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jam19872016

Carnival Magic 8 Day Eastern Cruise Review

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Posted (edited)
On 8/16/2019 at 10:25 PM, Jared100 said:

what a great review! ill be on her in 37 days for the first time.

The new lunch buffet items look amazing!

Questions,

What are the terms of the spa $50 certificate. Does everyone get one?

What are your tips on slots?

thanks!

 

I don't think everyone gets one. They seem to be random as I don't get one every trip. It says $50 off a spa service and expires on the last port day of the cruise (so can't use it on your sea day). I usually let it expire, but I did use it once for a hair cut.

 

No real tips for slots. Play what you are comfortable losing and any wins are a bonus 🙂 I did purchase a book https://www.amazon.com/Mikes-Guide-Better-Slot-Play/dp/1450518052

 

Like the book says, there is no secret its all about luck. But I do find that following the strategy laid out in the book helps me stretch my budget further which is the only point of the guide. It could just be in my head though. Its worth a purchase if you are interested.

 

On 8/19/2019 at 1:41 PM, E Heffa said:

Would this room have had a king bed if two people were staying in it or is it a solo room?  I've never seen a room with only one twin bed. 

 

Loanshark nailed the description. I would personally never choose this type of room if I was traveling with someone. But as a solo it works nice and is cheaper than booking a regular room.

Edited by jam19872016

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On 8/19/2019 at 6:25 PM, cruisin4Becky said:

I cant wait for more of this review! What a great cruise so far! I cant wait to see what you post about Grand Turk,one of my favorite ports

 

 

Thanks! Grand Turk coming up now 🙂 

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Day 7: Grand Turk

 

Today we are in Grand Turk. This is my seventh time visiting Grand Turk. I was feeling a bit energized today and since I scrapped my plans of getting off the ship yesterday I decided to stretch out my land legs today.

 

 

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I walked around for a little bit and then stopped into Margaritaville for a bite to eat. I chose to forgo my one allowed Guy's burger and instead go with the Cheeseburger in Paradise. This was a mistake. I ordered the burger and an electric lemonade. 

 

 

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The burger was not good at all - it tasted old and that is because it was. It was delivered before my drink, which was already premade in one of those slushy machines like you see at gas stations and every cruise ship tourist bar. Seriously, I have never even been served that fast at McDonald's before. Very disappointing especially since I had this once before (in Grand Cayman) and it was one of the best burgers I've ever eaten.

 

The drink was good, there was a nice breeze and a wonderful party atmosphere so all in all I was glad I ventured out today it was a fun change of pace, I just wish that I had had a better meal.
 

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After eating I walked around a little more and got some pictures before heading back to the ship. 

 

 

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Back on the ship they were having another happy hour special at the Red Frog Pub. All menu drinks 1/2 off from 12-2. This was far less busy than on embarkation day since so many were off the ship and this seemed like a more obvious choice for happy hour pricing. I enjoyed another mango meltdown and played a couple more rounds of trivia at Ocean Plaza. I would only win the one SOAS but I was happy to win one 🙂

 

I have no idea what I ate for lunch today. I have searched and searched my memory banks but my brain just keeps returning a 404 file not found error. Ooops. I do have the lunch menu for the lido buffet though.

 

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I spend the remainder of the afternoon relaxing. The casino does remain open while in Grand Turk and if you find yourself having trouble getting on your favorite machine, this is a great time to play. That was not a problem on this cruise, it was dead all week.

 

Tonight's dinner menu.

 

 

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For my starter I ordered the fried shrimp and the beef skewers off the port of call menu.

 

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The shrimp were okay. I love the beef skewers, very flavorful. They also show up on the Grand Cayman port of call menu and are excellent every time.
 

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For my main I had the penne mariscos.

 

 

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This was also very good.

 

Dessert menu.

 

 

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For dessert I had the WCMC with two ice creams and the buttered popcorn pot de creme.

 

 

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The WCMC was much better tonight and the popcorn dessert was better than I remembered the one other time I ordered it. It is an odd combination of flavors but pretty good.

 

Another very quick dinner with excellent service and great food. Just over a half an hour start to finish. That may sound rushed, but when you are dining solo such quick service is perfect.
 

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Back in the room, my towel animal with an unwelcome friend - luggage tags.

 

 

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After this I played some more in the casino. I got a four of a kind which helped me round out my last three days playing with small gains. (I don't typically play the last day).

 

 

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After the casino I finished off the night with a little late night pizza and then went to bed as the Magic made its way back to Ft. Lauderdale.
 

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Day 8: Fun Farewell Day At Sea

 

I started my final day on board with brunch in the dining room. My mom has this theory about the last day. She says the food and service is not so good because the crew is ready to get rid of us. I don't really believe that and try to tell her it is a case of the "self fulfilling prophecy". You believe it, so it makes it seem true. But I gotta say, brunch today was pretty pitiful.

 

I ordered the steak and eggs again and a side of cheese grits.

 

 

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The steak, eggs, and the fries were all overcooked. The eggs were okay, I was not able to finish the steak or fries - they were pretty bad. This was a very different experience than the rest of the week, I'm not sure what happened but my mom would have been happily saying "I told you so". 
 

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After brunch I wandered the ship a bit and relaxed in the room some. I found myself in the casino so decided to join the slot tournament. I actually made the finals which has not happened since my very first time playing (where I went on to win). They told me I could use my free entry I got for being platinum on the next cruise since I did not use it. That seems too good to be true, but I'm going to bring it along next time and try it out.

 

I made the finals but sadly that was as far as I got. I was still happy though to have had such a great run of luck in the casino. I walked away with over $1,800 of Carnival's money so I was very pleased with my week on the Magic!

 

For lunch I enjoyed one final trip to Guy's BBQ. By this point in the week there was a bit of a line, but it was not too bad maybe about three minutes total.

 

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The rest of my afternoon was spent packing (boo) and relaxing in the room. The Platinum and Diamond reunion was also this afternoon. Before I knew it it was time for dinner.

 

Tonight's dinner menu.

 

 

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For my starter I ordered the escargot.

 

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These have gotten very tiny since they returned but still very yummy.
 

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For my main I ordered the jerk pork loin, and apparently nothing else. I think I may have forgotten to take a picture. One entree does not seem likely lol.

 

 

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This was very good.

 

Dessert menu.

 

 

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I ordered the baked Alaska.

 

 

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This was also very good.

 

Just like the rest of the week, dinner service was very good and I was out in under an hour. The food was also very good once again.
 

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My final towel thingy of the week.

 

 

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I was in  early tonight - by 10. The down side to getting on the ship so early is that they also get you off early. Priority debarkation meeting time was at 6:15 😮

 

Debarkation:

 

Priority debarkation met in the dining room at 6:15. I showed up pretty much right as they started debarking. Debarkation was quick but I cannot help but think that was not the case for those getting off the ship later in the day. Once again there were only 3 agents working, and a fourth joined by the time I made it to the front of the line. Four agents, processing 4000+ passengers is just not going to be a speedy process, so hopefully more joined but in my experience, debarking in Ft. Lauderdale is a long slow process. If you have priority, utilize it!
 

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Summary:

 

Dining:

 

The Magic has a very wide selection of dining options. It has almost the same amount of options as the Vista and unless I can't think of it, there is nothing missing on the Magic that is not an extra charge on the Horizon and other newer ships. With so many options to choose from I did not get to try many things but I will comment on those that I did try.

 

The MDR food and service were both very excellent. They still use the old brunch menu which has a lot of really great items to choose from, but I am excited for a change and look forward to trying out the new menu soon. If there was one meal that fell short, it would be brunch on the last day. The dinner service was easily the best I have ever had in 24 cruises. The attention to detail was amazing and very much appreciated. A+ marks here.

 

The lido buffet has taken a beating in each and every one of my reviews that I have written. I am excited to see a new menu here and even more excited to report that the offerings are also improved. It is still a buffet on a cruise ship, which comes with limitations but for what it is I was happy with the improvements I saw here.

 

The new desserts are also an improvement, but I think something is different from when they first rolled out. They seem to be a little dry most of the time. They are still very good though and far far better than the old desserts you used to get on Lido.

 

The area that Carnival shines is their causal lunch offerings. My favorite was Cucina located just above Lido. For lunch they offer a made to order pasta bar that is fantastic and also usually less crowed than Lido.

 

Another great option is Mongolian Wok, but the line can be terribly slow here. 

 

I also enjoy Guy's BBQ open on sea days and embarkation day. The BBQ here is very very good and much better than the BBQ offered on Conquest class ships.

 

The deli was good, and all sandwiches were made to order. 

 

I am sad to see that Tandor has been removed and replaced with Seafood Shack. It makes sense because Tandor was not a very popular venue, but I loved the food there.

 

The only specialty restaurant I tried was Cucina Del Capitano and the food here was excellent and at only $15 it is also a great bargain. 

 

I also did Chef's Table and would also recommend that to anyone who enjoys food enough to consider it an excursion instead of a meal 😄

 

If there is still one more area that is not specific to Magic, but Carnival in general, that could use an improvement it would be the late night choices. Clearly there is a demand based on the line at the pizza place for more options. I would love to see something like what NCL offers with O'Sheehans but I think going forward, I may just pay the fee and order a pizza to be delivered. I am sure that is what they want, but I don't think many people are really taking them up on that offer as the lines seemed just as long as ever, and I really expected it to be thinned out with the new option to order on the hub app.

 

Overall, I was very happy with both the quality and selection of food on Carnival Magic.
 

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Public Spaces and Cabin:

 

I loved the setup of my cabin with one twin bed. It created a lot of extra floor space but I am not sure I would ever want to book this type of room if I was not traveling solo. 

 

The last time I cruised on Magic was in May of 2018 and the ship was super crowded. I was mentally preparing for it to be really bad because of it being the middle of summer but I was pleasantly surprised. The only time I ever felt it was unbearable was Lido deck the day we were in San Juan with an early back on board time. I did not even try to go on Lido on embarkation day, I am sure it was a zoo then as well. Overall I was impressed with the lack of crowds, although YMMV since I cannot say that at all about my first trip on Magic.

 

The ship was very well maintained and when I see reports of the Magic looking tired, I just have to wonder if we are looking at the same ship. Yes parts of the outside are rusty. Inside the ship still looks and feels like an 8 year old ship. I did not observe anything personally that was not in good working order and the crew was always out working to keep things spic and span clean.

 

Entertainment:

 

The production shows are not Carnival's strong suit but Flick is enjoyable and the cast on this ship were pretty talented. Sometimes the singing is difficult to listen to but that was not the case on Magic. I did not see any of the others so cannot comment on them. I've seen Country Road before and didn't care for it enough to watch again.

 

Simon London was the cruise director. As CD's go he was average IMO. He didn't stand out in any way but was not annoying or invisible. He did a great job, but I don't think anyone will ever compare him to Matt Mitchum or Chris Williams.

 

The casino was dead. Like, empty. Ocean Player's Club has been running people off for years now with their inconsistent and non competitive offers and one cutback after another. But the casino has always been packed. As long as someone is spending money, why would they be competitive with other cruise line casino programs? I have to wonder if things are starting to turn around? If casino revenue drops, maybe they will reconsider their comp program. Carnival is my favorite cruise line of the ones I have tried and I would love to have a better financial incentive to book with them. Time will tell.

 

Service:

 

Service was excellent all around. While service is almost always good, some ships the crew really shines with a genuine happy and positive sincerity to providing great service at what has to be a truly difficult job! This was one of the best crews I've sailed with in all the different areas of service.

 

There was one thing I was a bit put off by and maybe this is just me. I was asked by two different people if I would mind writing a letter of recommendation and leaving it with guest services. One even supplied me with a sheet of blank printer paper to write a note on. That just feels a little tacky to me and surely that must not seem genuine to the folks at guest services or their supervisors? Maybe that's just me though, I don't care for the dining room asking for 10's on the survey either. 

 

Overall:

 

Overall this was a great cruise and I think many people on the ship agreed. Sometimes you tend to hear a lot of grumbling from unhappy cruisers on board and I just don't recall any of that. Things were not perfect, but this truly was all around one of my best cruise experiences to date. The Dream class is also the happy spot for me ship wise. Vista class is a little too big, while I find myself growing a little bored with the Conquest class. The Magic strikes a perfect balance between variety and overcrowding!

 

Looking Ahead:

 

I did a 2 day cruise on the Grand Celebration on 8/7 that I will be writing a review on over on that board in a couple days.

 

Despite my comment about the Conquest class, my next cruise will be on 9/7 on.....Conquest. I will be traveling with my good friend and cruise buddy for the first time in almost a year with a fantastic casino rate (extended to her since she has not cruise in so long...my offers still stink).

 

Next after that we will be cruising together again on Majesty of the Seas for my first Royal cruise in November.

 

After that, 2020 is wide open and I look forward to seeing where I end up next, Carnival or Royal or someone else! Right now I am eyeballing the Horizon but if I can get a better casino offer from someone else, I will probably take that instead.

 

Thank you all for reading along and I hope to see you for another review soon!

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Thank you for the report.  I enjoyed the read and the pictures very much. ☺️

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Awesome review!  Loved all the pictures and your positive comments on the Magic.  She is next up for us in October.

Thanks for taking the time.

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Where do you get the debarcation luggage tags ? Are they delivered to your cabin day before? Great review. Thanks

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1 hour ago, licram said:

Where do you get the debarcation luggage tags ? Are they delivered to your cabin day before? Great review. Thanks

they are now put out on deck 5 after the debarkation talks.   First come first serve

 

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20 hours ago, jam19872016 said:

Summary:

 

 

If there is still one more area that is not specific to Magic, but Carnival in general, that could use an improvement it would be the late night choices. Clearly there is a demand based on the line at the pizza place for more options. I would love to see something like what NCL offers with O'Sheehans but I think going forward, I may just pay the fee and order a pizza to be delivered. I am sure that is what they want, but I don't think many people are really taking them up on that offer as the lines seemed just as long as ever, and I really expected it to be thinned out with the new option to order on the hub app.

after 11pm I think Pizza is the only free option available.   I agree then need something else.   I mean even room service is paid for at this time   

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What are the debarkation talks and where are they held and what time ?

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5 hours ago, 4hunters said:

Thank you for the report.  I enjoyed the read and the pictures very much. ☺️

 

Happy to do it! Thanks for reading along.

 

5 hours ago, Florings said:

Awesome review!  Loved all the pictures and your positive comments on the Magic.  She is next up for us in October.

Thanks for taking the time.

Thanks you! I had a great time and happy to share those positive experiences with others. Enjoy, October will be here soon 🙂 

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3 hours ago, Countrygurl said:

Thank you for your review.   We cruise on Magic in Oct.  So excited now!

 

Happy to do it. Thanks for reading along.

 

2 hours ago, serene56 said:

after 11pm I think Pizza is the only free option available.   I agree then need something else.   I mean even room service is paid for at this time   

I haven't tried room service since the switch to pay only at night. It was basically unusable on every ship. An hour+ wait time (if they even answered the phone) and any request that deviated from the standard order was messed up ten times out of ten. I have not tried it recently, so maybe things have gotten better. I may try that option on my next cruise as I had honestly forgotten about room service having written it off many cruises ago.

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2 hours ago, serene56 said:

after 11pm I think Pizza is the only free option available.   I agree then need something else.   I mean even room service is paid for at this time   

As previously mentioned, O’Sheehans was fabulous on NCL, and something like that would be a great addition to a Carnival ship. It’s a 24 hour complimentary sit down restaurant with a full menu. We LOVED it on our two NCL cruises. 

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2 hours ago, licram said:

What are the debarkation talks and where are they held and what time ?

 

They are held on the last day in the theater. I am not sure the time but it will be located in the fun times very prominently and repeated a couple times on the CD's announcements. They want one person from each group to attend so they make sure you know about it. They will go over all the procedures for debarkation to make it goes as smoothly as possible. I'll admit, I've never gone to one so I am only guessing what they talk about.

 

If you do not have some sort of priority (casino, VIFP, or FTTF) you will need to get your luggage tags which will be located usually near the coffee bar starting on the last morning of the cruise. It is first come first serve, so if you need a specific tag number I would start checking early. My tags are delivered to me (and I do self assist anyway) so I don't really pay attention to the process, but I will try to pay better attention next time since I am sure you are not the only one who would find this information helpful.

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