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3,323 Carnival Galveston Cruise Reviews

I would like to start off by saying this is my first review, so be gentle when critiquing. We sailed out of Galveston on Dec 2, 2013 on Carnival Triumph. We had never been on her before, but this was our third cruise with Carnival. We ... Read More
I would like to start off by saying this is my first review, so be gentle when critiquing. We sailed out of Galveston on Dec 2, 2013 on Carnival Triumph. We had never been on her before, but this was our third cruise with Carnival. We have cruised on Ecstasy in 2008, and Conquest in 2012, and enjoyed all three of our trips with Carnival. I will talk about Faster to the Fun in more detail later, but I'll start with this, it was worth it to us. We boarded the ship and immediately put our bags in our rooms, and went up to grab a quick bite, as we were one of the first ones on the ship, we got a light bite to eat, because we didn't want to eat a lot, then want to eat at a normal time later. We then took a quick tour of the ship, something we didn't do until the end of the cruise last time, which was a mistake, we missed a few things we would have liked to have done on the Conquest. We found the Triumph to be tastefully decorated, and having been on pre 2.0 Conquest, and mentioned how dated the look was to each other on Conquest, we thought it was refreshing looking. A few things were still a bit dated, but overall the ship looked nice. The layout on the main pool area was fine, we had no issues during the cruise navigating from the front of the ship to the back using the Lido deck. I only mention this because some people have said that it was a pain to get around the deck because of the pool layout. I thought about that specifically as I walked out of the main doors from the front of the ship, out onto the deck, between the two hot tubs, then made a left or right and went around where people were dancing or getting in or out of the pool. I went around the Red Frog, or Blue Iguana bar, whichever direction I wanted to go, without any hinderance. Guys Burgers were amazing. AMAZING. The fries were delicious, and the toppings bar was always full of fresh toppings. I LOVE tomatoes, and I didn't see a bad tomato on the entire cruise, they always looked fresh. The staff at the burger bar were always happy to accommodate me with whatever my request was, more fries, double burger, 1 plate of fries, no burger, whatever. Again, awesome awesome awesome. Mexican bar, didn't try, but my wife said there was too much cilantro in the chicken for her, so we didn't eat there after she tried it once. There were a LOT of people eating it, so I can't imagine it was bad. The toppings bar looked all fresh each time I walked by it. The Deli was simply amazing. We had the deli bar twice, and loved the food out of it both times. Chopsticks. I don't eat Chinese food, and my wife never saw anything she liked on the menu, so we passed on that, always a line there though, and the cook was the same guy that did our omelets, Claudio from the Philippines, was great. Pizza place (forget the name). The pizza was OK. We ate it once, but it didn't do anything for me so we didn't get any more. Omelet your way. As mentioned above, Claudio was AMAZING. He could knock out 3 omeletes at one time, he was really the only staff member that we learned his name, other than our room steward, that should tell you something. He was amazing. Breakfast Buffet. We enjoyed that every morning, good fresh food out, never seemed to be out, and the staff was quick to replenish was was running low. I really thought the food was pretty good. The ongoing complaints about Carnival buffet food baffles me. I never once thought that I was going to get a 5 star meal from a buffet, so I didn't expect it. The food had good flavor, was fresh, and I enjoyed myself. Lunch Buffet. The same can be said about Lunch as the Breakfast, food was good, and we ate it. Nothing remarkable about the food, but it was good. Dinner Buffet. I liked almost everything they put out on the buffet for dinner, we didn't go to MDR every night, as we like to do, well, whatever we want. Dinner was tasty every day, nothing spectacular, but I did like it. Main Dining Room. We had Paris late, and met a nice couple when we were there, Victoria and O'Neill on their first cruise. Enjoyed nice dinner conversation with them. Gave them a few pointers on what to look for and chatted it up for a bit. The menu had a lot more on it than our last cruise so that was a plus. We tried the alligator, I thought it was pretty good, she didn't care for it. Scary thing is, I'm the one who doesn't like to try anything new. Food was good, I had the Prime Rib, it was very good, lots of flavor. She had the Lobster Tail and Shrimp, she said "it was good. It was REALLY good actually". Room service. We had room service twice, food was cold sandwiches so not much to do there. Had plenty of meat on them, they didn't scrimp on the sandwiches. They served them pretty quickly too, which was good. Room Steward. If I had ANY complaints about this cruise it was this. It wasn't enough to warrant any kind of request of a reprimand or notification of any bosses to make him do things differently, but it still kinda stuck with me. We brought soda on board, and would have one, each evening in the room, before the final turndown, the cup that I brought down with ice, and the empty can, would still be in the room each time. We emptied the box of soda, placed it on the floor next to the trash (it would fit, we just didn't want to fill the can and wedge it in there making it tougher to pull out), and it was still in the room after they cleaned the room. We used one of the glasses to scoop out our creamer for our mugs in the morning, and after they cleaned, they would still be there, dirty. So, I kinda felt like they were not really finishing the room. Again, nothing huge, just some trash laying around each day. I didn't see our steward but one time the entire cruise, I wanted to meet him, and told my wife if she saw him to ask him to come to our room, she did, he said that I should call him if I wanted to see him. It's a shame, I was going to give him a tip at the beginning of the cruise, but he wouldn't come to our room. Faster to the Fun. First off, I want to say, I felt like I was doing something wrong after reading some people's comments about faster to the fun. I was on the ship and didn't want anyone who was diamond or platinum to see that I had a sticker on my red card, or the labels on my luggage (I actually pulled them off my luggage before we went to debarkation so that someone wouldn't see). As I sit here now, it kinda upsets me that someone would have to feel like that because others opinions. I would like to say, I will buy F2F every time, it's an amazing $50 purchase, if only for the debarkation. Now, the benefits we saw were limited, as we didn't tender at any ports, but embarkation allowed us to our rooms immediately, and to start relaxing quicker, which we did by eating. Debarkation, as I said, was worth the $50 alone. We were in our car and 30 minutes down the road before they started doing the "relaxed" debarkation. Fifteen minutes from the time I left my room, to loading my luggage into my car, and pulling away from the terminal. So yes, I will spend the extra $50 on each cruise for that perk, until I have spent enough money to have it for free with my VIFP points. Entertainment. We wanted to, but didn't make it to the comedy shows, although I heard not one person talk about the comedy shows the next day. The Big Easy. I thought it was awesome, and it was rated PG-13, which I thought was appropriate, but I have seen some complaints about the outfits being too risque. IT'S ABOUT NEW ORLEANS PEOPLE. Yes it's going to be risque. The magic show. It was above average, that's about it. We did notice a SLIGHT odor on the lower decks, but not overwhelming, and VERY brief. Overall, Triumph the ship was great. We had an amazing time, relaxed and overall enjoyed ourselves. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We took the Triumph out of Galveston - 5 day, Western Caribbean to Progreso & Cozumel, from 12/7 - 12/12 2013. It was cold as a well diggers shovel when we left, and about 80 in Mexico. So there. Embarkation went smoothly. In fact, I ... Read More
We took the Triumph out of Galveston - 5 day, Western Caribbean to Progreso & Cozumel, from 12/7 - 12/12 2013. It was cold as a well diggers shovel when we left, and about 80 in Mexico. So there. Embarkation went smoothly. In fact, I was a bit surprised by actually boarding the ship somewhat early. We immediately went to the Lido deck, and lunch was already waiting on us. I really do think that the Lido food has improved over the years, both in quality and in increased selection. We had early dining, Paris Lower, table 537. Our waiters were pretty awesome, and very helpful in making selections. You'll love this. The first night, I half-jokingly asked our waiter if they had crème brûlée on the desert menu. Well they do on the Magic, but not on a 5 day. Ok, I guess that's the way the mop flops. Wouldn't you know it, on the last day, instead of offering a desert menu, they brought out crème brûlée - for our whole table! Sweet. I've always been pretty impressed by the formal dining. There's literally hundreds of people and selections, the logistics of it all amaze me. This cruise was as usual- exceptional. Great service and enjoyed it thoroughly. Some of our favorite appetizers: gazpacho andalouse, pumpkin soups, heck loved the soups in general. Main course? Penne Siciliana, Chateaubriand, Lasagna Bolognese, Mahi-mahi, oh and the prime rib & lobster. Oh and they did have some nice desserts to, like Blackforest gateau, Cherries jubilee, tiramisu, or the cappichino pie. Just to name a few. I didn't lose an awful lot in the casino. Wife on the other hand? Not so good. Then again, it's all about setting limits and staying withing them. The casino staff overall was very good- at one point (she is not terribly experienced at Black Jack) the dealer took a little time to explain her options, a pretty fine line indeed but certainly that enhanced our experience. One of our favorite things to do on any cruise is the comedy shows. The two main acts were Lester, and Carolin. Liked the first show of them both better than the second night. Only complaint about Lester- stay away from politics, my man. Wouldn't be so bad if you'd pick on both ways but being a low-information Obama-bot is seriously un-funny. Outside of that, he's really very, very funny and I'd go see him again if the opportunity presented itself. Did not go to the "Big Easy" show or the the one on the first night. I'm ok, more than ok really with G-plus shows, but have seen it already on the Magic and the Ecstasy. Good show, but been there. Debarkation was about as orderly as you would hope for, sort of a goat rope at times but there is, after all, 2000+ people. One other thing I'd like to mention- it was a football weekend, and we watched parts of a few games from the new EA sports bar. The big screen TV's are awesome, and they had several games on at once. Very nice. I wish the TV's in our room had half the selections.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
To begin I’d like to say that I’m an avid traveler both on cruises and on land. In fact, the cruise I just completed was my 19th cruise since 2000. This particular cruise review is based on my recent experience on the Carnival Triumph ... Read More
To begin I’d like to say that I’m an avid traveler both on cruises and on land. In fact, the cruise I just completed was my 19th cruise since 2000. This particular cruise review is based on my recent experience on the Carnival Triumph which is currently sailing from Galveston, Texas. The Triumph has a rotating cruise schedule whereby there are two back to back 5-day cruises, then a 4-day itinerary, then back to the two 5-day itineraries, then 4-day, etc, etc. For the 5-day itinerary you depart Galveston and immediately have a two nights and a full day at sea. Then you arrive into Progreso, Mexico as the first port of call. There is one day at this location after which you sail to Cozumel for a day, then back to sea for two nights and a full day back to Galveston. If you book the 4-day itinerary you will depart Galveston with two nights and a day at sea. Then you’ll arrive into Cozumel for a day then back to sea for a full day back to Galveston. I have to say that this particular trip for me was a last minute thought. I had retired from the Air Force for a second time and needed a break. My husband was not able to go but he suggested that I head out and enjoy some decompression time on my own. Well, it ended up being an amazing little trip and my expectations were greatly exceeded!! EMBARKATION: We live in Houston so it’s super easy to drive to Galveston and board the ship. After I arrived at the port, I pulled up and dropped off my bag with a porter so I didn’t have to drag it from the parking lot. This ended up working out really well and I’m glad I thought ahead on this one. Then I went directly to parking lot A which is close to the port entrance. Parking for the 5-day cruise is $50.00. However, I’m a veteran and the parking lot offers free parking for VA service connected veterans! Great deal!! After parking there was a shuttle sitting right by my vehicle so I jumped on with my backpack and was taken directly to the entrance for check-in. Since I was booked into an Ocean Suite, it enabled me to use Priority Boarding which was COMPLETELY empty! Meanwhile, the main line had 1,000 people waiting! I walked right up to security, they scanned my passport, I went through x-ray and was taken to the Priority Check-in room. I was immediately checked in with no issues. After that I was granted immediate access to the ship. I boarded about 12:30 PM and the ship was scheduled to depart at 4PM so I had some time on the ship to figure out the layout prior to departure. Also, while some of the cabins were not ready, mine was so I was able to get comfortable in my cabin before departure. BAGGAGE: My bag arrived about an hour prior to departure and within minutes I had everything unpacked and my cabin setup for the trip. Super easy!! OCEAN SUITE: This cruise was only my second Carnival cruise but I was immediately pleased at my cabin. We usually travel in first class and opt for suites whenever we cruise. This particular cabin was PERFECT for one or two people. The size of the cabin was very comfortable and there was a ton of storage space. When I booked the cruise I was going to get a regular balcony stateroom but decided to treat myself in spite of the solo traveler cost for traveling alone. Just as a point of reference, the ocean suite for one person was about $1750 for the 5-day itinerary. I thought that was a pretty decent price. The regular balcony cabin was going to run me about $1300 as a solo travel so the suite was well worth the extra $450. The cabin had a nice dressing room with a desk, the bathroom had a nice whirlpool tub along with a shower and there was granite counters and table tops throughout the entire suite. Additionally, there was a full bar stocked in the refrigerator and plenty of stemware, cocktail glasses and the like. Overall, as this size cabin is concerned, it was one of my favorite layouts when compared to other cruises. If you can swing the price, I HIGHLY recommend this category of stateroom! FOOD: As I mentioned I’m an avid cruiser and have been on cruises departing from U.S. ports as well as European ports. The last few years we’ve been sailing a lot on Norwegian Cruise Lines and have enjoyed NCL pretty well. But one of our complaints with NCL is their pre-packaged/prepared foods. Even in the dining room you can tell many food items are just taken out of packages and heated up. We confirmed this before on a couple cruises by asking some of the servers. But, on Carnival, almost all their food is actually prepared on board. I was HIGHLY surprised at how good the food was. But then I remembered when we sailed on the Carnival Legend out of Tampa a few years ago that they food was also good on that cruise as well. I ate in every part of the ship. Since I was alone I didn’t eat much in the dining room but tried it once so I could ensure my review was accurate. I also ate a few times in Guy’s Hamburger joint and also at the pizza place on the aft end of the ship. I was in LOVE with the pizza! Thin cruise fired oven pizza handmade right in front of you. I got pizza at least a half dozen times throughout the trip (especially after having some late night drinks). There was always a queue but it moved quickly and it was worth the wait. ROOM SERVICE: I decided to have room service on a couple of occasions. I didn’t do the breakfast service but did have a couple sandwiches (which are all like little pannini’s). The food (including desserts) was above average and worth the wait. BARS: I had read about The Alchemy Bar prior to departure and ended up hanging out there every evening. If you part of the LGBT community this is the bar where the nightly “Friends of Dorothy” get together was held. Regarding that, there were only a few gay people on board so it was fun meeting others. I met some really nice people (both gay and straight) in this bar. The bar is wonderful! The drinks are amazing and I fell in love with their version of a Manhattan. But they also offer a mini martini tasting the first night at sea so I highly recommend giving that a try. Then you can taste several things and pick a favorite for later. Like I said, I was at The Alchemy Bar ever evening and met up with some of the fellow passengers I met during the trip. We had a LOT of fun and good laughs! CASINO: The casino is really nice but like most casino’s smoking is allowed and it’s quite annoying to me. So I would go in the afternoons when it was quiet. The smoke was a lot less so I felt like I didn’t have to rush. ENTERTAINMENT: The shows were great and I loved the comedy club on board! They have a “clean” version of some of the comedy acts early in the evening that are PG-13’ish but after 11 the same comedians come back and get really raunchy (which of course is the fun part)! As far as entertainment there is ALWAYS something going on so you won’t be bored. SHOPPING ON BOARD: Shopping is just average, nothing Earth shaking to mention. CABIN STEWARDS: The cabin stewards were amazing and on top of everything at all times. I never had one issue. I would ensure I left the cabin in the morning for breakfast and by the time I would come back the cabin was made up. In the evenings (and after my daily nap) I would be out about 8PM and as with most cruise lines, my cabin was made up for the evening immediately after I left. I called out to my cabin steward twice and he was right there. EXCURSIONS: I rarely ever do excursions when cruising. I’ve done many in the beginning years of cruising but don’t book any others for ports of call I’ve been too many times (like the ones on this itinerary). I am a ship lover so while in port when everyone is off the ship, I really enjoy my pool time, sauna/steam room time and other activities without all the people. SPA: I opted for a 75 minute Bamboo Massage. I am a licensed massage therapist so I’m always leery about massages when I don’t know the therapist. I usually like men to work on me. As a guy, I want another guy just because I want the most pressure possible. But I have to say, my bamboo massage was really nice and the female therapist was able to provide more than adequate pressure without being dangerous. She hit a couple spots and I about flew off the table. So overall I would recommend the bamboo massage if you need extra pressure. I also did a facial while I waited for my massage time (I had arrived a little early and asked if there was another treatment I could do until the massage started). The facial was great. So much so that I violated my own cruising rule about buying products from the spa. I ended up buying $500 worth of products but I loved them and since they were all organic, I was happy to spend the money. The products are supposed to be enough for 8 months of use. After just two days using the Elemis products my face looked even more clean than usual and I swear that my lines had disappeared. If you opt for a spa treatment, don’t feel pressured to buy anything. Many times I actually tell the therapist of the treatment that I sail a lot and have purchased all the products I’m interested in and just want the treatment without the sales job. They are happy to skip all that at the end. That way you can just relax and not feel stressed about having to turn them down when asked if you want to purchase something. DISEMBARKATION: Routine, nothing much to report here. Again, I was in a suite so I was able to disembark very early and was off the ship, through customs and in the car (via the shuttle back to the parking lot) within a short period of time. I was home in Houston prior to Noon that day and was unpacked before 1PM. SUMMARY: In closing this cruise was just PERFECT! I wasn’t sure how I would like the 5-day itinerary (as most of our cruises have been 7 or more days). I had originally thought that by the time you get unpacked it would be time to pack again. But it didn’t feel like that at all. I felt like the trip and number of days were perfect for a nice little getaway. Coupled with the fact that Galveston is so close to home, it just made everything even more relaxing not having to worry about flights and such. You may recall that the Carnival Triumph was the news worth ship that became stranded in 2012 because of an engine room fire. Passengers were stuck at sea for over a week as they were tugged back to Mobile, Alabama. But after that the ship went into dry dock and was refurbished into the beautiful ship it is now. As I stated before, my expectations were greatly exceeded regarding every detail of the trip. I loved this ship a lot and have already told my husband that we’ll be rebooking on this cruise so we can go together (hopefully in the next couple of months). It’s so easy that it makes for a last minute getaway! If you’re considering booking on this itinerary/ship, you can tell by my review that it’s so worth the money. You will just love it!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
I'll be the first one to admit that when I booked this cruise with Carnival, I wasn't too sure what to expect. I'd read critiques on these very message boards and now have to say that I think one should probably disregard ... Read More
I'll be the first one to admit that when I booked this cruise with Carnival, I wasn't too sure what to expect. I'd read critiques on these very message boards and now have to say that I think one should probably disregard the very bad reviews (I'm thinking those folks probably wouldn't have a good time anywhere) and take the very best reviews with a grain of salt. Let's face it, barring a disaster, a cruise is pretty much what you make of it! I have cruised before (QE2 Great Pacific 1978 & World Cruise 1984, Eurodam Baltic Cruise 2009, Noordam Western Med 2011) but always with a friend or family; this was my first solo trip and all I was really looking for was some R & R over Christmas. I'm very pleased to say that I had a great experience. Would I say this is a "luxury cruise", no. It would be nice to have a fridge, thermostat, a less dated television and larger balcony, but I'm a great believer in getting what you pay for. I had a verandah cabin on Deck 10 and it was the perfect size for one ... two people might be a bit cramped but for just myself, there was ample storage space and not the least bit claustrophobic. I was also pleased to find very few young (re: noisy) children nor many young adults acting like it was Spring Break time! By and large, the overall vibe of the passengers was a cross section of Middle America with no obviously huge swings to the extremes. What I will say right off the bat is that I don't believe I ever saw a Carnival employee without a smile and a kind word. My cabin steward was wonderful .... extremely polite and friendly, more than efficient and never intrusive. I would like to point out that while the cruise director's disembarkation spiel via the tv saying that all gratuities had been included on your sign and sail account, I felt as if he should have said "if someone went above and beyond, feel free to leave a personal tip". I know I always try to reward good service although I'm sure some passengers will feel that their $11.50/day is quite enough to go around. So the weather in Galveston was pretty dismal the day we sailed and the first 36 hours or so were pretty choppy. But embarkation went quickly, especially considering that Carnival does allow one to bring a cooler on board. That first evening we had a passenger emergency that required a Coast Guard helicopter to come retrieve a ship's nurse and a sick passenger. Although I know no details, I think it was to Carnival's credit to keep passengers informed of the situation since we had to greatly reduce speed and the helicopter was quite loud. The following full day at sea was blessed with sun although the winds were very strong. It was a good opportunity to take advantage of a nice brunch in the Paris dining room and a long exploration of the ship. Since I was looking for a relaxing trip, my sea days (both of them) were mostly a routine of sleeping in, brunch, walking around and reading followed by dinner (I had chosen the "your time" dining option so when I did utilize the signature dining I was in the London dining room on the lower level). The food was fine, neither outstanding nor bad,portions were ample and I sampled the Lido buffet and Guy's burgers in addition to the dining rooms. I will say the signature dessert, warm chocolate melting cake could be addictive! Lines never were long anywhere to my knowledge. Being a singleton in the dining room is what you make of it. You can choose to be seated with others (which I did) or on your own (which I did as well) and both options were just fine. I'm not normally a social butterfly but did seem to be the one to initiate small talk when I was seated with others but that's neither here nor there. As it happened, the people I was seated with were usually first time cruisers and one lady was particularly distressed to find that there was a charge for bottled as opposed to tap water, so perhaps that should be spelled out for people. I only book excursions if I have to for some reason (like to get to someplace that is a distance away or because of visa requirements) but I did book the dolphin swim in Cozumel and it was fabulous. I sprang for the most expensive one and really enjoyed my time in the water. The all-you-can-eat buffet wasn't great but the hands-on experience with the dolphins was a real highlight of the entire trip. The port area in Cozumel is a typical tourist haven with some shop keepers nearly dragging you into their shops. To be sure, there was something for everyone whether it was jewelry, a t-shirt or food and drinks and the weather was grand so nothing to complain about! Progreso was a bird of a different feather. It's a long distance into town and the ship ran shuttles. Naturally, I landed on a bus with an independent tour director (I assume associated with the service that ran the shuttles) that was busy trying to sell last minute tours. We were let out at some flea market in town and it would have been nice to have had some sort of map of the area although from what I could gather, there really wasn't much to see there. I had gone with the express purpose of making my way to Merida (which, don't laugh, I'd wanted to see because of a penchant for watching House Hunter's International on HGTV). Didn't want to pay $50 plus to take a tour and eat lunch where the powers that be decided what was "good". So I found my way to the bus station in Progreso and, in my fair to bad Spanish, bought a roundtrip ticket to Merida that cost less than $4 U.S. I was the only non-Mexican person on the bus which was quite nice (a/c, very comfortable seating) and let us off just a block or so from the Central Plaza in Merida. There was off and on rain but nothing to deter from seeing one of the oldest churches in the Americas, some truly gorgeous architecture and interesting shops. By the way, the parks in Merida are lovely and offer free wi-fi service which provides a great opportunity to enjoy the atmostphere and touch base with friends and family. I've always thought that cruises allow a person to get a taste of where they might like to actually go back and spend more quality time and Merida was just that. On the bus ride into town, you could catch glimpses of some of the lovingly refurbished colonial haciendas. I never felt unsafe at any time and would highly recommend a side trip to this lovely city. If you don't feel comfortable on your own, then go ahead and take a ship excursion there - I'm sure it's worth it! Negotiated my way back from the Progreso bus station to the flea market where we were originally dropped .... fairly good fake designer pocketbooks and hammocks seem to be the big buys and apparently buses went to different markets as I stumbled onto another. The port terminal was a mini-mini-version of Cozumel with tourist shops (the shopping in Merida was much better!). The next day was another restful day at sea and of course, the weather started cooling down substantially. Ideal weather to check out the end-of-the-cruise bargains in the shops on board and give some money to the casino. I apprecitated that disembarkation instructions were handled via tv in your cabin rather than someone having to actually attend a formal talk about it. The actual process was relatively painless and guest services was very cooperative/helpful with regard to changing my original time to leave as I had a fairly early flight home. I'm not sure those folks that chose to deal with their own luggage had it better in any fashion as the gangway had to be moved to a lower than normal deck so stairs were involved. I would definitely take another Carnival cruise. If you wanted to participate in any number of activities, there were plenty of options. If you wanted to enjoy some quiet time, that was possible as well. For the price, I'm not sure you can beat it and you'll find yourself being treated as nicely as if you'd booked a luxury cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
The biggest problem was the weather, and Carnival can't control that, but the attitude of most of the staff was TERRIBLE. Their preferred answer was "NO" to every request - even for the "free" champagne on New ... Read More
The biggest problem was the weather, and Carnival can't control that, but the attitude of most of the staff was TERRIBLE. Their preferred answer was "NO" to every request - even for the "free" champagne on New Year's Eve!! Service in the dining room, at the brunch and at dinner was sub-par. Slow, slow, slow, exasperatingly SLOW. The brunch servers just mostly ignored our table and when one of us went over and got a pot of coffee to refill cups long left empty, the staff thought that was the greatest joke ever!! And continued to not refill coffee, but only left empty carafes around. Mishandled orders (one omelet had to be made THREE times before it was correct.) Juices were FINALLY served after everyone had finished their meals. Dinner was so slow that adjoining tables were eating their main course before we were even served our starters. We were consistently the LAST table to leave the dining room, and not from lingering! A request to change tables was simply ignored, after assurances were given that it would happen "tomorrow". This is the smallest possible room. Don't book it unless you want twin beds because when made into a "King" the bed is shoved against the wall, meaning the inside person has to either crawl to the bottom of the bed to get in and out or crawl over their bedmate. This was our 11th cruise, 8th on Carnival, and BY FAR the WORST ever!!! THE CRUISE FROM HELL Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We were very excited to sail on the Carnival Magic but came back somewhat disappointed. First of all our balcony cabin was 9309. We thought mid-ship, near the top was a great location. While the location was great, we didn't think ... Read More
We were very excited to sail on the Carnival Magic but came back somewhat disappointed. First of all our balcony cabin was 9309. We thought mid-ship, near the top was a great location. While the location was great, we didn't think about the Lido Deck above. We were near the end of the pool area and all night we heard what I first thought was thunder, but there weren't any clouds. The noise was furniture being moved and I guess carts being rolled back and forth across the floor. On the last two nights returning to port, the water was quite choppy with swells. The fist night of rough water created a lot of rocking and rolling but the last night was terrible. We returned to port at midnight rather than 6 am due to 2 passenger emergencies, which was not a problem, but the extra speed in the rough water made for an uncomfortable night, not to mention the squeek in the wall everytime we hit a wave. The walls were certainly not soundproof. Our neighbors had a terrible argument on the last night and we could hear and understand every word that they said. The food, nor the selection, was not as good as we have had on previous cruises. Our preference was not to go to the dining room so I don't know what the food was like in there but the buffet was very limited. The same salads every night with 3-4 entree selections and only one buffet line open. I have finally met a pizza I didn't like. Actually, the food was just boring. The ship was decorated with Christmas trees and garland but honestly I was disappointed with the decorations. What was there was nice but I expected "Grand" for the holidays. The casino was very tiny and the smoke was terrible. Most of the slot machines very old, but, I will say I brought back more than I spent. We probably won't be taking any cruises in the very near future but when we do, we probably won't sail on Carnival unless the price is just rediciously low. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
The Carnival Magic is a beautiful ship with a lot of things to see and do on it. I am not a first time cruiser, but my last cruise vacation was 7 years ago, so I did feel a bit like a newbie. I really had a great time on this cruise, ... Read More
The Carnival Magic is a beautiful ship with a lot of things to see and do on it. I am not a first time cruiser, but my last cruise vacation was 7 years ago, so I did feel a bit like a newbie. I really had a great time on this cruise, however there were a few things that I did not like. #1, the food. It's not terrible, but it isn't great either. Not even up to Chili's or Applebee's standards. My thought about the food is that it's people from all over the world trying to make american or continental food the way they think Americans want it taste. So, it comes out tasting weird, or off. For example, I'm from Texas, and I like steak. I rarely put any kind of sauce, such as A1 or ketchup, on steak since I feel that it's taking away from the delicious flavor of pure Beef. I think a little salt and pepper, maybe some olive oil, and that's all it needs. On the Magic, you get steak covered in Gravy, with all kinds of sweet type seasonings on it. Blech! The Buffet rarely changes, so it's all the same for 7 days, lunch and dinner. The breakfast buffet was delicious, and that was probably the best meal I had on the ship. The Seaday Brunch in the dining room was good, but very small portions. Hash browns are like McDonald's style fried tater tot like things, but in the Buffet you can get roasted potatoes for hash browns. #2) The itinerary was great, however we had scheduled an excursion for Belize that was canceled the day before due to flooding from previous weeks rain. I felt that this could have been done a bit earlier in the trip and given us more time to figure out what type of excursion we wanted to try, instead we were left with three options, as most available excursions were booked up by the time ours was cancelled. I was happy with the excursion we were able to pick, a trip to Altun Ha via bus ride around the city, so it worked out for me, but it could have been a bust. #3) Directions are lousy. There is not enough signage anywhere. Many places I never found until the last day on board, such as the Oceanside BBQ which is not near any of the other food spots, it's outside on deck 5, whereas the other areas are on deck 10 by the pools. Also, when we were trying to get on and off the ship, it would have been nice to have additional signs that pointed to where to stand in line. In fact, getting back on the boat in Cozumel, we were docked right next to Carnival Sunshine and with a long line right between the two ships; it was hard to tell if we were standing in the correct line! It turned out it was 3 lines for 3 different gangways leading back to the ship, but you couldn't tell this until you had stood in line for 20 minutes. Good points: #1) Service was great! everyone was friendly, smiling, and fast. No complaints with any of the waiters or our cabin stewardess, Ivana. #2) Itinerary was fantastic! Roatan, Belize City, and Cozumel were all gorgeous!! Even with inclement weather, it was still so beautiful! Everyone works so hard for you to have a great time, and everyone was excited that you were in their city. The sweet tour guides on our trip to Altun Ha (from Chukka tours) were amazing and very informative and helpful! #3) Onboard entertainment was great! The shows are a little cheesy, but I think this is part of the fun to just let go and have a good time, even if it is! They do a great job putting on the comedy shows (especially the adult only shows) and the regular shows in the theater. Also enjoyed watching a movie on the big screen above the pool! All were very neat, and a great way to spend an evening at sea. The spa was fantastic. I highly recommend if you can afford to, get the thermal suite package, as it is very nice and definitely worth it! i got the week pass and used it almost every day. Especially after port days, as it was nice to help with sore muscles from walking so much. #4) Embarkation and Debarkation were easy. My husband had some contraband in his suitcase that got spotted, so we got flagged and he had to go return it to our car. That was easy enough, our issue came when we tried to leave the ship at our first port, because the security forgot to clear our flag from our account, thankfully they were able to clear it then and there and there were no further issues. Debarkation was actually pretty quick. We did the self-assist, which means you carry your own bags down to the gangway. While it was crowded, they did a good job in keeping the line moving and getting everyone off quickly. Our group was called at 9am and we were off the ship and in our car by 10:30am. Overall, I had an amazing time! However, by the time I got back to Galveston, I was ready to get off the ship and get some real food! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was my first time cruising with Carnival since my son was a teenager, and he is now over thirty. I have been travelling with Holland America, Princess, and Oceania since, so my views are a bit jaded. Pros: The price is great, but the ... Read More
This was my first time cruising with Carnival since my son was a teenager, and he is now over thirty. I have been travelling with Holland America, Princess, and Oceania since, so my views are a bit jaded. Pros: The price is great, but the other lines are worth paying more. The food was pretty good, for the money. I usually prefer sitting in the dining room for all meals and being served, but after I was given dried out eggs benedict, I went to the buffet for a freshly made omelet. The pizza was great, and you get it hot from the oven. They use flour from Naples, so it is quite authentic. The wok and burrito stations were also quite good. The shows were mostly well done. I enjoyed the big productions, such as the magic show, and thought they were very impressive for a ship theater. The adult comedians were mostly very funny, and we enjoyed the juggler. We had great service from the room steward to the waiters. They were friendly and accommodating. I actually won in the casino, a rarity on ships. I heard of others winning thousands on machine jackpots. Cons: There are long lines for everything. We had anytime dining, and had to wait in lines which sometimes stretched to the theater and took 20 minutes to get a table. There were also long lines for pizza and other cooked for you venues. When we disembarked, we waited two hours in slow moving lines to exit the ship and go through customs. There are advantages to taking a smaller ship. One comedian said it would be more accurate than saying we are visiting three exotic ports to say we are stopping at three underdeveloped, impoverished, third-world destinations. That pretty much says it all, but would not be a good marketing tool.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Drove to Galveston Sunday morning, ate lunch at Gaidos, don't miss the seafood here, this place has been open for over 100 years. This is our 6th cruise, but first on Magic. We dropped luggage off at cruise port than drove to Parking ... Read More
Drove to Galveston Sunday morning, ate lunch at Gaidos, don't miss the seafood here, this place has been open for over 100 years. This is our 6th cruise, but first on Magic. We dropped luggage off at cruise port than drove to Parking Lot B, $70.00. Then took shuttle back with carry-on items. It was about 2:30, so we were at end of line, which we prefer. We had a pack of 24 water bottles and 2 bottles of wine. This is the first time they checked every single bottle of water, to make sure they are not filled with alcohol. Afterwards, check-in was a breeze. We went to our cabin, 6397, mid ship, near elevators, above deck 5, near casino, wifi hub, ocean plaza. We really liked our cabin location, access to other places just going up and down elevators. Safety meeting a little different now, met at muster station, they showed a video. We were impressed by ship, we enjoyed it, water park, court for playing, sky course, candy store, golf. Movies outside in open, we really enjoyed with popcorn. Food galore, deli, pizzeria, Italian $12 per person, worth going. Pub, snacks, $2-$3. Coffee bar, better than lido deck coffee. Burritos were great during lunch, for breakfast we recommend the brunch in dining room, better than lido deck breakfast. IsLa Roatan, Honduras - ok stop, we decided to pay $40 total for both of us, RT taxi to West End. Driver waited while we looked around and ate lunch at the Barking Monkey. Delicious shrimp fajitas and super cool owner from our hometown, Austin, Texas. Don't miss this place on the West End. Belize - honestly don't waste your time in city, hubby went off to key for diving, I went to city. Ships sit about 6-7 miles from land, tendering can take up to an hour. I was dissappointed with this stop, poor and dirty place, trash everywhere. Hubby did enjoy his dives, clear water, but this took ALL day. Cozumel - luv this place, been here a few times, always our favorite stop. Went snorkeling and hung out on beach all day, did a little shopping on the way back to the ship. Overall we had a very relaxing trip, enjoyed the free drink coupons, VIP party drinks, we did as little as possible, we would definitely go on Magic again, but different stops. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We spent the week of Dec 29, 2013-Jan 5, 2014 on “the beautiful Carnival Magic.” My mom treated my family of five as our Christmas present (Thanks, Mom!). There were seven of us on this trip: my mom, stepdad, myself, my husband and our ... Read More
We spent the week of Dec 29, 2013-Jan 5, 2014 on “the beautiful Carnival Magic.” My mom treated my family of five as our Christmas present (Thanks, Mom!). There were seven of us on this trip: my mom, stepdad, myself, my husband and our three boys, ages 9, 6 and 3. It was a fantastic week overall, and a very fun way to ring in 2014! First, I have to say, we all loved the Magic! The ship itself is laid out very well, with the only floor that you can’t go all the way from front to back is deck 3 because of the galley, oh, and decks 11 and 12 because the Lido deck is three levels high in the middle thanks to the big screen. It’s a very easy ship to find your way around. Most of the action is on decks 3, 4, 5 (restaurants, bars, coffee shop, arcade, shops, bars, photo gallery, shore excursion and guest services desks…) and the Lido deck 10, which has the buffet(s) and the pools and hot tubs. Camp Carnival is on deck 11, and my kids spent a lot of time up there! Deck 12 has the mini golf and on the opposite side is Waterworks (waterslides and water play area). My middle son had a blast playing all the games up on the sports deck – he wanted to play mini golf and foosball anytime we had a spare moment! I sprung for Faster to the Fun for our two staterooms, and I think I will always do this. It made everything so much easier. We were one of the first to do just about everything, from boarding the ship, to receiving help at Guest Relations, and even tendering in Belize. We were group 1 at disembarkation, too, which was also very nice. Galveston: We drove to Galveston the night before and stayed at the Inn at the Waterpark. Our family of five stayed in the newer building, with two queen beds, and the room was surprisingly big, and very clean. It was comfortable and a good choice for a quick one-night pre-cruise stay. The price was only about $12 more than paying for cruise specific parking during the week of our cruise, and gave us a leisurely morning before heading to the port. The Inn offered three different shuttle times for their free shuttle to the port, 9:30am, 10:30am and 11:30am. We parked our van along the white fence within sight of the front office before we left, and had no worries about leaving it there for the week. The ride over to the port was about 20 minutes. Camp Carnival: We went to the open house on day 1, right after lunch. They were open from 12:30-3:30pm. I had already printed out my kids’ paperwork from Carnival’s website, and brought it with me then. I was able to finish filling it out there and hand it in, getting my three kids registered before we’d even sailed away – this made it a lot faster for me at drop off the next morning! I had a child in each of the three Camp Carnival groups, and I have to say, Carnival did a great job planning appropriate activities for each age. My six-year-old especially loved camp, he begged to go and was mad when we picked him up. My three-year-old, who is pretty clingy in general, was even happy to go each night – we dropped him off on the Lido deck for dinner and he’d stay until we were done with our evening activities. My boys stayed past 10pm – for Night Owls or specific parties twice – New Year’s Eve and then one night when they had specialty parties the boys were excited about. The cost was very reasonable considering the time they were spending there, and the kids all came back with goodie bags filled with fun things. Camp Carnival was such a treat – for my husband and I to have some alone time, and also for my kids who genuinely enjoyed it. The staff was fantastic, too. They were all welcoming and friendly, and very happy to answer any questions, even if we were just stopping by to make sure the kids were having a good time. I believe the Camp Carnival Coordinator on the Magic is named Petru, aka Noodle, and she definitely sets the standard for her staff – GREAT job, Noodle and Camp Carnival!!! Food: We ate all over the Magic! Lido deck buffet, Prime Steakhouse, Northern Lights assigned dining, Southern Lights sit-down breakfast, Cucina del Capitano, Oceanside BBQ… Overall lines on the Lido deck weren’t bad. I had an omelet for breakfast almost every morning and I rarely had to wait behind more than one or two people. Bacon was served right next to the omelet station and there never seemed to be a line for that (I’m a vegetarian so I don’t eat bacon, but I know it’s a religion to some people so I took notice.) Once the bacon guy thought I wanted some as I was waiting for my omelet and he pulled out a big ol’ chunk for me – maybe six pieces? Not sure, I declined, but he was very friendly and happy and ready to serve me some bacon. Selection was good every day we were there, but I did notice by our last morning that they were out of Frosted Flakes, and I only noticed because they are my favorite, but I figured I could get those at home, so off I returned to the omelet station. My 3-year-old likes pancakes, and for pancakes and waffles you have to go to the buffet outside by the main pool – it’s the same line they serve burgers and fries and chips and queso at lunch and dinnertime. It was a bit of a trek from our regular table on the aft end of the Lido, but I made the walk for my boy. Lines weren’t short, but they moved, so he got his pancakes. The longest lines by far were for pizza. I would never wait in the lines they have at lunch and dinnertime. The pizza is good, but IMO not that good. I got pizza on a shore day when we returned for lunch and one night while they were showing Iron Man 2 on the big screen, no wait either time. We ate at the Prime Steakhouse on our second night on board. The staff was very attentive and friendly, and we got a free sampler appetizer from the chef (I think this is standard). My first thought was, “Wow, we are sitting really close to the people next to us.” Seriously, we could have been at the same table, maybe four inches between the tables? The food was just ok IMO. Keep in mind that I’m a veg, so I can’t speak to how good the steak is. I ordered the lobster and it was by no means better than what’s served on Formal nights in the dining room. I’m glad I experience the steakhouse, but unless I was with someone who really wanted to go back, I wouldn’t. We had early assigned seating in the Northern Lights dining room. Our headwaiter was Orlando and he was fantastic. He was uber friendly, he never seemed to be in a rush, he knew our names, was happy to answer our questions and talk to us in general. He had my 3-year-old’s order memorized by our second visit there (He is a very attached boy, and insisted on going to “fancy dinner” with us a few times - he would order his food, scarf it down, and then I would deliver him to Camp Carnival while we waiting for our main course. It was perfect!!) The entire wait staff in Northern Lights seemed pleasant, and by mid-trip the shot guys that come around to the table knew I was an easy mark. I had eight shot glasses to my name by trip’s end. Dinner was one of my favorite parts of the vacation, the food was good, service was excellent, and I didn’t have to spend hours in the kitchen at all for a week! I LOVED it. We ate breakfast in Southern Lights on one of our shore days. It was nice to sit down, but service was a little slow, and honestly, with a 3 and 6-year-old boy, I’d rather just go to buffet (my 9-year-old is pretty easy going – I can take him anywhere ☺). If it were just my husband and I, we would have probably gone to the dining room for sit-down meals more often. My husband really liked the made-to-order salad bar on deck 5, midship. They had every kind of veggie and topping you could think of – I’m serious, they had probably 40 different bowls of food, and you just told the Salad Maker what you wanted. There were also had turkey wraps and chips and salsa (yum!) self-serve on the counter in front of the Salad Maker. Ports of Call: Mahogany Bay, Isla Roaton – we planned nothing for this port because I’d read that Carnival had built up this port and you could walk to a nice beach in sight of the cruise ships. It’s true. We got off, walked through the built up shops, by a Fat Tuesdays that my husband and I would have totally hung out at if we hadn’t had our youngest two in tow! Then, we headed to the beach. We hadn’t rushed off the boat in the morning so there were already a bunch of people there, but we found a fence to hang up our bag, our six-year-old parked himself in the sand, and we played in the water. We spent our time in the water and the kids played in the sand, and when we were tired of that, we walked back to the ship. It was just right for us! My stepdad and my nine-year-old son took a Carnival shore excursion with glass bottom kayaks and snorkeling and they had a great time. My son had never snorkeled before and hearing his excitement about his adventure was fun for me. He’d never seen anything like that, and I could tell he’d paid a lot of attention to their guide as he explained things – my boy was rattling off types of fish and coral and telling me interesting facts about this underwater world he’d just seen. It was awesome. Belize City, Belize – we booked a Goff’s Caye excursion through Island Marketing, aka the “Sunkissed Beach and Snorkel” tour, and met their guy at the end of the pier who lead us to the kiosk to check in. It was a long walk (about 1/3 of a mile) for my mom who is unsteady on her feet down to the kiosks inside an enclosed mall. In hindsight, I probably would have sent my husband and my stepdad down to check us in, then come back and tell us which slip we were taking out to Goff’s Caye so my mom and three kids (well, the younger two) could have avoided some of that walking. The boat ride out there was about 25 minutes from Belize City. Goff’s Caye was an island paradise. Seriously. It’s like a screen saver. We found a spot under a palm tree and hit the beach. There was some rough sand and rocks at first, but when you got far enough out in the water the same was very smooth and nice. Plus, the water was very shallow. We were quite a bit out from the beach and my three-year-old could still stand. One big tip I have for people making this trip is to get lunch early – like about 11:30am. We got our chicken and lobster, $8 and $10 CASH a plate respectively, with little wait. They also sold some candy (M&Ms, Pringles and other vending machine type snacks) and the best – real Coke in a GLASS bottle for $2. I love Coke in a glass bottle, made with sugar. They also had Belkin beers there, 2 for $5. Water, rum punch and fruit punch were complimentary. My family and my mom didn’t go snorkeling, but my stepdad did and he said it was good. He has his own snorkel equipment with prescription lenses, if that gives you and idea of the kind snorkeler he... After our day in paradise we boarded our speed boat and headed back to the port. We were back with enough time to get a drink, or do a little shopping, but our kids were tired and super sandy so we just grabbed a tender and headed back to the Magic. I wouldn’t worry at all about the port in Belize – I felt plenty safe there with my family, and I was very comfortable with Island Marketing and our tour. I’d do it again tomorrow if I could! Cozumel, Mexico – we went to Mr. Sanchos. No mystery here, it’s all over the boards and a crowd favorite for a reason! We took a van taxi from the Taxi line, with tip for seven of us it was about $40 CASH each way. We paid our balance at Mr. Sancho AI side with a credit card as my husband didn’t want to bring so much cash with us and it was no problem. The problem was not having enough cash to shop at the port when we got back from Mr. Sanchos! My kids sent an extra $20 on personalized shark tooth necklaces and a Cozumel magnet. It was fun to see them bargaining with the venders. My least favorite part of Cozumel (it really stands out because I LOVE it there!) is having to go through the mile-long duty free shop to get back on board the ship. Ugh. I hate navigating through all those glass bottles and other crap through crowds of people and employees with a huge beach bag and three sandy, tired, little boys… I think I held my breath the whole way! Other than that it was a great day at Mr. Sanchos – exactly as advertised! Great view, great beach, great drinks and we couldn’t drag our boys out of the pool with it’s swim up bar - thank goodness Mother Nature helped us out by starting a rain storm! Mr. Sanchos I hope to see you again soon! The Magic: She’s a HUGE ship, but she doesn’t feel that way, unless your walking down the hall way to your room. The walk seems much shorter if you walk through the casino or the Lido deck. Why is that? Speaking of our room, 6440 for anyone curious, our room steward was fantastic. Our room was cleaned twice – once in the morning, and once for turn-down while we were at dinner. And I mean, the room was cleaned - beds made, trash emptied, fresh towels, even toilet scrubbed. We must have dumped half the beach out after our day in Belize, and there wasn’t a trace of sand left behind after she’d been there. And the towel animals always had personal touches – like our sunglass, or our boys’ toys and even my youngest’s swim trucks once. So cute! Our cruise was at capacity and we rarely felt crushed by crowds or waited for any thing. The elevator after a comedy show was one of our longest waits, but if my mom didn’t have a scooter we could have just taken the stairs right up to our room and would have been back in a flash. I have to say I have a new appreciation for those with mobility issues after seeing my mom maneuvering around with a scooter this cruise, but she doesn’t have quite the practice with it since she at home she can walk with a cane, just not the distances required on a moving ship. She was well taken care of by Carnival, though. They were able to get her a wheel chair at embarkation and disembarkation which really helped, and her scooter was waiting for her in her stateroom when we were on board. Not to mention, the one morning she ate in the Lido deck without us some of the wait staff there recognized her and brought her her breakfast – coffee, juice, food and all! I was floored and so very greatful to them for looking out for her! Overall, the Magic by far has the friendliest and most helpful cruise staff we have ever experienced. She is a CLEAN and comfortable ship, very large but doesn’t feel it because she is very thoughtfully laid-out – and nice to look at, too. We had a really, really great time! In fact, we are already looking at sailing her again.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Just returned from a 7 day cruise on the Carnival Magic. We purchased the F2TF pass and enjoyed it. Our embarkation took literally 15 minutes from entering the building to entering the Promenade Deck. All went smoothly. We got to the ... Read More
Just returned from a 7 day cruise on the Carnival Magic. We purchased the F2TF pass and enjoyed it. Our embarkation took literally 15 minutes from entering the building to entering the Promenade Deck. All went smoothly. We got to the port, dropped of our luggage and parked at the cruise port parking. Quick shuttle and drop off right at the door about 12:30. After getting on board our cabin was available about 1pm. We signed up for late seating in the MDR and was assigned an upper table in the Northern Lights Dining Room. The food was good to excellent with an everyday and daily menu. I would have liked a table on the main floor but the service and atmosphere were good. We have traditionally opted for eating as a couple or with others we had been traveling with but opted for a large table. We were very pleased with the 4 other couples and it made for an enjoyable mealtime. The New Year;s Eve dining was good and the ship, dining room and crew made for an enjoyable night. The night's festivities were moved indoors in deference to expected rain that did not arrive. The Atrium of the ship was rocking and the ship staff brought in the New Year with flash. The Cloud 9 Spa Balcony 12024 was in a nice location. The cabin had plenty of room and closet space. The decor was nice but all in all the balcony cabin was the same as others. The proximity to the Spa, the Spa access to the exclusive areas was nice and we used them enough to be worth the up charge ($249 per couple if we had attempted to add the Spas access to a regular cabin). The ports Roatan, Belize and Cozumel were all fine.. Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan is a creation of the Cruise company. We enjoyed the beach and the shopping was OK. Belize City port (tender trip was fine F2TF pass got us there faster) is filled with many nice local bars, restaurants and a great place for the local Belikin Beer $2.00). The port though offers little else unless an excursion is booked. Passengers are URGED not to leave the gated area. One of our dinner table mates did walk around the city on their own. The tale was of an impoverished town with little to offer. Persons that took various excursions did seem to enjoy them though. We had an early return to ship time in Cozumel and the weather was threatening. So, we opted to just take a cab into town $10.00) and walk around. On previous trips to Cozumel we had gone to Paradise Beach that we had enjoyed. This was our first in over 10 years trip into downtown and we enjoyed it. There were at least six cruise ships in port and the area was not overcrowded. There were two evenings of rough weather. On one evening the outside decks were off limits due to wind and rain. This was a Holiday Week cruise and the ship was completely sold. However I never felt that the facilities were overcrowded. Staff did a good job in all areas . Buffet lines moved smoothly. There were waits at the grill by the pool and the Pizza could have been served in a more organized fashion. They seemed to be making to order instead of making it and serving as needed. Pizza was good though. The Sandwich area did a good job as did the morning omelets to order..The extremely slow area was the Mongolian Grill in the Buffet at lunch time. Also we were told there were 1,500 children on board. Not sure if that was an overstatement or not. But the area never seemed to be "overrun" by the kids. The main pool was an exception.. The adult Sanctuary top dek forward area was very nice, padded chairs. The area did fill up but was never overcrowded.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
To begin I received a call to let me know that because of fog the ship would be late getting in to port so I need not arrive in Galveston until 3 pm.Well anyone that lives in Houston will tell you not to be caught in traffic on 45 south ... Read More
To begin I received a call to let me know that because of fog the ship would be late getting in to port so I need not arrive in Galveston until 3 pm.Well anyone that lives in Houston will tell you not to be caught in traffic on 45 south between 3 and 5 pm any week day if you are in a hurry to be somewhere,so we left Houston about 11:30 arrived in foggy Galveston about 12 pm I rode to the end of the seawall and parked as I could see the ship anchored out in the gulf so we waited till the ship was allowed to enter the port and we headed to easy cruze parking around 1:30.Had priority boarding so we had our sail cards in hand around 3 was told to have a seat no one would be boarding till 5 pm. We sat until 4:30 when they called the people in the Capts. Lounge area I was not sitting in that area so didn't realize that I was included until I saw that all the other people that were in side with us were gone so the lady told me that I should have boarded when they were called so on to the ship we went. Cabin was located all the way in back of the ship below the Paris dining room ,it had a Tv that was old and dark ,it did not have any way of adjusting the color so I had to watch everything dark movies ect.My lady went to use a dryer in the laundry it was 3.50 and it didn't work she had to hang it in the cabin Never book a cabin at the rear of the ship even with an oceanview window the ride was rough because the sea was rough the first night ,after having to stand for around 40 minutes at our muster station for drill we ate on Lido and called it a night. Next day we took a bus into downtown Progressio walked around it reminded me of downtown Laredo years ago there are a lot of shops and vendors in the area close to the beach but not many eating places that I would eat at . Bought a few items then rode bus back to the ship .Ship sailed for Cozumel water was good ride not so bumpy.Checked out the comedy show gave the Casino some money ,bought liquor and smokes went to bed. Arrived at Cozumel about 7:30 am but was not allowed to exit ship till almost 10 am for some reason. There were 3 other ships there so there were a lot of people spending money but we still got some bargans on Christmas gifts We left sailing for Galveston with good weather ahead well in my opinion the movies that are shown on the outdoor screen are wack,Carnival needs to upgrade I am tired of the same old movies and the menu needs to be changed Your sship is in Texas so how bout some southern meals? ever heard of Chille? Chicken and Dumplins,Gumbo Greens Oxtails? get with the program Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
The Arrival and process atthe Galveston Pier was flawless.. No problems at all.. We walked on the boat and went up to deck 9 to have lunch.. I had a burger at Guys Burger Place.. I heard all the hype and figured I would try it.. Sorry to ... Read More
The Arrival and process atthe Galveston Pier was flawless.. No problems at all.. We walked on the boat and went up to deck 9 to have lunch.. I had a burger at Guys Burger Place.. I heard all the hype and figured I would try it.. Sorry to say, it wasnt that good.. Seemed like they precooked the burgers and then just heated them up on the grill when you ordered them.. I was very dissapointed as I was looking forward to it.. We ate in the Paris Dining room te first 2 nights of the cruise.. The first night, I ordered a coke to go with dinner.. It took 40 minutes to get it.. Food was ok, but they put small portions on these giant plates.. Food was ok but not at all like it used to be on Carnival... The buffetts were only opens limited times for breakfast lunch and dinner.. It was mostly the same food served onver and over again.. Carnival used to be known for their food, but this was not the case this time.. I was extremely dissapointed in the food on this cruise.. We also tried the Pizza afte hearing it was improved.. It was in fact hand tossed as advertised, but it was just not good... It was more like tomatoe sauce on boboli.. The Main dining room had advertised on the Menu turkey for Thanksgiving with Stuffing and Cranberry sauce, so I ordered that.. Its was a very smail shredded pc of turkey with a table spoon of stuffing underneith the turkey... The cranberry sauce was in fact just some cranberry juice with 2 berries floating in it... I was really disapointed with that as I really miss the family Thanksgiving type offerring.. The Pastrami and Cornbeef sandwiches however did not dissapoint.. They were outstanding !!The Show was "The Big Easy" It started off very slow, performing the oldsongs from Old New Orleans, but it quickly picked up towards the end.. The young lady who was the lead singer was outstanding and the end of the show was Broadway quality.. It is a show worth seeing.. A note anout the Jewelry.. They had an Invicta Watch sale.. They had a watch with a $795.00 tag on it.. The sale offerred the watch at $149.00 and this was supposed to be well below prices we could get back home.. I got home and went online and found the same watch all overthe place for $95 - $100.00... My suggestion would be to know your prices before geting roped into a sale.. Overall the 4 Day Cruise to Cozumel is what it is.. If you dont get caught up in all the hype, its a fun quickie cruise.. Cozumel is perfect for a one day adventure.. Just dont expect much from the boat.. The best entertainment on the boat was the DJ on a the Main Pool.. He kept everyone dancing and drinking... Bon Voyage!!   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
It's been 3 years since my last Carnival cruise and things have changed. First off, I had a great time, overall. I always enjoy cruising and nothing horrible happened. The two areas that I was mildly disappointed by are the ... Read More
It's been 3 years since my last Carnival cruise and things have changed. First off, I had a great time, overall. I always enjoy cruising and nothing horrible happened. The two areas that I was mildly disappointed by are the activities and the main dinning room. The weather was cold and cloudy so there wasn't much going on outdoors, unfortunately, there was next to nothing going on indoors either. A lot of buying seminar type things in the spa and the shops and a few bean bag toss type things but that was pretty much it during the day. At night there were musical shows & comedy shows on only 2 of the 4 nights. The other two nights there were audience game show type activities. This is a change from prior cruises where there was a musical every night. The dj instead of live band on the deck didn't bother me, it was fun watching people dance. On the Captain's formal night the band and singer by the casino were very, very good. We had anytime dining and on the first night it took 2 1/2 hours to get through dinner, with lots of 20 minute breaks between courses. The staff was slow to fill drinks or even come by the table. The next night we had a different staff and it was much better. Unfortunately the 3rd night back to the same staff and same long wait. The food was also hit or miss. The first night, Thanksgiving night was not great. The next night the food was really good, third night it was just ok. The fourth night we ate in the buffet because the lunch in the buffet that day was delicious. Unfortunately, the food choices that night were again, not good. I ended up with a great tuna sandwich from the deli instead. The room steward was great! Camp Carnival was good. Faster to the Fun was the best thing I've ever experienced. We were off the ship by 8:35 am. Overall, not a bad cruise, just a little less than expected. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
After a nice, but short, four day cruise on Triumph last year around this time, we decided to try a five day. The four day just went by too quick, plus we wanted another port to visit, and we noticed that the cost for a five day was about ... Read More
After a nice, but short, four day cruise on Triumph last year around this time, we decided to try a five day. The four day just went by too quick, plus we wanted another port to visit, and we noticed that the cost for a five day was about the same as a four day. While I still prefer seven days, five was a nice getaway at a great price. We had Faster To The Fun so were able to board fairly quickly. We arrived at the port around 10:30 in the morning. The Priority line for security had about five people in front of us compared to about fifty in the regular line. Likewise, when we got to check in our line had two people in front of us compared to about a hundred in the regular check in line. We entered the FTTF waiting area at 11:10 (Diamond and Platinum had their own area) and boarding began right at 11:15. By 11:30 we had dropped our bags and bottled water in our cabin and were headed for Guy's Burgers. The burgers at Guys were pretty good with a really nice toppings bar. Admittedly I can find a burger this good at any number of places around town, but these were definitely better than the burgers Carnival used to serve. The fries reminded me of a slightly crispier version of Fuddrucker's fries. We never got a chance to visit the Blue Iguana for tacos, but living in Houston I can also get great tacos at any number of places so wasn't upset. Food in the MDR was really good and the service was great. Buffet seemed to have slipped a notch since last year and the couple of times we ate there we weren't impressed. Room service was hit or miss. Ordered coffee and bagels for 5:45 the morning we docked in Progreso as we had an early excursion. It didn't arrive until almost 6:20 by which time I had brought coffee and pastries down from the buffet. The server was very apologetic and said they were overwhelmed as a lot of people had the same idea. A call from room service would have been great as I would have simply cancelled and saved him the trip and us the wait. Another morning the other cabin in our party didn't get their door hangar picked up the night before. They waited about twenty minutes past the expected time and only discovered it still there when they thought they heard a knock and opened the door to find it hanging on the door handle. Entertainment was OK. The Welcome Aboard show was funny, Wonderful World was as good as last year, the Big Easy was cancelled due to rough seas, and a Magic and Illusion show that I had never seen before was probably the best of the lot. I also took in a comedy show which was hilarious, and a karaoke show that was a lot of fun. As for the new bars, I skipped the Blue Iguana since I'm not a tequila fan. Enjoyed the Red Frog Rum bar. Really enjoyed the Alchemy Bar. The drinks there were fantastic! I only wish I could have tried more of them. Walked through but didn't drink in the EA Sports Bar. I actually liked the old Olympic Bar's ambiance better. Debarkation was very pain free. We got a letter the day before telling all FTTF cruisers to go to the Rome Lounge on Deck 3. We got there as instructed at 8:00 and were off the ship by 8:30. The only thing Carnival needs to get a handle on is the number of people either trying to sneak in there who don't belong, or the people who belong but want to crowd the door so they can get off a few minutes sooner. We sat close to the stage and still were off ten minutes after we were called. There was only one girl (one of the dancers I think) trying to control the mob and half of them were ignoring her. Carnival really needs to get a security guard down there to help keep the crowd from blocking the area around the theater doors. My next cruise will be with NCL, not because I don't like Carnival, but because I want to try other lines. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a five day cruise on Triumph. I can't say enough about the staff, especially those from the Philippines. This was the week that the big typhoon hit. I'm sure they were all sick with worry for family and friends, but except for an occasional glance at the TVs in the common areas, you'd never have known it. They gave the same great service with a smile that they always do. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Our fifth cruise and fourth with Carnival. We survived the Splendor Engine room fire off the coast of California four years ago, and were concerned because of the Triumph fire last year. Starting at this fear of failure, all turned out ... Read More
Our fifth cruise and fourth with Carnival. We survived the Splendor Engine room fire off the coast of California four years ago, and were concerned because of the Triumph fire last year. Starting at this fear of failure, all turned out very well for our group of 9. Our friends 3 kids are picky eaters, and they all found the food great, especially the sitdown Paris and London restaurants. Daily new menus were the best cruise meals we had ever experienced. Kids enjoyed the pool, basketball and mini golf, but as there was 5 kids they did little kids club, but they find kids clubs are better than any all inclusive kids programs. Excellent leaders. The weight room and yoga class was best of any ship we had been on previously, the boot camp was high priced, so as a result was not done. Captains dinner did not have the Captain present, and we never ran into him at any other functions, perhaps he was with his mistress?. We know running the ship is important, but a bit of customer service goes a long way. The rest of the staff were all very customer focused, and we did not have any reservations on leaving the standard tip. The balcony rooms were adequate for 4 & 5 people, with roomy balconies. The hairdryer was a 1980's style, and shower control was hard to adjust without scalding. TV was also an old style 21" tube, that did function OK The entertainment was best ever, with April and the Showband blowing us away many times, with their dynamic singer and smoking brass. I have seen a number of Showbands on the mainland, these guys were the best. Hope to see more of this on future Carnival cruises. We also enjoyed the VIP party for Gold and Platinum members, with great complementary food and drinks.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I was expecting way less after reading the reviews people posted from earlier cruises this year but let me just tell you about my experience: Service: Best Costumer service ever... they keep telling you "You are on vacation!" ... Read More
I was expecting way less after reading the reviews people posted from earlier cruises this year but let me just tell you about my experience: Service: Best Costumer service ever... they keep telling you "You are on vacation!" like you can get anything and everything you want... want coffee? you got it! want 2-3 lobsters? No problem! Waiters on our London Dining room where amazing! we sat 4 of the nights on the same aisle so we got to spend some time with the waiters and they were fantastic. Like Vidayasa, Carlos, Alvin (He is a great dancer!) Uberney! wow amazing people. Our Stateroom housekeeper, was nice as well, he didn't talk much, but always called us by our names with a big smile on his face, he kept our room very clean and always kept everything staked (ice, glasses, clean towels,etc) Entertainment: WOOOOOW... Comedy shows..(some might offend you) Live salsa band, dance shows with an amazing cast! Magic Shows.. Bingo, Hairy Chest contest, love dare.. karaoke! etc.. I mean you will NOT BE BORED! Cruise ship as a whole: I had read that you couldn't tell about the updates on the Triumph, and well.. since it was my first time on it,all I can say is that it was GOOD TO ME! always clean. ALWAYS.. there were so many people constantly cleaning and keeping everything tidy up that it looked very nice. EXCURSIONS: I don't know what else is there to do in Progreso, and if one excursion is better than the other.. I had lived in Mexico for many years while I was a teenager and remembered visiting Chichen Itza so I wanted my husband to see it as well so we took this excursion.. The company who took us there were great. I have NOTHING NEGATIVE to say about them. but... IT IS 2 HOURS AWAY.... 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU WILL BE ON A BUS FOR A TOTAL OF 4 HOURS.... might not be worth it.. I think I rather recommend you to go and visit the colonial city of MERIDA.. In Cozumel.. my husband and I asked around and ended up going to PLAYA UVAS. we took a cab there $11 dls (all prices are fixed and you can check on a price list) we got to the place and it looked small at first but as soon as we saw the beautiful beach we just had enough with that. everyone was SUPER SUPER POLITE, AND NICE. Carmen the receptionist was great, they offer massages, and you pay $12 per person to get it, it includes snorkling gear with a free tour, and a FREE DRINK! (get a piña colada!) clean bathrooms, they offer other packages like unlimited drinks and food, etc.. they sell cigars, and crafts.. There's also a photographer for your snorkling experience, so you can take those pics home! our CD was $30.. TIP: These beach is right by Chankanaab national park, and from Playa Uvas you can see a pier.. swim to that pier with your snorkling gear and bring with you water shoes.. YOU WILL BE ABLE TO SEE THE DOLPHINS!!! they are in sort of a cage inside of that pier.. (inside the park) it is an amazing experience!!! AND THE BEST.. IT'S FREE!!! Ask any of the staff about what I am talking about.. they will tell you! ok...I have talked about all the great things in the Triumph but there are about 3 things you need to consider, so you know you have been warned and won't come as a surprise to you !! 1. Because of the amazing prices Carnival is offering on this cruises, you will find a whole crowd that might not be your crowd... like.. lots of overweight over 40's people with tattoos, drunk and shaking it off at the pool (not very nice) drunk people that will pee outside of the elevator (I UNFORTUNATELY WITNESSED IT) this happened specially on the day after people got back from Progreso.. ok.. I WARNED YOU. 2. Kids constantly on the whirlpool (hot tub) and on the pools.. so.. yeah you might not want to get there.. 3. and... the last night of the cruise I barely could sleep because there was a HORRIBLE smell of sewage... I guess we had gotten to Galveston and they were emptying the ship.. IT WAS NASTY.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I just returned home from the 11/18/2013 thru 11/23/2013 Triumph cruise to Progresso and Cozumel, Mexico. This was the typical trip and much like I expected. Getting on board took much longer than usual. If I did not know better I would ... Read More
I just returned home from the 11/18/2013 thru 11/23/2013 Triumph cruise to Progresso and Cozumel, Mexico. This was the typical trip and much like I expected. Getting on board took much longer than usual. If I did not know better I would believe that 11/18/2013 was the very first time Carnival sailed from Galveston. I am talking about several HOURS of sitting on my ass and standing in long lines waiting to board that ship! There is absolutely zero reason for it to take so long to board. The ship is very nice with the vast majority of employees working hard to make the guests feel comfortable and at home. The only bad employee I encountered was the blond lady with the ponytail working at the casino bar. She was rude, hateful and made many guests mad. I did not get her name because it was not worth the effort but she was not the nice blond Maria! (Maria made everyone feel welcome) I do not smoke. If you do, be aware that you are not going to be very welcome. They keep moving the smoking spots to smaller and smaller areas and make smokers feel like relatives who have overstayed their welcome! I say all of this in defense of my friends who I met onboard who were treated like second class folks because they smoked. If that is important to you I just want you to be aware. The food and entertainment in the Paris and London restaurants was very good! The buffets were pretty good considering that they were feeding so many people and had so many varieties of food. The Chinese "wok" was horrible. I would not feed that to a dog! They need to fix that or shut it down! Guy's burger place was great! The pizza place was a big disappointment. They left guests standing in line while they supplied pizzas to workers in the rear of pizza restaurant. Pizzas were pilling up from the oven while they continued to prep more pizzas. They very clearly need some supervision in that area! The Deli restaurant was good. The omelet place is so slow that it would take a 30 day cruise to serve half the passengers one omelet. Something is "wong" there! LOL All in all, I enjoyed the cruise and will go again and again! The guy in the piano bar was very good. The comedians were good Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We used Galveston Parking around the block from the ship. Driver dropped us off with luggage and then parked. Purchased F2F and would do it again! Well worth the $50. Couldn't make it to the port until almost 2 pm. Ushered into the ... Read More
We used Galveston Parking around the block from the ship. Driver dropped us off with luggage and then parked. Purchased F2F and would do it again! Well worth the $50. Couldn't make it to the port until almost 2 pm. Ushered into the VIP line and onto the ship within 30 minutes. Luggage arrived within an hour. We had a spa cabin on deck 11. Loved it and enjoyed the use of Thalassatherapy pool, heated tile loungers, dry sauna, wet sauna and cooling room that comes with reserving a spa cabin. We used it every day. As always the crew and staff are great, the food not so much. I have sailed Carnival several times, so I know what isn't usually good on the main dining menu. Stick with the beef selections. Some fish was okay. The Chateaubriand was excellent, the surf and turf good, prime rib was good, braised beef ribs good. Talapia was okay. We ate once at the Steakhouse and it is good but not as good as NCL steakhouse. Chocolate dessert was wonderful. The best dessert on ship is the Chocolate Cake at the afternoon Tea. It might be the same one you get with room service. We were so full we didn't even order room service. The Lido buffet leaves a lot to be desired. A hamburger or hot dog are fine but their other dishes are tasteless. We ate one afternoon at the taste bar by the casino and had a good chicken salad sandwich and soup. As usual the WCMC was great, so was the Souffle. Missed the Bread Pudding while at the Steakhouse but it is usually awesome. The ship looked great. The first night out of Galveston was rocky and we heard the stabilizers all night. It went like this.......rock, rock, rock, rock, rock, shudder, rock, rock rock, rock, rock, shudder. Everyone we spoke to got little sleep. The rest of the trip was uneventful at night. We docked in Key West and rented an electric car for 6 and ran all over the island for 4 hours. Would do this again. It was fun. Had a great lunch at Mangoes. Upon return to ship, we discovered Carnival had cancelled the Bahamas due to a cold front making rough sailing so we went to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. We have been here many times and GC is my least favorite port next to Jamaica. All we did was shop in GC. In Cozumel, it was still somewhat overcast so we caught a cab to downtown and ate lunch and shopped again. We didn't really choose this cruise for the itinerary although we wanted to see Key West. We just enjoyed the ship and relaxing. We saw one show I believe on the second night in main theatre. We loved the band Respectives that played nightly in the Ocean Plaza. They sounded great and had many dancers nightly. Did not care for the Jazz singer there one night. The band was okay but she was like listening to a screaming cat. Our room steward was Melinda from Romania and she was wonderful. She met our every need, putting our mattress pad on the bed first night and kept our room in tip top shape. Our head waiter was Edi and he was a hit with our whole table. They always called us by name and remembered what we liked so every night they made our dinner enjoyable, not to mention Edi can really dance! We were late coming back to port on Sunday due to fog, so we didn't debark until 8:30 but we were on the road by 9 am. Not sure I will stay with Carnival. The best thing they have going is the cost is lower but you don't get great food. No other complaints where Carnival is concerned except called Guest services the night before we made port to say we had an extra charge from the Red Frog Pub that was not ours. They said it would be removed but it wasn't. Will take it up with corporate. Have fun wherever you are going on the Magic. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I've cruised with Carnival a few times before and found this trip to be a similar experience as previous trips. We left out of Galveston and headed to Key West. While in Key West, we rented bikes and toured the island. The weather ... Read More
I've cruised with Carnival a few times before and found this trip to be a similar experience as previous trips. We left out of Galveston and headed to Key West. While in Key West, we rented bikes and toured the island. The weather was amazing and bicycling was easier than I first thought it would be. Lunch at a hole in the wall called Moe's was delicious. We were the only ones in the place and the snapper sandwich was fantastic. Back on ship we discovered the Bahama's destination was changed due to inclement weather. We just go with the flow and just enjoy cruising so this wasn't a huge upset. The ship was very clean and the staff did a great job of maintaining the cleanliness throughout the entire trip. The food was adequate, nothing exceptional, always room for improvement in this department. I used they fitness center on a sea day and was there by 7:30am and the place was crowded. Every machine was taken and it took about 30 minutes for a treadmill or bicycle to become available. Overall the cruise was great and met our expectations. However the thing that impressed me the most was the friendliness of the staff. I don't know how they deal with so many people every day for months and still keep a smile on their faces, but its refreshing. One particular staff member, Zoe Freeman, will always be remembered as one of our favorites. We met her while she was working in the library and she was so friendly. Her bubbly personality won our hearts and we looked forward to seeing her throughout the rest of our cruise. We know her family was going to join her on a cruise during Christmas, so Carnival, please tell her we were thinking of her during this fun holiday and thank her for the fantastic strawberries:). Jay, the karaoke host, is always a delight and will be missed greatly on future cruises (hope he returns). We already have our next cruise planned, but unfortunately it won't be on the Magic. I'm anxious to see if our next adventure is as fun.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This is DH and I's 4th Carnival Cruise, first time on the Magic out of Galveston. We also cruised with DH's mother, sister, and Aunt. DH's mother - this was her first time. Embarkation was wonderful! Since DH's mother ... Read More
This is DH and I's 4th Carnival Cruise, first time on the Magic out of Galveston. We also cruised with DH's mother, sister, and Aunt. DH's mother - this was her first time. Embarkation was wonderful! Since DH's mother and Aunt were somewhat disabled (they are both close to 80), we have a tad bit of priority! After embarkation, immediately to Lido Market Place for lunch and our rooms were ready. Luggage arrived between 1:30 & 4pm. DH and I have an aft, 9481, and MIL, SIL and Aunt had a balcony 9461. Ports of Call were Isle of Roatan, Belize, and Cozumel. DH and I took an excursion in Belize to see the Altum Hun and River Wallace. This was AMAZING! The ONLY gripe that I have is that the excursion was 6.5 hours and 4.5 of that was traveling. But we are glad we did it. Just shopping around in the other two ports. Food was GREAT - we had early seating and a table to ourselves for 5. Our head waiter, Dimitri, was fabulous. We have absolutely no complaints on the food. In fact, we were going to go to the super club, but cancelled due to the food being so good in the main dining room. Food was also great in the Market Place. We went to the Punchliner Comedy Club 3 times. It was GREAT also! Really loved it! Disembarking was a breeze compared to the last time on Conquest back in 2005 in Galveston. They really have this down to an art! All in all, Carnival still is tops in our hearts. We have been on RCCL's Liberty of the Seas also, so we can compare a few things and I have written a review on this. However, we will continue to sail with Carnival due to the new smoking policies that have gone into effect on other lines, more specifically, RCCL. We wanted to try Oasis, but being that we are smokers, they do not allow smoking on balconies after January 1, 2014. The ONLY COMPLAINT that I have is a policy that I think should be revisited. Since MIL and Aunt were somewhat disabled, you must RENT wheelchairs for around $200/wk. Even if you get a wheelchair on your second to last day, the fee is still $200. We feel this is completely wrong and that wheelchairs should be provided to guests that need them for free. This is just our opinion. We did not rent a wheelchair. Other than that, we have no complaints! It was a wonderful cruise and we are looking forward to sailing on the Magic again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
It's been 4 years since my last cruise and I was looking forward to cruising with Carnival again, but on one of their newest ships, the Carnival Magic. Highlights - Red Frog Pub was my favorite part of the ship, it was never crowded ... Read More
It's been 4 years since my last cruise and I was looking forward to cruising with Carnival again, but on one of their newest ships, the Carnival Magic. Highlights - Red Frog Pub was my favorite part of the ship, it was never crowded and the wait staff actually looked happy to be there and were very friendly, fun and provided great service. - Loved the Cove Balcony. Many do not like it, but if you encounter weather on your cruise, you are protected from the elements, since the lifeboats are directly above you. Only negative, is they are on deck 2, so you are far away from the main decks. Lowlights - Main dining room service was horrible. On most nights, you did not see the waiters unless they were delivering foot to the table, lucky to get one drink/water refill. Carnival must be giving them more tables than they can handle. Only on last night, when half the tables were empty did service improve. Did the other tables give up and just not return because of the service? - Food either had no flavor or WAY over-spiced. Only decent meals all week were on shore, my stomach still hurts (a week later) - Ports at Roatan and Cozumel are fake tourist traps. You are actually filtered through a duty free shop to get on shore. I felt like we just landed at Disneyland. Not very exotic when you are being hawked duty free perfume, booze and cigarettes on the way to your shore excursions. - Serenity was at the top of the ship, all the way forward. Always too windy to enjoy. I like how they did it on the Sunshine, it is protected and has a nice waterfall into the mini pool. - Beds were very hard Cruise ships have gotten so big, they cannot product food of any quality and can only be handled by fake tourist trap ports build by the cruise line... Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I had huge reservations about cruising Carnival…so I came into this cruise with concern (it wasn’t selected by us) but wanted to give the Carnival Magic a chance…and be fair. This is my review of our third cruise and first by ... Read More
I had huge reservations about cruising Carnival…so I came into this cruise with concern (it wasn’t selected by us) but wanted to give the Carnival Magic a chance…and be fair. This is my review of our third cruise and first by Carnival. (I’m writing this also having just cruised on another Disney ship, the Dream…our fourth cruise). Galveston (in our case) is a nice little town to explore before your cruise by the way with many interesting homes, etc. The pier/entertainment (look for the Ferris wheel) is $10 to explore…just a heads up. Embarkation at Port Galveston was actually very easy and smooth. We drove to the port, were easily directed by security to a place to park our car at the curb, where we unloaded our luggage with my wife watching the bags. While I drove about ½ mile to park the car in Lot B, my wife stayed with the luggage…and in no time I took the shuttle back (they were running them constantly) where I rejoined her. From there we brought our luggage to the proper area (signage is easy) and with our single carry-on with wheels, we went to the Faster to the Fun line (it was $49/cabin and made the process really easy). Sign up when you login and set up your online documents. Frankly, with a $1600 cruise, adding $49 to ease check-in is worth it to us. Our friends though said their check-in at noon went smoothly as well and they didn’t do FTF. I believe there is an EZ parking that cruisers rave about as well. Security was very friendly (nicer than an airport) and in no time we were on the ship. In fact we were remarking that we felt we were scurrying to the next station so fast we weren’t getting our docs out quick enough. That’s a good thing. Getting on the Magic and finding our room ready immediately was great (again, a huge benefit of FTF). If you do this, you’ll find doors off the elevators (black doors) to be shut and noting that the rooms are being readied. That’s not for your concern if your FTF…just open them and go to your cabin. Our luggage as another thing…we didn’t see our luggage for 2 ½ hrs after boarding. That’s NOT Fast to the Fun…not sure what happened there but that benefit didn’t come true. I’ve sailed Disney and RCCL (Freedom) and this review will try to help those that may be concerned about sailing Carnival, due mostly by the fact that they have some really poor ships. After reading all the horrible reviews and gripes about everything under the sun, I wanted to go into this with a neutral mind and be totally unbiased. I hope I am. The ship was well painted with an un-rusted hull and the smokestack was bright red and looking great. It’s no longer faded as one reviewer had said. The ship really looked pretty darn new and fresh. Decking is in excellent condition, railings were looking nice and the pool areas bright and cheerful. This is a well maintained ship from what I’m seeing. We looked at carpeting, tables, chairs- some were worn…but not bad, dining rooms carpeting and tables/chairs….and I found the ship to be looking very good. Our cabin didn’t have one flaw. Carpeting (we were in cabin 8297) was flawless, bed fine, and the bathroom had no mildew. We are picky and both my wife and I enjoyed this cabin. Storage was excellent in the room and we were surprised with the number of glass shelves mounted to the main mirror in the bathroom for toothpaste, etc. Balcony was fine for two to sit enjoy the ocean. Shower was hot, clean, and efficient. No complaints. The balcony door opens outward (not a sliding door like many other cruise ships) and slams upon closing (you’ll be hearing a lot of those). Also, this prevents you from leaving the balcony door open to listen to the sea (the ships don’t like us doing that anyway). The Carnival staff was excellent. Frequently saying “good morning, hello, etc”… so absolutely no complaints there. Our cabin steward did a nice job on the room, towel animals…but rarely was seen. On other ships our steward spends time to introduce themselves, etc. talked to use during the cruise. The one area that I didn’t like the design of was the buffet. It is sub-par compared to RCCL (Windjammer)….due to the cramped design and not even close to the Disney buffet/food. It’s very tight with long cafeteria like lines. The drink stations are in an “L” configuration …producing a lot of waiting and inefficient use of space (the coffee cups in the corner was just plain stupid). There are two buffet locations and one is always less crowded we found and the drink station is designed better. The buffet food, well, is very cafeteria and rated a “college cafeteria” at best. Breakfast is fake scrambled eggs (omelets were great but long lines), the bacon is “given out” by the cooks and dripping in grease, and the food was just not impressive. Carnival only cruisers are totally in the dark about what other cruise lines are offering at their buffets (except for the grill/omelet stations..those were a wise choice). It wasn’t “what should I take..so many choices” it was more like “is there anything here I want.” Coffee and drink stations: Awful design, crowded, and soft drinks are not included. You do get lemonade though that’s pretty good. Coffee is free as well. Main dining food was adequate (3.5 out of 5 stars). The main dining room is very nice in appearance, and our Croatian waiters were kind and efficient…visiting us (a table of 10) frequently. I will say that the wait staff in the main dining room appeared to be rushed…in a huge hurry (we were first dining). Spilled coffee refilling became an issue with us all. We had some people order items off the dining menu that was just poor. The warming chocolate cake was excellent. They did have a very nice desert night, with a nice presentation with an ice sculpture and carved watermelons. The Magic also has some entertainment (singer, waiter’s dance). It’s a nice touch. One comment: our dining room, Southern Lights, really vibrated from engine noise and the ship movement was much more pronounced there than other locations. Carnival cruisers. Well, what can I say….it’s different? Understanding that this cruise is out of Galveston you get a lot of “locals” who are having a quick and cheap family vacation. This was my first main dining room (the non-elegant nights) that had NASCAR shirts, straw cowboy hats (women), CAT baseball hats, and sleeveless t-shirts. Many were in business casual as well. Seriously…it’s pretty informal. I also saw guys without shirts in line at the buffet…which is just wrong. Pool or no pool nearby, put your shirt on. Average age was 25-40 on this ship for this sailing. Admittedly, Carnival cruisers are frequently rookies to the world of cruising so they don’t know what to expect. But, and I want to emphasis this: our fellow cruisers were friendly and fun. Casino: we walked through…well equipped but smoky when we walked through. We can’t relate to smoking in public places anymore as in our home state it’s not allowed. Unfortunately many of the clubs can’t be accessed without walking through the casino. Lounges: just ok. The location for the trivia game shows is also a main thoroughfare for others just walking around. It’s not the best venue. We did see an excellent cover band there one day. Entertainment: wow…some of this was really bad. There was an excellent magician and the juggler/etc. that was contracted for our cruise was fantastic. The ship based talent was just ok (talented singers but poor show). The comedians in the lounge…were so poor we actually discussed that at our dinner table with others. It appeared the comics at the family show without their profanity were lost in an effort to be funny. The game shows you always see on cruise ships were ok. Theater seating design is strange…tall backed seating and many rows had partially blocked views due to rails (seating was designed too low). Pools: Pools are very small and symbolic really. It’s a hangout location. The kids’ water park area is very nice and takes up a large portion of the deck 10 play areas. No shortage of deck chairs throughout the ship. Lots of vinyl loungers. The staff was excellent at keeping them dry in the morning and ready for early risers. Pool music: this is the big hangout on the ship and the music at times is way too loud when the DJ is present (daytime too). It’s hard to even talk and if they only toned it down 25% the dance atmosphere would still be present without the annoying loud sound. Lots of good country music, Randy Travis videos. Adult Serenity Area: front of ship…and although it can be windy (blocked by clear walls) it’s a great get-a-way location away from the music and noise/children. It always surprises me on ships where you have adults, many elderly; the adult areas require walking up a couple flights of exterior stairs. Cabins: ours was a balcony cabin and was, nice. I really have no complaints. It’s nothing special. The vinyl couch was a bit cheap feeling, storage was excellent and the bathroom shower plenty big enough for us. Hot water plentiful. Carpeting neither worn nor dirty. Balcony was as large as other cruise ships. Would I cruise the Carnival Magic again? Perhaps, but it’s not necessarily because it’s a poor ship and the staff “is” very friendly and efficient. It’s a good ship. But my vacation is about excellence and the food on the Magic just doesn’t measure up to quality dining. The buffet was awful. I’m sorry….a good buffet is important to a cruise…what they are known for…and the Magic’s just doesn’t compare at all with RCCL or Disney and I’m sure many others. Still, the Magic can be a great value...and make sure you choose the grill and omelet stations to insure you get a better food choice at the buffet.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Sailed out of Galveston used EZ parking got a discount on-line for parking, couldn't have been easier. Would recommend them to anyone going out of Galveston. Had all the paperwork done ahead of time got to the terminal at 11:15 and ... Read More
Sailed out of Galveston used EZ parking got a discount on-line for parking, couldn't have been easier. Would recommend them to anyone going out of Galveston. Had all the paperwork done ahead of time got to the terminal at 11:15 and was on the ship by 12:30. We didn't have the fast pass that you can buy from Carnival for $50 per cabin (it was sold out) but didn't see much of a advance maybe if you have a early excursion in port. We did the inside cabin that was very small but had plenty of space for clothing. Bed was ok not too hard but having to twins pushed together to make a king you could feel the space where the bed joined. We were not in our room very much so it worked fine for us. The staff was great, they cleaned the room twice sometime three times a day. Any thing you needed they were there and always saying good morning or greeting you in the hall calling you by name. The casino was very small and the machine were very tight. Shows were ok, the final show was very good. The comedy club was great we saw three of the four comedians, loved it. They have a adult only shows and a family shows twice a night. The bingo was nice it cost was $25 not too many players I won $250 the second day. The food was very good! We did the steakhouse the first night and got a free bottle of wine. The steaks were so good and the cheesecake would feed 4 people. I would recommend this highly. The main dinning was also very good always found something we like. The staff was great if you didn't like something they would bring out something else. The buffet was a buffet not great not bad, in the morning the omelet station was very good sometime long lines. At lunch the wok station was great also long lines, the burrito station was also very good. The Itatian restaurant was $12 for dinner but free for lunch. We did this twice pasta bar and then the lasagna that was great, the only thing we didn't like was the basketball court is right above your head and you heard the ball bouncing very loudly. The drinks were very strong and cost between $6 and $12 for the most part not bottom shelve stuff. Each bar had it own type of drinks. One thing we like is that so easy to keep up with what you spent by just looking on the TV and looking on you account. We have already booked our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This was a Mother/Daughters cruise. Mom, Sis and I shared a cove balcony cabin. This was the first time we had a cove balcony cabin, and honestly I prayed it was as great as a balcony cabin - it was! (Maybe even better!!) Carnival ... Read More
This was a Mother/Daughters cruise. Mom, Sis and I shared a cove balcony cabin. This was the first time we had a cove balcony cabin, and honestly I prayed it was as great as a balcony cabin - it was! (Maybe even better!!) Carnival employees were fantastic. We arrived at the ship, went through the security and check in quickly and efficiently. Knowing that we were getting on our cruise ship, ready to enjoy quality time, the employees of Carnival shared our excitement with their smiles! Entering our cabin, how excited we were to see our room!! A cove balcony is AWESOME!!! Being so close to the water was exceptional! Our room steward was great! He even catered to my excitement of the towel sculpture - as I lined them up each day! By the end of the cruise we had quite the zoo and I smiled each time I saw them!! Our waiter in the dining room was the BEST! Jerrold always made sure we were taken care of and treated like royalty. The best excursion was in Cozumel, our last port. Here we went to La Casa en La Playa and enjoyed a relaxing day sunning, snorkeling, eating and drinking. The service was the best, food was excellent and activities were amazing! Disembarkation was sad. Leaving paradise and knowing that we were back to "the real world". Everything went smoothly as we left the ship. I highly recommend having someone help you locate your luggage, as this took any stress away that might have surfaced. I can not wait to book my next cruise with Carnival!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
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