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This was our first cruise, but we traveled with another couple that were seasoned cruise travelers so we didn't have to learn everything on the fly. This may be a bit long, but hopefully will help other cruise newbies. Embarkation Day- this was much smoother than I anticipated, but we had a priority boarding so we were able to board pretty quickly and easily. I should note that every Carnival person we encountered were cheerful and engaging. It was a bit confusing as the stateroom doors were closed when we boarded, but other guests on our floor told us to just push the doors open and we get to our rooms. Rooms- Our Stateroom with full balcony was awesome. The only downside was the lack of power outlets, but we knew that going in. It would have been nice to have power at the nightstands, though. The balcony gave a nice diversion from sitting in our room; I spent several breaks just sitting and reading and it was perfect for watching as we came into port. We will definitely get another balcony stateroom on future cruises. Our Room Steward (Jorge) was awesome and our room was always cleaned perfectly-- I tipped $20 early in the cruise as a nice gesture and Jorge never failed to greet me by name when we saw him in the hallway. Room service was always prompt and we could count on our morning coffee being delivered at our desired time. Ship- As this was our first cruise and we did a lot of pre-planning, you still can't imagine just how big the ship (it's not a boat) is. We used the first day (Embarkation Day) to try and familiarize ourselves with the layout and where the main points of interest were for us (Lido Deck, Buffet, Dining Room, etc.). It took a good day-and-a-half to get the lay of the ship and found a few areas where you had to go up a level or two then down in order to get past the mid-ship. But hey our in the middle of the ocean, what's the rush? Just take it as it comes and give yourself time to get to where you want to go. Entertainment- We did a few shows-- 80's music Show, Love & Marriage Show, Lip Sync Battle Final and really enjoyed them. It's cheesy cruise ship entertainment, but we laughed and sang-along. Was a bit surprised at the some of the average talent -- we only spent one evening at the Piano Bar because it just wasn't that good and some of the smaller singing venues were so-so. The electronic violins in the Atrium were very good. There was no shortage of events going on, but you do need to pick and choose what you want to see as some events happen at the same time. Don't take this as a negative review of the entertainment-- This wasn't our top priority when selecting a cruise. Cruise Director- If you think a Cruise Director is like Julie from The Love Boat you haven't sailed with Cookie, aka Cousin Cookie, what a crack up! Cookie had the most energy and enthusiasm of anyone I've ever seen in hospitality. He did a great job of keeping us informed of when and where events were happening, instructions for disembarkation at ports, and was a hilarious at the events he hosted. He always had a funny quip or comment that made you laugh and he's a super talented-- singing and dancing. Listen up when he starts talking-- he goes 100mph and if you do what he says it makes for a super smooth process getting on and off the ship. Food- The dining room food is pretty much what you'd expect for large catering style dining. I was good, not great. They did offer a few "low calorie" options for dessert, which was a surprise. Wait staff in the dining was very good and they are amazing at remembering everyone's name-- when you order they ask your name then they greet you by name when they bring your food, which was a nice touch. Guy's Burgers and BBQ was surprisingly so-so and the line for the burgers was always too long. Blue Iguana breakfast tacos were very good as an alternative to the buffet breakfast. The buffet was OK and had all the standard offerings and the lines moved along pretty quickly. I was able to find pretty good eating options at the various stations. My wife loved Pizzeria del Capitano, but they also had huge lines so it's best to take a whole pizza (4 slices) at one time. Let's talk unlimited soft-serve ice cream--- YUM, especially on those hot days sitting in the sun. We did the specialty Italian dining one night at Cucino del Capitano and it was not good. Very surprising since that was the Captain's dinner spot the night we at there. The water and tea both had distinct foul tastes and was undrinkable for the most part. While I thought my meal was pretty good, the other 3 in our party were not impressed and my wife felt like the spaghetti sauce was no better than store bought sauce. The waiters were not very friendly and they MADE my wife order a side when she didn't want one so we got something we didn't eat. Lastly, they dropped the Tiramisu from the menu so we ended up getting something forgettable. I would pass on this restaurant, especially at an additional dining cost. Shore Excursions- For our first cruise and not really knowing what's good we were very happy with our shore excursions. We did 3 beach excursions and each beach was vastly different from the other so it's not fair to compare them against each other. Serenity Beach (Dominican Republic) was an awesome day-- private beach, hammocks, swings, lounge beds, buffet and a mindful staff attending to our every needs was incredible. Beach was kind of rough (more "Shell-ey"), but the water was amazing. Megan's Bay Beach (Virgin Islands) was a great beach, but way too crowded-- learned after that there were 5-6 other ships in port and this is a very highly regarded beach so it was jam packed. Water was incredible and it was in a beautiful bay area. Views on the drive were amazing with great overlooks to the port. There is food there, but it's bar food. If this weren't so crowded it would have been great. I'm not sure we would do this excursion again and V.I. was definitely not our favorite stop. Vivo Beach (Puerto Rico) was AWESOME. Private beach club with great beach access and a pool. Food was OK-- local dishes, and there was a bar at the pool. With the pool and beach it was the best of both worlds. Let's talk Grand Turk-- we loved this stop for no other than Jack's Shack. We found this local bar on Facebook and have followed them for several months leading up to our cruise. It's about 1/2 mile down the beach from the port and Margaritaville away from all the hustle and bustle so you practically have your own private beach. Free beach lounges ($10 for umbrellas); great food-- we had the Jerk Chicken and Conch Fritters. The stars of the day, though, were Calypso and Topher. They are the owners dogs and they love to dig in the sand and swim with you. Look up Jack's Shack on Facebook and make this your "excursion" at Grand Turk, you won't be disappointed.

Great trip on the Carnival Magic (Eastern Caribbean)

Carnival Magic Cruise Review by DaveCaruso

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This was our first cruise, but we traveled with another couple that were seasoned cruise travelers so we didn't have to learn everything on the fly. This may be a bit long, but hopefully will help other cruise newbies.

Embarkation Day- this was much smoother than I anticipated, but we had a priority boarding so we were able to board pretty quickly and easily. I should note that every Carnival person we encountered were cheerful and engaging. It was a bit confusing as the stateroom doors were closed when we boarded, but other guests on our floor told us to just push the doors open and we get to our rooms.

Rooms- Our Stateroom with full balcony was awesome. The only downside was the lack of power outlets, but we knew that going in. It would have been nice to have power at the nightstands, though. The balcony gave a nice diversion from sitting in our room; I spent several breaks just sitting and reading and it was perfect for watching as we came into port. We will definitely get another balcony stateroom on future cruises. Our Room Steward (Jorge) was awesome and our room was always cleaned perfectly-- I tipped $20 early in the cruise as a nice gesture and Jorge never failed to greet me by name when we saw him in the hallway. Room service was always prompt and we could count on our morning coffee being delivered at our desired time.

Ship- As this was our first cruise and we did a lot of pre-planning, you still can't imagine just how big the ship (it's not a boat) is. We used the first day (Embarkation Day) to try and familiarize ourselves with the layout and where the main points of interest were for us (Lido Deck, Buffet, Dining Room, etc.). It took a good day-and-a-half to get the lay of the ship and found a few areas where you had to go up a level or two then down in order to get past the mid-ship. But hey our in the middle of the ocean, what's the rush? Just take it as it comes and give yourself time to get to where you want to go.

Entertainment- We did a few shows-- 80's music Show, Love & Marriage Show, Lip Sync Battle Final and really enjoyed them. It's cheesy cruise ship entertainment, but we laughed and sang-along. Was a bit surprised at the some of the average talent -- we only spent one evening at the Piano Bar because it just wasn't that good and some of the smaller singing venues were so-so. The electronic violins in the Atrium were very good. There was no shortage of events going on, but you do need to pick and choose what you want to see as some events happen at the same time. Don't take this as a negative review of the entertainment-- This wasn't our top priority when selecting a cruise.

Cruise Director- If you think a Cruise Director is like Julie from The Love Boat you haven't sailed with Cookie, aka Cousin Cookie, what a crack up! Cookie had the most energy and enthusiasm of anyone I've ever seen in hospitality. He did a great job of keeping us informed of when and where events were happening, instructions for disembarkation at ports, and was a hilarious at the events he hosted. He always had a funny quip or comment that made you laugh and he's a super talented-- singing and dancing. Listen up when he starts talking-- he goes 100mph and if you do what he says it makes for a super smooth process getting on and off the ship.

Food- The dining room food is pretty much what you'd expect for large catering style dining. I was good, not great. They did offer a few "low calorie" options for dessert, which was a surprise. Wait staff in the dining was very good and they are amazing at remembering everyone's name-- when you order they ask your name then they greet you by name when they bring your food, which was a nice touch. Guy's Burgers and BBQ was surprisingly so-so and the line for the burgers was always too long. Blue Iguana breakfast tacos were very good as an alternative to the buffet breakfast. The buffet was OK and had all the standard offerings and the lines moved along pretty quickly. I was able to find pretty good eating options at the various stations. My wife loved Pizzeria del Capitano, but they also had huge lines so it's best to take a whole pizza (4 slices) at one time. Let's talk unlimited soft-serve ice cream--- YUM, especially on those hot days sitting in the sun.

We did the specialty Italian dining one night at Cucino del Capitano and it was not good. Very surprising since that was the Captain's dinner spot the night we at there. The water and tea both had distinct foul tastes and was undrinkable for the most part. While I thought my meal was pretty good, the other 3 in our party were not impressed and my wife felt like the spaghetti sauce was no better than store bought sauce. The waiters were not very friendly and they MADE my wife order a side when she didn't want one so we got something we didn't eat. Lastly, they dropped the Tiramisu from the menu so we ended up getting something forgettable. I would pass on this restaurant, especially at an additional dining cost.

Shore Excursions- For our first cruise and not really knowing what's good we were very happy with our shore excursions. We did 3 beach excursions and each beach was vastly different from the other so it's not fair to compare them against each other. Serenity Beach (Dominican Republic) was an awesome day-- private beach, hammocks, swings, lounge beds, buffet and a mindful staff attending to our every needs was incredible. Beach was kind of rough (more "Shell-ey"), but the water was amazing. Megan's Bay Beach (Virgin Islands) was a great beach, but way too crowded-- learned after that there were 5-6 other ships in port and this is a very highly regarded beach so it was jam packed. Water was incredible and it was in a beautiful bay area. Views on the drive were amazing with great overlooks to the port. There is food there, but it's bar food. If this weren't so crowded it would have been great. I'm not sure we would do this excursion again and V.I. was definitely not our favorite stop. Vivo Beach (Puerto Rico) was AWESOME. Private beach club with great beach access and a pool. Food was OK-- local dishes, and there was a bar at the pool. With the pool and beach it was the best of both worlds.

Let's talk Grand Turk-- we loved this stop for no other than Jack's Shack. We found this local bar on Facebook and have followed them for several months leading up to our cruise. It's about 1/2 mile down the beach from the port and Margaritaville away from all the hustle and bustle so you practically have your own private beach. Free beach lounges ($10 for umbrellas); great food-- we had the Jerk Chicken and Conch Fritters. The stars of the day, though, were Calypso and Topher. They are the owners dogs and they love to dig in the sand and swim with you. Look up Jack's Shack on Facebook and make this your "excursion" at Grand Turk, you won't be disappointed.
DaveCaruso’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Ocean Suite
Cabin OS 7258
Our Stateroom with full balcony was awesome. I think it was a great location near the forward elevators so we had easy access up to the Lido Deck on Deck 10 by elevator or stairs. The only real downside was the lack of power outlets, but we knew that going in. It would have been nice to have power at the nightstands, though. The balcony gave a nice diversion from sitting in our room; I spent several breaks just sitting and reading and it was perfect for watching as we came into port. We will definitely get another balcony stateroom on future cruises. Our Room Steward (Jorge) was awesome and our room was always cleaned perfectly-- I tipped $20 early in the cruise as a nice gesture and Jorge never failed to greet me by name when we saw him in the hallway. Room service was always prompt and we could count on our morning coffee being delivered at our desired time.
Deck 7 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews