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Carnival Magic Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,404 Reviews

NEVER AGAIN CARNIVAL-1st and worst cruise I've ever been on

Carnival Magic Cruise Review by heavenboundnita

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Sep 2019
  • Destination: the Eastern Caribbean

My sister cruised aboard the Carnival Magic from September 22-28. As this was our first cruise we were excited; however, Carnival stamped out that excitement real quick! Carnival does a real good job of letting passengers know their money, not their experience, is what matters most. If we could get our money back we would!


1.A lack of decent water. The water available for free from the drink fountains and restaurants tasted horrible, like old ocean water (not exaggerating). It was UNdrinkable. In order to get drinkable water you had to purchase it. From room service it was $4.40 for a large bottle (what we can get for a $1-$1.25 here!). 16oz bottles were 1.25 IF purchased from the ship coffee shop.

2.They sold everything they knew people would need or want (going ashore? Here’s some cold water for a price! Want something hot from room service? Here are a half-handful for a price, got a headache? Here’s some aspirine for a price etc…)

3.They push alcohol like IT is water. There were workers walking around constantly asking if we wanted these alcoholic beverages. We constantly told them no. Couldn’t eat in peace for them. At one point my sister told one who wouldn’t take no for an answer not to come around asking us again. It truly felt like the workers were pressured to sell these drinks; the look of disappointment, or sheer annoyance on their faces when you wouldn’t take the bait was truly off-putting. {The same can be said for the spa workers; it got so annoying having them shove flyers at us for their over-priced services. And the attitude of some of them was not quite the turn off. I believe they are also pressured to make sales, and that is sad.}

4.Every fountain had bad lemonade; that is all they had to drink with lunch or dinner. It was not fresh made so it was very strong and artificial tasting; not good at all. Only In the mornings could you get orange juice cocktail or a Guava juice drink (this was actually the best juice offered). If you wanted a soda you had to be ready to fork over $3 bucks a can (that’s right, 12 ounce cans). I’ve included a picture of the toddler cups – the ONLY cups they had for the fountain drink.

5.Mediocre food: The Lido buffet was nothing at all to write home about, and the lines were so long that by the time you got your food and sat down it was cold. Also, I am allergic to seafood and the way they had the food organized at the buffet I often could not eat it due to saucy seafood being passed over the non-seafood items, or possible utensil mixing because everything was so close. The best places were Guy’s Burger Joint and the Deli. Guy’s Pig and Anchor Bar was ok to (this and the burger joint were closed at 6 or 2:30 respectively). The Ship Dining rooms (Southern Lights and Northern Lights Restaurants) were okay. Service was quite slow so, again, lukewarm to cold food. The restaurants did not handle the crowds well at all. The waiters, though nice, were overwhelmed and provided service that failed to impress. And at these restaurants, though free, were the same bad water and bad lemonade – unless you wanted to pay for soda or alcoholic beverages. The food was so disappointing that we opted out of our planned steak house dinner; we weren't impressed enough to take a chance paying $38 each just to be disatisfied.

6.Ship not clean: A. The ship carried an odor, especially in the hallways where the staterooms were. Oftentimes it smelled like sewage. If you have never smelled that before, take my word for it- it stinks! The smell really caused some of us to wonder what was going on with the workings of the ship.

B. The carpets need serious cleaning. We kept socks on our feet when in our room, but we were shocked at how dirty the bottoms of our socks got and so quickly! I forgot to take a picture of them, but they were just shameful! I saw some people walking around with barefeet...not a good idea.

C. The windows were filthy. You couldn’t really take good pictures from the windows because they were in such need of scrubbing (see pics). This was not 1 trips worth of grime; it has clearly been a while since they washed those windows.

7.Old Bedding: Carnival obviously tries to keep bedding until forced to replace. Our sheets were old and had pill-balls on them (see pic).

8.Rude, disorganized, unclean room service: The room service order takers were rude. There was a charge to order hot foods from room service. You could only get cold sandwiches for free from room service until 10pm. After that everything cost you. Cleanliness was questionable. They replaced our ice one evening, and I am so glad we didn’t use it. The container was mildewed (see pics)!!! We didn’t see it till the next morning after ice had melted. We could not eat/drink as comfortably after this.

9.A hassle filled vacation: getting off the ship at Half Moon Cay,the first stop, was so disorganized. Extremely long line waiting for a “ticket” (which they ran out of) to get off the ship. The whole set up made no sense whatsoever. The first stop at Half Moon Cay left a lot to be desired; there wasn’t much to see or do, but of course there was plenty of alcohol to buy!

10.The Medical Facility was hardly, if ever, open. My sister needed some help and was directed there. They were closed. They were closed the next morning/day etc. We never saw them open! She ended up just getting Tylenol from Room service, for which they charged her $1 per pill.

11.The rooms do not fully match the description/images on their website. The pictures are taken deceptively. They are not as roomy as they appear for “suites.” The beds are smaller than twin size.

12. The cigarette smoke practically permeated all of deck 5. The most comfortable seating on the outside decks were in smoking sections. So if you don't smoke or cannot take the smoke due to say, asthma for example, it could be a little difficult finding a perfectly comfortable spot to sit.

13. The serenity area of Deck 15 was just okay. The elevator was not always on, meaning a pretty good walk up from deck 10 (If I remember right). It is also next to the water slide area, only separated by a little divider. So if you are sitting outside in the serenity area of deck 15 then it is not always that serene, as you can hear the water, yells, and laughter from "water park guests" a few short feet away.


Our steward was nice and kind to us. The majority of the ship’s staff was nice. I had a good cheesecake from the coffee shop, and the price wasn’t too shabby. The coffee shop also had almond milk or soy milk for those who are allergic to dairy; that option, to my knowledge, was not available elsewhere aboard ship.

The positives of the trip really had nothing to do with Carnival. The scenery was the best thing of the trip, that and watching the water. The stops had beautiful scenery, and Amber Cove was the best port of the 3 stops we made.

**I cannot and do not recommend anyone cruise with Carnival. My sister doesn’t even want to take another cruise (period!) after this experience with Carnival. Many of our fellow travelers said it was the worst cruise they had ever been on. They kept singing the praises of Norwegian. So if I ever cruise again it will be with Norwegian, but never ever again will I go anywhere on any Carnival ship! They should be ashamed of themselves!

heavenboundnita's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)

We didn't do anything much here, besides board the ship.

Half Moon Cay

Disappointing. Not much to do. Very hot. High priced souvenirs. Was able to get a couple of beautiful shots of the gorgeous blue water. Beach was packed out.

If you like to drink alcohol then there are bars for you. Wasn't interested in the island barbecue, so went back to the ship.

Grand Turk

Lovely views. Took some great photos and headed back to ship. There's a beach but the sand wasn't good for walking on. There's a place for liquor, of course, and the ability to sample some of the island food.

Amber Cove (Puerto Plata)

The best port of the trip! Absolutely beautiful. There are stores, but this is tourist area so have some sense. You can take a complimentary ride in a rickshaw from the ship and back. Since it is quite hot, and the walk is long, I promise you its worth it. Just don't forget to tip your driver; they work hard in the heat taking folks back and forth. There is little pharmacy there ($$$) that has cold Dasani water for $1 a bottle.

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