Great Fun, very good Service and Food, annoying Snags

Carnival Magic Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 6
Helpful Votes: 93

Overall rating:

4 out of 5
Carnival Magic

7 Night Western Caribbean (Galveston Roundtrip)

Sail date: January 25, 2015

Ship: Carnival Magic

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 7283

Traveled as: Large Group

Reviewed: 6 years ago

Review summary

Having cruised several lines with many on Carnival, we have an expectation of fun fun fun as the feature of a Carnival cruise. Carnival Magic with their dream 2.0 configuration easily met this requirement. Our party of 8 all had great fun even though our needs go from seniors to college age with one of our party wheel chair bound. Entertainment activities completely orchestrated by Carnival staff, those that included guests, and those that were mostly spontaneous by guests provided lol's comraderies, hugs and instant friends beyond just entertainment. The Red Frog pub exceeded our expectation and along with the Ocean Club made for central places to hang out and have a good time even when there was nothing specifically planned, although live music, karaoke, trivia and games, barbecue on the lanai provided plenty of fun and relaxation. It's hard to explain how cool that is on a cruise ship, to have relaxing and entertaining at the same time and in a hangout or meeting place without being at a show. This core area is also bookended by the main atrium which always had fun things going, the casino, a fun hub internet location and on the other end by the piano bar, all places that we used and enjoyed. In this summary, I also have to mention the Spa and the Steakhouse as places that we enjoyed and recommend any adults visit on a cruise. The spa might be a bit expensive if you haven't budgeted or compared to land based options but the Steakhouse is an experience and treat I believe is affordable on any budget. But before I say anymore specifics about the good things on the cruise let me touch on the two negative experiences on the overall cruise. In chronological sequence our first impression of the entire experience was the port facility at Galveston. It is not in the class of the newer facilities such as those at Port Canaveral or Miami so be prepared for a older poorly designed facility which requires you to go up endless ramps to get into the ship; a problem for us with the wheelchair bound member of our party and for anyone with mobility challenges. The facility had only one elevator that was in competition for wheel chair, mobility impaired, service workers, and others that did not want to take the escalator. We saw older and less mobile guests breathing heavily and having to stand aside on the ramps. That was exacerbated by the on-board processing itself which was inefficient and somewat chaotic. We were in the priority line but all agents were in a free for all with no facilitators controlling the line. It took us almost two hours to go from port arrival on to the ship, an experience we haven't seen in more than 20 years of cruises. This seemed to be as much an inefficient process, poor facility, and the staff. We made sure our entire party completed all of our online check-in documents and health forms in advance. Finally, on the ship with dozens of mobility restricted guests, the planning for the mandatory drill was very poor. The elevators are shut down and where these people should go seemed to be a mystery for some of the crew and certainly for us. The second - in chronological sequence was the availability of food especially on embarkation day. The quality of Lido marketplace food was good and the main restaurants very good but the early closing of the Lido marketplace buffet area was our biggest annoyance on the cruise. Carnival did offer grill lines to fill in the gap between the Lido closing and the early dining time when the Lido re-opened along with the main restaurants but on embarkation day this was a surprise we could not prepare for and although we tried to schedule for this we had shore days were we ate on shore knowing food was hard to find and average grill fare from mid afternoon to early dining on shore days. The lines for the grill was not a cruise worthy alternative; we think the Lido should not close completely during the day. Our first cruise day attempt for room service was another disappointment. In summary of the negatives; the on board process and facility, the Lido hours, combined with poor in-room dining could rate below three stars, and we don't patronize those ships at any price. You cannot make a much worse first impression when you combine a long travel day, a very long on board process followed by early closing of the lido, leaving hungry travellers in the emergency drill. So back to the positive things. The main dining room food was very good the service overall was excellent and the ship was very clean and the crew had many drills and maintenance events. The service, care, attention and entertainment provided by the staff in the main dining room and the other restaurants was absolutely outstanding. There were several members of the dining room and of the Red Frog pub staffs and other members of the crew that just seems like some of our best friends after a day or two on the ship. In summary we would go back on Carnival Magic tomorrow it's just that we would stay on to avoid the on boarding process :-)

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
Great quality and service in the Steakhouse, very good food and service in the main dining room but we are still very annoyed at Lido hours on embarkation day.

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5


5 out of 5

Service and Staff

5 out of 5

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
Fun, entertainment in a variety of venues, very good staff and service. Lido Marketplace hours undermined the entire cruise experience.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
Except for in room dining.

Ship tip

Get to the Lido before 3:00 pm on embarkation day and read the Fun Times for activities AND dining hours the night before. Of course get to shows 30 minutes early and don't miss adults comedy shows if your humor is broad.

Ports of call

Galveston, Texas

1 out of 5
The facility and procedures are the worst we have experienced. Especially bad for mobility impaire, almost two hours from Port to ship with completed paperwork.

Montego Bay, Jamaica

5 out of 5

George Town, Grand Cayman

5 out of 5

Cozumel, Mexico

5 out of 5
Always my favorite Western Caribbean port. As much or as little to do as you want from shopping, live entertainment, to exploring ruins that match the great ruins in Egypt and Pompeii, in our backyard.
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