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Carnival Magic May 11 Review

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About us:  This was an 8 night Carnival Magic cruise out of FLL with stops in St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Grand Turk, and San Juan.  We had been to  all the ports previously except St. Kitts.  This was DH(52) and my(52) 18th cruise, 11th on Carnival, first time on the Magic.  Sailing with us on this cruise was DS(25) and DD(22).  It was their 11th cruise, 7th on Carnival.  My DD's friend was also supposed to sail with us but she ended up having to take summer college courses so we ended up having her as a no show in their room.  I am currently waiting for a refund from Carnival for her port fees, taxes, and prepaid gratuities. 

 

Pre-Cruise:  DS had to wait until the Sunday before our cruise to know if he could come or not.  He had cancel for job related reasons travel insurance just in case.  He is a Sports Editor for newspaper in ND and had to wait to see if a team he covers made it to their championship game or not.  They lost in the semi-finals so he was able to come and celebrate his 25th birthday with us on-board.  DH, DD and I drove from Michigan.  DS flew in from North Dakota.  We booked our cove balcony room 2338 through Casinos at Sea promotion.  We also used a credit we received from our last Carnival Fantasy cruise for having missed our Progresso port stop.  The kids inside room 2352 was booked through a travel agent who started the FB page we joined for this cruise.  They received 2 Carnival tote bags, a bottle of champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, and a cocktail party (that we accidentally missed) from their TA.  I pre-booked a 12-pk of bottle water, the social media internet package, and Fire and Ice Manicures for DD and my-self.  I paid for our cruises with Carnival gift cards that I purchased at a 10% discount at our local Meijer and through AARP.  I gave both kids gift cards to use during the cruise for their birthday and had a $500  gift card for DH and I to use on our account.  All of our gratuities were prepaid with gift cards.

 

I do purchase travel insurance for all of our cruises.  I have had to cancel 2 cruises in the past.  The last being last December when my DM had a subdural hematoma and a stroke 2 weeks before a NCL Gem cruise we had booked.  She is currently in assisted living with very limited use of her left side.  It was very iffy for us to go on this cruise but I am glad we were all able to go.  I hadn't seen my DS in 6 months and really needed this break from reality.  We did get the Social Media Package so we could keep in contact with my Mom and so my son could make sure all was going smoothly with his work (he is a first time supervisor)...I totally disconnected from work so that didn't matter to me (I've learned things can be resolved without me if they try hard enough).  DD, who is on college break and has not started her summer job yet,  ended up using it the most keeping contact with her friend who was cat sitting for her for the first time.

 

The day before the cruise we stayed at Quality Inn and Suites on Stirling Road.  We got a deal on the rate through the kids TA booking 2 rooms, shuttle to the port and $7 per night parking during our cruise.  This worked out pretty well for us and we did save some money, but I prefer staying at Embassy Suites when we are in FLL.  

 

Embarkation:  We brought with us  a 12 pk of diet pepsi for me, boxed almond milk for DD, and 4 allotted bottles of champagne.  We had the 11:30 shuttle with a 12:30 embarkation time.  We got to the port at 12:10 and walked on-board with no wait.  We went to Red Frog Pub for a 1/2 price Fish Bowl that DD and I split while we ate from Guys Pig and Anchor BBQ.  The Fish Bowl was good.  We were not impressed with the BBQ.

 

Rooms:  View from Cove Balcony 2338.  Close to elevators/Laundry.  Luggage rack storage/gang plank for debarkation next door.  Kids room was across and down the hall a few rooms.

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The kids room did not have beach towels or shower gel.  Of course they didn't tell me that until the 3rd day in when we needed the towels for an excursion.  I had them call their room steward who told them that they were out of shower gel, but he could bring them some bar soap, and he brought them some beach towels.  For both rooms we asked for PM service so we could sleep in and not worry about interfering with their cleaning schedule.  DH and I also asked for extra towels, ice, and robes.  Our room steward did good until the last 3 days when we stopped getting the extra towel and when we came back from one of excursions and left the beach towels to be replaced he only replaced one and we had to ask for another one for our excursion the next day.  

 

More to come...

 

Edited by Warm Breezes

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Looking forward to the more to come.  We will be on the same itinerary January 2020.  My DH and I will be on deck 12 in a spa balcony, we will be traveling with another couple they will be staying in a cove balcony.  I am very anxious to see their cove balcony as I am considering one for our next cruise.  🙂 

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Hub App:  We downloaded the Hub App on our phones and on my tablet before the cruise and paid the $5 per person to communicate with each other.  That worked great.  We also used it to see the daily activities, see our account summaries, purchase pictures, view the menus, and reserve tables in the MDR.  It was a great tool.

 

Food and Food Service:  We had Anytime Dining for the MDR.  They sat us in the same general area every night with the same wait staff for most nights.  We used the Hub App to reserve a table and they were either immediately available or ready within 5 minutes (on elegant nights).  We are very patient people but service seemed to be slower than normal.   Food is very subjective and there were a few items we really liked, a few we really didn't like, but most were just ok.  I used to be a big fan of the standard pork chop, but was not impressed with the one I had on this cruise and only ordered it once on this cruise.  There were 2 times when nothing on the menu appealed to us so we skipped the MDR for Guys Burgers/Deli.  As normal with Carnival the lido buffet did not impress us.  I was curious to try the new cakes but thought they were dry.  We liked the omelet stations in the morning but really wish they would let us toast our own bread so we had fresh hot toast like they do on NCL.  We all loved Guys Burgers and DS became addicted to the buffalo chicken sandwiches in the Deli.  I think he had at least one per day.  DH and DD discovered the little deli they had on the promenade deck on  the sea days for lunch and loved the sandwiches from there.  Like I mentioned before we were not impressed with the BBQ at Guy's Pig and Anchor.  We did try the Sea Day Brunch on one of the sea days.  DH liked his Steak and Eggs.  The pancakes I had were ok but the fruit plate was good as always.

 

Sunrises and Sunsets on this cruise from our balcony:

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More to come...

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Activites/Shows:  DS loves to play soccer and played in the 3 on 3 tournaments they had on all the sea days.  His team won on his birthday (the second sea day) so he was able to take home a medal.  It was nice that they had some seating so we could watch him.  We did not do the pools, jacuzzi's, slides or rope courses so I can not comment on them.  We did play some foosball at Red Frog Pub and on the sports deck as well as play some ping pong, mini-golf use the the exercise equipment up there and DS ran the track a few times.  DD liked to layout on the Promenade deck on the sea days.  It was less busy and crowded than the other decks. It is nice to have these activities available. 

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The playlist production shows were great.  The some of the best shows we have seen on Carnival dancing-wise.  DD is professional dancer so she is usually pretty critical of the dance shows but she loved the dancing in all the shows.  I thought 2 of the lead singers were a little off but overall we enjoyed the shows.  We were disappointed with the comedians on this cruise.  We saw all 4 of them once and did not need to see a repeat of any of them.  The juggler comedian they had in the variety show was great.  We also saw the Hasbro game show and the Love and Marriage show.  They were also pretty good.  We sat and listened to the Piano bar singer/player for a little bit but were not impressed with her.  We did enjoy what we heard from the Sea Monkeys who played in one of the Playlist productions and in Ocean Plaza.

 

DD and DH played in the Casino a couple times.  DD lost $10 and refused to play anymore DH lost $30.  DS and I played in the casino a little every day.  By the last sea day I was down $120 and he was down $90.  I ended the day up $67 and he end the day down $20 so we made up for our previous losses. 

 

At the end of the last sea day we all down-loaded our credit balances left on our account from our gift cards into our players bank and cashed out our players bank.  DD had only purchased a few drinks on her credit along with her $5 communication fee, a pair of earings, and $10 casino loss. DS purchased a ship model (he has one from every cruise he has sailed with his ship card on display in his apartment), his $5 communications fee, and his $20 casino loss against his credit.  DH and I had our $5 communications fee, a few T-Shirts, a few drinks, spa tips, and a couple pictures that I downloaded against our credit which I cashed out with my Casino winnings.  This is the 2nd Carnival Cruise in a row where I came home a winner.

 

More to come....

 

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Ports/Excursions:  Our first port was St. Maarten.  We have all been there 2x before.  The first time we took a taxi to beach, I can't recall which one, with friends.  The second time we did Bernards Tours with stops at Orient Beach, an Iguana Farm, Maho Beach and Margot.  Very fun but we were looking for something different this time.  DD and DS decided they wanted to go Parasailing for the first time on this stop.  They booked a double parasail through Shore Excursioner at Bikini Beach on Orient Bay.  We took a taxi to the beach and the booth was right there.  It was a nice quiet beach and they had a blast.

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Our second port was St. Kitts.  This was our fist time at this port.  Since there were 3 ships in port that day I went ahead and pre-booked a beach day through our FB cruise page with Pereira Tours.  When I booked their were 4 buses from our FB page going.  By the time of the cruise there was over 12 buses with over 200 people.  We were all promised for $20 each transportation to and from Reggae Beach, reserved chairs and umbrellas for an additional $5 each, and Rum Punch.  This was a disaster waiting to happen.  They overbooked this tour.  We had to wait over an hour to get on our buses as they took money and gave us all wrist bands before sorting us out by buses.  1/2 of the buses, including ours was supposed to go to Reggae Beach and the other 1/2 to another beach just down the beach from Reggae Beach.  More came to Reggae Beach than were supposed to and they did not reserve enough chairs and umbrellas for all of us.  When our bus got there, there were 2 chairs 6 rows back and no umbrellas available.  The people next to us had 2 chairs and 1 umbrella but they had an additional 7 people with them at the bar who had no chairs or umbrellas.  They ended up joining their friends at the bar and giving us their 2 chairs and umbrella.  We took turns using the umbrella to get out of the heat.  Many people did not get chairs or umbrellas.  Some walked down to the other beach to be told they were charging $15 dollars for chairs and umbrellas not the the promised $5.  There were many ticked off and unhappy people and Liz the tour operator seemed surprised and angry that people were upset and complaining.  We never did find the promised Rum Punch.  The beach was over crowded and service was slow to non-existent.  I would not recommend this tour to anyone.  However, the island itself was one of the most beautiful ones we have seen in all of our cruises.  I would definitely love to go back there...just not with the tour group.

 

Our third port was San Juan.  DH and I had been there 2x before, the kids once before.  DH and DS decided to stay onboard.  They had enough sun the previous day in St. Kitts. DD and I wanted to find the famed umbrella street we had read about on our FB page.  It was a little longer walk than I expected but it was well worth it.  I took a couple shots of DD doing some dance moves under it and a couple local kids asked to have their picture taken with her doing them.  She is a professional dancer for a semi-pro basketball team so she is used to having people ask to have her picture taken with them so being the pro she is she agreed to do it with them.  I just smh.  Show off.

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Our last port was Grand Turk.  DH and I had been there 2x before and the kids once.  I forgot to mention in my previous post that I about a week before this cruise I purchased a cabana rental in Grand Turk through Carnival.com for $219.  After the mishap in St. Kitts I am so glad I did.  We loved it.  Neither DH nor DS deal with the heat very well and they absolutely loved having an air conditioned cabana to chill in while DD and I laid out and did a little shopping.  We also had our own personal waiter from Margaritaville.  I would not get this if it was just DH and myself but with the kids along this was awesome.

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More to come...

 

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Debarkation:  We grabbed the tags for the last ones off since DS's flight out of Miami wasn't until 6:30.  We played one of our never-ending games of UNO in Ocean Plaza while we waited for them to call our number.  Uno is our goto family fun game and we played it a few times at different locations around the ship during our cruise. There was a delay in getting people off the ship.  Not sure what it was.  We debarked out of the gangway that was right next  to our stateroom.  There was about a 15-20 minute line to get through customs.   We then had about a 20 minute wait for our shuttle service from the hotel to get back to our car. 

 

Post Cruise:  We had to drive DS to Miami to catch his flight to North Dakota  before we headed north to Michigan.  We spent some time in Casino Miami waiting for his flight time.  We learned when we sailed out of Miami last year on NCL Getaway and stayed at Embassy Suites Miami that Casino Miami gives you $50 free slot play when you sign up for their player cards.  The kids signed up and DD walked away with $35 and DH walked away with $10.  I won another $20 and DH lost $10.  Not a bad way to spend extra time.  DS's layover flight in MSP ended up getting delayed until the next morning and he ended up spending the night in the airport in Minneapolis while we slept comfortably in our Homewood Suites Hotel in Daytona.  I told him when he called me at 10 pm that his insurance would cover for him to get transportation, hotel, and food during his delay but at that point they said his plane would leave at 9:00 am and he didn't want to fuss with it.  As it was his plane didn't leave until 11:00 am and he made it back just in time for him to go straight to work.  Not a fun way to end your vacation.  We however had a nice trip back running into our first spot of rain in Indianapolis after spending our second night in Tennessee.  I was also glad I scheduled an extra day off after we got back to do laundry, visit Mom and get groceries.

 

All in all we had a great family cruise.  Everything wasn't perfect but we never expect it to be so we weren't overly disappointed when the issues happened.  We dealt with them and moved on to enjoy our cruise.  We made the most of our time together and that is what counts.  

 

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Some photos from St. Kitts that I missed in my previous post:

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2 hours ago, CruiseJB said:

Looking forward to the more to come.  We will be on the same itinerary January 2020.  My DH and I will be on deck 12 in a spa balcony, we will be traveling with another couple they will be staying in a cove balcony.  I am very anxious to see their cove balcony as I am considering one for our next cruise.  🙂 

This was our first cove balcony on Carnival.  We had one on NCL Jewel a few years ago but it was on a higher deck.  This was pretty cool being so close to the water.  The inside is you standard balcony room.  We liked having a warm place to sit (DH keeps our rooms ice cold) yet shaded which we prefer to the direct sunlight.  The only disappointment came on the last sea day when they washed off one of the decks above ours without warning and the water came pouring down on our deck.  Everything on the deck got soaked.  DH was out there just moments before and luckily had just come in and brought everything we had out there in with him.  This was at about 2 pm and our deck was useless to us for the next couple hours until everything had dried up.

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One more thing.  I forgot about our Spa Services.  I pre-booked Fire and Ice Manicures for DD and I on the first sea day (elegant night) at 2:00.  We got there a few minutes before to find that even though I had confirmations for the both of us they only had me in their system and if we wanted to have them together we had to reschedule the next day, also a sea day for 5:00.  This was my Mother's Day gift so we did want to do them together.    We went back the next day and they upsold DD to having her nails Shelacked (sp?) I got the regular manicure.  They gave us a small discount for the inconvenience.  DD's Manicure is still going strong.  Mine started flaking the next day.  They also put some cream on my eyes that made them all puffy the next day.  

 

DH and I received $50 each spa certificates in room on San Juan day that needed to be use in the next 2 days.  We ended up not using them.

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Thanks so much for your review.  We have sailed on the Magic twice before, and have another cruise booked on her for next May.  Curious to know what sandwiches were available in the Deli on Promenade.  We just fell in love with the Deli on our last cruise and would love to think we could get something good there in a less crowded environment next time.

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54 minutes ago, jmcancruise said:

Thanks so much for your review.  We have sailed on the Magic twice before, and have another cruise booked on her for next May.  Curious to know what sandwiches were available in the Deli on Promenade.  We just fell in love with the Deli on our last cruise and would love to think we could get something good there in a less crowded environment next time.

I personally didn’t get a sandwich there but DD and  DH liked the turkey sandwiches they got.  They had a bunch of different meats, cheeses, breads and other sandwich fillings to chooses from as well as some salads to choose from.   They preferred it to the deli.  DS preferred the deli.  He was addicted to the buffalo chicken sandwiches.  I am not a big sandwich eater and did not eat at either.  I eat a bigger breakfast and usually snack at lunch.

 

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Thanks for taking the time to post your review!  I'm glad you had a great time.  I was supposed to be on this cruise and had to change my dates 😢, so I was sending some good weather vibes down to everyone that was onboard!!  Thanks again for sharing!  I'm doing this exact itinerary on the Breeze in 2020.

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22 hours ago, JerseyGirlJen said:

Thanks for taking the time to post your review!  I'm glad you had a great time.  I was supposed to be on this cruise and had to change my dates 😢, so I was sending some good weather vibes down to everyone that was onboard!!  Thanks again for sharing!  I'm doing this exact itinerary on the Breeze in 2020.

 

Thank you for the good weather vibes!! It worked.  We had wonderful weather the whole cruise and the majority of our drive even though we were trying to stay ahead of storms all the way down there and all the way back.

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Thank you for your review.  Really enjoyed reading about the Magic!

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1 hour ago, sprint180 said:

What beach is the cabana on that you rented?  

It was in Grand Turk by the pool at Margaritaville....right at the pier.  We had a button to push to get our own waiter from Margaritaville.

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    Our family are doing the Magic in October but we went to St. Kitts on Conquest last October. We thought St. Kitts was beautiful and want to go back too. We hired a taxi and went to Cockleshell Bay Beach . Payed the $15 for 2 chairs and umbrella.  Stayed about 3 hours. It wasn't crowded then and snorkeling with several sightings of Cockleshell with crabs walking on sea floor. Had driver take us to other end of island to see the extreme black sand!

Thanks for the review . We were to have a balcony room on deck 2 I think but changed to 9th floor as it's closer to pools. Granddaughters are partial to those!  After seeing your balcony photos, I wish we had kept closer to water. 

 

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