Carnival Magic Cruise Review by flynship11
- Sail Date: July 2017
- Destination: Western Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Balcony
We arrived for embarkation early. About 11:10 and went straight through security to the reception desk and then seating area. On the ship in about 20 minutes from the time we entered the building. Once on the ship you have to go to either deck 5 or deck 10 for lunch and relaxation until the cabins are done being cleaned around 2 or so. The Carnival stated policy of bringing your own beverages on board is "none permitted" but I saw plenty of people with 12 packs of soda strapped to their luggage. I guess you can still do that. We pre-purchased 12 packs of water through their website which are delivered to your cabin on day one and purchased the Bottomless bubbles card for sodas throughout the cruise. Both are good values.
So where to begin with Magic?? Ok, well, during the muster drill you will quickly learn how much of a jokester your Cruise Director Dr. E is. Its the first time we've ever laughed during a muster drill. After that the ship is yours.
Before reading any further you should know we don't eat in the dining room, we don't gamble in the casino, and we don't drink so my review will not gauge any of these items.
There are so many choices for food on Magic. My only criticism for them is there are no posted hours of operation at most stations so plan accordingly. All the different offerings at the eateries are generally good. The only exceptions I can make are some deserts tend to be very gelatinous and chocolate ones are hit or miss as to the quality. My daughter and her boyfriend ate apps at the Red Frog Pub and said they were not very good. Other than that I found everything to be satisfactory or better.
Important note: The Guys Pig and Anchor BBQ is only open on sea days from 12-2:30. It is on the outside of deck 5 on the Lanai deck. To be smart, arrive at the Lanai seating area by the hot tub early and have your partner go get two plates in line. The lines form at both ends of the eatery and work towards the middle but outdoor seating fills up quick and people start standing there almost an hour ahead of time. Its good food but not awesome. The braised beef tends to be very fatty and the chicken is all dark meat. I'm only going to review that one since the rest of the eateries are common and return cruisers will be familiar with them. I will say the deli is no longer 24 hours. the only food open 24 hours is the pizza counter (besides room service).
We had a balcony cabin on the 9th deck. 9299. Pleased with the size and cleanliness. Our room steward Wendal was friendly, fantastic and somehow telepathic. I walked out of my room once with a wet pool towel and he was walking towards me with a clean folded one. Almost creepy!! But he and his team did a great job during our stay. Very pleased with that service.
The Cruise Director, Reverend Dr. E is neither a Reverend or Doctor, its a stage name thing. But you will think he has a Doctorate in Cruise Directing. He is phenomenal!! The best CD we have ever had. He is funny, he is energetic and he is everywhere! If you are cruising on this ship before Sept. 30 2017 you will see what I mean. He goes home for a few months after that and returns in Feb. of 2018. The primary DJ, DJ Blendz is awesome too! The two of them together could command a huge nightclub! And they do command the crowd of the ship! If you're not impressed with them then I don't know what to tell you (and we're 47 BTW).
So, we had occasion to utilize the excursion desk and guest services desk. All members of the staff we encountered were incredibly nice and accommodating. I only have one member of the staff that I can point out as being underwhelming. That would be one of the bartenders in the bar in the rear of the ship by the outdoor pool. This guy didn't work the crowd in order of appearance. In other words, if you are on the far side of the bar from him, and he is finishing up with patrons on his side, if someone else walks up on his side, he tended to serve them and not make his way to me. He did this twice in one day to me. The first time I stood there almost 8 minutes before I gave up and walked away. A couple of hours later I gave it another try and he did the same damn thing so again I walked away. No big deal, but just be warned. Go get your drinks at one of the many other bars and you will get quick service.
As for the pots of call- here are some thoughts and suggestions:
First one, Cozumel. Here we did the "Give Back With A Purpose" excursion. It gives you a tour of an orphanage which was incredible. It also includes lunch at a local eatery which we had low expectations for but it turned out to be excellent as well. I highly recommend this excursion as part of the fee goes directly to the orphanage and it is only put on through Carnival. No other cruise company does it. You can read more about it on Carnivals website.
Second stop Belize. Due to the corral reef you have to tender at sea and take water taxis to the port. This is a good stop to do excursions because there is nothing but familiar shops and some bars at the port. Belize City is not an entirely safe city to wonder around so security will not let you out of the port area if you are not part of an excursion. However, even without an excursion, the boat ride is fun in and of itself so if nothing else do like we did and just take the boat ride in, go get a drink at a bar, and take the boat ride back to the ship. Then you have time to do laundry or relax on board. But be warned, Tuesday is the first formal night and the laundry rooms fill up with people ironing their dress clothes. So go early if you need to do that!!
Third stop Isla De Roatan: This is a Carnival exclusive port. There is a zip line course right across the street from the shops so if you want to try it it's close enough to go to on your own as opposed to going through the excursion desk. Itll save you money. We just went to the beach area. Now here is where we made an awesome discovery just by happenstance. There are hundreds of lounge chairs with clam shell covers to rent so I went up to the rental shack office and was told they were sold out. She mentioned that there were only cabanas left for $100. I said no and walked away. When I explained to my family that the lounge chairs were sold out she suggested asking the guy on the beach. When I asked him he said the same thing, the chairs were sold out but the private cabanas were left. He asked how many we were, I replied 4, he replied it would be $100. I said nah, that's too much for us and he replied I can do it for $80. I said lets see it. So we walked to the edge of the large beach and he showed us the private beach area with nice Cabanas, he explained it included free use of floating tubes, and WiFi!! SOLD!! It was so nice. There are only like 12 Cabanas or so and then there are cushioned lounge chairs to rent too. The beach has its own lifeguard and is roped off to keep out the other beach goers. Its called the Blue Lagoon. My advice- Get this deal!! Approach the guys on the beach about it though because I'm quite sure if you just go to the counter you wont be able to haggle the price. Even if you have to pay the $100 it's totally worth it!
There were 2 ships in port that day and the general beach was swamped with people. The beach waters looked like sardine cans. Our beach, lots of space, not crowded. Splurge the dollars here on a Cabana at the Blue Lagoon!! The Capitan of the ship and his family actually were in the Cabana right behind us.
Day 4 Costa Maya: At this port we decided to do the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins Excursion. Its very reasonably priced at $80 pp. This tour takes you inland 45 minutes to the Mayan city of Chacchoben. The bus is new, comfortable, air conditioned, and the guides are very knowledgeable. The only item of note here is that for the first and last 20 minutes of the ride you are on a paved but uneven road so its a bit rough. That's not anyones fault except Mexico. But its not terrible. The site is impressive and big enough to be amazed by but small enough to tour inside of 2 hours. Wear closed toe shoes. The limestone of the structures can be slippery even when dry. I slipped on some moss and it was dry. There are also Fire Ants in the ground everywhere. Watch where you step! Keep watching your feet. Those little suckers only need a few seconds to be all over your feet. Take lots of pics and head back to the ship.
Other ship comments and thoughts: Our daughter and her boyfriend did the Dr Suess breakfast. You have to sign up for it upon boarding up on the Lido Deck if you haven't signed up ahead of time online. Its $5 pp and they said it was well worth that. So have some fun!
Also, youll want to download the Carnival Hub app onto your smartphone. Its how you can find out whats going on and where to eat, etc. I hated the thought of carrying my phone around with me but it was well worth it. And if you do it, you can also pay just $5 (for the trip, not per day) to have person to person chat capability shipwide. Easier than carrying walkie talkies (yup, people still do that) or trying to meet up at times, etc.
I also opted for the Social Media WiFi for $5 per day so that I could stay connected to our dog sitter through Facebook chat. It was worth it to have the peace of mind and to be able to upload pics a of our cruise as we went. You will not be able to follow links to stories on FB unless you have the whole WiFi package. Its just to post. I recommend it! The app also keeps you on Ships Time which is important when at ports. Don't want to get left behind. And yes, a family missed the ship in Belize.
The shows are very good. Not Vegas but very good. Please be respectful for these entertainers. Remember, they are performing at sea, for your entertainment. Its free for you, and for most of them its a stepping stone in their career, not their end game. They all work hard to put on a good show. I only heard applause and praise but even if youre not impressed, please applaud their efforts. The only show we skipped was Country night. Not our genre. But that brings me to my next recommendation. If you like to get into the mix then bring your best 80s wear and hair. They had two events that were 80s themed and you would fit right in dressed in that era. The Fun Crew on this ship were better than past cruises too I thought. They're all friendly and love what they do.
The water park and sports areas will keep the kids occupied. There's Ping pong, Pool tables, Fooseball, Mini Golf, a Ropes course, and an enclosed Basketball court. LOTS to do! Oversized chess and checkers on deck too.
The adults only Serenity Spa is nice. You can kick back in a clam chair or swing in a hammock. There are two Hot tubs here too, so its nice for adults, no kiddos in these.
I think I've covered everything I can think of. Have fun and cruise on my friend!!
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Belize CityEven if you dont take an excursion I highly recommend just taking the boat ride to shore. Its about 20 minutes and you're on a huge power boat/water taxi. It's a fun ride all by itself. Get to the port and grab a drink at one of the many bars. The stores are all the familiar ones at other ports so shopping is limited. After you stretch your legs and get a drink get back to the ship and do some laundry or relax until you leave port.View All 2,217 Belize City Cruise Port Reviews
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Chacchoben Mayan RuinsThis is a great tour to do witht e limited amount of time your in port. The ride is only about 45 minutes to the site. Along the way your tour guide will introduce you to Mayan culture and history. You will have the opportunity to buy a date of significance to you translated into Mayan gliphs on paper or leather. We opted to do our wedding anniversary. You dont have to buy anything. It gets made while you're on the tour and is ready for you back at port when you get off the bus. The buses are newer and do have a bathroom in the back of them. Please note- the first and last 20 minutes of this ride are on paved but uneven roads. Its a little rough, eventually you get to a major highway which is much better but if you suffer from motion sickness then you might want to take appropriate measures. The parking area of the ruins is large and developed. There are merchants selling goods that looked mostly imported to me. There is also a food stand. The tour guide said they take cards but the food vendor doesnt so make sure you have some cash for cold drinks or food. The ruins are cool, there are several structures to see. You are allowed to climb on the first few steps of most buildings. Please respect the boundry ropes and any other special instructions you get from your guide. It takes about 1.5-2 hours to walk through and get pics. They try to allow you time to shop but again, it wasnt really for us anyway. The only other advice I can give you is wear comfortable closed toe shoes. The walking is semi-rough terrain. The limestone can be slippery even if dry, I slipped a bit on some moss. And there are fire ants all around. Also, be aware, you are walking through a jungle. The guide will tell you there is the possibilty of snakes and/or scorpions. So dont lift any rocks and sticks, keep your hands close. We didnt see any snakes or scorpions but we were treated to the sight of a resident family of monkeys going across the tree canopies. We had a great time and I would highly recommend this tour. Great value for the money.View All 227 Chacchoben Mayan Ruins Reviews
Cozumelon this excursion which is a Carnival exclusive, you will visit a local orphanage and see what their mission is. Its amazing!! Do not expect to interact with the children, that is not the purpose of this visit. You can take pictures of the facility but not of the children for their protection. You will also visit a local eatery for lunch which is fantastic! You are basically guests in a families home which is set up as a public eatery. Please don't miss this chance to see and meet some amazing people and experience their culture. You will also visit a local church, which we did not have time to do since we had a problematic couple in our group. They were old and could barely walk. If you do this excursion you should be able to walk at a good pace and climb into a raised open air truck. I highly recommend this experience.View All 7,830 Cozumel Cruise Port Reviews
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Port Canaveral (Orlando)We came in from Universal Theme Park. Less than an hour drive. We rented a car at Hertz at the airport and returned it to the location on Astronaut BLvd. They provide shuttle bus service to and from the port every twenty minutes.View All 1,862 Port Canaveral (Orlando) Cruise Port Reviews
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Beach DayThis was not an actual excursion, but a great find down by the beach area. I went up to the rental hut to rent lounge chairs with covers. They were all sold out. As I went back to tell my wife that they were sold out she said to ask the rental guy on the beach. He confirmed the chairs were sold out but informed me that the cabanas were not. I asked how much they were and he said $100. I said it was too much and he lowered it to $80. We took the deal. It includes your own little cabana, use of floating tubes, and free WiFi. You also get your own little beach and swimming area. The day we arrived there were 2 Carnival ships at port and the regular beach filled up quickly. The people in the regular swimming area looked like sardines bobbing around. Not our beach! there are only like 14 cabanas and 20-30 padded lounge chairs. This is called the Blue Lagoon. It is so worth the money!! Get there quick and make your deal directly with the guys on the beach, not at the rental hut. Then go do whatever else you want to.View All 263 Beach Day Reviews