January 2015 - Carnival Magic to Caribbean - Western
We traveled with a family of 12, 11 adults and 1 baby, and there was something for everyone to enjoy on this cruise. What stands out as exceptional is the customer service and cleanliness of the ship. Workers were everywhere, always cleaning, and smiling and welcoming the guests. We were especially popular since we had our 8 month old grandson with us. The crew really enjoyed the baby, especially those who were missing their own children at home.
I have been on 7 or 8 (?) cruises and this was my third time on Carnival. As always, I loved the food and their warm chocolate melting cake is one of the reasons that I choose this line! Also, the cruise was well-priced, very important since we were treating some of our children to this cruise. We were surprised that they were actually charging for some special menu items, like lobster, on the dinner menu, but ordered some anyway because they were very delicious. Every night we enjoyed eating in the main dining area with our entire family and we all really enjoyed the good variety of food from sushi to steak to vegetarian dishes.
Entertainment on my first Carnival cruise I thought was fairly blah compared to other lines I went on afterwards but I really enjoyed the comedians on this ship and like that Carnival is doing that regularly now. It is especially nice that they have as many family friendly comedy shows as adult ones. We have only attended the family ones. Another enjoyable thing on this ship was the one night performance of a magician/comedian. I did not attend the one really big show they had during the middle of the week but my Dad said it was one of the best shows he has ever seen on a cruise, and he has been on many of them! So the entertainment has stepped up to be an enjoyable part of the cruise.
The Spa is one of our favorite places and this ship was one of the best ones we have enjoyed. It has the heated ceramic beds (my favorite), the whirlpool, sauna and steam rooms. We always sign up for the special couples package to have use of these facilities all week and we were very pleased. However, it was frustrating for my husband and daughter, who bought other services from the spa, that they continued to try and sell them really hard for other services. When you pay a lot of money for a massage, you want to enjoy it without being pressured to buy other services as well.
The ports on this cruise were Belize, Cozumel, and Roatan. We have been to all of these places a few times before but I was very pleased that the Cozumel and Roatan stops were at different ports than we had been to before and both were much better. At Roatan, we could simple walk off the ship, go through a lovely path, and be at a very beautiful beach! No money for a van and no worries about renting a chair - plenty free available. Earlier that morning, some of the family enjoyed going on the zipline, and then we all gathered at the beach. It was a great day. At Cozumel our entire group spent the day at Chankanaab Park and we absolutely loved it. We chose the excursion that included snorkeling, a sea lion show, gardens, and lunch. For the few drinkers in our group, they also enjoyed tequila tasting and that alcoholic drinks were included with our meal and throughout the day. I enjoyed virgin pina coladas. The nice thing is that you could do everything at your own pace, including skipping some (or all) of the activities and just sit on the beach or swim. Several of us took advantage of the massages offered - only $35 for two people for 20 minutes each and they were amazing massages. Loved this day too.
Other activites we enjoyed on the boat included the many trivia games offered, one of my favorite things to do on sea days. Our whole family competed together in Super Trivia and had fun despite not doing very well this time. Some of the group enjoyed the miniature golfing. Our 23 year old is single and would have enjoyed having opportunity to visit more with other young singles but there just didn't seem to be that many on the boat this time. However, he enjoyed the excursions, food, spa, and some of the entertainment.
4.5 stars I would give this cruise. It can't beat the large royal caribbean boat we've been on. That was pretty amazing just enjoying the ship itself, but those do cost more. Some small things that could tip this to a 5 star cruise would be nicer decor, rather boring on this ship, more comfortable beds (they were okay), and more places to gather when you travel in a large group to play games, etc. That being said, they had a library with plenty of good games to check out and tables to use if you are in a smaller group.
A few other small things:
My daughter and her baby did need to see the doctor during the week and he was great, a pediatrician who was happy to have a baby to treat (ear infection).
For shopping, there was pretty good jewelry, a lovely candy shop, and some purses, etc. However, there was not a wide variety of toiletries or over the counter medications on board, so be sure to pack what you need. Our daughter and her husband ran out of diapers, luckily not until the end of the cruise .. and there were only 4 diapers left on the ship, just enough to get them through.
Overall it was a great experience and I do highly recommend this cruise.