I read all the review that I could find about the Carnival Magic, some of them worst than others. That being said, I went on this vacation with an open mind and low bar. Let me tell you that was the best thing I could have done and I was not disappointed. My friends and I arrived in Ft. Lauderdale the day before we embarked and stayed at a Hampton Inn which had free airport shuttle and $10 per person transport to the cruise terminal. The hotel was so/so and I would not stay there again. We ended up taking an Uber, which from the hotel to the cruise terminal was less than $20 for an UberXL.
From the time of being dropped off by our Uber to getting on the ship, only took 12 minutes. Way to go Port Everglades!
Our cabin was amazing. We booked a cove balcony as I've been in one before and I would certainly do it again. People mentioned in some reviews about a sewage smell and we only experienced it in the hallway between rooms 2298-2280 for less than 24 hours, I believe on the third day. It was strange because once you got to our room which was 3 doors down, the hallway smelled fine. Nothing was ever noticeable in our room. Ilham, our room steward, meet us on the first day and asked when we wanted turn down service. Ilham and his assistant were on top of their game. Every time I would walk by them in the hall they would great me and ask me how my day is going. We brought soda onboard and left the extras for them because they were that wonderful.
The food on the ship was amazing and I would highly suggest going to the dining room every night to eat. I went with a couple of friends and each night they ordered two entrees because they couldn't decide what to eat. Our waiter, Marvin, and bus boy, Luis, where down to earth and I could not have asked for better wait staff. Guy's Burger are wonderful and I could have had those for every meal. The buffet was so-so, typical buffet food and at one point I went to the Mongolian place and it took 30 minutes of waiting in line to get my food. Pizzeria was never a disappointment and I suggest #4 which is the Formaggio.
Simon London, our cruise director, was EVERYWHERE. He is hilarious and all the shows he hosted had a huge crowd. I highly, highly recommend the Love and Marriage show. We sat toward the front and we were crying because we were laughing so hard. Simon was certainly kept on his toes with some of those answers. I also recommend going to the decade trivia in the atrium. It's not really trivia as much as it's a huge sing-a-long and the CD bringing out guests from the audience to participate.
In some of the reviews, I was reading the was no Quest scavenger hunt, but on our ship there was. Unfortunately, we were not able to attend because it was extremely late at night (I believe 2330) and we had to be up early the next day to be one of the first off the ship for our excursion.
Our piano bar player, Scott, was another fantastic entertainer. The first night we stumbled upon the piano bar by accident and every night thereafter, we spent there because it was that much fun.
The Fun Squad on our ship worked really well together and with our Cruise Director. For some of the events they were scripted, but you could tell they were going off script because they would be laughing on stage.
Our favorite port was Half Moon Cay. People say there is not good snorkeling there, but that a bunch of crap. They obviously did not try hard enough. If you walk all the way to the end of the beach (its a pretty far walk), there is fantastic coral with huge fish. I would only recommend this if you're a strong swimmer though, the current can be a little strong. The downside of this port is it's a tender port. I had to wait in line for about 35-45 minutes to get a number for the tender. Perks of waiting though, is you are one of the first people off the ship and it feels like you have the beach to yourself, especially if you keep walking away from the crowds. Hopefully Carnival will start building a pier for Half Moon Cay.
I did not like Grand Turk at all. So much so, I would not go on another cruise to that port. We had an excursion there, but it was cancelled because not enough people signed up for it. We ended up making our way down to Jack's Shack. That place was nice, but the drinks were overpriced. If you go here, may sure you bring your water shoes with you because the beaches are rocky and full of sea weed.
Amber Cove was beautiful. My friends kept singing the theme song to Jurassic Park. We booked a tour through Iguana Mama for the Damajagua Falls. I would HIGHLY recommend the company for an excursion. We were only able to do 7 of the 27 falls because of drought in the area, but they gave us a reimbursement and told us up front about the situation. We did not spend much time in port itself, but there are many shops.
If you've made it this far, thank you. Overall, I would recommend this ship and would sail her again. If you go in not expecting a whole lot, you will have a wonderful time. There are many activities on board and you need to try each of them out. If you don't like it, simply leave, there are other activities. The Carnival Magic will not let you down.
This cabin is a must if you don't want a lifeboat above you. It a typical cove balcony, but with a great view. We were under the dining room and heard no noises at night. The only night we heard thing was the last when they were picking up luggage. The location of this room is great as well because you're between the front and mid ship elevators.