This is my honest review of my most recent cruise on the Carnival Magic- Cozumel Plus- from November 25th- December 2nd 2018. This was the 2nd cruise I’ve ever been on with Carnival, the first was in 2015 when we cruised on the Fantasy ... Read More
This is my honest review of my most recent cruise on the Carnival Magic- Cozumel Plus- from November 25th- December 2nd 2018. This was the 2nd cruise I’ve ever been on with Carnival, the first was in 2015 when we cruised on the Fantasy out of Charleston. I looked forward to this cruise, as we had an excellent time on our first cruise, and we wanted to take my brother-in-law on his first cruise as well. We flew into Fort Lauderdale a few nights early, and had an 11:30am boarding time. We did receive an email about a week out stating we would be pushed back an hour to 12:30 due to one gangway being down, so we adhered to our new boarding time, and took an Uber to the port. Upon arrival, we were greeted by the porters who took our bags, and went to stand in line. There was a lady directing the crowds, who told us “I think you need to go up front if you’re getting in line to board, this line isn’t moving, I think it’s for something else.” Of course, thinking she knew what she was doing, we proceeded to the front where we were promptly turned away and put back to where we started. This is where the fun starts. We were informed there were still passengers on the ship, and they couldn’t let us on. We stood in the sun, no shade, for nearly 2 hours before finally making it inside to security, mind you it was 85 degrees, we had on no sunscreen, we had nothing to drink, and there were no bathrooms. Thank God I didn’t have any children with me, because that’s certainly not a situation I’d want my kids in.
We finally boarded the ship and our room was indeed ready on deck 12, the spa deck, so we went to the room and sat on the balcony for a bit until it was time to leave port. Our room was plenty big, clean, and as expected. I only had three complaints about the room, which I’ll go into further. 1st, our bathroom flooded every time you’d shower. I don’t know if it’s because we were on deck 12 so everything below us drained first, and ours backed up or what, but we always flooded. Some nights when we were getting ready for dinner, we wouldn’t have any water whatsoever, couldn’t wash your hands, shower, or flush the toilet for some time. 2nd the balcony on deck 12 has no roof, now that’s not my complaint, I knew of this, however, something from the top was leaking constantly onto our balcony. I’m not positive if it was condensation from the spa pool or what, but we were always getting soaked sitting out there. Lastly, our neighbors were constantly fighting to the point where not only could we hear it, but the couple (our brother-in-law) beside us could hear it too. I understand that this is not the fault of Carnival, however, when I reported it to Guest Services, I was basically told “Well, we can’t do anything. Next time call when they’re actually fighting and we will send up security.” That to me seemed like they cared more about not irritating them than helping us out.
Next, I’ll talk a little about the food. The last cruise we went on had far less options for dining that this one, however, there was never a line. On the Magic, we would stand in line for a good 30 minutes at the breakfast buffet every single morning, regardless of the time. There were only 2 lines to get food for everyone on the boat, unless you wanted an omelet, then plan on an hour in line. Same was true about the 24 hour pizza and deli in the back of the boat. The wait to get food was a minimum of 30 minutes, regardless of when you went down. To me, this just seemed excessive. I understand there are a lot of people on the boat, but I almost wish I would’ve went on an older ship with less people to avoid this issue. The dining room staff was awesome! They are always very entertaining, and they truly care about whether or not you like your food, if you’re full, etc. The food, on the other hand, seemed to be hit and skip. One night it would be mind-blowing, the next it would be very bland, and taste as if there wasn’t even any salt and pepper on it. We did not try any of the specialty dining on this particular cruise.
The ship itself was really nice, from what we saw, but again, everything always seemed to be so crowded. The comedy shows required that you get there about a half hour before or more to ensure you had a seat, and the bars were always crowded, especially if there was a drink special. At one point, we went to the Red Frog Pub, where they had ½ off drinks, both regular and Fish Bowls. This was from 2:30-4:30, and we got there at around 3:30pm. We stood there waiting at the bar, no one acknowledged we were there, for almost 40 minutes before the kind ladies beside us screamed at the bartender that they’d passed us up on multiple occasions. At this point, they informed us “sorry, we’re out of fishbowls, don’t know what to tell you.” Mind you, they had been passing them out to anyone and everyone who showed up at the bar, and continued to pass us up. Yes, I had my card out, yes I was waving them down, they just seemed to pick and choose who they served with no rhyme or reason. The pools seemed inadequate for the amount of guests on the ship, which is normal from what I’ve read regarding other ships as well. You could hardly get a lounger, let alone sneak your way into the pool to cool off on sea days.
The internet: just don’t get it. It’s not worth it. They sell three different packages: Social media, Value, and Premium. The social media plan only allows you to use Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, WhatsApp, etc. whereas the Value and Premium plans allow you to access the entire internet. I called prior to sailing, as I’m a full-time graduate student, and wanted to know which package I should purchase in order to do my homework. I was told the value plan would allow access to everything I needed, and they didn’t think I needed a premium plan. For the most part, this was correct, I could access my websites and do my homework….. at 4am when everyone was in bed. The internet was so slow with everyone on Facebook that I missed deadlines and couldn’t access the internet half of the time. It took 30 minutes to submit a paper, which to me was pathetic. They really need to give bandwidth speeds to the higher tiered packages over the social media.
I know, it sounds a lot like I had nothing good to say, which is kind of true, but here’s the good: The Spa!! We booked a Spa Balcony Suite, and I must say, this was the best decision we made. This allowed us access to a private thalassotherapy pool (hot-tub type whirlpool), which was at times busy, but nowhere near the regular pools or hot tubs. They also had several saunas, a relaxation room with soothing music and water fountains, as well as heated chairs which were very comfortable to lay on. Not only that, we also received discounts on the services at the spa! I ended up booking a massage, facial, body scrub, scalp massage, and pedicure while on board, and everyone at the spa was very kind, very professional, and the overall experience was very relaxing! This is what I was looking forward to.
Overall, my impression of cruises and carnival in general changed dramatically after this trip. The islands were beautiful, and the spa was very relaxing, but otherwise it just wasn’t the same experience we had in 2015. I didn’t feel “valued” like I did the first cruise, and I would rate this experience as mediocre at best. We’re currently looking into Royal Caribbean or Norwegian for our next cruise, if we even choose a cruise. Sure, it’s nice to have an all-inclusive type vacation, but you can book those on an island as well, and you’re not crammed into a sardine can like we were this cruise. Read Less