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Found 250 results

  1. WWYD? I previously asked for opinions on Breeze vs Dream, but I found a different itinerary that I am interested in. Breeze - 7 night eastern caribbean: Amber Cove, St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk, 2 sea days Magic - 8 night southern caribbean: Aruba, Curacao, La Romana, DR, Amber Cove, 3 sea days Price is within a few bucks of each other, looking at an oceanview guarantee on both. Magic is a few extra hours drive to Miami (Breeze is PC) which would involve me driving the day before and spending money on a hotel, but since price is the same for an extra day, that's a wash to me based on a per-day rate. It will be me (female) with my 2 young daughters, 8 and 13, if safety is an issue at any of the ports. We really, really want to go to Aruba, and the ship is in port all day (9am-11pm), so it seems like a no brainer, but it makes me wonder why the 8-day isn't substantially more money. Dates are exactly the same.
  2. I’m a long time reader, infrequent poster, and first time reviewer (please be gentle!). I devoured everything I could find here before our cruise and wanted to give a little bit back. We just got back from a 6 night NYE cruise on Carnival Magic. We went to Half Moon Cay, Amber Cove, and Grand Turk. About us – we are early to mid-forties with a 15 yo son and 13 yo daughter. This was cruise number 8 for the family (my wife and I have done a few more without the kids). This was our first time on Carnival as a family after 4 on Disney and 3 on Royal Caribbean (all Oasis class.) I wanted to give a quick rundown of things that our family cares about (and doesn’t care about) on a cruise so you have some context for the comments. Since we all travel so differently things that might matter to you (like an amazing spa or chair hogs) make no difference to me. Things we care about: Entertainment options Trivia Production shows Breakfast & lunch quality/options Main dining room quality/variety Walking/jogging track Balcony size Crowds Things we don’t really use: Spa Pool loungers (we prefer to hang on our balcony or in adult area) Specialty dining Nightclubs Bingo Casino Anything after midnight (other than sleep!) Formal dress Overall, we had a very enjoyable trip and Carnival compared very well to our experiences on RCCL. We would cruise Carnival again on the right itinerary/price. We felt that there was much more in common than different between the two lines. This won’t be a full play by play but happy to answer any questions you might have. Pre-Cruise Hotel We stayed at Embassy Suites Ft. Lauderdale and we wouldn’t stay there again. The staff and location were great but the rooms really show their age (who doesn’t have HDTV in the rooms now?) and it was just way too crowded. Embarkation/Debarkation We had a port arrival time of 12:00-12:30 at Port Everglades and a boarding group of A02. We had to check out of our hotel at 11:00 so we just headed over to the port to try our luck. We arrived at the port around 11:30 or so and they just waved us through. No lines, quick check in, and we were on the ship by 11:45. Couldn’t have been smoother. Debarkation was a bit less smooth. They had to stop the process a couple of times and were running about an hour behind the expected time. Once we got off there was a long customs line but it kept moving. No major issues getting an Uber – took maybe 15 minutes from clearing customs until we were on the road. The Rooms We had a balcony cabin and inside cabin on deck 8 toward the front of the ship on the starboard side. I was concerned about noise coming from the promenade deck/hot tubs but it generally was a non issue. We also couldn’t see the promenade when seated which was nice. I would be careful about getting a cabin above the smoking section (think it was port side aft) and wouldn’t want to be on deck 6 with the noise/privacy. I’d also recommend avoiding rooms near the atrium as there was quite a bit of noise in that area. Cabins were plenty spacious, beds were comfortable, showers were tiny but sink/bathroom storage was good. Cabin steward was good and we got twice daily service (he asked us to fill the form). TVs are pretty small but that isn’t a big deal for us. Balcony is pretty small as well – miss having the footstools from RCCL – but adequate. The Food I don’t like the layout of the Lido Marketplace – seemed to encourage long lines. I much prefer the different stations on RCCL. We avoided the Lido after the first day there for breakfast other than to grab some desserts (the cakes were pretty good – much better than RCCL or Disney.) We went to the dining room for breakfast most days and the service was good – good variety, made to order, reasonably fast. That was really the first cruise we’ve done that and we will probably do that more going forward. Loved the variety of free options at lunch – had lunch twice at the pasta bar, had more Guy’s burgers than we can count (we thought they were great – esp. the fries), had a few tacos/burritos from Blue Iguana (also really good) and even got some BBQ from Guy’s (it was OK – nothing to write home about but I still ate it.) My pizza loving son hated the pizza – had one piece and never went back for more. RCCL win’s big here in his eyes. My ice cream loving daughter loved the 24/7 ice cream options – can’t get that on RCCL. Main dining room was OK. The service was good and fast (which we like). The quality was hit or miss but we didn’t go hungry. The Bars We are moderate drinkers and were paying by the glass. We brought on our two bottles of wine (and ordered two more at dinner). We also ordered a liter of whiskey for the room. Drink prices seemed reasonable compared to other cruise lines. Bar service could be quite slow at times. The candy straws are pretty terrible – get very floppy before I could even finish a drink. Not a fan. The Entertainment We enjoyed the production shows – thought the cast in general was pretty good and we liked the music. We saw 88 Keys (although technical difficulties meant they basically just did the singing), Flick, and America Rocks. Simon London was the cruise director – I’m not sure that guy ever sleeps but he seemed to do a good job engaging the crowd. CD doesn’t really play a major role in my enjoyment of the cruise but we liked him well enough. Loved the piano bar – Scott Lyles was amazingly talented. Ended up there a few nights. We didn’t make it to the 18+ comedy (tried once but couldn’t get seats) but saw both comedians do the PG shows and they were entertaining. The Ship The ship is showing it’s age a bit. I know it spends it’s life in salt water but I was surprised at the amount of surface rust all over the hull, rails, etc. I remember constantly seeing people on Disney touching up the paint during the week and didn’t see any of that on Carnival. It didn’t really detract from the vacation but it is very noticeable. Interior finishes are also a bit worn but it was much less noticeable. Again, didn’t really impact the trip for us. The pools were always very crowded but I think that is just part of cruising. Really liked the promenade on Deck 5 and you could always get a lounger on that deck (at least on the shady side of the boat). We didn’t love how small the jogging track was so we just used Deck 5 for our sea day walks and it worked fine. Seemed to have plenty of elevators for the crowd although being in the middle of stuff on Deck 8 (and eating lots of cheeseburgers) meant we usually took the stairs to everything. Never felt overly crowded except for the buffet and the pool deck. Casino was pretty smoky – we generally tried to avoid the whole area. We liked Red Frog Pub – played a few board games, shuffleboard, foosball Trivia could be hard to get seats on occasion but generally the space was large enough Sports deck was fun – water slides were OK, kids loved the ropes course, played some mini-golf. Serenity deck was nice – went up there for a couple of hours on a port day when our balcony faced another ship on the dock. Again, overall it was a fun trip. Had just as much fun as the RCCL trips (and therefore a bit higher fun/$ ratio). Our next cruise is on NCL (Baltics 2020) but I am sure we will be back to Carnival again. Thanks to those who made it this far and if I missed any topics or you have questions let me know.
  3. We just returned from 6 days on Carnival Magic. I will list all the positives and then a couple of not so positives at the end. Background: We were a group of 8 mostly retired ladies, some single and the rest of us left our husband’s home because they were not interested in cruising. We each had our own cabin and were mostly near the front on decks 1 and 2 with one lady on deck 11. Feel free to ask any questions. Positives (we all had a great time) Flight on Southwest Airlines from Albany, NY to Ft. Lauderdale was onetime and stress free. We arrived at 10:30 the morning of the cruise (January 12). A Carnival representative was right at the baggage claim and he immediately walked us over to a check-in area. One of the ladies didn’t purchase Carnival ground transportation in advance, and she was able to purchase it for both ways right there. We were loaded on the bus and quickly taken to the Port. Luggage was unloaded, we turned our luggage over the the waiting porters. It’s a good idea to make contact with a porter, show him you luggage, tip him a couple of dollars so you can watch him put your luggage on the cart. We arrived at the terminal at approximately 11:15 a.m. We had check-in times of 12:00-12:30 and 12:30-1:00 but were all able to enter the terminal and go through the lines smoothly. Didn’t take long at all to go through check-in process and security. We were probably onboard by 11:45. First stop was the Shore Tour/Excursion Desk to select our Beach Villa for Half Moon Cay. Then 4 of us headed to my room to drop off our carry-ons - I am Platinum so my cabin was ready. The others were off finding lunch. We headed to the Cucina del Capitano Italian Restaurant on Deck 11 because it is usually a quiet place to have lunch on embarkation day. Good food and service. This is an extra charge place for dinner, but no charge for lunch. My room was on Deck 2 inside category but with portholes. The room was really nice with a standard bathroom and closet, sofa, desk, and a single bed. The sofa could be made into another single bed if necessary. The room was clean and comfortable and my room steward took excellent care of it. I did feel the motion of the sea but it did not bother me. There was some noise from waves hitting the hull and perhaps engine noise, but that’s ok, this was the lowest priced cabin and worth the minor inconvenience. Dinner in the Southern Lights Dining Room was awesome every night. On Elegant Night the lobster tails were the best tasting that I’ve had in a very long time. Desserts were decadent. We ate most breakfasts in the dining room, either open seating on port days or Sea Day Brunch on sea days. Always a good experience. Guys burgers were good as were Deli sandwiches. Didn’t get a chance to try the pizza or the Guys BBQ; will have to do that on another cruise. Carnival HubApp - worked fairly well. We had to keep signing out and back in to get messages sometimes. The App was helpful but it would be great if they could improve it to be more reliable. One of our group forgot to download the HubApp from home but was able to do that on the ship with help from Guest Services and/or a Carnival Hub area. First stop was Half Moon Cay. This is my all time favorite port. We rented the Beach Villa which was awesome! The Villas are 2 story buildings with a porch on both levels. The lower level has a full bathroom for our private use and a 5 person hot tub. Also available were float mats and snorkel equipment for our use. The upper level had a dining table with seating for 8, a refrigerator, sink, counter area. They provided a cooler of soft drinks and water, trays of veggies and dips, salsa and chips and plates and utensils. Even though the Villa is open in the front and has open windows, there is an air conditioner blowing a cool breeze. We got our lunch from the dining pavilion (Carnival food and included) and brought it back to eat in the comfort of our Villa. We sat on beach chairs and floated the ocean. The sand is soft and white and the ocean absolutely beautiful. Divided 8 ways, the Villa cost $75 each and was well worth it. Grand Turk is another nice and easy stop. The ship docks and you walk in to the port. We walked to some chairs in Margaritaville and it was much too sunny and hot for me, so 2 of us went to a Starbucks and sat in the shade, enjoying a nice breeze, and using their free WiFi while enjoying our drinks. We found some beach chairs with umbrellas and went into the ocean and swam around for a while. A rain storm blew in and it rained hard. We figured we couldn’t get any wetter and stayed in the water for a while. It cleared quickly and we dried off and went back to the ship. Amber Cove is a fairly new port that I’ve never been to before. Most of our group took a Carnival tour into town to shop and see some things. I and one companion went into the pool area and found a nice spot in the shade. There are plenty of small palm trees that will eventually grow and provide more shade. People whiz by on the zip line over the pool and sitting area. There are plenty of cabanas visible and a swim up bar in the pool. Also music going on. My friend and I found a shady spot under a bridge and spent some time there enjoying the water and atmosphere. Everything is beautifully set up on Amber Cove. Casino was fun and I was able to play Roulette with my predetermined gambling money and was still able to buy some tanzanite earrings and pendant spending only my allotted amount. So I was happy. Debarkation was easy. We all had zone 1 tags because we had an early flight. Flight was on-time and got us home to Albany, NY in 3 hours. Negatives: We had to get off the ship and go home to a very snowy day west of Albany, New York. Didn’t get much sleep the last night possibly due to engine noise. Not really an issue because I did have the cheapest cabin they sell so I am not complaining. When you have a single occupied cabin, you pay double cruise fare so I did not want to pay for a premium cabin for just me. We are looking forward to sailing again in a couple of years.
  4. Good Morning! I am getting married on embarkation day on Jan 18, 2020. I would love a fairly recent copy of the Magic 8 day Southern Caribbean fun times for our cruise to share with our guests. I've searched quite a bit and can't find any. Can anyone help me? Thanks in advance!
  5. I keep seeing posts about the poor shape the Magic is in. Can anyone confirm this? The daughter and I love going on cruises, but the wife is less than thrilled. I chose this cruise (June 6, 2020) because of the itinerary. Based on the reviews I am seeing, I am considering moving to another ship/cruise. If the Magic really is in bad shape, I do not wish to expose my wife to less than excellent conditions to sour the taste of cruising even more. We are trying to convince her in to booking more! We are still 8 months out from our cruise, so conditions will only get worse........ I am seeing rumors that the Magic will go to dry dock September 2020? Is this accurate? Of course it is, AFTER we cruise. LOL. My luck. For those that will say "cruise without her" not an option. We are a tripod, we only stand together. (family joke)
  6. My husband and I will be going to Grand Turk and Amber Cove on the Carnival Magic in February. We heard the snorkelling was only okay in Grand Turk and that the excursions can be very crowded and rushed. We saw better reviews for the power snorkelling excursion and wondered if anyone had a positive experience there with it? We saw it is also offered in Amber Cove and wondered if we should try there, as some said it has better snorkelling and smaller groups. Any advice and experience reviews for either would be appreciated!!
  7. Has anyone taken Carnival Magic? And if you have what cabin did you stay in? And was there any bad smell in that area?
  8. Hi all, Can you please direct me on where to find the daily schedule of activities? I have searched and have come across other cruise lines into but of course not this. TIA
  9. After cruising RCI last year, we went back to Carnival with a cruise on the Magic to St Maarten, St Kitts, San Juan and Grand Turk. After having cruised Spirit, Conquest, Glory, Vista and RCI Adventure, I think the Magic is my new favorite ship. While I won’t write a full review, I will say we enjoyed the size and layout of the ship. Guys burgers and bar-be-que did not disappoint. The other food was just ok. Not real good, not bad. We noticed that personal service has slacked a bit in the 2 years since we’d sailed Carnival. While it did not in any way negatively affect our enjoyment of the cruise, basically if you wanted a drink you were going to stand at the bar for it. Wait service in Ocean Plaza, Red Frog Pub, and atrium was non existent. Also a noticeable lack of personal service with our room attendant. Poor Patrick just seemed to have so many cabins to take care of, we just left him to his duties and tried not to put anything additional on him. He gets an A+ for keeping us clean and stocked with ice. Overall a great cruise. We enjoyed the ship and the itinerary. Happy to be back to Carnival but will sail RCI on occasion depending on itinerary.
  10. I’m going on the Magic in September 2020 (booked it back in June a few days after coming off the Conquest..the wait feels like FOREVER lol). I know they are in the same class. I’ve been on the Dream back in 2016 but never the Magic. How similar are they?
  11. The only thing that I do not like about the Magic is there is no latin club which I do latin dancing
  12. I'm debating between a 6 night cruise on Carnival Magic (Miami -Sea - Half Moon Cay - Grand Turk - Amber Cove - Sea) and a 7 night cruise on Carnival Breeze (Port Canaveral - Sea - Amber Cove - St. Thomas - San Juan - Grand Turk - Sea). The price per person, per day is roughly the same, so obviously the Breeze is about $500 more. From the little bit of research I have done, it looks like Breeze is a better option because it's a newer ship with nicer decor, and PC is a much better embarkation port (and it's about half the distance from my home). I haven't sailed out of Miami (yet), but I've been to the city, and I hate the traffic and the rude people. I'll be driving to the port, so airport transportation is not an issue. I've never been to any of the ports of call, and it will be me and my 2 daughters ages 13 and 8 1/2. I am familiar with HMC and have been to Princess Cays; I know it's just a free beach day. So the main difference between both is an extra day on Breeze, and the addition of San Juan and St. Thomas. Which itinerary would you pick and why?
  13. We leave on the 8 day Southern sailing this Saturday and were wondering what the two formal nights will be? I'm thinking Sunday and either Thurs or Friday. We're wanting to book the Steakhouse for whichever night the second one is. Saturday- Port Everglades Sunday- Half Moon Cay Monday- Grand Turk Tuesday- Day @ Sea Wednesday- Aruba Thursday- Curacao Friday- Day @ Sea Saturday- Day @ Sea Sunday- Port Everglades
  14. Why would there be no itineraries for Carnival Magic after March 2021?
  15. Are there umbrellas in the Serenity area aboard the Magic?
  16. Does anyone know what the current shows are on the Magic?
  17. Does anyone recall the logistics for the obligatory boarding photo in FLL? We have a group and some have priority boarding. Is the photo once they call your zone to board, or is it some time before you get in to the waiting area? If we arrive at the port together can we all get the photo together, or would it require the priority person to hang back and board with us common folk?
  18. 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!
  19. Going on our first New Year's Eve cruise on the Magic! Do people dress up for this evening? Is there a theme (all white party)? Just want to be ready to celebrate and be a part of a fun night (isn't that every night and day on a cruise? 🙂). Thanks for any feedback and suggestions. Can't wait!!!
  20. I know from years of cruising that 10:45 am flight is not a great idea, but it’s FLL and not MIA. Any recent Magic cruisers remember when the starting for time self assist was?
  21. I know the internet package FAQ's say VPN's are not supported, has that been everyone's experience? My brother may need to log in to his work VPN.
  22. Do you have to go to the kids clubs and register your kids once on board or is all this done before you board the ship? Disney everything was done ahead of time, Norwegian was not and took a long time to do. We were glad we did Norwegian when we did because it was a little crazy later that night but the process still took a long time and ate up precious time on that first day. A little insight into the process ahead of time would help me plan.
  23. Just off the Magic, so I thought it would be a good time to write my first review! This was my fifth cruise and my girlfriend's third, and the first on the Magic for both of us. It was also our first time sailing out of Fort Lauderdale. Pre-Cruise/Embarkation We drove to Fort Lauderdale and used Park N Go as opposed to parking at the port, and we feel like we made a GREAT choice. I think it was a little more than half as expensive as parking at the port, and they have a shuttle that takes you to and from the parking lot. When we got to the lot, the attendants unloaded our bags for us and put them right on the shuttle, we gave them our keys, and were on our way to the port within about 5 minutes. Our check-in time at the port was 12:30, and there was a long line once we got inside but it moved very fast. I saw a couple boarding passes in front of us for later check-in times, so it doesn't seem like they were enforcing the times at all. It didn't really matter though, because I don't think we ever stopped moving once we got in line, and were on the ship within about 20 minutes of being dropped off at the port. Stateroom We had a balcony on deck 7, and were very impressed with the room itself. It seemed bigger than the balcony staterooms we've had on other ships, and it had plenty of storage for all of our stuff. It also had a refrigerator that kept things pretty cool, even without keeping the door to the cabinet open. There was a hairdryer in the cabin as well, and my girlfriend made a note not to bring her own next time because the one in the cabin worked so well. Our steward, David, was incredible the whole week. We're pretty low maintenance, but any time we needed something he was right there for us. I'm always impressed with the quality of the stateroom stewards on Carnival, and this time was no exception. Now to the negatives with our room. I know there's quite a bit of talk about the sewage smells on the Magic, and we definitely experienced that for ourselves in our stateroom (among other places on the ship). It wasn't there all the time, and it seemed like it was coming through the AC or the vents in the room, but it was definitely noticeable and was quite strong at times. Another problem we had was the noise that our stateroom made during the evening from the rocking of the ship. Now, this trip in general was quite a bit more rocky than others we've been on, so it may have just been more noticeable this time than it has in the past, but every time the ship rocked back and forth, there was a creaking or clanging sound that sounded like the metal from the ceiling clanging against the metal on the walls. It looked like people before us have noticed it before too, because there was paper wedged in between the wall and the ceiling in quite a few places, but it didn't seem to help much and the room was pretty noisy during the night. Also, the stateroom shower was pretty inconsistent in its water temperature. There was one time where we couldn't get the water warm at all, but there was another time where the shower was so hot that I couldn't even get in and just had to wait until later in the day. All in all though, none of these bothered us enough to ruin our cruise, so please don't take it as that, but these are all issues that we've never had before on previous cruises so they definitely stood out to us this time. Food/Dining I think we tried just about every food option on the ship, and were never disappointed! We had anytime dining, and it never took more than about 5 minutes from the time we requested a table on the Hub app to the time we got a notification that our table was ready. The food options in the main dining room seemed to be a little more limited on some nights than they had been on past cruises, but everything we had was great. We ate at Cucina del Capitano for lunch on embarkation day - and liked it so much that we went back for lunch on our last day too. The service was pretty slow in there, but the food was great and worth the wait. My girlfriend also had the sushi from the promenade deck and said that it was amazing, but as somebody who doesn't eat sushi I'll have to just take her word for that. And of course we had our fair share of Guy's Burgers, Blue Iguana Cantina, and pizza from the lido deck. Guy's Pig and Anchor was also fantastic, but because it's only open on for lunch on sea days, there was almost always a line whenever we tried to go there. One thing that we really enjoyed on this ship was that they had a late night buffet option available. We hit that up three times, and it was always the same offerings - meatball subs, pasta, macaroni salad, grilled ham and cheese, and a couple other options. So it wasn't a huge selection, but it was great for late-night food options when you didn't want to wait in line for pizza. I don't think this has been available on any of our previous cruises, so we really loved having this as an option. We also tried the pizza delivery through the Hub App, and both times the pizza was there in probably less than 15 minutes. It's even delivered in a pizza delivery bag so it's hot and fresh when it gets to you! This is definitely a great feature that Carnival has added, and was worth the $5 when we didn't feel like walking up to the Lido deck. The best meal we had the entire cruise, though, was in the steakhouse. Oh man, was it worth the $38. The steak in the main dining room just doesn't compare to what you get in the steakhouse. I got the cowboy ribeye, and it was as good or better than any steakhouse meal I've ever had at home, including those that cost much, much more. I can't recommend the steakhouse enough if you're on the fence. You won't regret it. Entertainment We thought the entertainment on this cruise was better than any we've had on our previous cruises. There was a string trio playing in the lobby most evenings and they were fantastic, and we spent quite a bit of time listening to the Sea Monkeys play in the Ocean Plaza area of the ship. The Playlist Production shows on this cruise were 88 Keys, Flick and America Rocks. 88 Keys was absolutely incredible, so we went to both of the others too. Flick was just as good as 88 Keys, but we weren't big fans of America Rocks. Some of the singers just didn't have the voice for the songs they were trying to sing, and it seemed a little more corny than the others. Overall though, the theater shows were absolutely some of the best we've seen. We went to the comedy club two nights, and both nights it was standing room only about 15 minutes before the show started. One night there was a line that ran all the way from the lounge on the back of the ship to the midship casino waiting to get into the comedy show. It's a little ridiculous that Carnival won't have these shows in the main theater, especially when there's nothing else going on in there at the time. Our cruise director, Simon London, is one of our favorites, and he didn't disappoint. This is our second time sailing with him, and he's the only cruise director who's ever really made a difference in my cruise one way or the other. Everything that he hosted, from the music trivia to the Love and Marriage Show to the dance parties, was such a blast. I don't know how he manages to be everywhere at once, but his energy and humor really made our cruise that much better. We don't necessarily pick a cruise based on the CD, but if all else were equal and we had a chance to sail with Simon again, we absolutely would choose to go on the ship on which he's the CD. Ports We were originally scheduled to go to Half Moon Cay, Amber Cove and Grand Turk, but Hurricane Dorian's damage to Half Moon Cay forced us to go to Nassau instead. Because we had been to Nassau before we weren't thrilled with the change, but since it was our first port day we decided to get off the ship to find something to do. We weren't able to book excursions until we got onto the ship due to the last-minute port change, so we decided just to play it by ear once we got off the ship. We ended up doing a "glass bottom boat" tour that we booked at a stand right outside of the port area, and it was...ok. We only paid $35 each so we were fine with it, but the "glass bottom" was really just a hole in the floor that they uncovered for a few minutes, and they never delivered on their promise to drop us off at the beach after the tour so we ended up just going back to the ship once it was over. Like I said, we were fine with it for only $35, but it's definitely not something we would do again. At Amber Cove, we got off the ship to do a little exploring in the port area, but we were a little late getting off the ship and the pool was so packed that we just did some shopping and got back on to enjoy the empty ship. We ended up spending most of our time in Amber Cove on the Serenity Deck, which was a ghost town. It was pretty much the only time we could get a clamshell, and the hot tubs were empty, so we felt like this was a day well spent. In Grand Turk we booked an excursion through Carnival called Home Away From Home, and it was the best day of the entire cruise! The shuttle took us to a private home about 10 minutes from the port, where we had an open bar and an amazing buffet lunch of jerk pork, roasted chicken, rice, corn, macaroni salad. They also had a trampoline in the water, kayaks and snorkels that were all free to use, and there were less than 100 people there so it never felt crowded at all. We absolutely loved this excursion, and would do it again in a second. There was a natural rock barrier in the water, so I would recommend water shoes, but I can't think of a single thing to complain about from this entire excursion...although that may be the result of the open bar. Debarkation We always do the self-assist debark and just carry our own luggage off. Getting off the ship was no problem at all, and we were off the ship and into the port about 5 minutes after we left our stateroom. Now, getting out of the port was a different story. There were only 4 customs officers at the port checking 4k passports, and the line snaked around the entire port. We were probably inside the port for about 40 minutes waiting in line to go through customs after we actually got off the ship. It was a mess. At one point they even closed the gangway off the ship to let the line for customs clear out. Like I said, this is the first time we've sailed out of Fort Lauderdale so I'm not sure if this is normal or not, but this was by far the worst experience going through customs that I've had in 4 previous cruises. Getting back to our car, though, was just as easy as getting to the port before the cruise. The shuttle was waiting when we got off the ship, they loaded our bags on, and we were in our car in about 10 minutes. The shuttle driver even dropped us off right beside our car in the lot and unloaded our bags from the bus for us. If we cruise out of FLL again, we'll definitely be using Park N Go. Final Thoughts This was probably the best time that we've ever had on a cruise! Sure, there were little things that we could complain about, but we don't really sweat the small stuff and definitely don't let it ruin our cruise. The Magic seemed to handle the crowds as well or better than any ship we've been on before, with the exception of the usual crowds in the buffet area. I wouldn't hesitate to sail on the Magic again, but would like to try the other Dream-class ships as well. Hope this is helpful (or at least informative), and if you have any other specific questions please feel free to ask!
  24. We have a family trip booked with 4 different rooms on three different floors. We have muster stations a3, a4, and b4. Can anybody confirm the locations, I have added what I found, but would like confirmation if anybody knows. A3 - Theater? b3- ? b4- Theater? Thanks in advance.
  25. New to Carnival - Only balcony cabins available when I booked were 6211 and 6216 on Magic (and a couple aft over the lounge that I knew would be noisy). The Carnival rep assured me that I am not over the theater and looking at the deck plans it appears that there may be dead space under my cabin?? Does anyone know if I am over the theater or not? Deck plans can be somewhat deceiving.
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