Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community


  • Content Count

  • Joined

About Super27

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Kansas City
  • Interests
    Travel, Cruising, Disney
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. The DOU card has to be picked up from the casino host. That said, I ordered a couple drinks while playing video poker before I got the card, and they were comped, so I assume DOU is already on the S&S account and the physical card is just a formality. The OBC is automatically added to your account as a credit, so it will apply to anything you charge to your room. To use it in the casino, I just charged $500 on a slot, and then immediately cashed out and took my S&S card to the cage to get money. That avoids the 3% fee that they charge at tables. The only 3:2 blackjack was the $25 table, and it was only open in the evenings for a few hours. That was probably the biggest disappointment for me, because I refuse to sit down at a 6:5 table, so ended up playing a lot of 3 card poker instead (my girlfriend's game of choice) since craps had limited hours too.
  2. Oh I forgot about the escargot! That's always one of my favorite appetizers, and you're right it was definitely missing on this cruise.
  3. I actually prefer to stay onboard at pretty much any port. My thought is there's so much to do on the ship that I've already paid for, I just don't see the thrill to getting off. I usually spend port days enjoying the empty bars and reading a book by the pool. My girlfriend and her mother did get off at both Key West and Cozumel. On this itinerary we got into Key West at 7:30am and had to be back on board at 12:30pm. They walked around a bit, but said that a lot of places weren't even open for most of the time they were there. Cozumel we arrived at about 12:30pm and back on board time was 7:30pm. They cabbed it over to a private beach club. They said the place was fine but the beach was rocky. It also was a little rainy that day, so not a great beach day in general.
  4. We just got off the Victory yesterday, and had a 4-day sailing out of Miami with stops at Key West and Cozumel. This time it was me, my girlfriend, and her mother. We had two interior cabins on deck 10. We were booked on a casino offer that came with a Drinks on Us card and some onboard credit. Here are some quick thoughts, I'm not going to go too in-depth because the Victory is only going to be around for about 3 more months so a lot of what I talk about here will probably change. Embarkation: We purchased FTTF for both cabins, and thought that the embarkation process in Miami went very smoothly. We got to port about 10:45am, and were onboard by about 11:20am. Check-in was quick, and there was literally zero line at security. It was SO much better than our last experience at Ft. Lauderdale, and at this point we've pretty much decided that FTTF is a must-do. The room was ready upon our arrival onboard, so we were able to immediately drop our carry on luggage and start exploring the ship. Our checked bags arrived well before dinner; if I remember right by the time we got lunch and wandered around a bit, our checked bags were there and we were able to start settling in prior to the muster drill. Stateroom: My girlfriend and I were in cabin 1020, which is an interior on deck 10 (Panorama Deck). The layout is pretty standard, and we were overall very happy with the room. There is plenty of storage space for everything in the bedroom area, and a decent amount of shelving in the bathroom. The temperature in the room was comfortable throughout the cruise, and the thermostat seemed to work pretty well when we wanted it warmer or cooler. I was pretty happy with the location of the room, as you can walk right from deck 10 out into the lido pool area, so it's very convenient to get to everything. The hallway did get a little noisy though, and it seemed like you could hear EVERYTHING through the cabin door. I don't ever remember the doors being that "thin" on past cruises. The door also let in quite a bit of light, and the position of the electronic thermostat meant that the light from the LEDs reflected off the mirror towards the bed at night. Those were, overall, pretty minor issues, and they didn't bother us too much. Ship in General: Overall we really liked the Victory. Although a different class, we thought her layout felt very familiar from our previous cruise on Liberty. There were definitely some places where the age of the ship showed, but in general I was really impressed with how clean public areas were, and how well kept up everything was. In particular, I was wowed by the cleanliness of the public bathrooms; every time I used one it was spotless. Although there is no Ocean Plaza on this ship, the promenade area on Deck 5 is spacious, and there are plenty of places to sit indoors and relax while not feeling like it's insanely crowded. I like having the Alchemy Bar in that area as well; it just feels a bit more "off the beaten path," and doesn't seem to get as ridiculously crowded as the ones in Ocean Plaza on larger ships do. The outdoor lounging areas are large and spacious, although there is definitely a lack of deck chairs compared to the larger ships. On the Breeze, for instance, we never had a problem finding a quiet spot full of loungers that wasn't crowded. Not so on Victory, I think mainly because the loungers are more concentrated around pools and they don't have that extra wrap-around lanai deck with loungers and hot tubs. That said, we appreciated that the aft pool on Victory was adults only, which was actively enforced, and they didn't hesitate to pull the roof closed when it started to rain. Food: I was pretty happy with the food on the Victory, but can't say I was wowed. MDR: We had the open seating, which was in the Atlantic (forward) dining room on deck 3. We liked our waitstaff the first night, and requested them each night, which the hostesses were happy to accommodate. We never had a wait to be seated. The food was good, but not spectacular. Highlights for me from throughout the cruise were the braised rabbit appetizer, the peach soup, the beef tenderloin, the sweet and sour shrimp (the fried rice they serve with it was amazing), the melting cake, and the tiramisu. One disappointing item was the strawberry soup; it's normally excellent, but this time was a little too clumpy. The baked potato I got with the prime rib on formal night was also a little underdone. Service was excellent; my only complaint here is that they now expect you to order appetizer, entree, and dessert at the same time. I really don't like that at all, as at the beginning of the dinner I'm not even sure if I'm going to want dessert. Overall, though, we really enjoyed our meals in the MDR. Guy's Burgers: Excellent as always. Not much to say here since it's been discussed so extensively in the past. Dining Room Breakfast: The food was solid, but the service was consistently slow. They also made a few minor mistakes with our orders, like an incorrect side, but it wasn't a big deal. I really enjoyed the avocado toast; the poached eggs were done absolutely perfectly. On the Sea Day Brunch (new menu), my girlfriend was quite disappointed with the Huevos Rancheros; she said it's nowhere near as good as it used to be. I was happy with my salmon eggs benedict though. Pizza Pirate: As always, we thoroughly enjoyed the pizza onboard. One thing we both noticed was that on the prosciutto pizza there was some sort of garlic spread on there that they were VERY heavy-handed with. We love garlic, so wasn't a problem for us, but I could see it being an issue for some folks. I did notice on a few occasions that there were people lined up at the Pizza place and nobody seemed to be there to take orders. Seafood Shack: For lunch, we tried an order of raw oysters. I was very happy with them, and at $1.50 each, I though they were a good value. Definitely worth the up-charge. Sushi: They have the Bonsai Express, and it's located at a small cart near the casino bar. It's basically the same menu that they call "Sushi at Sea" on other ships. I tried a few pieces each of salmon and yellow fin tuna, and was happy with it. The price was also very reasonable, and I thought it was worth the up-charge. Casino: We spent a fair amount of time in the casino, and I have to say that overall I was disappointed. The selection of table games was pretty limited, and most of the time they didn't have very many tables open. Almost all of the tables were $5 or $6 limits; I prefer when they have some $10, $15, or $25 tables. They did have one $25 blackjack table that was open on occasion. The craps table was also only open about 50% of the time, which was extremely disappointing. They had plenty of slots and video poker machines, so if you're a slot player you'll be perfectly happy. The hosts and pit bosses did not seem nearly as friendly or outgoing as on past cruises either. I still enjoyed the time I spent playing, but not as much as I have in the past. They got far less money out of me than they might have, which I guess is good for me in the long run. Oh, one other thing - I will say that the cocktail servers in the casino were phenomenal. They were very friendly and quick, and by the second day knew peoples' names and orders. Entertainment: We went to the welcome aboard show and Vroom, and really enjoyed them both. If you happen to be on Victory between now and March, GO TO THE SHOWS. It is the only ship left in the fleet that doesn't have the same "Playlist Production" shows, so it's the last chance to see some of the "old school" shows. They also have a band in the stage pit providing the music for every show, and they were awesome. My girlfriend and her mom did bingo one day, and said that the host Olivia did a great job. Our cruise director was Savannah, and I wasn't overly impressed with her. I rarely saw her around the ship, and she just didn't seem that friendly. One thing I will give her is that the shows/events she ran all started on time, which was a pleasant change from our last cruise where everything seemed to run 15-20 minutes behind schedule. We did go to the piano bar one night, and I really enjoyed the show that Donald did. He had a good personality and there was a little banter, but it was mostly just playing and singing songs, which is what I prefer. Too often I think the piano bar performers try to be too much comedian/talk show host and not enough piano player. Donald got the balance right, and I regret we didn't spend more time in there. Well, that's about it. I didn't get off the ship, so I don't have any comments on the ports. The one overall comment I will add is that the crew of this ship was excellent. Everyone was very friendly and went out of their way to be helpful. While I try not to let the behavior of other guests affect my experience, I do have to say it was really disappointing to see just how obnoxiously rude some folks can be to the crew, and particularly how demeaning they were with the manner in which they speak to and interact with them. I hope we all take the time to remember that these crewmembers work their you-know-whats off, and 99.99% of them do an AMAZING job, so even when something doesn't go perfectly, it doesn't hurt to cut them some slack and remember you're on vacation...relax and enjoy it!
  5. If you're a table player, your best bet to maximize comps is to just go sit at the $25 blackjack table and consistently bet $30/hand. That table is normally not that crowded ($25 min keeps a lot of folks away), so the pit bosses will get to know if you if you're there long/often enough, and if you get a good rapport going with them/the dealers, they'll take care of you. I also believe that if the pit bosses see you regularly tipping the dealers, they are more inclined to return the favor with little things like throwing you a free drink here and there before you qualify for the DOU card. But if you bring a decent bankroll and play consistently at $30/hand, you'll be qualified for DOU pretty quickly.
  6. That wasn't a blackjack table, that was a "Fun 21" table. It's basically Carnival's variation on Spanish 21. If you want to play true Blackjack in a Carnival casino, rather than some variant of 21, those tables usually are in the back with a $25 minimum.
  7. We had the same issue with YTD on the Magic. On the last couple nights, I finally just left the phone in the room and flat out said no when they asked if we would use the app. We checked in manually with the hostess and were seated immediately, while those that had used the app and supposedly had their tables ready were all still standing on the other side of the hostess stand waiting for someone to seat them. So, my advice for YTD is to tell them you don't have your phone (they are VERY pushy about making you use the app, so best bet is to hide the phone) and just check in manually every time. That's also the only way to request a specific area, server, etc.
  8. It sounds like that's exactly what they're doing. What's described in this article sounds extremely similar to the FAA-mandated Safety Management System (SMS) that all U.S. commercial airlines have. SMS is all about leveraging data collection and hazard analysis to proactively manage risk and prevent incidents/accidents. Definitely sounds like a step in the right direction to me.
  9. Haven’t heard any specifics about that. My hope would be that they use that time for a general face lift, and to address some of the smell issues other folks are reporting, rather than trying to add anything new.
  10. It’s pretty smoky, to the point your clothes will smell after spending any significant time in there. In fact, there were a couple times that we could smell the smoke all the way down at the lobby bar. The bartender there said she can smell it all the time.
  11. Our arrival appointment was 1:30-2:00 and we got there about 1:20. The line was wrapped all the way around the building and then down past another one of the buildings. To me it seems like the earlier the better!
  12. I realized I forgot to mention that the sushi is an extra cost too. I believe it’s $3 for sushi or sashimi, $5 for a basic roll, and $7.50 for the specialty rolls. The menu is also posted online a lot of places just google “carnival sushi at sea.” Have a great cruise!!!
  13. St. Maarten we took a cab to Maho Beach and had lunch at Sunset Bar. Just walk up to the cab dispatchers outside port in the orange shirts, it's $16/person round trip. Sunset was fun and the food was good, but the only worthwhile part of that beach itself is the plane-watching. It's very rocky and insanely crowded. St. Kitts we chartered a private catamaran through Purple Turtle Charters. They were AWESOME, highly recommend using them. You just take a cab over to Frigate Bay from the port, I think the cab ride is $12 each way. If you go over to Nevis, you need to go to Sunshine's beach bar and get a Killer Bee. Their mahi mahi was also among the best fish I've ever had. San Juan we stayed on the boat. Grand Turk we we walked down the beach about 10 minutes to Jack's Shack. Good strong drinks, reasonable prices, fun people, and amazing jerk chicken.
  14. We just got off an 8-night cruise on the Magic, so I thought I'd share a quick review. As a bit of background, it was me (31) and my girlfriend (33) traveling together. This is our third cruise on Carnival, the previous two being on the Breeze and Liberty. Rather than do a play-by-play, I'm going to just hit the highlights of the things we experienced. Port Everglades I'll say one thing about Port Everglades: NEVER AGAIN. I used to think LaGuardia Airport was the most inefficient and poorly run transportation hub in the country, until I discovered Port Everglades. It's understaffed, disorganized, and clearly not well-enough equipped to handle the number of passengers that it does. The lines were insane for both embarkation and debarkation. Debarkation was the worse of the two, most likely because they only had half of the customs windows staffed. The only positive shout-out I'll give is to the sheriff's department. They were walking around handing out bottles of water to folks standing outside in the heat in line. Bottom line, if you decide to cruise the Magic while she is at Port Everglades, consider Faster to the Fun a MUST. Ship in General Overall I was pleased with the Magic and would definitely cruise her again. That said, she is a little rougher around the edges than her sister ship the Breeze. We noticed minor wear and tear around the public areas; little things like chair cushions that were badly worn, holes in some of the umbrellas, carpets that needed replaced, etc. The crew did a great job keeping everything clean though. I was really impressed with the cleanliness of the public restrooms in particular. Also, any trash that was left on tables in areas like Ocean Plaza was almost immediately cleared away. One thing I really like about the Magic (and the other dream class ships) is the lanai deck and Ocean Plaza. It's my favorite place on the ship to go to just sit and relax with an adult beverage or cup of coffee. There's almost always some type of activity or music going on near the stage in Ocean Plaza, but there are plenty of quiet spots both indoors and outdoors on that deck that you can go read a book, work the crossword/sodoku (pick up puzzles free by the coffee shop), watch a movie on your iPad, etc. The only drawback to Ocean Plaza is the location of the Alchemy Bar there. Because it is so centrally located, it is always PACKED. I much preferred the setup on the Liberty, where it is a bit more out of the way, and never seemed to be overly crowded. Since it is talked about so much on here and on FB, I feel that I need to at least mention the topic of smells. I've read many horror stories about awful mildew and sewage odors throughout the ship. I can only speak to my personal experience, but I didn't notice any particularly offensive odors. There were a couple times walking down hallways that I got a whiff of something unpleasant, but it was momentary and wasn't strong enough to bother me. I might not have even given it a second thought but for all of the complaints I had read online before the cruise. I'll also say this: I traveled for a living for many years, and I've smelled way worse things in hotel hallways than anything I smelled on the magic. Food The most important part of a cruise for me is the food, and the Magic did not disappoint. Here are my thoughts on the places that we tried: MDR: Overall it was good. We did your time dining, which we prefer, but I really didn't like the new reservation system. They are basically forcing you to request a table via the mobile app. In theory, that works great, but there's no good way to request specific waitstaff that way. I tried to go up to the hostess stand to check in manually, and one of the crewmembers literally took my phone out of my hands to open the Carnival app and request a table that way. The other issue is that the lines by the hostess stand are not well organized, and it gets very congested because I think they "ping" a lot of people from the app at once. My advice, particularly if you want to sit in a certain section, is to just put your phone in your pocket, tell them you don't have it with you, and go check in manually. When we did that the last night, we were seated immediately, ahead of people who had used the app and were caught in the chaos on the other side of the hostess stand. Once seated, the food and service did not disappoint. The highlight for me was the prime rib. I expect decent prime rib from Carnival, but this time it was absolutely outstanding. Just make sure to ask for extra horseradish if you like that, as theirs is not spicy at all, but still very flavorful. Another thing I recommend doing in the MDR is the wine package. It isn't well advertised, but if you ask your server the first night they will bring you a card with all the details. We did the 5 bottle package, and if you buy the package you save about 20%. versus buying bottles individually. Steakhouse: Highly recommended. It's a little bit off the beaten path, and features a nice quiet ambiance. The service is professional, but I didn't find the servers to be as friendly or outgoing as the servers in the MDR or the Cucina. The food, though, is incredible. I did the french onion soup, and then the Australian Wagyu beef for my entree. The Wagyu was a flat iron steak, which I ordered rare, and it was delicious. Perfectly cooked, very tender, and incredibly flavorful. My girlfriend had the filet, which was also prepared beautifully. Italian Cucina: I can't say enough good things about the Cucina! We went twice for dinner and once for lunch. Keep in mind the lunch is free, and is the perfect place to go on embarkation day because nobody will have found it yet and so it'll be EMPTY. As for the food, the spaghetti carbonara that I had for dinner was by far the best meal I had on the entire trip. The service is also second to none. The servers strike the perfect balance of being professional and maintaining a slightly upscale atmosphere, while also being down to earth, very outgoing and personable, and a ton of fun. If you go in the near future, ask for Grozdana as your waitress, she's awesome! For $15/person, dinner here is an absolute steal, so I highly recommend giving it a shot. Guy's Burgers: As always, they were great. I don't think I can say much more than has been said a million times on here. Staff was really friendly and did a great job of keeping the line moving. Blue Iguana: Ditto with Guy's Burgers. I'm not even a big fan of Mexican, but I love this place because everything just tastes so fresh. Also, if you like spicy, definitely give the habanero sauce from the toppings bar a try. It's the one with like five of the little pepper icons next to it. I love it when a sauce that's supposed to be spicy is actually SPICY! Sushi at Sea: This is on deck 5 near the Red Frog Pub. We tried a California Roll and a couple pieces of salmon and yellowtail sushi. To be honest, I wasn't particularly impressed. The roll had a bit of a fishy taste to it, and the consistency just seemed a bit off. The individual pieces tasted fresher and were not at all fishy, but the rice was warm, and so by the time I was served and ate it, the fish sitting on top of it was no longer cold. I'd avoid this place, not necessarily because it was particularly awful, but because there are just so many better options. Pizza: We tried pizza delivery twice. The first attempt was a bit of an epic failure. We were sitting in the outdoor seating of Red Frog Pub. My girlfriend placed the order and entered the location. Long story short, the pizza never came, and we later found out that he had been wandering around inside the pub, but never looked right outside - and the place wasn't crowded either, we were the only people around. So, moral of the story, make sure you are very specific on your location, and if it says they are there and you don't see them, get up and look around. They did automatically refund the $5 for the missed delivery. The second time we had pizzas delivered to the room, and it showed up on time and was delicious as always. Sea Day Brunch: Magic is still using the old menu, which made me happy! I had the hen ala diavola, which is amazing, and sadly is being taken away when they roll-out the new menu. My girlfriend had the mac and cheese, which was pretty disappointing. It's not the same they serve at dinner; this was more like glorified Easy Mac. The excellent banana cream pie ended the meal on a high note. One other food option we really enjoyed was the "light lunch" they served in Ocean Plaza. The soups were delicious. They also do a continental breakfast in the same area that never seems crowded. Most mornings I did room service breakfast. We tried two of the extra-fee breakfast sandwiches. My girlfriend did the sausage biscuit with hash browns ($3), and it was not very good at all. I tried the salmon bagel ($5), and it was delicious, although very heavy on the cream cheese and therefore very messy to eat. While I enjoyed mine, I probably would stick to the free options going forward. Also, don't forget about tea time! They only do it for an hour or two in the afternoon on sea days, but it's well worth it! It's peaceful and quiet, and the little sandwiches and treats they have are actually really good! Casnio I spent a LOT of time in the casino this cruise, and really enjoyed myself. For the most part, the dealers are a lot of fun, and the pit bosses do a great job of making you feel welcome. The selection of table games isn't bad. There are 2 roulette wheels and 1 craps table. In my opinion they need another craps table. Card games include blackjack, Fun 21, let it ride, heads up hold-em, and 3 card poker. Minimums for most tables were pretty low, with craps, blackjack, roulette, and 3-card poker all being mostly in the $5 range. They also offered $10 blackjack pretty much all the time, and one $25 table only at night. That was my table of choice, because it was the only 3:2 table in the casino. There's also a ton of slots obviously, and about 12 video poker machines. I pumped some money into the slots, but not much. Everyone is always asking how tight or loose they are...in my opinion they are a little tighter than the Vegas strip, but not by much. I earned the drinks-on-us card the second night, and took full advantage of it. I found the cocktail servers to be very quick, and my glass was rarely empty. Staff/Crew Can't say enough good things about the Magic team. The staff goes out of their way to be helpful, and consistently does so with a smile. Bar service was generally fast and friendly, and as always with Carnival the bartenders and servers made an effort to get to know us and our drink orders. The only bar that really didn't impress me in terms of service was the Red Frog Pub. Simon the cruise director seemed like a genuinely nice guy, and was very enthusiastic. At times, though, it seemed like he was kind of disorganized and running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Some of his announcements were way behind what was actually happening. It also seemed like a lot of the events on this cruise started late and ran long. I'm not blaming that on him specifically, though. The one exception was muster drill; he did a great job of getting that done efficiently. Entertainment Apparently I'm in the minority here, but I really enjoy the Playlist Productions shows. 88 Keys is INCREDIBLE, and the male and female lead both had amazing voices that were really well-suited to the playlist. It's so upbeat, fun, and entertaining I would have gone back and watched it a second time that night, but we were starving and needed to get dinner. Flick was great too. And while I enjoyed America Rocks and the performers were great, the song selections just weren't up my alley. We skipped Country Roads, but we did go to the variety show (comedy juggling), and really enjoyed his show! We stopped by the piano bar one night, and stayed about 5 minutes. Russell Blues seems like a fun guy, and plays piano well. He's got a decent voice, but he's more into doing voice impersonations and trying to be funny rather than just singing the songs. I know a lot of people like that type of show that includes some comedy and chit-chat, but it's just not my cup of tea. Due to the time spent in the casino, we didn't make it to any of the other shows or the comedy club this time. Bottom Line The Magic is a nice ship with an absolutely fantastic crew. While she may not be the crown jewel of the Carnival fleet, I think the wide variety of food/beverage/activity options onboard make this ship an ideal choice, especially if it's your first or second cruise and you want to try out a lot of different things to see what your niche is. Feel free to ask any questions, I'd be happy to answer what I can!
  15. It's a flat iron steak. I had it last week on the Magic and loved it. I order my meat rare and it was cooked perfectly, and very tender and flavorful.
  • Create New...