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Carnival Magic Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
1403 reviews
3 Awards

Very Nice But Maybe Bigger Isn't Better?

Review for Carnival Magic to Transatlantic
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6-10 Cruises • Age 50s

Rating by category

Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Nov 2011
Cabin: Cove Balcony

The Magic should, theoretically, provide more fun things to do than a smaller ship because there should be tons more space. Well, no. A lot of that free space is taken up by many more cabins and two more "premium" restaurants for a total of three. Since it's a new ship, it's obvious they're still getting the kinks out of their systems - figuring out how long they need to get everyone off and on the ship to shuttles for excursions, for example, is something they haven't quite gotten down. They stage departures for shore excursions from the main theater on this ship, and that is somewhat smooth, but if there's a port that requires a general shuttle into town, you'll want to go quite early to the theater if you don't want to wait for a long time.

The boat, which is nearly brand new, also "broke" and had to have a thruster repaired which meant this sailing missed Grand Turk to go to Freeport for repairs. They gave all passengers $25 credit as a "we're sorry" which, in my opinion, is completely inadequate since a cruise to Grand Turk costs quite a lot (and there are none coming out of Galveston), and considering that they managed to arrange and film a commercial from a helicopter in Freeport, there were a lot of people suspicious that Carnival had been planning to hit Freeport all along. On the other hand, apparently the ship has to go BACK to Freeport instead of its next itinerary to Costa Maya, so if that's true, then Carnival was telling the truth - but it still is Carnival's fault that we did not go to Grand Turk, and it would have been a great gesture to do more than they did.

Here are some of the good aspects: The best beds I've ever slept on in a cruise ship. Sleeping is very difficult for me, and I slept very well.

Cabin Review

Cove Balcony

Cabin 7C

Very good cabin, balcony has a good amount of privacy and a good view. Connecting room means that noise can travel easily to the next cabin. Very spacious and well-lit. Not far from forward elevators but close enough to midship not to be too rocky. Definitely recommend it.

Port Reviews


I loved Barcelona as it's a beautiful city, and the people we met were incredibly nice. However, when we got on board the ship, the cruise director asked how many people were pickpocketed, and A LOT of hands went up. So, I think it's really wise to invest in pocket minders, neck pouches, etc.

Pluses - good subway system, easy embarkation point, cheap buses from the airport to downtown, great hop-on, hop-off buses. A bus tour of the city is probably a great idea because so much of the beauty of Barcelona lies along long boulevards that can take a long time to walk although the Gothic Quarter is probably best explored on foot.

Notes - Parc Guell is up a very steep hill - if you're not too out of a shape, you can take the subway and then climb the streets, sidewalks (they do have escalators for part of the climb), but if you're not fit or you're already blistered from days of touring, you'd better take a taxi or bus.

The Rambla did not seem like anything special, but it was late October, and it's probably much more vibrant in spring or summer.

The Cathedral (La Seu, aka Santa Eulalia) and Santa Maria del Mar are both beautiful churches, but the fourth best known church in Barcelona (#1 being Templo de la Sagrada Familia) is Santa Maria del Pi, and it's pretty fascinating as it seems rather "oppressive" in atmosphere instead of light like most churches. It's a beautiful church, and I don't believe in ghosts, but something about it (the darkness, the repetition of skulls and bones) made it feel like a good place for ghost hunters to check out.

Palma de Mallorca (Majorca)

We did a city tour in Palma which we enjoyed. The cathedral is beautiful and very large. Had a very good guide who was lots of fun. We also went up to a castle for views of the ship and walked around older parts of town. Not much shopping time on the tour (a theme throughout every port in Spain - REALLY surprising)and the port was accessible on foot as you needed a bus to the ship.

While describing this port, I'll also mention the next port, Malaga, which I would also give a 4. We were told Malaga is only "okay" and it was really quite beautiful. Their cathedral isn't something I've heard raved about and, actually, the interior is gorgeous. We also went to a castle above the cathedral for fantastic views of the bullring, the city, and the cathedral. I'm sure people will tell you that going to Granada is unforgettable, but if the tour sounds too rushed or is too expensive, seeing Malaga is certainly worthwhile. Again, shopping wasn't an easy thing to do, but the guides will tell you that you should at least try to sample some local muscatel wine.

Las Palmas (Gran Canaria)

Grand Canary was breathtaking. Beautiful mountains and tropical scenery - similar to the Caribbean except also similar to Brazil or other South American areas because of the architecture. It also felt more akin to Europe than the Caribbean or Latin America when it came to safety - good roads and infrastructure. As far as history and fascinating architecture, it isn't going to hold a candle to many European attractions, but the city is worth a visit. Going to the Banama Crater was also a neat experience. Beautiful verdant landscape in an extinct caldera made for some nice pictures.


Freeport is not my favorite place, but honestly, a big part of the problem is that the port is so ugly. Meanwhile, the people in Freeport are generally quite welcoming and much of the time the shopkeepers are friendly and not overly aggressive. There was some running up of prices and some exceedingly poor service (the Caribbean Cafe in Port Lucaya) but if you allow yourself to forget the concept that everyone considers Freeport the "New Jersey of Cruise Ship Ports of Call" you'll see that it's likely much nicer than being stuck at home. We did a semi-submersible tour on a boat called the Seaworld Explorer. The ramp to the boat felt rickety, and I'm not sure I'd recommend this tour to someone elderly. We'd read that the windows for the semi-sub were not great for photos, and they're not. We'd read that the coral reef was largely brown and dead, and it was. However, this was the first time we'd done a semi-submersible, and it was still a lot of fun. There were lots of colorful fish and by booking directly instead of through the cruise line, my friend was able to snorkel and the excursion was 25 dollars cheaper.

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