March 2017 - Carnival Magic to Caribbean - Eastern
Our 7 night cruise departed from Port Canaveral. Embarkation was a little annoying. Carnival asks guests to book a check in time during online check in and these times begin about 10:30, half an hour time windows. Presumably, this cuts down on large crowds and rushes to board the boat all at once. How ever, they don't begin boarding til about noon which means, if you have a 10:30 window, you'll be sitting around for an hour an a half waiting for your boarding number to be called. My advice, pick a later check in time, and get on the boat more quickly.
This cruise, I was surprised to learn that rooms are only cleaned once a day. The steward came around and asked our cleaning preference, morning or evening. Every other cruise I've been on, the rooms are cleaned twice a day. Maybe this is a new policy, fleet wide or just Magic? Also, it seemed as if the shelves and glasses in the bathroom weren't even wiped down before we arrived. They had about 3 weeks worth of dust on them. I'm a stay at home mom of three. Believe me, I can tell how long it's been since something was cleaned.
We had Your Time Dining, so we could choose to have dinner between 5:45 and 9:00. The first night we were seated with a waiter that was so slow it was almost unbearable. Dinner took over two hours! I saw our meals arrive and sit for at least 15 minutes before they were brought to our table. That's pretty awful. The next night, we were seated in a different section and the waiter was much better. He was friendly and we were in and out in about and hour and a half. When you're dining with kids, this is important. We made sure to request his section every night after that.
Overall, the ship is clean and everything moves along nicely. It's a cruise with 3k plus people on board, so expect long lines and difficulty finding deck chairs on sea days if you're not out early. I was a little disappointed with Camp Ocean, the kids program. In years past, the agenda was so detailed and the activities were so fun and involved. My kids begged to go. This time around, the agenda was so vague, like "kids choice" from 11-12 or simply, "arts and crafts" from 1-2. Nothing seemed interesting. No face painting, no tshirt decorations, no candy necklaces or anything. They focused so much on build a bear, there wasn't much else, and that costs $30.
Food was pretty good and the variety was sufficient. The one thing Carnival needs to figure out is the amount of time it takes to serve pizza. The line is ridiculous and the process is slow. When the pizza place is the only food open, expect a wait. One might think that they would just make the 5 pizzas they have on the menu, continuously, especially when a large crowd is expected.
My favorite part of the cruise was the Dive in Movies. Carnival does a great job of offering different blockbusters each night. There are usually 2 shown, depending on length and they are pretty nice. Grab a deck chair, a blanket and some popcorn and you're all set! The comedians were also pretty great.
The main highlight and the one reason you should sail the Magic? The cruise director is the BEST!!!! His name is Dr. E, the good reverend. lol He's amazing, hilariously funny and totally involved with the guests. Do not miss anything he is involved in. I've been on 10+ cruises and I have yet to find a cruise director that does it better than Everson Belvelle. If Carnival is smart, they will pay this man anything he asks and have him train other cruise directors.