Carnival Magic Cruise Review by Darshan1
- Sail Date: November 2011
- Destination: Transatlantic
- Cabin Type: Cove Balcony
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.
An amazing staff. Our stewardess, Jolanta, was wonderful as were her assistants. Our waiters, A.K., Dario, and Sergh were so hard working and very friendly as was the beverage steward, Marijana. I was very impressed with the staff in the Lido, the coffee shop, the piano bar, room service staff, and the chef, Daniel Anulraj.
The food was generally quite good. They seemed to have changed how they do things as they don't have both a starter and a salad at dinner, but, obviously, if you're still hungry after a three-course dinner, there's always more food to eat. If you enjoy the premium restaurants, the Magic's steakhouse was superb as was the Chef's Table event which is $75 per person, but provides seven courses, wine, and a tour of the spotless and impressive galley.
The entertainment staff were a fun bunch, and gosh did they have to put up with a lot of grouching from unreasonable passengers demanding live television in the middle of the ocean. Major kudos to Carnival for their unflagging good cheer.
Usually, I don't think of Carnival as a great line for "enrichment" but they had a number of useful photography classes led by Radu, and a photography competition that generated a lot of participation.
Last, cove balconies are fantastic. If you have trouble with the claustrophobia of being cooped up indoors on a ship for days on end, you need to try a cove balcony room. Seriously awesome.
Here are a couple suggestions for potential passengers: The "smoke-free" casino did not work out to be smoke-free (at all) as there are a few smoking areas, and the smoke permeates the entire area. If that's not going to work for you, perhaps start a petition to have a completely smoke free night like they do on Princess. Second, a lot of people caught a moderate cold on this sailing - They have Purell before you eat and before you use the computer, but you're touching the slot machines just as much as a computer keyboard and there's no Purell. Go around the corner to the "Fun Hub" (a computer/internet area - there are several on board) and use Purell before and after losing your money to the slots. :-)
If deck five is too crowded and noisy, there's a row of couches on four across from the teen disco where you can read or have a quiet conversation. There's no sea-view, but there are also no beverage servers, so it's an area where you can feel like you can sit as long as you want without needing to buy a drink.
Probably on most vessels it's difficult to get good seats for the shows unless you go very early and sit for an hour or more. Well, even though this ship is bigger, it doesn't seem like the theater is bigger nor are other venues, so even something like the "future cruise talk" can be jammed to capacity. Popular areas like the Ocean Plaza can be crowded with people playing cards instead of taking part in whatever activity is supposed to be taking place. So plan ahead and go early to the events you'd like to hit.
In all seriousness, it's apparent that a lot of mistakes were made when this ship was built based on facts such as the damaged, dinged, and cracked sconces in all the elevators from poorly driven hoverounds (they were removed in Freeport, by the way) - apparently no one predicted that. Well, they also didn't predict how overcrowded the buffet or other popular areas were going to be at peak periods. So when they get around to overhauling the ship, I hope they find a way to reduce congestion.
I love Carnival and will certainly sail with them again, but I wish I could hijack this wonderful crew and sail with them on a different vessel. Still this was a relaxing cruise, and, despite the Grand Turk mix up, the vast majority of guests seemed to be having a great time.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
BarcelonaI 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.View All 1,873 Barcelona Cruise Port Reviews
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.
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FreeportFreeport 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.View All 1,241 Freeport Cruise Port Reviews
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Las PalmasGrand 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.View All 197 Las Palmas Cruise Port Reviews
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Palma de MallorcaWe 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.View All 669 Palma de Mallorca Cruise Port Reviews
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.
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