December 2015 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Galveston Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Magic
Firstly, I want to debunk a myth about bad food on Carnival Magic. I have extremely sensitive stomach and I cannot eat at 98 percent of restaurants - if the food is not fresh, I immediately get sick (we cook a lot at home). I tried all possible food places on the ship and got stick only once in seven days, having 3-4 meals per day on average (I got sick eating salad buffet on the 4th day of cruise, I think mayo went bad in coleslaw salad that stood for 5 hours in the heat).
Another myth busted about the fast pass - did not buy one, and was always one of the first ones off the ship and on the ship - just booked the room (thanks to Cheap Cruises employee who gave a very good advice on which one to book on the ship), a few floors above the exit/entrance point.
I loved the spa with all four saunas and whirlpool/Jacuzzi swimming pool, we bought a couple pass for the entire week for 300 and visited it twice per day while our son was at Camp Ocean.
Loved Camp Ocean and our son had a blast there too begging to be taken there every day. I saw two kids on the elevators who did not like it and asked their parents not to bring them there. But it was just two kids from about 70 kids in 7 days.
I truly believe that this is the best vacation for parents who have 3-8 year old kids (can't comment about pre-teens and teens, they have their own activity centers, and from 11 they can roam around the ship on their own).
I gave 4 stars out of 5, because of two incidents during the trip. We pre-ordered water and a bottle of alcohol on line through Carnival. They said that water will be delivered as soon as we got on the ship, alcohol will be delivered the next day. On our way out from our estate we met a guy with our water. We were pleased about delivery, and very shocked not to find the water in our room after we returned. It took us about 20 hours to figure out where our water disappeared. The Cruise guest service manager said that it had to be delivered only the next day together with alcohol, but it was not what my printed out confirmation said. I did not drink their room water out of principle. Was rather thirsty at night.
The second incident ruined our family Christmas dinner - we tried Cucina del Capitano. My hubby choked on his NY strip steak - it was very chewy, full of tendents; my son hated the meatballs, and my dish was their specialty - very blend, without salt or pepper or anything. The chef came to apologize and offered to replace with another dish, but 3 out of 3 being bad we did not want anything. Service and appetizer was great, wine was OK. We got a refund from guest services for my hubby's steak, but Christmas dinner and mood were ruined. I do not advise anyone to go to eat there, as one has to pay extra 15 dollars per person, and mandatory trip which is included.
On the other hand the Steak House restaurant was out of this world, with gourmet appetizers, perfectly done steak and we complemented chef on numerous occasions that night - it is very much worth 35 extra per person, if you want to have a romantic dinner. Did not see any kids there, they were enjoying their camps.
I loved the ship - it did not look worn off or dated as others reported; everything was clean, beds were made twice per day, towels changed upon request - perfect service.
We will go on this ship again, just different route. Wish there was more time on shore, I kind of felt rushed to get back to ship (unnecessary stress). We did not book any excursions as we planned our own trips on shore and had lots of fun and went to off beaten places. Not advised if you don't speak Spanish, or if you are not seasoned traveler or if you consider other cultures/races inferior.
Ship was never too crowded as we managed to find certain time where we could enjoy the entire spa just two of us (it happened three days out of 7).
Thank you for the great vacation - we prefer a good seven day cruise (would never go on a shorter one) over all inclusive resort vacation.