488 Carnival Magic Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

Just returned from a 7-day cruise onboard Carnival Magic and there was no magic onboard that ship. My family and I are avid cruisers and pretty much once a year during the week of Thanksgiving we do a 7-day cruise. We normally cruise with ... Read More
Just returned from a 7-day cruise onboard Carnival Magic and there was no magic onboard that ship. My family and I are avid cruisers and pretty much once a year during the week of Thanksgiving we do a 7-day cruise. We normally cruise with Royal Caribbean but thought we would give Carnival a try this year. Unfortunately, we were totally disappointed with the lack of customer service onboard the ship and the poor communication and organization onboard. We had a group of about 90-100 in our party and for the most part everyone in our party had some sort of problem with their stateroom, onboard accounts, etc. My problems with Carnival started as soon as me and my family entered our balcony stateroom. The room was extremely hot, the AC was not working. The safe in the room was locked so we couldn’t use it. I immediately went to Guest Services, which was around 4pm to let them know about the AC and the safe. I stood in a very long line to get to someone, finally I got a young lady who I explained my problems to and she said she was sending someone to our room to take care of the issues. In the meantime, my family and I went to have lunch and explore the ship while our room was supposedly being taken care of. It’s now 9pm and our AC still isn’t working and our safe is still locked. Turns out no one had even been to our room so Guest Services lied to us. Thankfully we had a balcony room because that night we had to sleep with the balcony door open since we had no AC. The next morning, I went back to Guest Services with the same complaints and once again they said they were sending someone to our room. We waited for a little while and once we realized no one was coming I tracked down our room steward and told him the problem. He tried to help, he called and got our safe open but the safe wasn’t working. We were given a new safe and that safe didn’t work. Another safe was brought to our room and guess what, that one didn’t work either. It took two days and 3 safes’ later for us to finally get a working safe. Meanwhile, we’re still dealing with no AC in our room and no one seems to have any real answers as to when the problem will be fixed. Turns out we were not the only one having an issue with the AC in the room. Several rooms on the ship had an AC problem and two days later Carnival finally acknowledged the problem by sending letters letting us know they were working on the AC. This was just an example of the poor communication and lack of customer service. They knew on day one there was an AC problem and they just lied and brushed off our complaints without being transparent about the problem. This let me know that Carnival does not value their customers. You don’t repeatedly lie to your customers when you know you have an AC problem and you’re not sending someone to our rooms fix the problem. Carnival must think their customers are stupid and they can just brush them off. Shame on them. There were numerous issues I could write about, like the long lines at the buffet, the long lines to, etc. This commentary would turn into a novel if I wrote about all the issues with Carnival. I will finish this up by telling you about the CHAOTIC and UNORGANIZED debarkation process Carnival has. Our debarkation was so bad, you would have thought this was Carnival’s first-time cruising. I’m used to the debarkation process on Royal Caribbean which I have gone through several times and I’ve never had a problem getting off the ship or understanding what I needed to do. First, let me start by saying Carnival placed debarkation steps and times in our rooms the night before. However, when it came to debarking, they did not follow those steps, or the times mentioned at all. Some of our party got off the ship as early as 7am. Then some of us were not allowed off the ship and we were being told that the ship had not cleared yet. The staff on board made us wait, people and their luggage were camped out all over the place because they wouldn’t allow us off the ship. It’s now about 10:00 am and no one on board is communicating to us as to when we will be able to get off the ship. All they would say is you have to wait here. Meanwhile, we see a long line of people moving to get off the ship so we decided to join that line. Once we got in that line a member from Carnival’s staff told us if we were to get off before they told us to, we would not be able to get our luggage. That turned out to be another lie. We finally got off the ship and our luggage was there. Some of the other members in our group didn’t get off the ship until 10:30am or later because Carnival wouldn’t allow them to get off. It was a total nightmare. Although me and my family found our luggage right away there were so many people who couldn’t find their luggage. Our groups debarkation nightmare started at 7:00am and it wasn’t until 12:15pm that the last family in our group got through the process of getting off the ship and finding their luggage. On Royal Caribbean were usually off the ship and on our way home within hour or two at the latest. With Carnival the debarkation process took us 5 hours!!! The last thing I will say is that I will never cruise on Carnival again and be aware if you’re planning to cruise with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Chose it because friends of ours could only get off work that week. Was Thanksgiving week, kids running up and down the halls making all kinds of noise at all hours of the night. Apparently the ones above us and next to us decided it was ... Read More
Chose it because friends of ours could only get off work that week. Was Thanksgiving week, kids running up and down the halls making all kinds of noise at all hours of the night. Apparently the ones above us and next to us decided it was fun to jump off the top bunk beds onto the floor. Food was not great, and Thanksgiving dinner was a joke. dark meat looked like it was pressed into a form, about 2 tablespoons of dressing, about the same for sweet potatoes, and the "cranberry sauce" was about 1/8 tsp of juice on the plate. Deboarding at Miami is another joke. Someone decided that the luggage carosal like at the airport was the way to go,, NOT !! people didn't know which one their luggage was on, and as they were trying to find theirs, they put the ones they did get off behind and next to them, and no one else could get in to get theirs. They need to do it like at Port Canaveral. This was our fifth and last time with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted some place warm. We loved the staff in the dining room immensely. They went above and beyond to make our cruise so very enjoyable. Roxani Sanchez Cervantes, I Made Sudita, and Christian Salazar were ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted some place warm. We loved the staff in the dining room immensely. They went above and beyond to make our cruise so very enjoyable. Roxani Sanchez Cervantes, I Made Sudita, and Christian Salazar were our main servers. We also had Dwiputra and Joseph who were awesome. They gave us superior service and made us feel like family. Malcolm the cruise director was awesome also. I am not sure when he slept because he was always out and about. The entertainment was great! We went to the show to hear the music every night. All of the food at all of the locations was delicious. We loved sitting in our chairs on our balcony as we were sailing. We liked the map and the route we could watch on the TV with speed info. We enjoyed the shopping at our ports and especially liked walking all over San Juan, Puerto Rico to soak up some of the history there. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I choose this cruise for shopping at the ports. Embarkation was disorganized and slow we stood in long lines in the hot sun being barked at by port police and listening​ to Carnival luggage handlers scream at one another. One handler ... Read More
I choose this cruise for shopping at the ports. Embarkation was disorganized and slow we stood in long lines in the hot sun being barked at by port police and listening​ to Carnival luggage handlers scream at one another. One handler requested a tip and then let us know that what we did give was unacceptable. Felt disriminated against for most services on board...ie ordering drinks,ignored in dining room, service in fun shops.. booked parasailing adventure in St Thomas and no one was there to take us upon arrival at the port. Walked up and down the Pier asking Carnival reps for assistance they were not interested in helping us. Attempted to get back on the ship and one worker directed us to the director of the shore excursions.. found parasailing tour guide and he said he had no room..we were scheduled for the first tour so not sure how that happened? We would have to wait until 1 hr after the last tour they had. We cancelled. I got sick after eating pizza on the ship and was told in order to get otc meds I would have to be quarantined and be reported to CDC. This was after several trips down to medical to find them closed during hours that they were supposed to be open. Long wait for service in dining room on every visit.. and tiny portions to top it off. Bingo was robbery .. trivia was ok. Quest and comedy were good....cabin was nice size..cruise director Malcolm was funny and service in the casino was good. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We went on our first cruise with Carnival not really knowing anything much about Carnival since we had cruised with other cruise lines. We went as a family group of about 15, including 5 children, ranging from 2 to 11 (one of the children ... Read More
We went on our first cruise with Carnival not really knowing anything much about Carnival since we had cruised with other cruise lines. We went as a family group of about 15, including 5 children, ranging from 2 to 11 (one of the children had a disability). The ship was very clean, well maintained and the staff was wonderful. None of our group had any complaints. The waiters at dinner were so great to all of us. They made the children so comfortable. It is hard for children especially age 2 to sit a long time at dinner but the waiters were so entertaining and the kids had fun. The food was great always a nice selection on entrees from which to choose. Our stateroom was clean and replenished with necessities at all times. We were never without towels, water or ice. The entertainment was really great. The shows and the comedians were very entertaining. I give this trip a big thumps up. I plan to go on Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Please do not buy Faster to the Fun on the Carnival ships....got on fast, room was not ready, luggage not time either. Got off the ship ok, but almost 50 minutes getting my luggage. Got stuck in a elevator also for 10 minutes before they ... Read More
Please do not buy Faster to the Fun on the Carnival ships....got on fast, room was not ready, luggage not time either. Got off the ship ok, but almost 50 minutes getting my luggage. Got stuck in a elevator also for 10 minutes before they fixed it. Also got sick on the pizza there, do not get the pizza. Had to change ports, due to trying to find a boat in distress, no problem for me on that one, but we had to go to another port not scheduled, Nassau which is not my favorite port at all. The cabin was very clean, cabin steward was great, loved my balcony room, however they must have skipped cleaning the chairs on the balcony as I had to clean them myself. I always take wipes with me and of course never forget the Lysol. Entertainment was great ! Cruise director Malcom was the best too. Went to St. Thomas, did the party boat excursion, skip this one for sure, spent more time on the water picking up people from another boat then we did at the beach and the guide did not point out only one thing, Blackbeard castle and that was it. The beach was small. Not good. Did the rain forest in Puerto Rico was WONDERFUL....I highly recommend it. Tour guide Alex was wonderful too. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I chose this cruise 8 months ago after a 7 day trip on the Carnival Dream. My plan was to take a trip on all the dream class ships. Now I am questioning this decision. The crew is tired and not up to par with any other cruise I have ... Read More
I chose this cruise 8 months ago after a 7 day trip on the Carnival Dream. My plan was to take a trip on all the dream class ships. Now I am questioning this decision. The crew is tired and not up to par with any other cruise I have been on. The drinks were very syrupy sweet and weak lacking alcohol and taste as if they are premade. The food was by far the worst I have ever had on a cruise. We ate at the burger place and taco stand because they were the best. The MDR was awful and slow. One night I had a filet that was ordered medium shouted up well done and was about 3/8” thick. It almost seemed boiled and chewy. The buffet was always crowded or closed food was below average quality and taste. A few things such as the Asian ribs and a BLT sandwich were my only A+. The staff st the stir fry wok were making fun of people in their language if any one asked them anything. Everything that was open was crowed or closed no in between except after 7 pm. The lines would be 30/40 people deap at times tacos, burgers, buffet, pizza and bbq. We missed a port at grand Turk due to a distress signal/report of help needed so we circled for hours to find out hours later we were not going to make it. The captain and crew knew we would not make it but withheld it from the passengers until 10:30am after they had been searching for 5/6hours and we were at least 4 hour from the port. We has a see day but the problem was they were not prepared for it one bit. Thousands of people where up getting ready to get off the ship then port cancelled and understaffed bars Barely open with massive lines and awful bartenders Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This is the second Carnival cruise we have taken but the first one a large cruise ship. We have cruised on all other lines and have had great experiences but not on this one. Embarkation was an absolute zoo, we had a set window to board ... Read More
This is the second Carnival cruise we have taken but the first one a large cruise ship. We have cruised on all other lines and have had great experiences but not on this one. Embarkation was an absolute zoo, we had a set window to board but when we arrived at the Miami cruise terminal the line went around the terminal and people were standing in line outside in the sun for hours. it took hours to board and the staff at the terminal seemed quite young and catered to whoever was making the most noise not who had been there the longest. If you want a port that has their act together try Galveston. Within the first two days I was at the guest service desk nine times, no AC in our cabin, plugged sink, I couldn't call for help from guest services or housekeeping because the phone didn't work. The first trip to guest services regarding the AC, I was told that when the ship isn't underway the AC doesn't work so I should give it an hour. After over an hour with no improvement I made my second trip "Noli" from guest services came to the room and had a AC technician show up to fix the problem. The technician removed the AC deflector and placed a digital thermometer directly uner the vent and got a reading of 75 degrees and told us that was fine. So with the AC completely cranked up we get 75 degrees with no air flow and are told there is no problem. Noli called the technicians supervisor and they said they would work on it over the next few days, I asked about getting another room but was told there were no spre rooms available so we were given a 36 " diameter fan that required an extension cord laying across the floor that we got to trip over for the entire cruise. We didn't even meet our cabin steward until the end of our second day, the service from the cabin steward was okay but nothing out of the ordinary. The restaraunt food was average at best, the biggest challenge was trying to figure out what resaraunt was open at any given time because they have a very odd schedules. One time we were standing in a very long line to get to the buffet that had lines from both sides, fifty feet away was a carbon copy of the one we were in line for but it wasn't open. We went to a comedy show that was great and when we left the show we went by the pizza place that's open 24 hours a day but the line was going to take an hour because they don't cook anything in advance. Also I think maybe some things have changed since our last cruise but there are many things that used to be included on a cruise that are now at charge, in the past the steakhouse or a sushi restaraunt were at charge on the Carnival Magic there are numerous average resaraunts at charge. The room service menu is extremely limited as I think Carnival is trying to discourage room service as they charge for a good portion of it now. The best part of the cruise was getting off of the boat for ports of call. The pools are a joke, on a large ship there are two kiddy size pools but the decks are crammed with so many deck chairs you can barely move. So the option is to go to the over 21 Serenity deck that has no pool, just two small hot tubs that were almost always full and the chairs were all taken in a very short period of time. One of the only onboard highlights of the cruise was a violin trio that played all types of music from classic to rock. We were really looking forward to the stop at Grand Turk but we never made it there as there had been a flare spotted early that morning and the ship went into a search mode and needed to stay on station until the Coast Gaurd released them when they finally arrived. So much time had passed that Grand Turk wasn't possible so we did Nassau the following day. It was disapointing but I completely understand, if I was drifting in a raft I would hope some ship would stop and look. All in all we learned our lesson to never go on a mega ship again and our next cruise won't be on a Carnival ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Long lines for food..seemed that this ship for some reason cannot handle the crowds. Waited one evening 45 minutes for appetizer Incident coming on board and was actually told by staff memeber if I didn;t like it to take another crusie ... Read More
Long lines for food..seemed that this ship for some reason cannot handle the crowds. Waited one evening 45 minutes for appetizer Incident coming on board and was actually told by staff memeber if I didn;t like it to take another crusie line next time.....GOOD ADVICE Asked for his name and he covered it up so I couldn;t see it. Filed a complaint and next day went to follow-up and no record of it.. GREAT WAY TO TREAT VIP STATUS DON;t go on this ship!!!! Also everywhere you went there was a smell of people smoking pot...know its becoming more and more acceptable but do not think appropriate for onboard a ship Cabin steward and one waiter(ess) was fantastic! Embarkation and Debarkation went fantasic and fastest on ship I ever had. No problems finding a chair on deck as they were plentiful. staff overall freindly Entertainment as expected on carnival. Overall what you would expect - ship was clean; Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Too much to type everything out. Condensed down: Ship was dirty everywhere-never ate at a clean table besides dinner Workers rude besides a few (we were not rude or disrespectful to any employee) Lines to eat were insane 45 min+ ... Read More
Too much to type everything out. Condensed down: Ship was dirty everywhere-never ate at a clean table besides dinner Workers rude besides a few (we were not rude or disrespectful to any employee) Lines to eat were insane 45 min+ wait ALWAYS Drink machines always out-if not out there was a line and tiny cup that needed refill after 2 sips Dinning food was not good (that staff was great though) Lines to get back on boat were ridiculous and even though they had multiple gangways set up, they would close some. Never made sense to me. Disembarkation was a joke We will never sail Carnival again. We met several other people who experienced similar things to us. They said Carnival was their least favorite cruise line. We went on Royal last year and they are nothing alike. So if you have been disappointed by Carnival on your first cruise. Try another line. This is just a basic overview of our dislikes. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
--- Wild West Show --- 1. State room was beat up (Counters/Bathroom fixtures drain) – Sheets with holes worn through. 2. Pot Smoking every morning and night on board (NOT what I want my child to smell and question). 3. Drunk ... Read More
--- Wild West Show --- 1. State room was beat up (Counters/Bathroom fixtures drain) – Sheets with holes worn through. 2. Pot Smoking every morning and night on board (NOT what I want my child to smell and question). 3. Drunk folks pounding on many cabin doors from 3-5am 4. Used condoms on door handles and floor (NOT ideal for my child to see and question) 5. 1st Emergency Heart Attack Life Flight Emergency – Due to the lack of medical knowledge facility oxygen! 6. 2nd Emergency Another life Emergency – Due to drug overdose! 7. Long wait times to access Service Desk and buffets. Positive items – Service spot one for the cabin steward and Dining Room Staff. Created case number while on the ship & contacted customer service next business day. Offered $50 credit. Carnival is not the 'Family' type cruise line it once was. I will not recommend any travelers with children to consider Carnival. Sorry. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This review is for the October 7th 2018 sailing for Carnival Magic. There were some really good things about the cruise, and some that were so-so. Happily, there were no aspects of the cruise that I'd call "bad." ... Read More
This review is for the October 7th 2018 sailing for Carnival Magic. There were some really good things about the cruise, and some that were so-so. Happily, there were no aspects of the cruise that I'd call "bad." Background: For this cruise there were three of us: myself, and my married friends John and Kathy, who I got hooked on cruising a few cruises ago. They're from Kentucky; I'm from the Atlanta area, so they drive down from Kentucky and pick me up in their big 2003 custom van and then we head south. This is how it's been for our last three Carnival cruises and it seems to work well...although driving that big ol' van after being used to my little Ford Focus 5-speed manual is...challenging. :) In addition to us three, our extended cruising party also included four friends from Virginia who we met a few cruises ago and now we all just book cruises together: Ashley and Todd (in Ashley's now-traditional aft-wrap stateroom), and also Eric and Jenna in a balcony near them. Sadly not appearing on the cruise this year were more of our Virginia cruise-friends, Jarrod and April, who cancelled the cruise because they'd bought a "unique fixer-upper" of a house. All six are involved in a band called Below Seven, and since they were recently signed by Sony Records, this cruise ended up being a surprise celebration cruise for them. Pre-cruise and travel to the pier: It's my policy not to have to rush during a vacation, so I always schedule a stop about midway down just to the west of Jacksonville, and we stay at an inexpensive motel there (Red Roof Inn, in Macclenny FL). Then, we headed the rest of the way to South Florida the next day and stayed overnight at a stay-park-cruise hotel -- oddly enough, another Red Roof, by Miami Airport. Thanks to a stay-park-cruise website, we parked at the hotel for free during the cruise, and they also offer a free shuttle to the pier, so it's like getting a night's stay for free! We'd booked the cruise about a year out and all three of our staterooms were able to get Faster to the Fun when it was originally offered. When we checked into our hotel the only pier shuttles available were 9 am, 11 am and noon; the 10 am shuttle was already full. We opted for the crack-o'-dawn, 9 am shuttle because we wanted to get there earlier than 11:30 am...and boy howdy, we did! We arrived at the terminal at around 9:30 and stood around uncertainly since the building wasn't open for arrivals yet. "Are you Priority?" one employee asked. "Yes, we have Faster to the Fun." "Congratulations, wait right here, you're first in line!" And lo and behold, we were the very first passengers from our entire sailing to enter the terminal building. Once through the security checkpoint a pleasant Carnival chap pointed us to some seats in the FTTF area. "They'll start boarding FTTF from here, so sit right here and you should be first to go." Thanks, buddy! BTW, Carnival's policy of supplying Sign-and-Sail cards onboard in your stateroom's in-box instead of at the kiosks during check-in at the cruise terminal continues to impress us. Unless you were establishing a cash account onboard, there was no need to waste time in line at a kiosk, and we just relaxed, charged our phones at the charging stations provided, and waited for boarding. Now, Carnival's pre-cruise email had warned us that boarding would be delayed by an hour, and I took the warning with the usual grain of salt. After all, they've often sent an email like that before, maybe to "spread the crowd out," and yet there had been no unusual boarding delays in the past. --But THIS time they weren't kidding, and boarding started a little after noon; we didn't mind because all seven of us had our prime seats in the FTTF reserved area. We noticed there were still people debarking from the previous sailing even as late as 11:45 or later. (!) Soon they announced Diamonds and Platinums for boarding and we got ourselves ready, and then we were next! As promised, we were the first of the FTTF pax to board, falling into the gangway queue immediately after the last of the Ds and Ps. Just like last year, the timing was impeccable. We walked along the gangway and when we got to the ship, I officially intoned "we're on board!" and made that old, much-missed "boing!" sound that the card-scanners used to make. Yay, we were finally onboard! On the ship: I intended to book the Behind the Fun tour as soon as we boarded since it's first-come first-served and it often sells out, but the Shore Excursions desk wasn't open yet, so we high-tailed it up to our cabin, Room 10265, to drop off our carry-ons and pick up our room-keys. This was really easy since they had one or two of the atrium elevators marked "Lunch Express" and they were non-stops up to Lido Deck 10, where our stateroom was. Thanks, Carnival, very handy! Our stateroom, a standard balcony quad, was right near the atrium elevators, and it proved to be a really convenient spot, just steps away from the bars by the midship Lido pool (did I mention that we had all gotten Cheers? Yep, we had Cheers) and nice and close to Guy's Burgers and the Blue Iguana Cantina. Our steward offered to pull the Pullman bed down for me but I opted to use the couch instead, made up as a bed for the cruise, and it was quite comfortable. Our Grand Embark Dining Plan (tm) included a first stop at the Mongolian Wok. I knew the line would never be shorter than during our early embark and, unlike some of the other lunchtime dining choices onboard that people don't discover until Days 2 or 3 (like the Cucina del Capitano for its free pasta bar, or Guy's Pig & Anchor on Deck 5), the Wok would get crowded and the line would quickly get long, even on the first day. OF COURSE the line gets long: it's fresh Mongolian stir-fry cooked to order right in front of you. We got there and there were only two (2) people in front of us. Success! I went back down to ShoreEx to book the BtF Tour...and they STILL hadn't opened. I went over to the Priority line at Guest Services to see if I could book the tour there instead and the associate there frowned. "They should have been open by now!" He walked back over to ShoreEx with me and sure enough, the ShoreEx lady had just arrived and opened it up in the intervening four minutes! So, I booked the BtF Tour and also put myself down as a standby for the snuba excursion at St. Thomas, since it had sold out just before the cruise. (I missed booking it by a day.) --And speaking of Shore Excursions.... Ports and Shore Excursions Amber Cove Two years ago we booked the "Secluded Villa All-Inclusive" excursion at Amber Cove. It was $100 pp...and we were actually pretty happy with it. We opted not to book it this time around because, well...why pay for an admittedly good top-shelf open bar and an excellent barbecue when we'd already purchased Cheers? John and Kathy went shopping in the port for alcohol (and for some reason, hot-sauce) and I just visited the pool area and its 1,000 loungers for a while, made one circuit around the pool, got some photos, and got back on the ship. It was an overcast day and not very pretty, although it didn't rain. St. Thomas Six years ago I did the snuba excursion at St. Thomas. It was my first experience with snuba and I didn't realize at the time what a great deal it is, there. It was only $85 when most such excursions are $100 or so, and it includes transportation across St. Thomas and admission to Coral World (I even got to feed some giant sea turtles), plus access to Coki Beach right next door. Naturally I wanted to do it again, BUT it sold out -- the only St. Thomas excursion that sold out pre-cruise; I'd missed booking it by only a day. Instead I bought a Paradise Point cable-car excursion ticket on the ship for $20 -- it's $21 as a walk-up purchase, such a deal! Not only was it the cheapest excursion ticket offered for our sailing, but it was a great ride up, the views from the top were postcard-spectacular and, to my surprise, there were no high-pressure sales pitches at the top like I'd read about before. San Juan At San Juan we walked. And walked, and walked some more. We walked up the hill to the San Cristobal fort and explored it pretty thoroughly, then we walked through Old San Juan over to the larger El Morro fort and walked through the upper portion. We definitely satisfied our collective cultural itch...but boy, were our dawgs a-barkin' by that point. John wanted to walk back to the pier but I spied some waiting taxis. "How much for all three of us, back to the pier?" "Twelve dollars." "SOLD!" :) Grand Turk GT is one of my favorite ports in the world. There isn't a heck of a lot of culture here but it's among the best relaxa-ports in the world. I got off the ship early to snag a free lounger by the cruise terminal and Margaritaville, and then I walked down the beach to Jack's Shack to pay my respects to the most famous dog in the Caribbean (is there actually a Jack at the Shack or is it all secretly controlled by Topher the dog?). After getting some photos of Topher and his new canine pal Calypso, I walked back and snorkeled off the beach by Margaritaville for a solid three hours. For the first time at Grand Turk I saw some squid (about 30 small ones) and also a small octopus, hiding in his hole. There were plenty of other fish around, too, especially while one of our fellow cruisers was tossing Cheerios into the water. Thoughts About the Carnival Magic, the good AND the bad: • like the other Dream-class ships and the Vista class, there are some really nice outdoor decks that get you "closer to the ocean," like the Lanai outside deck on Deck 5. Norwegian has also been adding outdoor spaces like this, but one consistent complaint about Royal Caribbean's newer ships has been that you lose sight of the fact that you're on a ship, and your views often consist of a shopping mall and not the ocean. The drawback is that you really NEED good weather. On this sailing we had decent weather -- windy and a bit bumpy early on but really nice later -- and not too much rain. With rainy or cold weather, though, the charm of the outdoor spaces would be greatly reduced, but for this cruise it worked out well for us. • The two waterslides on the ship -- Drainpipe, a "bowl" slide, and Twister, a REALLY fast twisty slide -- are awesome! See videos here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRBeGca8BgGG2vePeDmrbUoS_U-5FREsS • The entertainment on the ship was pretty top-notch. There was a really good violin trio performing in the Atrium lobby on most nights and we could hear them a bit through our stateroom door...and we didn't mind. (John, Kathy and I know an unusually large number of truly talented violinists.) There was a steel-drum player on the Lido deck above the pool at times who sounded so polished, you had to look to see it was live and not a piped-in recording. The other bands and performers, like in the Ocean Plaza and the Red Frog Pub, were good, too. My friends enjoyed the comedians at night although they said one guy's race-related jokes were a bit off-putting. • We had Your Time Dining, and overall the food onboard was great; we had dinner in the MDR every night. We DID have lackluster service on the first two days, so we didn't express a preference for a serving crew on Day 3 and we ended up in Ferdinand's section. His crew was so good we requested them every night thereafer, and we tipped them appropriately on the last night. Wait times were short except for one night when they gave us a pager. • The "late night snacks" offered (11:30pm - 1 am) were lackluster: just hot dogs, ham'n'cheese sandwiches and buffalo chicken sandwiches, plus cookies and brownies. The Vista had more: pasta dishes, meatball hoagies, etc. as well as other snacks. Of course, pizza was available 24 hours -- and Carnival's is quite good -- but the lines at night could get very long. • The lines for food elsewhere were sometimes long, but if you go where or when people aren't going in droves, it's a lot better. Try the Blue Iguana Cantina for great breakfast burritos or breakfast bowls, the Cucina del Capitano any day during lunch for the free pasta-bar, or Guy's Pig & Anchor BBQ outside on Deck 5 on embark day, when there was NO ONE there. Get back from port a little earlier than everyone else and enjoy no lines at the restaurants or the water slides, ropes course, etc. During the entire cruise I never made use of the Lido buffet for ANY meal, a first for me, and it's a testament to Carnival's well-known variety of included dining options that I didn't have to make use of the buffet. • The Magic has a HUGE casino. I'm not much of a gambler but there were two cash-crane machines -- always good for some cheap entertainment -- as well as the usual Cash Cube and Vault "games of skill." While there was cigarette smoke, of course, it didn't seem as prevalent as it was on the Conquest-class ships. • Like the rest of the Dream class, the Magic only has two pools. These ships really need one more adult-only pool, and additional hot-tubs designated as adults-only besides the Serenity whirlpools, which were closed due to wind early during the cruise. Maybe Carnival could designate the aft hot-tubs, or two of the ones on the lanai deck as adults-only? They could also designate the aft pool as adults-only on sailings while school systems are in session, as was done previously on the Conquest class. • The "secret" decks in front were really cool...when they were accessible. Due to high winds they were closed off on the first day. For great sky-viewing and stargazing, try Decks 9 and 10 right behind the forward "riding light" for the darkest nighttime spots on the ship. With a clear sky it was glorious, and I saw the Milky Way for the first time in years! Like on the Vista class, you can walk "above" the bridge and its side wings on Deck 9, and the wings give you an incomparable view down the side of the ship. • Our steward, Romi, was excellent. He offered -- and we requested -- both daytime and nighttime service and if there was a time when our room wasn't serviced, it was our own fault for lingering, not his. We got towel animals each night, including only my third "hanging monkey" in 13 cruises, and prompt ice service. We tipped him some at the beginning, and a bit more at the end. • It is our tradition to tip $1 extra for alcoholic drinks, even with Cheers, plus I tip fifty cents when I get a soda from any bar. Bartenders tend to remember this largesse and the bartender at the aft pool bar (he had a long name) and the bartenders at the Blue Iguana Bar subsequently gave us good, first-name service. • The Behind the Fun tour was...somewhat lackluster this time around. This was my 8th Carnival cruise and also my 8th BtF tour. Two tours were offered; I was slotted for the earlier tour, and we had 11 participants. One major change was that now, participants MUST complete a health survey before starting, MUST wash hands thoroughly when entering the galley, and MUST don caps before entering the galley; this is all probably overdue. Some of the choices of venue for presentations were problematical; for example the Chef de Cuisine gave his presentation in a loud part of the galley near the giant soup and sauce "tureens" when he could have waited a few minutes and done it in a quieter area, such as where the "carving chef" made his watermelon-carving demonstration. Also, for the first time on any tour, we were restricted to a cordoned-off side of the bridge instead of being shown the central console and the actual ship's steering "wheel." The Captain seemed a bit perfunctory as well, and individual photos with the Captain were NOT taken, just one group shot on the bridge plus another group photo on the prow by the ship's bell. For those interested in comparing, the Dream class does not have the same advanced-looking "starship bridge" Engineering Control Room as the Vista class; a pity, since the Vista's ECR was incredibly cool, touch-screen "chart-table" and all. • Speaking of Engineering, some of our friends reported a sewage smell in their parts of the ship or in their cabins. Based on suggestions from CruiseCritic, they poured water down every drain in their stateroom...and the odor was greatly reduced. CruiseCritic comes through again! :) • There were apparently a few medical emergencies during our cruise, including one person evac'd by ambulance just as we were leaving San Juan, but our itinerary wasn't affected and that individual was able to rejoin the cruise in Grand Turk. We also encountered an item of floating debris on the way back to Miami, which turned out to be...an abandoned Jet Ski. We didn't stop to pick it up, which was a bit of a surprise because I thought they could have raffled it off as a prize in the casino. :) Debark and the ride home So I'll wrap this up with a few words about debark. We arrived back at a different terminal, Terminal F, than we'd left from. PortMiami offered free shuttles back to our embark terminal, but we didn't need them. We had Zone 2 for our luggage and after a quick breakfast, we headed down to Deck 3. Our Cruise Director, Malcolm "whoo-hoo" Burns made a few announcements advising that, due to congestion in the terminal they'd have to halt debarkation a few times. We encountered two debark lines on Deck 3 but neither was all that long...yet, anyway...but we heard another "debark halted" announcement just after we joined the line. It was a lucky escape for us! After stepping off the ship (always a sad moment) we all had to stop and hold in the long hallway to Baggage Claim, apparently due to congestion ahead. There was also a short delay leaving Baggage Claim and going to Customs, but we were surprised to find that there wasn't a HUGE queue-line area before Customs, and we concluded that overall it was one of the shorter debarks we'd had. Once outside I called an Uber for the ride back to the Red Roof Plus. The driver, an émigré from Cuba, had some trouble hooking up with us (the app's pickup location wasn't quite right) but eventually we were all settled and enjoyed the $30 ride back to the hotel, which I thought was quite reasonable since, unlike at Port Everglades, our hotel wasn't as close to the pier. We picked up John and Kathy's van at the hotel -- someone had hit it during the week, causing minor cosmetic damage -- and proceeded to get the heck out of Miami, a city I hate to drive in. We rolled onto I-95 again and headed back up to our en-route motel in Macclenny. The trip was uneventful and we got to the motel nice and early, checked in, walked to our traditional nearby Chinese buffet, walked back...and we all immediately crashed for several hours, out like a light. Guess we were tired from our relaxing vacation! On Monday we headed out on the slightly shorter "leg" back to my house. We had no problems with traffic until we got close to Atlanta during rush hour, but the Waze app -- which John had introduced me to, several cruises ago bless 'im-- gave us a nice alternate route and we got to my house a little after 5 pm. Not bad! And thus, with me placating my over-anxious cat back at the house, my vacation came to a close. Overall, it was a good cruise...not quite the best John, Kathy and I have done together, but far from the worst. We are booked on the Magic again for October 2019, to Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, Aruba and Curacao, and we're looking forward to an even longer cruise next year! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I chose this cruise because it coincided with my fall break and it had four ports I have never visited before. This was my 5th cruise and 3rd cruise with Carnival since starting back in October 2016. The Magic was very similar to the ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it coincided with my fall break and it had four ports I have never visited before. This was my 5th cruise and 3rd cruise with Carnival since starting back in October 2016. The Magic was very similar to the Breeze but was missing the Asian restaurant. Magic is a nice ship but it just didn't seem as nice as the Breeze did to me. I just liked the decor on the Breeze better. Embarkation was really smooth especially since we purchased a Faster to the Fun pass. We were told embarkation was delayed an hour so we left our hotel later and arrived at the port around 12:00 and we were on the ship before 12:30 and enjoying lunch. Dining with Restrictions Carnival has excellent dining room service but is lacking on menu choices. I do not really care for the American Table Menu at all. Compared to Norwegian it is very boring. I will say that Carnival did a great job accommodating my gluten free dietary needs. I wanted to include a lot of info about my experience as a diner with dietary restrictions. If this doesn't interest you then skip ahead. I ordered my dinner the before for the next evening and only once they couldn't make a dessert GF for me so they substituted it for something else that was good. I love that they can make chocolate melting cake gluten free and most desserts. Our waiter was very sweet and made sure that I had some GF bread every night. The chefs did a good job creating my dishes for me but I still don't care for Carnival's MDR menus. We ate at the steakhouse the first night and LOVED the food there. It was amazing! loved that we got a great bottle of wine at 1/2 price and we even bought and extra one to take back to the room. We also ate at the Italian restaurant on our anniversary. I ordered the pork chop (not something I normally get) and it was absolutely delicious! They even made me a side dish of eggplant parm that was very tasty. My husband wasn't as thrilled with his pasta choice for dinner but it may have been what he choose. We had the Guy's Pig and Anchor BBQ on embarkation day. It was just okay in my opinion. If you are severe celiac I wouldn't go here as it would be hard to avoid cross contamination. I took the risk and was okay but I'm not extremely sensitive as some people are. We also did the pizza place and the GF pizza was nice to try but not really worth the wait. Guys was good for lunch. We went twice and the first time I went bunless as they were very busy. The second time they weren't as busy so I decided to wait for a GF bun. It took about 15 minutes for them to get it for me. It was VERY dry and crumbly and in the future I'll just go bunless. In my opinion it wasn't worth the extra wait. I only are breakfast at the Blue Iguana once. I had the arepa (corn and cheese) and asked for eggs on it. I then loaded it up with salsa. It was pretty tasty and very filling! We are not buffet eaters so I can't really say how the buffets are on the Magic. Entertainment and Activities We enjoyed the comedy shows and one of the playlist productions called "Flick". We played trivia and BINGO which were fun. We tried the ropes course too. I didn't care for the gym on this ship because the free weights area was way too small and always very crowded. Only room for about three people to fit comfortably. I ended up grabbing some dumb bells from an unused rack and took them to the group exercise room to workout with. They always have great live music on Carnival and I enjoy sitting in the atrium bar listening to music. We really enjoyed the Alchemy Bar the most on the cruise. Ravi was our favorite bartender and could make a mean dry martini that tasted so good. We really enjoyed this spot for after dinner cocktails. Service I will say that Carnival provides excellent customer service. The crew is friendly and I feel they go out of their way for people as much as they can. We had great service the whole trip. While Carnival might not have the best food, I feel that their service is where they shine. Excursions We loved all the ports on this trip and booked our excursions outside the cruiseline. We did the Damajagua waterfall jump and slide excursion in Amber Cove. This was probably the BEST excursion I've ever done. It's not for the faint of heart or physically impaired. In St. Thomas we did a tour of the island with a beach stop. It was through Sunny Liston tours. If you are boring and don't like loud fun this would not be a good excursion for you. Sunny is silly and sings loudly as he drive you on an open air safari bus. You end up with 2 hours at Magen's Bay beach before heading back to the ship. In San Juan we just hired a driver to give us a tour for $20 and then had lunch. After that we saw a boat tour near the cruise terminal and took a 1/2 hour boat ride for another $20. Great way to see the city without paying a ton. When we went to Grand Turk, we just walked down to Jack's Shack and spent the day on the beach. It was very relaxing and we loved this place. We didn't bring our three teenagers on this trip this time. It was just an adults only couples cruise. I'm sure they would have loved it had they come with us. We had a great cruise and plan on cruising this ship next fall to Aruba and Curacao. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We are Gold on Carnival ( almost platinum ) so we have sailed on carnival many times. Port Canaveral is an easy departure location for us in FL so this is why we like it. The ship is just typical carnival layout with a few changes. They ... Read More
We are Gold on Carnival ( almost platinum ) so we have sailed on carnival many times. Port Canaveral is an easy departure location for us in FL so this is why we like it. The ship is just typical carnival layout with a few changes. They put the Italian restaurant on the upstairs area of the Lido Buffet which makes the seating area in Lido more crowded unfortunately. The Spa is maybe one of the nicest features on this ship, it has a big soaking tub and good sauna and steam rooms. But the upsells in the spa are pressure sales big time. E.g. hair treatment was $329 ( not cheap ). The shows were lacking, and for about 1/2 of the songs it was clearly a lip sync. The female dancers were pretty “chunky” and the lads lifting them were clearly struggling. It did not feel like a cabaret at all. The vocals were often off-key also. The best show is the last one Rock-n-roll. The decor in the ship Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We take Carnival every year, this was my least favorite ship that we've ever went on. It was hot all over the ship, the cabins were miserable hot, and every guest that I spoke with stated the same. The bars, hallways, you would be ... Read More
We take Carnival every year, this was my least favorite ship that we've ever went on. It was hot all over the ship, the cabins were miserable hot, and every guest that I spoke with stated the same. The bars, hallways, you would be dressed up to have a great night and sweating your butt off all night. It's not a very pretty ship, just kind of blah. The people who work on it were awesome like always. We personally would never go on this ship again. There was not a lot of entertaining on the days at ship , just lots of trying to sale you something, mainly the spa. The children on this ship were out of control, just all over the place. Parents weren't watching them and the staff wouldn't do anything. There is no adult only pool so expect to get water constantly kicked in your face and drink. Couldn't even play put put golf, the kids were sitting all over the course just running wild, while their parents were off not caring. My husband who is law enforcement and I save up all year for this , and what a let down this year. Oh and I always pay gratuities up front, all of them make you feel guilty for not giving them more once you're on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Yearly family vacation, and this year we chose a cruise. Everything from the entertainment staff all the way down to our state room was great! We took an Exotic Eastern Caribbean Cruise, and all ports of call were incredible. We visited ... Read More
Yearly family vacation, and this year we chose a cruise. Everything from the entertainment staff all the way down to our state room was great! We took an Exotic Eastern Caribbean Cruise, and all ports of call were incredible. We visited Amber Cove, St. Thomas, San Juan, and Grand Turk. In Amber Cove, we spent our time at a few shops and at the pool that is right off the ship once you walk down the pier. In St. Thomas we took an awesome snorkeling excursion to Christmas Cove. Our snorkel guide Jodi was so knowledgeable about the particular reef and sea life we encountered. Captain Jay and Cory were very friendly and knowledgeable as well. In San Juan, we toured the city a little by foot. This port of call was a little more difficult to navigate if you didn’t understand the port map you were given, because you had to walk or taxi away from the port to really find shopping. We will definitely add an excursion for this port of call next time. Lastly, we went to Jack’s Shack in Hrand Turk. About a 15 min walk down the beach from the ship, or a $4 per person taxi ride. Water was beautiful, and playing with all the island dogs made it that much better. Beach chairs are free here, and umbrellas were $10 for the duration of your stay (worth if in our opinion, because the sun was out in full force the day we were there). On our way back to the ship, we stopped at the pool at Margaritaville and also did a little shopping! Would love to cruise this same itinerary again someday!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We booked this cruise, our 5th last minute, only 3 weeks from departure. I was worried about the cabins left but as it turned out, we loved it. We had a balcony cabin on deck 8 which was aft and close to the elevator. It was central to all ... Read More
We booked this cruise, our 5th last minute, only 3 weeks from departure. I was worried about the cabins left but as it turned out, we loved it. We had a balcony cabin on deck 8 which was aft and close to the elevator. It was central to all our favorite places! Embarkation wasn't fun as it was outside in Cape Canaveral. This was my first time waiting in a line outside the terminal. However, once we did get moving we were on the ship by 11:00 without FTTF. As always, we loved Guys, Mongolian Wok and Blue Iguana. We did utilize the Lido buffet twice for the omelet station and remarkably, the wait wasn't too bad. We did run out of strawberry yogurt day 6 and that was upsetting. OH, but the cake station during lunchtime is phenomenal! We had your time dining and never had to wait. We would arrive around 6:00 or so each night. The food was wonderful and the service was great. We both celebrated our birthdays onboard so it was special. We only booked one excursion and that was at St Thomas. Megan's Bay was nothing short of amazing. The sand, the water, the view. Amazing. There was a beach at the port at Grand Turk that was free and the people working it were helpful. There was some seaweed there so that's ick but the water was clear. Amber Cove also had a beautiful shopping area and pool right at the port that was free. San Juan was a lovely, historical city with plenty to see within walking distance of the port. We never felt scared or hassled at any of these ports. The shows were good and with the exception of one of the comedians, Just Jane or something, the comedy shows were great. The piano bar was hopping every night and the night club was as well. We enjoyed the crowded pools and the lukewarm hot tubs when we could....there were still lots of kids, even though it was late August. Debarkation was easy with self assist. We were out of there by 7:30. It was a fantastic trip and we can't wait for the Vista next year. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Check in was easier than I thought it was going to be no problems and no issues getting onto the ship. We went straight to out room because we didnt arrive early morning we took our time and it seemed to pay off no waiting to check in and ... Read More
Check in was easier than I thought it was going to be no problems and no issues getting onto the ship. We went straight to out room because we didnt arrive early morning we took our time and it seemed to pay off no waiting to check in and the room was ready. I had booked an interior on the 11th deck, I wasnt looking forward to the room 11275 but I was really pleased, I was travelling with my daughter 13 years old and had ordered a room with bunk beds but they were extremely comfortable and I had no problems sleeping. It was classed as an accessible room (wheel chair) and it was a lot bigger than other bunk rooms. It was perfect and the bathroom was HUGE. The burger place was lovely food, Im not a fan of burger and chip meals but you could have lived on them for a week if there was nothing else it was the best burger and fries I have eaten 11 out of 10. My daughter loved them for her afternoon snack. I didnt eat them everyday. Nice staff as well. Breakfast sit down menu meals were also nice but it seemed a bit hectic like the staff had too kuch to do and too many tables to deal with. Food was nice and well presented. Ask for a table on your own with family it doesnt take long for them to call you. Evening sit down meal the food was also lovely but boardering on being cold I have to eat hot hot food so a little on the cooler side for me but it was lovely. Staff again seemed to be in training so our head waiter had a lot on his plate training and lots of tables to deal with. One thing you wont go hungry on this cruise ship. I dont think I can complain at all about the food. Alcoholic drinks are very very expensive and im glad I dont drink alcohol I had about 3 Gins a cocktail and 2 shots at dinner. EXPENSIVE No point in my buying the drinks package though because I wouldnt drink $60 dollars of drinks in a week never mind a day. Ports visited Amber Cove, St Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk next time I go I think I would book a tour for san Juan as it wasnt my thing the shopping and walking plus by this day I was so tired with everything. I think a day on the ship was in order so we came back early went to the cabin ordered a film and room service just to have a break from rushing and racing. The afternoon was nice just to relax for 3 hours on the bed lights down TV and a snack. Batteries were re charged by 8pm and ready to go again for another week. Ordering movies on the TV was easy and reliable and you can watch the film as many times as you like which was good just for noise in the room when your getting ready to go for evening meal as this was the only time really we spent in the room apart from sleeping. The internet package was so so bad, I couldnt use it for anything and we ordered the 2nd highest but it was bad bad bad. We couldnt get in touch with family at home and they couldnt get in touch with us. 7 days phone and internet free. This needs addressing that you can use the internet at least some part of the 7 days. I totally understand your in the middle of the sea and some areas might not have internet BUT 7 DAYS ?????? The pools really need to be bigger they are very small and always full its not enjoyable just to cool off on sea days and its salt water as well so for me and my daughter the pools were very disappointing. Pools are a big thing for everyone on holiday and I have cruised before with bigger pools. Ash trays need to be available in the smoking areas I appreciate the spaces that are on the cruise for smoking the areas were plenty and comfy and you could nearly always find a seat BUT where are the ash trays everytime I had to use someone elses on a different table or ask. You dont want to flick ash or the lit end onto the floor it s dangerous. Movies shown on deck 11, the screen really needs replacing lot of pixels missing and bad quality, Movies were very very good choices BUT seating is very hard to find and thats not because it was full of people watching the films it was full of people sleeping, children on 2 chairs asleep and parents asleep all down one side of the smoking area, the same people every film. One film we really wanted to watch and couldnt find any seats at all that evening as we had late dining which was very slow to get us to the movie on time. I wasnt keen on the entertainment staff I felt they used it more of their own holiday than it being a job to entertain guests. Very little interaction from a lot of the staff. Maybe that was me looking in from a far but I watched them and this cruise didnt seem interactive it felt like look at me I can do this. All in all I will give our cruise 8/10 my daughter and I really enjoyed it. I would cruise with them again its as my friends said more a Butlins cruise than a luxury cruise. I think im in the middle Butlins not really, luxury NO. Where is the in between. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose the Magic ship based on the itinerary. We usually leave from Charleston but our options there are very limited. The embarkation and disembarkation both went very smoothly and that was a very nice way to start and end the trip! ... Read More
We chose the Magic ship based on the itinerary. We usually leave from Charleston but our options there are very limited. The embarkation and disembarkation both went very smoothly and that was a very nice way to start and end the trip! We had two 9th floor cabins - one balcony and one interior and both were very nice and clean and convenient to the lido deck. Dining was just okay this time. The wait staff, as usual, was great but they seemed to be spread thin which is no fault of theirs. The buffet lines were long for breakfast and lunch but the dining room breakfast was available without much of a line for seating on sea days and port days. The theater shows on the Magic were the best we've seen- Flick was my favorite- and the fun squad was always present, nice and personable. They offer something for pretty much everyone. The club was hit or miss. They would advertise specific genres of music (usually it changed every hour) but often wouldn't switch over and a lot of the music wasn't what we liked. The comedy club and piano bar were both a lot of fun and bar service was always speedy and courteous. The ports were great! We have been to the Bahamas several times and it was nice to branch out and see such beautiful places. Puerto Rico and St. Thomas were a lot of fun. We did a taxi tour around St. Thomas and walked through town in Puerto Rico and we would definitely choose those ports again. In Amber Cove we did the four wheeler excursion through Carnival and it was a lot of fun and the guides were great. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We choose this ship mainly for the ports of call and knew it wasn't a new ship BUT this ship was just plain awful. This was our 3rd cruise (6 sailed total) with carnival and will be our last! For my review below, I would have ... Read More
We choose this ship mainly for the ports of call and knew it wasn't a new ship BUT this ship was just plain awful. This was our 3rd cruise (6 sailed total) with carnival and will be our last! For my review below, I would have stopped at customer service to discuss with them but every time I stopped the line was ridiculous, so I did not get a chance. Ship-Overall completely outdated smells of stale cigarette smoke everywhere. Cabin-we stayed on the 2nd floor, basic inside cabin. Whole floor smelled like mold/mildew, the smell permeated into the room. Washed all of my clothes when I got back because the smell stuck to my clothes. The a/c unit barely worked and the bed was extremely uncomfortable. We did, however, have a fantastic housekeeper! Dining/Food-we requested the anytime dining and did not get it and was given the 815 dining, so we never went to the formal dining room. The cafeteria, get ready to wait 20-30 mins in line every day for awful food, just horrible. The best food on the ship is in the cucina del capitano (italian restaurant) $15 a person and you get an app, main course, and dessert. I purchased the soda package, what a joke! They serve flat soda because they cannot give you the can of soda, they open all the cans and let them sit in the sun then pour for the next person. If you ask for the can of soda, they make a big deal about it and say they have to open it. You cannot take it to your room. Why? I just don't get it! Entertainment-Casino is fun, but couldn't take the smoke & that smoke smell is everywhere on the ship. Clubs and comedy shows were ok. Went to the lip sync battle show which was fun. I didn't attend any of the major shows because I don't really care to do so. Shore excursion options were good, but book early, many sold out. Download the carnival hub app, best way to keep up with what is going on. They also offer $5 texting via the app, best deal on the ship! Definitely helps when keeping up with friends/family members. Ports/Excursions-We did the power snorkeling in Grand Turk, awesome time! Highly recommend!! Service-Overall was good, I have no major complaints. Our housekeeper was awesome and was very accommodating! Like, I said this was our 3rd Carnival cruise and will be our last. If you are considering carnival, get on a new ship, maybe it will be better!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was my first cruise. Booked it for my son's 13th birthday. My son loved it but I am sure he did not have many expectations, as I did. I was not that impressed with the ship, to me it seemed dated. The food was nothing to talk ... Read More
This was my first cruise. Booked it for my son's 13th birthday. My son loved it but I am sure he did not have many expectations, as I did. I was not that impressed with the ship, to me it seemed dated. The food was nothing to talk about either. But the food was not why I was there, it was for the experience and the places we went to. My husband and I are earlier risers and were up every morning by 5 and watched the sun rise while we drank not so great coffee. Only milk and half & half are offered as cream for your coffee. We were able to get breakfast pretty fast and easily as we were already up. Breakfast started being served at 7:30 which kind of sucked but I understand staff need to sleep too! I always did the make your own omelet which was pretty good and so was the French toast! Lunch options were ok at best. Can not say that there was anything in particular that stood out. Although the all you can eat strawberry frozen yogurt was pretty good, it was only available every other day. Vanilla and chocolate was available every day. Guys Burger place (lido deck) for lunch was disappointing and so was his BBQ place (deck 5 and we found by accident exploring the ship and only open on sea days). I feel like my husband and my homemade burgers and BBQ is WAY better! Waiting time for lunch was not bad, but we were smart and as soon as we got back on the ship from ports we went and grabbed something while most people were still off the ship. We did the captains dinner twice and it was not that great either. Only thing that stood out to me was the Crème Brule! Dinner buffet was ok as well. The salmon was pretty good when they had it. The pizza place at the back of the ship was good but the wait in line was ridiculous. At best there was only 3 people working there, even though it is a small place they need more than 3 people because the demand was so high. There was plenty of desserts. There was an apple crisp thing and a fudge brownie thing that were both delicious but both were available one time! I did enjoy our room. We were on the lowest level with a window. Wish there was some way for the outside of the window to actual be cleaner. Maybe have some one squeegee them while at ports?? We had 2 bathrooms in our room which was awesome! One was a full bath and the other had shower and sink but it worked perfectly!! Our room steward was Krisna. He was friendly and great! We talked with him often. Our ports were Dominican Republic, Saint Thomas, Puerto Rico and Turks and Caicos. My son and I were not fans out Dominican Republic. I am sure that was in part because we did not do an excursion there. My husband, son and I took a cab through town and ended going through bad parts. We did go to their rum factory and chocolate factory. That was both fun. Saint Thomas was great. We took a cap to Coki Beach and went snorkeling. The local place right on the beach where we rented our snorkeling gear at was pretty great, $5 a piece to rent and gave you dog biscuits to feed the fish. We also had some Conch fritters while at the beach. Very delicious. It was a beautiful view from the ship during the day and at night! Cab ride was kind pricey though. Puerto Rico was beautiful as well. We walked the town and had some local food there. Turks and Caicos is where it's at! We did the Ultimate Snorkeling Excursion and it was AMAZING! Our guides for snorkeling Jonathan, Lazarus and CJ were great. We got to swim with a shark and a barracuda! Despite the disappointing food, we had a great time and great experiences. Will definitely will be going on another! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Great in-room and service staff who are worked hard and are keen to keep everything tidy. We had to ask for another clean on the first day as it was a little rushed and there were clothes which didn't belong to us in the cabin. They ... Read More
Great in-room and service staff who are worked hard and are keen to keep everything tidy. We had to ask for another clean on the first day as it was a little rushed and there were clothes which didn't belong to us in the cabin. They sorted this quickly and always said good morning to us daily. The entertainment mode is heavily US-focused, so bear this in mind if you're from outside the US. The decor is certainly... Individual. Whilst the front of the boat has style and a graceful design (in the Spa, gym and serenity areas), the garish and almost florescent art deco design in the rest of the ship was a little less classy. Some of the passengers are clearly on a booze cruise, getting far too drunk. I witnessed people shouting and drinking in the safety demo too. This perhaps isn't the cruise if you're looking for style and grace. An almost hourly PA announcement from the cruise director sought just to sell tickets or jewelry, plus he decided to open every announcement with, "Hey, what's up guys? I'm your ginger ginger!" It was a little too pally and lacked authority. I felt like we were constantly being sold something and it became an annoyance after several days. Paint work on deck is flaking and rust is beginning to show on several areas now. Her age is quickly creeping up on her. One final thought, and this is something that needs addressing, is the fact that many passengers were openly smoking marijuana on deck, in the casino (which absolutely stank of cigarettes and marijuana) and in rooms. The result was an ever-present smell of marijuana in our near any smoking area. Kids could smell it too, as the smoking areas were close to the areas they were in. Nothing was done about smoking in rooms or the open smoking of weed on deck. It wasn't an obvious smell and, when combined with the heavy drinking via the all-inclusive drinks package, it devalued the brand and made the majority of the ship a party boat. Almost like a party in Ibiza. Carnival needs to clamp down on this. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We Chose this cruise for the schedule and the discount / free play offered thru the casino Premier Cruise. We are Family of 5, with 3 kids (9 - 13), and we had 2 connecting balcony cabins on 8433 and 8437. Paid about 4K all in, with ... Read More
We Chose this cruise for the schedule and the discount / free play offered thru the casino Premier Cruise. We are Family of 5, with 3 kids (9 - 13), and we had 2 connecting balcony cabins on 8433 and 8437. Paid about 4K all in, with $900 in free play. Thoughts on the experience: - Our family is fortunate to vacation frequently. We continue to like cruises as an option vs. land based vacations. Such a value, so much built in fun and excitement, so little work to - Our 10th cruise with Carnival, we feel like they have increased the value and experience over the last decade. - Getting on the ship is no longer stressful. We had premier access, but the timed boarding lines were extremely short too. - They have steadily increased the quality of the food over the years. The daytime f&b improvements are obvious: the Guys Burgers are outstanding, the Burritos in the a.m. are addictive, Pizza actually tastes great, the BBQ on sea days is quite fun. Even the made-to-order deli program has improved. I had a memorable deli sandwich: turkey & avocado on a pretzel bun topped with truffle mayo - a lunch that would rival Panera bread - expectations exceeded! Also, at no time during the week did I wait in a line longer than minutes - which is easily possible with the slightest bit of thought or planning. - As for 4 course dinners in the main dining room - they did not disappoint. Service was fun as always. There were also quite a few dishes here that surprised us with the quality. Not each of them mind you, but quite a few. I almost felt like the chef's were allowed to order higher quality base ingredients than in the past. Or maybe this ship has a team thats working on point. - The shows were quite fun too. We saw a pg comedian most nights. We appreciated how they brought new comedians to the ship mid-cruise. The Flick show in the main theater was quite entertaining too. I don't think I have ever said that about any past show on any carnival ship. - We only spent a couple hours in the casino, even though we like to gamble at night. The way they handle the Free Play is amazing, and better than Vegas. But other than that, the gambling and casino were just "ok". Its the same fun but in a muted way. The automatic shufflers are not conducive to any serious black jack play. The slots feel impossible to win on. We did hit a straight flush on 3 card poker - that took about 15 minutes to pay out, but was big enough to get us back to even. Great staff, but mediocre games. - We had never been to Amber Cover or Grand Turk, but thought both Ports were great! You don't have to book excursions for either: walk off the ship and enjoy the pool and beach. - We used the gym (solid), ropes course (fun), mini-golf (not so great), and waterslides (fun when there are no lines). We spent time on our cabin balconies (but I am still not sure the cost is worth it). Overall I would say the magic is and "ok" ship. We really didn't love the layout. In many places its starting to show some age (hallway carpets, mini-golf come to mind). But many of the public spaces were still shiny and exciting. it was definitely good enough for us. - We spent the most time on main deck, enjoying the sun, cocktails, and the daytime fun that is built in with the DJ's and shenanigans. A lot of time laughing as a family. Great days and Great nights. I already miss the bright blue water. Hat's off to Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I give this a 3 stars and I will explain. Getting on and off the ship was seamless. Cookie the Cruise Director was FABULOUS!!!! I still miss his announcements. We had an inside cabin with two adults and one pre teen and although very ... Read More
I give this a 3 stars and I will explain. Getting on and off the ship was seamless. Cookie the Cruise Director was FABULOUS!!!! I still miss his announcements. We had an inside cabin with two adults and one pre teen and although very small we were very comfortable. The PG13 comedy shows were great and something we looked forward to. The shows in the theatre were great. The ports were fantastic and wished we could have stayed at each one just a little longer. The food in the dining room was ok, nothing great. We shared a table with 7 other people which we did not enjoy. The people were great but after a long day of being around 4,000.00 other people all day we just wanted to sit and eat dinner with our family and talk about the day we had. We only ate dinner in the dining room one night the other nights we either ate in the steakhouse which was wonderful or the dining room which was again just ok. But you don't go on a cruise for the food do you. There are two pools on the ship and both stayed crowded the entire day. You could do nothing but just stand in the pool to cool off no way to swim or enjoy. We either didn't get in the pool or tried to find an uncrowded hot tub on the 5th floor hottubs. We booked 2 excursions through Carnival. The first was in Amber Cove and we choose the waterfalls...it was not fun at all. We did not enjoy this excursion and we met another family that had booked their's through an outside company for a fraction of the cost we had paid. I went to customer service that evening to tell them since they continuisly display on the tv that if you find the exact excursion cheaper they will refund you the cost and they told me to go to the excursion desk. Well the excursion desk was closed so I went the next day to be told you have to tell them the day of the excursion and they would not budge on that. I have emailed Carnival about this so we will see what they say. The 2nd excursion was in St. Thomas and was amazing. We went to Megans Bay and the Skyride tour....well worth every penny. The ship is very clean and beautiful. All in all I am glad we took the trip and we made wonderful family memories. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We did a back to back Cruise leaving on 4th Aug If long queues for food, overcrowded swimming pools, woeful organisation, rude staff, and constant sales pitches are you thing, then carnival magic is for you Let’s start with ... Read More
We did a back to back Cruise leaving on 4th Aug If long queues for food, overcrowded swimming pools, woeful organisation, rude staff, and constant sales pitches are you thing, then carnival magic is for you Let’s start with food.... the minimum amount of time we’ve had to wait in line for the breakfast buffet was 30 minutes. Yes 30 minutes for a lousy piece of bacon and undercooked sausage. This is solely down to the woeful organisation and layout of the food selection. (I.e only one dish of bacon, pancakes out at a time meaning waits every time they are replenished). Other far bigger ships manage the buffet sections with far greater efficiency, and when fed back to the buffet supervisor, the standard carnival ‘we don’t give a crap’ response was given. The seated restaurants are much better however stop serving breakfast at 10am meaning you have a choice between decent food and a lay in. When evening food has been served in the restaurants, the quality of service has been average at best. I believe this is largely down to the mandatory gratuity scheme that carnival run ...( in other words passengers tips that are automatically charged to their cabins are used to subsidise their lousy wages) meaning the restaurant staff effectively have no incentive to offer the fantastic service we have experienced with other cruise lines. On three occasions bread was not been served until the main course, and on a further four occasions we had to sent food back due to it arriving at our table cold. On the ‘formal’ nights, and I use the word formal very loosely the seated restaurants are also chaotic (the restaurants still allow those in beachwear to sit alongside those who followed the dress code). On both occasions we were given a buzzer and informed there was a 40 minute wait .... again this is clearly a ploy to drive people to the bar / casino. When we were finally permitted to enter the restaurant, it was 50% empty with numerous tables sitting empty. We counted 10 tables in our vicinity that were empty for 15 minutes despite the huge queues outside..... again this is down to pure and simple woeful organisation. After flagging this to management a simple nonchalant shrug was given with clearly no desire whatsoever for things to neither change nor improve. Moving on to the ship.... like most big cruise ships, it is adequately equipped with many facilities and the cabin comfort and size was comparable with other cruise lines. What isn’t compatible however is the sheer volume of passengers carnival have dumped into on place at one time. There are literally queues for everything, not just the food queues mentioned above, but everything.... shows, bingo, toilets, you name it, there’s a queue. Beyond this, for some inexplicable reason, there are only 2 swimming pools on board. Yes there are hot tubs, and there are the water slides, but if laying by the pool and dipping in to cool down is your thing, then The Carnival Magic is not for you. The pools are both very small and throughout the day are literally standing room only.... in fact that is an understatement, you are more like a tin of sardines standing shoulder to shoulder with other guests due to their being nowhere to move. Other similar sized ships have 4 or 5 pools which are much more adequate Grand Turk - given the short pier at Grand Turk, only one small gangway was available at the front of the ship... No bright spark at carnival had foreseen that up to 6000 people exiting the boat at the same time down one single staircase might not be the best idea. . cue absolute chaos and downright dangerous activity. For 40 minutes we were wedged in on a staircase from all angles, children were crying, the elderly had no place to rest, and even myself as a fit young male struggled to breath at times. People got very heated at the officers waiting at the gangway, only to once again be greeted by the standard nonchalant carnival shrug. Escalations - thorough the trip, we raised several bits of feedback with ‘management’, eventually going to the front desk. Lloyd in the northern lights restaurant was useless, the chap in the Lido buffet no better. As for Joseph from Haiti on the front desk, it would’ve been more helpful to have spoken to a dog. Our case eventually got escalated to Joseph Ballesteros a ‘supervisor’ who promised to resolve our issue and update us accordingly. If you count doing precisely nothing as resolution, then he did a tremendous job. 48 hours after being promised a response, we still hadn’t heard a thing meaning we then had to once again chase up the useless front desk. Eventually we spoke to Ana one of the managers at guest services who was somewhat more helpful. Despite this we were promised a letter with a case number so that we could pick up our issues when we got back home. Naturally in true Carnival fashion this didn’t arrive ... we then had to queue for over 90 minutes to talk to Guest Services (we’d given up calling after spending 60 minutes on hold) Other points; The constant ‘ding ding’ announcements..... these just get incredibly annoying especially given that on most places on the ship you have absolutely no idea what the person is saying. 99% of the time these are just a lame sales pitch. The casino - several of the ‘grabbing’ machines were not replenished between cruises giving the false impression that prizes had actually been won that voyage. (Ie slots for $2500 were left empty suggesting the prize had been won). At best this is misleading, at worst, downright fraudulent. Lemonade dispensers - it’s amazing how the ‘pressure keeps going’ on the free dispensers, but there’s no such issues with the paid for drinks. Tour in Belize - turned up at 9:30 as stated. We were told to be seated until tour was called. We waited 15 minutes and were then told the tour had been already called prior to us arriving. This resulted in us arriving late to the tour and nearly missing the coach. Smoking - whilst I appreciate the need for certain smoking areas, it is incomprehensible for this to be permitted inside the ship like in the Casino. As an asthmatic, I find this deeply off putting and grossly offensive. 90 minute queue to speak to guest services on the final sea day... but only 3 out of the 5 counters were manned. Was assured a response to the complaint via letter but still not received - so far been stuck in the call queue for over an hour as the queue for the reception desk is still around 90 minutes! Woken up by hoovering on 3 occasions after midnight Disembarkation a farce. Guest services had told us coach was at 9:30 to the airport so we organised early disembarkation luggage tags which stated disembarkation between 8:15 and 9am. Got to 9:40 before our tags were even called to disembark, but by this point we had been informed that the airport coaches are ongoing meaning that once again, incorrect info had been given by guest services. In summary - you’d get better Customer Service in prison than you do on the Carnival Magic. Even when things go wrong there is absolutely 0 appetite to put things right. The fact the queue for Guest Services was 90 minutes throughout the final day absolutely exemplify the apathy in which Carnival treat their customers. Never ever again will I be stepping on a Carnival ship. And now for the good points; The Cruise Director Cookie is excellent and an excellent host. Sadly the rest of the ‘fun squad’ are not so excellent. In fact I’ve seen better hosts at McDonalds. The Shows have been good and some really great talent on show from the theatre productions. The comedy club was excellent, and Manny oliviera in particular was hilarious. The host on the other hand was woeful and clearly way out of her depth at this level. The ports of call were excellent and all beautiful in their own unique way. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Carnival Magic Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.5 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 4.5 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 1.0 3.5
Service 5.0 4.1
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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