Just got home from a 7 nighter on the Magic (3/10). As my signature indicates I am an enthusiastic cruiser, and am especially fond of Carnival. This time I was traveling with my 20 yr old daughter on her college spring break. I'd love to just give a glowing review but alas... I can't. It was a mixed bag.
Embarkation- Cape Canaveral has it DOWN!! Seriously it took us maybe 15 minutes from the time we approached the door to the moment we were walking on the ship. We had FTTF and it worked perfectly for embarkation. Our cabin was ready and waiting, such a treat! Dropped our bags then went to explore. Our cabin steward showed up and I requested morning service and a full ice bin, he was very friendly and assured the ice bucket would stay refreshed. He did so the whole cruise. Our preordered wine and water and vodka and club soda were in our room as expected.
Ship decor- Beautiful, the Magic is a class I had not sailed before and I appreciated the aesthetics a lot!
FTTF oops- my 2 suitcases were delivered quickly, my daughters as not. It arrived at 6 pm, I'd already gone to guest services to inquire because she was worried (it had her text books in it) Guest services had a huge line but I used the priority line and it was quick in and out. That evening, they called and asked if it ever showed- I said yes and they apologized for the delay again and said they were sending a gift. The next day a HUGE cheese and fruit platter and bottle of sparkling cider arrived! We were seriously impressed. Mistakes happen and Carnival more than made it right.
The not so good- MDR. Oh wow. This was our worst MDR experience ever on a cruise. We had 6 pm set time dining. It took 2 1/2 hours and we skipped dessert! Did the 2nd seating people even eat at all?? The food was SO bland. No seasoning, it didn't look attractive at all, and it was cool. It was obvious to us the dining staff was being way overworked. Our waiter had so many tables, he was constantly moving, but couldn't keep up. I heard this complaint by so many people on the ship- they've clearly cut dining staff.
The bars were a mixed bag, they often seem way understaffed and drinks took a long time (and no I didn't have Cheers)
The great- Cucina Del Capitano, SO good!!!!!! The food was so so good, the staff was wonderful. Best meal on the ship. I even liked it more than the steakhouse!
The lido food- Guys Burgers, okay. Good I guess? Not mind blowing. I know intellectually they must be the same as other ships but I was underwhelmed anyway. The buffet was okay! Not great, but okay. Pizza- meh, okay. Where did the calzones go?? Weirdly, my favorite was the deli. Their paninis were really good!!
The shows- WOW!!! Seriously, the production staff was great. This may have been our favorite one!
Piano bar- the piano guy was funny and he was good, talented on the keys... but as he drank more he sort of launched into all raunch. There's an art to inter-spacing dirty dittys with old standards and he lacked that. You can only sing so many songs about balls to the butt before they get old.
Comedy club- some great acts! Not enough seating though, by far.
Red Frog Pub- LOVED it, and the country singers who played every night. We also enjoyed the atrium and the strings players who performed nightly.
CD- we had the reverend doctor E and he was GREAT!!!! LOVED him so much!!! So funny and interactive. I especially appreciated his comments at the military meet and greet.
Alchemy bar- why did it seem like they were hardly ever open??!!? And no cheese and nut plates?
Casino- friendly staff, they have a great air flow so less smokey than most, and hey, I ended "up" so no complaints!
Water- I did find the pools very small and always full of kids. Hot tubs were often closed and if open, packed with kids.
Disembarking was fast and easy.
Overall impressions- I noticed a lot of cut backs on this cruise, little things like having to pay for sea day tea, big things like obviously way too few wait staff and lower food quality. Other than the Italian restaurant I feel like we never had a single "wow" meal on this boat. They were all just so "blah".
Honestly I had high hopes for this cruise and it didn't really impress. I didn't hate it, but I think after our Conquest cruise later this month we're done with Carnival for awhile. It just didn't have that "sparkle". This is the first time I REALLY felt those "cut backs" I have seen other complain about for the last few years- and it really affected our enjoyment.