We chose this cruise for the itinerary and the value. The Magic is showing it's age in the form of rust and lots of it. As we pulled up to the ship the first thing we noticed was the rust stains on it which diminished our first impression. Every ship has rust, it's part of spending your days being pummeled by salt water, but Magic has more than most. In fact as I was climbing the stairs to the waterslide the handrail bracket was pulled away do to a bracket that was completely rusted through.
We liked the Magic. It felt the same to us as all of the Carnival ships albeit a little larger. The entertainment, the food, everything was similar to our prior Carnival Cruises. We did enjoy Guy's BBQ being free for lunch on sea days.
The best part of this cruise was the itinerary. Half Moon is our all-time favorite, Grand Turk is also a good fit for us, and Amber Cove is just BEAUTIFUL! We were fortunate that the rough seas didn't impact any of our stops.
We did notice the larger crowd when it came to tendering to Half Moon. We missed the explanation of the procedure of grabbing a zone ticket at 6:30 am and by the time we figured out what was going on we had tender 22. I think this might be a better process than having folks stand in long lines in hallways, but it led to 1/2 full tenders that loaded very slowly. I'm not convinced this is the best solution.
We hate that Carnival is now allowing kids in the aft pool that used to be adults only. We used to be able to enjoy some peace back there. We decided to go up to the Serenity deck but unfortunately some big drunk redneck was SOO LOUD in the hot tub that it was anything but serene. We asked the bartender if he could remind them it's the Serenity deck but he referred us to security and eventually the guy left.
We also encountered loud drunks in the Comedy club with a group of young girls carrying on during the entire show. It would appear that many folks have bought the all-you-can drink package and are intent on getting their money's worth. We saw mother and grandma carrying a young girl who was so intoxicated that she couldn't stand up without them. The Fun ship is starting to feel a little like Walmart of the Seas.
Simon London was our cruise director and he did a good job with a lot of energy. His somewhat corny "Lovely Jubly!" grew on us and we found ourselves saying it after the cruise was over.
All in all, the Magic was pretty much what you expect from Carnival. Good value, good food, and good entertainment along with the occasional idiot among the guests. I would like to see Carnival offer 2 drink plans including a lighter version so that some folks can enjoy some drinks without feeling like they have to down 15 drinks especially on a port day. We don't drink, but we are not anti-alcohol just anti-idiots and the current all-you-can drink program seems to be encouraging idiots!
We really liked our cabin. It was much larger than most cabins. No couch, but still very nice. Two things to consider when booking this cabin. First, there is a deck outside the window with sporadic folks walking by, so we had to keep our curtains drawn for privacy. Second, because it's on the 10th floor and forward, we felt the seas a lot more than normal. One night my wife had trouble sleeping because of the movement of the ship.
Grand Turk offers a free beach with chairs and umbrellas and a pool at Margaritaville. Outside of the drunks at Margaritaville, it's a good time. It gets crowded when multiple ships are in port (it was just us this time), but if you look hard enough you can find a less crowded spot.
This port is beautiful. While there is a small beach offsite that's a little hard to get to, we never missed it. The pool was not as big as I thought it would be but there were plenty of chairs (we were the only ship in port). Unfortunately they have somewhat loud music playing through speakers all around the pool area, so we hung out near the free hammocks and aside from the overhead zipline, it was both beautiful and peaceful.
Our favorite port! If you love a beach day, you will LOVE this port! They bring free food on shore and the water and beach are perfect! The only negative is the risk that the port will be cancelled by weather and the time it takes to get to and from shore because it's a tender port. But Carnival is planning to build a pier that should solve both of these!!