own to see Trevi fountain ( 12 minutes ) Pantheon ( 6 minutes ) coliseum rushed through in less than 1/2 hour because we drove 1/2 hour outside Rome for lunch spent two hours at lunch and half hour back wasted 45 minutes in gift shop at St. Peter's. When several of us complained it was not what we were sold or was advertised we received 25% rebate and basically told "too bad go home and forget about it" taking it up later with customer service same response. Steam bath or sauna? Not for us only for the passengers who paid extra. Hot tubs are not hot only warmed by the sun. Menus on T.V.yes if you wanted to see what was being served on the next cruise. All in all there are a lot of bugs to be worked out on this ship. Next time Royal Caribbean or Princess. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
I had high hopes for the new Carnival Magic, since the only other Carnival cruise we've taken was a three day disaster to Cozumel. This ship is far superior and the ports were, for the most part, wonderful. However, there were a ... Read More
I had high hopes for the new Carnival Magic, since the only other Carnival cruise we've taken was a three day disaster to Cozumel. This ship is far superior and the ports were, for the most part, wonderful. However, there were a lot of areas where improvement is called for. SERVICE: Since we reserved a suite on the 7th deck, we received VIP boarding. What that meant was that we were ushered to the second floor of the departure terminal, while our standard cabin friends went to a longer line below. We were kept waiting, seated outside the registration room for about 10 minutes. When we were called in, we registered and then took an escalator back downstairs. There, we ended up in line almost next to our friends! We had checked in close to noon, the earliest time possible, but our luggage never materialized until 6 p.m. All of our friends got their luggage much sooner, even the ones in standard cabins. Some VIP service. Our cabin steward was friendly and efficient, though we rarely saw him on the trip. The room was cleaned twice daily and the ubiquitous towel animals appeared each evening, until we had 8 of the creatures occupying space in the room! Wait staff in the Southern Lights dining room was efficient, though not very friendly, unlike what we've experienced on other cruise lines. Around dessert time every evening, the staff were forced to put on a show which meant coffee wasn't served with dessert most nights and second cups were slow to come. The shows were silly, if mildly entertaining, but the staff would have been more appreciated at the tables! They seemed embarrassed to be performing, too. ROOMS: Our room was fantastic with storage space to spare. The little vanity room was a nice touch, however the over-sized stool didn't fit under the vanity and was always in the way. When I was seated at it, my husband could barely get by it and into the bathroom or his closet. The hairdryer was installed inside a drawer, so when I was using it, the bathroom door couldn't be fully opened--a real inconvenience when we were both hurrying to get ready for early-morning excursions. The bed was super comfy and plush linens were high quality. The mini fridge was fully stocked with pricey bar items, leaving no room for chilling a bottle of wine or storing anything else. The only option was to keep it locked. The TV stations were very limited with a couple of constantly repeating movies on the movie channels. Fortunately, we weren't there to watch TV. The private balcony was nice with two chairs, a tiny table and a lounge chair. Apparently a herd of elephants roomed above us, and we heard slamming doors or jumping children at all hours--not very well sound-proofed. There were only three laundry rooms for the entire ship, so they were always packed with people waiting to claim one of the three washers or dryers. For $15, ship personnel would wash and fold one bag of dirty clothes, so we took advantage of that to save time. The washers and dryers cost $3 per load, so that was not much more expense either. FOOD: The dining room food grew better every day after a few mediocre meals early in the cruise. The Lido deck cafeterias had all kinds of interesting stations, such as a Mongolian Wok, deli sandwiches, omelette bar and burrito bar, but lines were always long, so we tried only a few of those. Wait staff was efficient, however the seating areas always seemed packed. SHOPS: The shops were amazingly devoid of merchandise other than jewelry and apparel copiously labeled with "Carnival." I tried to find a can of hair spray in the tiny sundries section of one store and they didn't carry any. The photo sales area took up an entire floor! They did have screens into which you could insert your Ship card and through facial recognition matching your ID photo, the pictures of you would pop up on the screen--very Big Brotherish, but convenient. Unfortunately, it wasn't perfect and we missed a few group photos that showed up on other people's screens. SHOWS: After long days of touring, we weren't too interested in further entertainment, however friends who tried some of the late-night shows said they were corny and the friends often fell asleep or left early. FITNESS AREAS: The work out room was huge and seemed well equipped. The walking/jogging track was short and took 7 laps to make a mile. No other deck had a wrap-around waling area like other ships we've been on. The two pools were always crowded, especially with jumping, splashing, noisy children. There was a huge water park area with two huge slides and fun splash areas for children, as well as a creative ropes course on the 12th deck. DEPARTURE: Very easy! Thanks to the televised bills, we were able to review our charges easily. They encouraged taking your own luggage off the ship for early, privately arranged departures, and that avoided the dreaded night-before, suitcases in the hall nightmare that other ships use, although that was possible. CONCLUSION: Overall, we had a delightful time and enjoyed our cruise very much thanks to some interesting excursions and great friends who accompanied us. The ship needs to work our a lot of kinks to be truly "magic" however! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
This was our first ever cruise and we chose Carnival Magic because of its ports of call. As cruise novices we worried about choosing the right room - we didn't like the sound of an 'inside room' but didn't think ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and we chose Carnival Magic because of its ports of call. As cruise novices we worried about choosing the right room - we didn't like the sound of an 'inside room' but didn't think we'd need a balcony, so taking the advice of our Virgin Cruise rep we went with his suggestion of room 2497 on the second floor that had a window overlooking the rear of the ship. This was a huge mistake and one I blame solely on our Virgin rep who actually laughed when we asked the seemingly ridiculous question, "Can you hear the noise of the engine from the lower decks, as we are light sleepers?" "There is no noise on modern cruise ships," was the reply. So he booked us in stateroom 2497 and we spent twelve nights in a room that shook, rumbled and rattled, especially when the ship went in and out of port. We actually filmed it to capture the level of noise and vibration, but after compaining the best the steward could offer was to suggest we pack towels round everything! Sleep was often difficult and an alarm call really not needed as the engines had us awake by 5 -6am most mornings. For a first time 'cruiser' I have to say the ship itself was pretty spectacular - I doubt they can all look that amazing, and the level of service and cleanliness was excellent. A plus was definitely the food served in the two main dining rooms, which was very good - we couldn't fault it. We didn't try the ships Italian restaraunt because we were travelling around Italy and had a few meals off the ship, but as it was our anniversary during the trip we booked a table in the Steakhouse, where the staff tried so hard to make us welcome that they never left us alone for a minute, to the point that we wondered if they were rushing us through our meal because they were after our table!! It spoiled the evening and to be frank the food was no better than that served in the dining room. The Lido on the 10th floor was a general buffet that looked great but somehow never tasted quite as good as it looked, and other eateries such as the Tandoori, the Deli, the Pizza place and the Grill were much the same. Hit and miss - great hotdogs and Indian, tasteless low quality icecream and coffee. The same could be said for the entertainment - it was never quite as good as it could or should have been. A lot of the acts and shows in my opinion were second rate, but we really enjoyed the Red Frog Pub and the band Blood Power were excellent, but sadly undersold because they were usually on in the Ocean Plaza, a walk through bar/food area that had all the hospitality and atmosphere of an airport lounge. Yet the Spotlight Lounge was a lovely setting that was very poorly used. My husband was looking forward to the promised opportunity of 'singing karaoke with a live band', which had been advertised but in reality didn't exist. On the few occasions we saw karaoke it was a limp, sad affair, poorly presented and struggling to be heard over music played through the ship's piped music system. Cheesy John Heald, the Entertainment Director took every opportunity to go for the hard sell on everything from tours to ladies watches and he was fond of reminding us we were on a 'luxury cruise' - a bit more time spent organising better entertainment and upgrading the uninformative Fun Times bulletin would have been a better use of his time. I'm not sure we'll do another cruise - the theory is great, but the cost is high and the ship was full to over capacity, so it was impossible to get a sunbed or find a quiet place away from the Las Vegas - holiday camp vibe espiecally on 'fun days' at sea. But seeing Florence and Venice for the first time was fantastic and something we'll remember always! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Booked this cruise last minute with my husband and got what I think was the last room. Despite being an inside it did not disappoint if a little limited in space but that is to be expected. Spotlessly clean and well maintained by the ... Read More
Booked this cruise last minute with my husband and got what I think was the last room. Despite being an inside it did not disappoint if a little limited in space but that is to be expected. Spotlessly clean and well maintained by the steward who was attentive and friendly. Loved coming back to my towel animals at night! Only negative was that I did not realise I was being charge 4 dollars per day for mineral water not from the mini-bar. Spending 50 dollars on water without me knowing was hard to swallow-pardon the pun! A bit sneaky I think.Embarkation in Barcelona was very well organised and from arriving in our taxi, to entering our cabin, only took one and a half hour which is amazing when you consider there were 3000 people to get onboard and it was only the 2nd cruise for this ship.The Carnival Magic is beautifully appointed. I cannot find anything negative to say about any of the public spaces or fixtures and furnishing. Very modern yet with a nod to the Art Deco era in the Atrium I thought. It is comparable to 5 star hotels I have stayed in.Entertainment is one area that could do with a little spruce up. Two shows I saw were totally amazing. One was an illusionist, I cannot remember the name but it was totally Las Vegas standard. The other was called Grooveline and was a 70 style review-that was great. The show on the last evening was not to my taste at all, sorry Carnival I did not enjoy the male singing country. The onboard band were very good, Blood Power, doing all the classic rock tracks.I did not attend the Piano Bar but it was always busy. The constant acoustic music in the Red Frog Bar quickly became very waring which is a shame cos the bar was great. I did not rate the other male/female singers who played in the Atrium at all. Food was fabulous overall the ship and the service was great. Only thing I didn;t like was the sweets at the buffet, not good. I recommend visiting the Italian restaurant for lunch it was great with no sur charge (sea days). Didn't attend the steak house.Spa was really beautiful but at double the price of home maybe out of some folks price range.The gym was excellent.Pool areas/loungers, the usual problem of only 20% of loungers being used at anyone time due to selfish people leaving towels on them all day without use.The ports of call were great and amazing value for money.Disembarkation was very swift and easy if a little early for my flight, 6am! All in all a fantastic holiday I will never forget. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Since it was the newest ship in the line, we were expecting much more. We have cruised on Carnival before on three occasions, the last being about 7 years ago. It will probably be at least that long before we sail on Carnival again. We ... Read More
Since it was the newest ship in the line, we were expecting much more. We have cruised on Carnival before on three occasions, the last being about 7 years ago. It will probably be at least that long before we sail on Carnival again. We took the Barcelona tour on the way to the ship which was a good value for the price, but did not offer any opportunity for lunch. We got on board about 3PM and went to the lido, they call it the marketplace, to eat. Since we ate lunch so late, we did not go to the dining room that evening. We placed the card provided outside the door to order morning coffee. We specified it be delivered between 7 and 7:30. When our coffee had not arrived at 7:30, I called room service, who told me it was on it's way. At 7:43, I called again and we finally got coffee at 7:57. I know it was 7:43 when I called room service the second time because that was the time on the bar receipt the waiter brought with the coffee. No idea where the original order went. I tried calling guest services using the button the phone marked as such and was only able to reach an automated system that provided no option to reach a real person. I later spoke to guest services in person and registered my complaint. The next morning, not only did my coffee arrive on time, it was followed by a call from room service asking if my order had arrived. Each room has an interactive TV on which you can check your account balance, see what shore excursions are available, and, supposedly, view the menus for the various dining locations. The only menus available were for the Italian, Red Frog, and Steak locations which cost extra and the menu never changes. I asked guest services about the availability of a menu and was told it was only on the TV. I later asked the head waiter and was told they could post a printed copy of the menu outside the dining if they got permission from Carnival. This might seem like a trivial matter, but knowing what will be served in the main dining room allows choosing which days to explore the other dining possibilities. We ate breakfast most mornings in "the marketplace". The offerings were reasonable, but everything was prepared in advance. Toast was barely toasted and always cold. They offered waffles and French toast,but again prepared in advance and lukewarm at best. Evening meals in the dining room were adequate, which is the best I can say. The menu had 4 pages, wine by the glass, today's selection, available everyday, and desert. Our waiter expected you to order everything at once. There must have been a wine list with available bottles of wine, but I never saw it or a wine steward. My wine was delivered by one of the assistant waiters. This was better that the marketplace; however, there you had to go to the bar if you wanted wine with your meal. After we arrived in Marseilles, we wanted to exchange dollars for Euros, but found that you could only do that in the casino during an hour in the morning and an hour and a half in the evening. Every other ship I've been on you could do that at guest services anytime. We try to include exercise into our routine to avoid weight gain. As such we weigh ourselves at the beginning of the cruise so we know how much the ship's scale says we weigh. Scales are usually found either in the exercise facility or the locker rooms adjacent. Finding one in neither location, I inquired and was told the scale was broken. This is a new ship? The second sea day out of Venice was cold, windy and raining. So much for the wonderful outside theater or the pools, unlike other ships there is no removable cover for those areas. You could stay in your stateroom and watch TV except they had 2 movie channels which showed the same two movies all day. There was a limited selection of movies to order at $10.99 per view. Other cruise lines have a much larger choice of viewing options. The one thing they have a lot of is photographers. They try to take your picture, for a price, everywhere you go. And the photo shop takes up a third of the deck it's on. I do have good to report concerning the casino. There was a no smoking area, but that did not include the tables. And, if you accumulated 1500 points on your card, you got free drinks as long as you were playing. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
The Carnival Magic appealed to me initially as it was part of a well known brand and secondly as it was on its second voyage. I also loved the itinerary of its 12 night Mediterranean cruise visiting 7 ports. We departed from Barcelona - ... Read More
The Carnival Magic appealed to me initially as it was part of a well known brand and secondly as it was on its second voyage. I also loved the itinerary of its 12 night Mediterranean cruise visiting 7 ports. We departed from Barcelona - which is a beautiful city. So clean and the food, once you find the good restaurants, are delicious! We stayed in Barcelona 3 nights pre-cruise and 2 nights post cruise. We had travelled on the Disney Magic 3 years earlier with 2 young children so we were interested to see how the Carnival compared to Disney. Firstly, you cannot compare the 2 ships - its like comparing an apple to an orange. Disney is family orientated, with no casino and Disney themed activities, movies and on-board entertainment. Carnival has a casino on board (which we didn't visit as we are not gamblers), and a variety of entertainment to suit different tastes. The Carnival Magic was definitely a winner for us. Our room was 1312 on level 1, mid ship. It had an ocean view but no balcony - why pay for a balcony when you can meet wonderful people on the upper decks! We chose the lower deck so that we would have to walk up many levels to reach the food and pool decks (no lift for us). This way we hoped that we wouldn't put on too much weight. Unfortunately, this theory didn't work as the Italians sure know how to cook and on all our shore excursions we ate 5 full courses! Of course you must try a tartufo in Rome, a gelato in Venice and a cannoli in Messina!! The ship, being brand new, was very clean and beautiful. The staff work tirelessly day and night to make the ship sparkle. Our cabin was big enough for 2 and would have even slept 4 comfortably with a pull out. There were 2 bathrooms, one with toilet and sink, the other with a sink and shower/bath. the bed was king size and very comfortable. The only criticism is that the ship only has 1 type of pillow. My husband is asthmatic and needs a rubber pillow but they only had feather/down ones. He put a towel inside the pillow case and this made the pillow a bit firmer, so he was happy. Our cabin housekeeping team were amazing. We had Ernesto and his team. The cabin was spotless after breakfast each day and at night they turned down our blankets and left a program of the next days' activities and a towel creation on the bed (with 2 mint/chocolates too). Our main dining room was the Northern Lights. Initially we chose the 6pm seating but after having a couple of shore excursions returning around 7/7:30pm we asked to be moved to the 8:15pm seating instead. We thoroughly enjoyed our servers Martin, Chonthica & Erik. Very efficient, friendly and great fun! Our drink waiter was Zenobia - she was wonderful. She knew our order each day - service with a beautiful smile!! We met a wonderful group of Americans who were seated beside us at the late dinner seating. They were ordering 2 or 3 appetizers, then a main then dessert and coffee; so we started ordering this way too! Bad move - I now have to lose 5kg to get back to my pre-cruise weight!! Delicious food - no complaints. We ate most breakfasts in the Market place on the Lido Deck (level 10). A great variety to suit all tastes, from omelettes, to cereals, fresh fruit, cold cuts, cheeses, fruit compote, hot & cold selections. Out by the pool they had french toast, waffles and more! When we had very early shore excursions, we got room service - a small selection of continental items. Lunches we also ate either in the Market place on the Lido deck (buffet) or out by the pool (salad, pizza, sandwiches, burgers, mexican). Again, a huge selection of delicious foods to suits all tastes. Not fine dining by any means but what do you want from a buffet - good, clean and hearty food. We also found another place to eat salads and soups, inside on the casino level- Plaza Bites. We ate at both of the specialty restaurants on board. The steakhouse was exceptional - a true fine dining experience. There was a small additional charge for eating here but it was well worth it. We also tried the Italian restaurant - Cucina Del Capitano. This was not so enjoyable and we actually preferred the Lido deck to this restaurant. The ship has a couple of pools, one of which is adults only. The serenity deck was lovely for adults to relax. At this time of year there weren't many children on board so even spending time near the main pool was pleasant and relaxing. The water slides looked amazing although we didn't get a chance to try them out. We did try the suspended rope track. I only managed to walk 1/10th of the way around as I was too scared of the height and of course looking out at the ocean didn't help my vertigo! The evening shows were a fun way to end the night. There wasn't a show in the main showtime theatre every night, but I went to see all the ones they did have. We saw a funny comedian, a crazy magician, an amazing female soprano, a talented musician and a male singer (who reminded us of Jon Lovitz in the wedding singer). We didn't go to the piano bar or the night club. We did play bingo a few times which was fun. I booked all our shore excursions in advance before the cruise. The tour guides were excellent, all spoke at least a little english and were very knowledgeable. I would highly recommend taking the shore excursions as they are well organised and always ensure you make it back to the ship in time for departure. One couple actually missed the ship in Venice and had to spend a small fortune making their own way to the next port! Internet is terrible on board the ship. They don't guarantee you good reception so don't expect to get any. It's quite pricey too. I would definitely book another Carnival cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
This was a cruise with the kids and grand kids, and some family friends, also with kids. Never cruised with Carnival before; our favorite cruise line is Royal Caribbean, and the Oasis of the Sea is our absolute favorite ship. The brand ... Read More
This was a cruise with the kids and grand kids, and some family friends, also with kids. Never cruised with Carnival before; our favorite cruise line is Royal Caribbean, and the Oasis of the Sea is our absolute favorite ship. The brand new Magic with it's 12 day Western Mediterranean destination, and that water slide, got us to take the chance. We're in our late 50s, and we've cruised with Princess, RCL, and NCL, and had always believed that Carnival ships had mediocre quality service, cabins, and food, and way too many noisy teenagers running around. But we'd been told that a European destination is too expensive for most younger people, so we thought it might be a fun cruise that both the adults and the grand kids could enjoy.To summarize our cruise - I would say that the ship itself was better than we expected, the food a little better than expected (although not enough choices), the cabin good, but not great, the value for the money was good, and the kids and grand kids loved the water slides. In the worst-than-expected category, the excursions were just barely okay, and definitely over-priced, and our biggest disappointment was the entertainment. We all agreed that the entertainment was the poorest we have ever experienced on a cruise ship, and needs a lot of work.Quickly, embarkation was a little slower than expected, and we spent about 1 1/2 hours getting from the shuttle bus to our cabins; this was longer than we've experienced before.The cabin was, as you'd expect, brand-spanking new, and clean. Our steward, Henry, was hard working and friendly. If we needed anything, he got it for us quickly. I was disappointed that the shower only had shower curtains, rather than the curved glass doors on the RCL ships. Otherwise, no issues with the cabins.I was a bit disappointed in the buffet - I had read that Carnival had the best buffets in the industry, but as far as we could tell, the food was standard buffet items that were available on all of the cruise ships we've been on before. There wasn't even a large variety of foods - ethnic or otherwise. It was all just the standard cruise ship buffet, morning, noon, and evening. It also closed at 9:30pm, which seemed too early to us. However, a BIG point in the Magic's favor - the 24 hour pizza was the best pizza we have ever eaten on a cruise ship, and the Goat Cheese, is now one of our all-time favorites. Also, the pool-side grill served an excellent cheeseburger. The main dining room was a pleasant surprise. I had expected, at best, mediocre quality; what I got was food that was better than NCL, as good as Princess, though not as good as RCL. The steaks were very good, the lobster was the best I've had on a cruise ship ever, and I had two prime ribs that were very, very good. One word to the chef - you guys are putting way too much salt in the soups! Our entire party agreed - your soups were the saltiest we've tasted on a cruise ship. Our head server was Raja, our assistant server was Andy, and their assistant was Arada. They took GREAT care of us, always had our sodas and juices prepared before we got to the table, and remembered our preferences. They were also some of the nicest cruise line employees we have ever met. A few words about the entertainment, the biggest disappointments in the entire trip. So we had 12 nights on our voyage, and I personally was looking forward to some good production shows, magicians, comedians, etc. What a let-down. The entertainment was terrible. The big productions (three I believe), were all huge disappointments. Poorly written and poorly choreographed, they were not entertaining, as much as they were embarrassing. And John Heald, the Cruise Director, was featured in three shows, where he spent a lot of time interviewing some passengers. It got tedious and embarrassing towards the end, and then to add insult to injury, he brought back two of the passengers, it some of the most pathetic attempts at humor I have ever witnessed. We wound up walking out before the end of most of the shows in the main theater. Also, there was a magic show in one of the lounges, featuring three different magicians, and they did some of the most unimpressive tricks and slight of hand, that I've ever seen performed. Also, on some nights, there was no major entertainment at all, another disappointment. Overall, the Entertainment on the Magic was very poor, and I think Carnival should do a major re-thinking of their program.As far as excursions - the trips were okay - and we had two outstanding lunches, in Rome and Pompeii (I didn't think that pasta could taste so good), but in general, I'd say the excursions were priced a bit high. Also, of the several guides we had, only one spoke English well enough to really understand with no difficulty, and a couple of the others were barely intelligible. The Colosseum in Rome, the Vatican, and Pompeii, were truly awesome to experience, and they were definitely well-worth the time and expense.Finally, a huge thumbs-up to customer service. We had a problem with noise in our cabin in the evening, and the Magic's customer service manager, Anna Marie, went the extra mile to make it right. She was terrific - responsive to our needs, and became personally involved to make sure all of our issues were resolved to our satisfaction. So hats off to Anna Marie, and the Magic's customer service team. Overall, the trip was a huge success, and while the Magic was not perfect, it definitely was more than adequate for the task, and we thought Carnival did a reasonably good job of delivering a European trip, at an good price. 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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