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Magic S. Caribbean trip report


kctwinmommy
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I'll get this started and add onto it as the days go along. We booked this cruise last January, with friends of ours. We typically don't care too much where we're going. Living in Chicago, by November, we just want someplace warm with lots of sunshine. We didn't need to be doing anything crazy with excursions either. Having done Alaska this past summer, we just wanted to chill. We didn't know when we booked this, that it was a big Wheel of Fortune slots tournament, which meant a lot of people on board were gamblers and had won their way on the ship. Our group was my husband, my 13 year old son, and myself, along with another couple and their 14 year old son and 25 year old daughter. They're all Platinum and have obviously been on many cruises.

 

So, we stayed in Cape Canaveral the night before, at the Radisson and used Cocoa Beach shuttle to get there. We've stayed there for the past 10 years we've been cruising out of there and have never had any problems. The rooms are decent, clean, and they have a nice pool. This year, we walked a bit further down the road to GoodFella's pizza place.

 

Embarkation Day - Saturday morning - We grabbed breakfast in the hotel and then met our friend. They live local, so the husband dropped of the wife & 2 kids at the port, then picked up the 3 of us at the hotel. He parks his car right across the street and the 4 of us took the shuttle from there. We had FTTF and our friends are Platinum. We got to the port around 10:15-10:30 a.m. and walked right in, went through security, walked over to check in with Carnival (got our S&S cards there, with pictures taken). We skipped the sail away photos though, we didn't need/want them. Went upstairs to go through that checkpoint, where they took my husband's and my picture again since the one from downstairs didn't turn out well. Went up the gangway and went right to our rooms on deck 11, room 11264.

 

Our room steward (Agus) was just finishing getting our rooms ready, we had rooms next to each other with the balconies connecting. So we just hung on the balcony for the 5-10 minutes he needed to finish. After that, we went to the Cucina restaurant for lunch. It wasn't busy at all and it took maybe 10-15 minutes to get our meals. We all ate the create your own pasta dishes, lots of options - I would recommend checking the out for lunch during a cruise, it doesn't cost anything like it does for dinner.

 

Our luggage got to the room around 1:30ish which gave me time to unpack everything before dinner and just relax. For dinner, we had the early seating in the Southern Lights dining room. We had Rodren for our waiter and William as a head waiter. Both were very nice. The only thing I didn't like was that they brought out our dinners with the appetizers, if you didn't order an appetizer. I suppose we could have asked them not to do that for the week, just never though of it. LOL! There were like 2-3 nights when I didn't order an appetizer, and same with 2 of the kids, and they bring the dinner out with everyone else's appetizers. Again, not a big deal, but would have been fine waiting and eating with everyone else. The one person's flat iron steak was also super rare, so they had to correct that.

 

After dinner we checked the boys into Circle C and didn't see them the rest of the night. In general, it didn't seem that there were a ton of kids in Circle C. I mean, over the summer (which I realize is summer vacation), the Circle C had like 40-50 kids, because my son took a picture with the group in the main staircase. This cruise, there were maybe 10-15 kids I'd bet, and sometimes they were hanging out with the Club O2 kids, which was also a smaller group.

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Great start! We will be on the Magic in June, so I am patiently waiting for more.:D:D

 

I am glad to hear the positive comments about the Radisson. This is our first time cruising out of Port Canaveral and we are staying there, as it seems to be the place to stay. However, we have read some reviews on Trip Advisor that have us second guessing our decision.:rolleyes:

 

Thanks again for doing this......:)

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I am glad to hear the positive comments about the Radisson. This is our first time cruising out of Port Canaveral and we are staying there, as it seems to be the place to stay. However, we have read some reviews on Trip Advisor that have us second guessing our decision.:rolleyes:

 

What were the reviews saying? I mean, we need a place to sleep, somewhere that is clean and safe. I don't need fancy. The rooms have always been clean to us. I've always felt safe. We usually seem to get a room further in the back, and this time was no different. It actually faced the parking lot near the back, which was fine, it was quiet then. And we always get a good price with the military discount they offer. Considering when we get there, until the time we leave, it's usually about 16-18 hours! LOL!

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What were the reviews saying? I mean, we need a place to sleep, somewhere that is clean and safe. I don't need fancy. The rooms have always been clean to us. I've always felt safe. We usually seem to get a room further in the back, and this time was no different. It actually faced the parking lot near the back, which was fine, it was quiet then. And we always get a good price with the military discount they offer. Considering when we get there, until the time we leave, it's usually about 16-18 hours! LOL!

 

Just that some of the rooms were filthy, the sleep number beds were broken and extremely uncomfortable, the party atmosphere at night was VERY loud outside. Just that kind of stuff......Nothing out of the norm. Seems like MOST of the hotel has been renovated, as of lately, so I am hoping the rooms are clean and the beds are comfortable. I can deal with the noise. lol I can sleep through a bomb!:D:D

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We used to stay at Radaisson when we cruised out of port canaveral.

 

Last few times we found sleep number bed broken, internet not reliable and the place kind of run down.

 

Thought of giving it another try but price has gone up to almost $ 200 with tax for one night plus parking.

 

We were on this cruise and had a great time.

 

One strange thing we found before the cruise. We like the diner type restaurant next to Radaisson and were planning on going there but the Friday night before the cruise it was closed.

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:)

We used to stay at Radaisson when we cruised out of port canaveral.

 

Last few times we found sleep number bed broken' date=' internet not reliable and the place kind of run down.

 

Thought of giving it another try but price has gone up to almost $ 200 with tax for one night plus parking.

 

We were on this cruise and had a great time.

 

One strange thing we found before the cruise. We like the diner type restaurant next to Radaisson and were planning on going there but the Friday night before the cruise it was closed.[/quote']

 

Thanks, Stu!

 

The reviews seem to be getting consistently better, so I think I will hold out. We can cancel up until 24 or 72 hours prior.

 

Do you remember the name of the restaurant?

 

Also, how did you like the Magic? Was it your first time on her?

 

Thanks again for your input on the Radisson.:)

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One strange thing we found before the cruise. We like the diner type restaurant next to Radaisson and were planning on going there but the Friday night before the cruise it was closed.

 

Are you talking about the one IN the Radisson? Or Kelsey's next door? We've been to Kelsey's in the past. A long time ago, it was good. Last year, it wasn't good at all. That's why we found a different place this time. The restaurant IN the Radisson we only go to for breakfast, which is good (hard to screw that up! LOL!)

Edited by kctwinmommy
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:)

 

Thanks, Stu!

 

The reviews seem to be getting consistently better, so I think I will hold out. We can cancel up until 24 or 72 hours prior.

 

Do you remember the name of the restaurant?

 

Also, how did you like the Magic? Was it your first time on her?

 

Thanks again for your input on the Radisson.:)

 

As mentioned above it was Kelsey's. Last time we were there was this past Feb and food was good but service was rather rushed. Didnt like getting salad and than entre about 45 seconds apart.

 

It was our first time on the Magic but have done the Dream 3x. It is becoming our favorite class of ship. One thing we like is ocean plaza, great place for trivia and band has good place to play without people walking back and forth.

 

Pig and Anchor had very good brisket.

 

And oops we were on the Magic Nov 12.

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As mentioned above it was Kelsey's. Last time we were there was this past Feb and food was good but service was rather rushed. Didnt like getting salad and than entre about 45 seconds apart.

 

Oh wow, didn't even notice they were closed. We walked right by them to go to the restaurant we chose. We didn't care for them either the last time we were there a year ago.

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Day 2 - Sea day - We went to the brunch like we usually do and honestly, service was quite slow. We waited at least 15 minutes to have a waiter even stop by the table, we finally got bread, but no plates. The couple that were seated next to us came about 20 minutes after we did and yet our food came out with theirs. So ours was slow and theirs was rushed. But, it was still good! Great french toast, hubby had the steak & eggs which was good.

 

Deck chairs are once again an issue. Walked around 2 decks to try and find just 1 open chair and couldn't find a single one. Walking around, it seemed that as usual, many chairs just being saved. Obviously, I'm not watching every chair, but there were certainly ones that sat "saved" for a long time!

 

Formal night dinner, still had a little issue with timing. It took at least 20 minutes until we even got bread, then orders taken. I ordered the Caesar salad, which I've always enjoyed and it was awful. The dressing was like mayonnaise, with NO flavor! My husband and our friend all tried it too, said the same thing. Dinner was very good though - lobster & prime rib was eaten by a couple of people in our group. We went to the comedy lounge after dinner and it was crowded. We had to wait in line and they clear it out after each show, so you have to wait in line each time. We saw Joe Marlotti and Nery Saenz - Saenz was the better of the two and we went back to see him again the next night. Oh, we also saw the show 88 Keys in the main theater - we thought it was good. But that theater fills up fast, so be prepared to get there a little early or be off on the side. During the evening we also walked by the Dolce Strings and I highly recommend listening to them a few times - excellent musicians.

 

Day 3 - Sea day - We did a Lido deck breakfast then hit the decks. Once again, not a single open chair anywhere on 10 or 11. We ended up going down to deck 5, and had a nice, quiet, time relaxing. Pig & Anchor was OK, nothing spectacular in our opinion. The salad bar on deck 5 was good, although I prefer to have it serve yourself, but that's just me. It was still good. Dinner had lamb shank which was very good, according to my son. We also saw Nery Saenz again, and very funny!!

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Day 4 - Curacao - We did do a Carnival excursion for this port. We had planned on just going to a beach of some kind, but our friends wanted to do this one. So we did the beach break by boat and sunset. We went to the dining room to wait for debarkation, it took maybe 10 minutes until we started getting off. They basically had all the excursions, or most of them, waiting in that dining room because once we got off, everyone fanned out to the different lines. They had the signs up for all the different excursions that were going out that day. Thankfully, ours decided to gather off to the side, so we weren't standing in the big crowd of people. ;)

 

Once he had all the people who booked it, we got on the small boat. It was one of the double-decker type ones, with bench seats around the top deck to sit on. The guy gave some info about Curacao on the 20 minute ride over to the beach. They also passed out rum punch for everyone, or non-alcoholic for those who didn't want it and the kids. We got to the dock by the beach and walked over to the beach area. There was a woman from the boat who came with us to make sure we all got chairs (there were some we weren't supposed to use, it was for the resort area I guess). Since we were a group of 7, it was a little difficult, and we weren't right by the water, but that was fine. She ended up giving us a pair of the deck chairs that had the table & umbrella attached in the middle. The boys went out to go snorkeling, there's a rock breakwall out there too. They went a little beyond it though, just to see what else there was. They had a good time. We also got a soft drink ticket, so we all got some sodas and I ordered some nachos from the waitstaff that were walking around. The nachos were $14, but quite big and very good! We all shared them around. We were there until the sunset, so about 3 hours of beach time I think. Now, to get back, they had charter buses for all of us. A majority of the group got on the first one, and then we saw there was another one across the street. There were 2 guides from the company to make sure we all got back. However, her comment of "This driver just learned to back up the bus yesterday," should have been a clue for what was to come! :eek: It was bad!! We're pretty sure he hit something at some point, he couldn't seem to be in the right gear, and at one point, he had to come to a complete stop, going up hill, trying to make a left turn!! And there were a few sections of road that went along a cliff. Obviously, we all made it back, but it was a bit scary, even the guide said she was scared!

 

We got back to find the dock really crowded too! I'm guessing a lot of the excursions ended at the same time, since the sun was down. So the line to get back on the ship was like 15-20 minutes or so. The shops were all open though, my husband and friend grabbed a beer while we waited in line. We got back on the ship around 7 p.m. I'd say.

 

One thing about Curacao is that they have free WiFi around there. So we were able to check in at least.

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Day 2 - Sea day - We went to the brunch like we usually do and honestly, service was quite slow. We waited at least 15 minutes to have a waiter even stop by the table, we finally got bread, but no plates. The couple that were seated next to us came about 20 minutes after we did and yet our food came out with theirs. So ours was slow and theirs was rushed. But, it was still good! Great french toast, hubby had the steak & eggs which was good.

 

Deck chairs are once again an issue. Walked around 2 decks to try and find just 1 open chair and couldn't find a single one. Walking around, it seemed that as usual, many chairs just being saved. Obviously, I'm not watching every chair, but there were certainly ones that sat "saved" for a long time!

 

Formal night dinner, still had a little issue with timing. It took at least 20 minutes until we even got bread, then orders taken. I ordered the Caesar salad, which I've always enjoyed and it was awful. The dressing was like mayonnaise, with NO flavor! My husband and our friend all tried it too, said the same thing. Dinner was very good though - lobster & prime rib was eaten by a couple of people in our group. We went to the comedy lounge after dinner and it was crowded. We had to wait in line and they clear it out after each show, so you have to wait in line each time. We saw Joe Marlotti and Nery Saenz - Saenz was the better of the two and we went back to see him again the next night. Oh, we also saw the show 88 Keys in the main theater - we thought it was good. But that theater fills up fast, so be prepared to get there a little early or be off on the side. During the evening we also walked by the Dolce Strings and I highly recommend listening to them a few times - excellent musicians.

 

Day 3 - Sea day - We did a Lido deck breakfast then hit the decks. Once again, not a single open chair anywhere on 10 or 11. We ended up going down to deck 5, and had a nice, quiet, time relaxing. Pig & Anchor was OK, nothing spectacular in our opinion. The salad bar on deck 5 was good, although I prefer to have it serve yourself, but that's just me. It was still good. Dinner had lamb shank which was very good, according to my son. We also saw Nery Saenz again, and very funny!!

I find that forming a good relationship with the maitre de at the beginning of the cruise (Best if done ASAP once boarded) really pays off in choice of section, waitstaff and service. Sometimes the most popular waiters take on too many tables, so that can slow things down a bit unless they have good members of their team to make sure no one is overlooked and the meal progresses as it should. And if the food is not what you expected, or the order it is served not to your liking, do what you would do in any fine restaurant and send it back, and if not quickly satisfied, then it's time to get your good buddy, the captain of the room or maitre de, over, and nicely suggest a change in Table, waiter or whatever will make dinner a memorable occasion for the rest of your vacation. While you can get a lot more with honey than vinegar, and in your case, a $50 to the maitre de/captain on day one is well worth the extra attention, view and service you wil get throughout the trip.

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I find that forming a good relationship with the maitre de at the beginning of the cruise (Best if done ASAP once boarded) really pays off in choice of section, waitstaff and service. Sometimes the most popular waiters take on too many tables, so that can slow things down a bit unless they have good members of their team to make sure no one is overlooked and the meal progresses as it should. And if the food is not what you expected, or the order it is served not to your liking, do what you would do in any fine restaurant and send it back, and if not quickly satisfied, then it's time to get your good buddy, the captain of the room or maitre de, over, and nicely suggest a change in Table, waiter or whatever will make dinner a memorable occasion for the rest of your vacation. While you can get a lot more with honey than vinegar, and in your case, a $50 to the maitre de/captain on day one is well worth the extra attention, view and service you wil get throughout the trip.

 

We could have easily asked the waitstaff to correct the problems we had, and for certain things we did. I don't feel it's necessary to pay another $50 on top of what I'm already paying to get the service that was expected. And as I also said, they were very nice, we enjoyed our waiters.

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Day 5 - Aruba - This stop we didn't do an excursion, we just wanted some beach time. So we got off the ship and went into the center right there. Another member of our group asked about a good beach to go to. I wasn't there, so I don't know what he asked for specifically, so they recommended Surfside Beach. They said there was a restaurant, a pool etc... So, we grabbed 2 cabs (they can only take 5 people and we had 7) and off we went. We walked down the beach a bit and grabbed a plot of sand. It wasn't crowded at all, it's right by the airport, so we had about 7-9 planes come in while we were there, for about 3 hours. We didn't really look around or ask, so we didn't see it until we were leaving that we could have paid like $20-30/person I think for use of the chairs and the pool. It was fine though, we just wanted some sun and ocean. If you're looking for just a simple beach, nothing fancy and not crowded, it was a nice little place. I know there are 2 other beaches that are much more popular, but also very crowded according to others.

 

We got back on the ship and a couple of people went back out to shop right there. My son and I went to Cucina for lunch again, wasn't crowded at all. That night we did have a problem with dinner. Our waiter said something about a group in his area needing to be done by 7 p.m. for some reason (not sure what), but it screwed up his entire section. I honestly fault the group for making such a demand. Our waiters tried as hard as they could to get us our food, but it took a long time for us to get just the appetizers. By then, the group was done, although they then sat there for another 20-30 minutes. Again, very rude of them to make such demands. Our waiters brought us extra things and tried to make it up to us, which we appreciated. They had the beef wellington on the menu that night, so a couple people got that and said it was very good.

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I found Pig and Anchor to be fair, not much flavor. Had to put a lot of sauce on it. Cucina at night was terrible! I make better spaghetti and meatballs! T=Linguine with cream sauce not any better. Rolls were too hard to have been fresh. Very attentive wait staff. At the end a server tried to give me someone else's leftover spaghetti. How do you heat that up? Odd.

 

Just off Oosterdam and the food at lunch and dinner had NO flavor except for prime rib. Everything tasted like water. Told the chef and he looked befuddled. Age demographic was late 70's and up and I know they prefer blander food. A lot of people agreed with me about the lack of any flavor.

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I found Pig and Anchor to be fair, not much flavor. Had to put a lot of sauce on it. Cucina at night was terrible! I make better spaghetti and meatballs! T=Linguine with cream sauce not any better. Rolls were too hard to have been fresh. Very attentive wait staff. At the end a server tried to give me someone else's leftover spaghetti. How do you heat that up? Odd.

 

Yeah, I didn't eat at Pig & Anchor, but my husband did. He preferred Guys much better. I only did Cucina for lunch, both times had the alfredo sauce with pasta and it was pretty tasty.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I apologize that I didn't finish this earlier, I just got sidetracked with the holidays. I'm going to put up some pictures too.

 

Day 6 - Another sea day - Once again, the biggest problem is the hogging of chairs. We could see that there were rows & rows of chairs right by the pool with stuff on it from in the morning and nobody ever came to use them. We had a spot on deck 11 above the pool and could see it. I just wish Carnival would actually enforce the rules regarding this practice.

 

We did find a nice spot in the corner of deck 11, which was close to our rooms. It was in the corner so there was a table for us to eat at, parts of it were shaded and some sunny, so we could all get what we needed. We spent most of our day hanging here, people in our group coming and going. Our friends went to Cucina for lunch and said the service was very poor that day. I get that being a sea day more people will come, but they said it took well over an hour to have lunch, and over 20 minutes just to get their order taken. My husband and I had Guys again, and eve at the noon time, there was almost no line. Their fries are just awesome! And I'm not normally a seasoned fries kind of person!

 

We saw the new show, Flick, which was very good. We enjoyed it and the theater was packed! As many others have said, get to the theater early if you want good seats. We also had our formal pictures taken that night, with some nice results, so the next night we actually purchased a canvas of one of our pictures.

Edited by kctwinmommy
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