Carnival Magic March 17th cruise
Carnival Magic Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western
Sail Date: March 17, 2013
Ship: Carnival Magic
Cabin Type: Balcony
Traveled As: Family (older children)
Reviewed: 5 years ago
The ship was very crowded but from what I understand, this is unusual. We had 3600 passengers on the ship including 1500 children. It was very hard to find a chair in the sun and the buffet lines sometimes took a long time. I booked all my excursions from external websites and they were great. There were only a maximum of 11 people on any of the excursions. This was our first cruise, so we were not prepared for many of the activities on the ship requiring extra money.
It is definitely worth spending the $49 for the Faster to the Fun pass as we were able to board and debark from the ship incredibly fast. We went to Belize, so we had to go through Customs and it only took us a total of 30 minutes to get from the ship to our shuttle. Discount Shuttle is fantastic by the way. We booked it in advance and saved money and time.
We are used to going to all-inclusive in Mexico, so we were not prepared for the limited food options. We did the any-time dining and we seemed to get a little ignored while the set time diners were getting served so we only went to the main dining only 3 of the 7 nights. The buffet pretty much had the same thing every day and the only other options were a 24 hour pizza place, a grill that served hotdogs and hamburgers and a deli that had about 10 choices for sandwiches. In Mexico, the buffet changes daily and there are usually many more specialty restaurants that are also includes in the all-inclusive, plus all your drinks are covered.
For entertainment, the slides were fun, the sky walk was fun and we really enjoyed the Comedy club. It was really nice that they had family friendly comedy times as well. The shows were only good on 3 nights and on 2 or 3 nights, they only had one show time at 10:15. This is not a very family friendly start time. Again, I have seen much better shows in Mexico as they really do them up. There were many singing acts around the ship that were fantastic and they even had a piano bar and karaoke every night.
The gym and spa were state of the art and we use both many times as we bought what they call a spa room and could use parts of the spa any time they were open. The massage therapists were excellent but were required to push selling items too much.
The best part was going to places we have never been before and learning about the culture. Be warned though that Carnival will tell you that Belize is dangerous, I'm guessing because your excursion and shopping prices drop in half once you leave their pier. That is the only place that we didn't book an excursion in advance because we wanted to tour Belize city and I didn't want to pay $54 a person to do it. We ended up getting a tour that was very informative and lasted almost 2 hours for about $25 a person onshore when we arrived.
Overall, I would say it was a good experience but if you want more bang for your money, go to the Riviera Maya region of Mexico, just south of Cancun. This was one of the more expensive vacations we have taken in the last several years and we drove to it instead of flying. I can do a week in Mexico for around $2300 for three of us and then add some excursions. This includes airfare. You have beachfront rooms and can hit the beach anytime you want and swim in one of many large pools. I bought a balcony room for this cruise and paid about $3000 upfront, then bought excursions and a couples massage for about $700 and then with the tips and other not included fees on the ship we left with a balance for onboard spending of about $1100 (this did include some discount shopping on the last few days as they started having sales). So we spent about $4800 instead of $2300 plus about $400 for a couple of excursions in Mexico. We never spend a dime at our hotels in Mexico unless you want to tip extra so you can see that real value there as $1500 of that is airfare.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Get to the shows really early as they get packed. The icecream station is fantastic.