Magic Review 2/24-3/3/18

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#21
Georgia
71 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
The rest of the story....

We did this same itinerary 2 years ago on the Valor. Going into this one, we knew the ports enough to know what wanted to do and didn't stress over excursions. Here is a quick run down of the ports:
Amber Cove - we didn't leave the ship. We weren't impressed with the port area before so we chose this day to relax on the ship and enjoy some time on deck with a good book.
St Thomas - we took a cab to downtown ($4 each) and had lunch at Gladys' Cafe (recommended). After, we looked in a couple of shops before taking a cab back to the ship ($4 each way again) and did a little shopping in the duty free shops for some local sugar cane based products...If you want an excursion here we have done both Magen's Bay and the Catamaran snorkel trip to St John on past trips and thoroughly enjoyed both.
San Juan - we walked around Old San Juan, one of our favorite stops and had lunch at La Bodega del Viejo (highly recommend). It's next to the fort entrance so you can combine a fort visit with lunch. We walked back to the ship and picked up some cigars for my Dad on the way.
Grand Turk - maybe our favorite port of all. We walked off the ship and walked left past the zoo of chairs near the pier to a less busy area near Jack's Shack. We paid $15 for two chairs and an umbrella and spent the afternoon relaxing on the beach.

Now back to the ship. I left you with a tale of disappointment. We weren't having as much fun as we had hoped and were beginning to doubt our choice of the Magic when we decided to stop by the Alchemy Bar. I had seen this one before but assumed it was a martini bar and somewhere I didn't want to hang out. I was wrong.
We connected with the mixologists here, particularly Aleksandar and Natalyia, and made friends with a few others who all became regulars. We were here every night with the same 6 -8 people and really connected. It's not the typical ship bar and has a different feel to it. We wound up taking the mixology class on Friday after being invited by Aleksandar on our first night there. It was a blast and if you get a chance to participate it is worth the $15. Honestly, this spot and these folks made all the difference in our cruise. We have a new hang out spot now on future cruises and would consider whatever ship Aleks and Natalyia are on next time.

Odds and Ends:
The Good Reverend Dr. E is as advertised and is an entertaining Cruise Director.
Get a breakfast burrito from Blue Iguana at least once.
The deli only has pre-made sandwiches so don't expect anything custom.
We ate at Cucina de Capitano and it was the best meal we had on the ship and well worth the $15 charge.
2Shay and Whiskey and Wine were two of the duos playing on various stages and were both good.
We didn't see any production shows but we did take in the Love and Marriage show, which is always funny.
If you've never done Quest, check it out (but know it is an adult scavenger hunt). If you have done it before, you know...
The steam rooms on deck 14 were never really that warm, but there is a properly hot sauna on deck 12 in the men's locker room. I assume there is one in the ladies locker room but I didn't actually go in to check it out.
Debarkation was delayed by customs a bit, but went fairly smoothly once we got started.
When you get to the luggage area - always get a porter, unless you like waiting in terrible lines. We got a porter and were through customs and in the parking lot for our shuttle within 5 minutes of grabbing our luggage. Those who did not get a porter were in a line with more than 100 people, maybe more like 150.
And if you do get a porter, make sure to tip!
We were in debark group 7 and were on the shuttle by 9:15.

That's about it but I'll answer any questions. (FWIW. I don't have copies of the Fun Times)
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#22
Georgia
71 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by richfret
Thanks EFUZZ. I was really concerned since I have considerable dollars in E-cards and thought this might be a major problem. Now that I think of it, I have only used them on the ship or with the TA for the cruise purchase.
I tried to apply the e-cards using the kiosk on the ship but apparently you can only get them applied by Guest Services. Not sure why, but when the kiosk wouldn't work the young lady at the desk told me the desk was my only option because the kiosk would not process e-cards.
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#23
Tennessee
52 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
Just curious, how did you handle tips? With the sub par service it sounds like you got, I was wondering if they were pre-paid, or if you paid them as you went? I'm really leaning towards just paying them as I go the more stories I hear like this. In my mind, tipping is an incentive & reward for good service. I can absolutely see crew "phoning it in" on those pre-paying & focusing most of their energy on the people they know will actually be tipping them according to their service- not their daily allotment of ~1.95, or whatever they get after Carnival takes their cut.
#24
Georgia
71 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by Uhfolks
Just curious, how did you handle tips? With the sub par service it sounds like you got, I was wondering if they were pre-paid, or if you paid them as you went? I'm really leaning towards just paying them as I go the more stories I hear like this. In my mind, tipping is an incentive & reward for good service. I can absolutely see crew "phoning it in" on those pre-paying & focusing most of their energy on the people they know will actually be tipping them according to their service- not their daily allotment of ~1.95, or whatever they get after Carnival takes their cut.
We prepaid. I can't say if that impacted my steward or not. I wouldn't deduct as I assume the gratuity is part of my cruise package, but I usually give extra to the steward at the end of the week and I definitely didn't do that this time. However, the folks at the Alchemy got plenty extra.
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#28
Southern Maryland
5,330 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Thank you for your honest review.
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#29
Gulf Breeze, Florida USA
778 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Originally posted by TyBaby
Thanks for the review! I'm going on the same cruise in April. Which night was the second formal night?
I was on this cruise too and the second elegant night was Wednesday, San Juan.
#30
Georgia
71 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by TyBaby
Thanks for the review! I'm going on the same cruise in April. Which night was the second formal night?
Wednesday. That was the night we visited Cucina del Capitano.
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#31
Georgia
71 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by JaniceB
Thank you for your honest review.
You are welcome. Hope it helps!
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#32
Nashville, NC
54 Posts
Joined Mar 2016
Originally posted by efuzz
Wednesday. That was the night we visited Cucina del Capitano.
Thanks! I had that night booked too. Think I'll change it. Happy Cruising!
#33
NC
240 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
Nice review. We'll be on Magic in a few weeks -- switched from Breeze, decided to wait for Breeze to move from Galveston to PC which is less than half the distance for us. Now hoping Magic will be at least "mostly" as pleasurable as Breeze was for us 3 years ago.

We also have YTD. I didn't see any mention of which dining room/deck is YTD... ?
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#34
Kansas City (Gladstone) , MO
3,794 Posts
Joined May 2006
Looking forward to reading more of your review, as we are to do the Magic on the 31st of this month.

You mentioned that you like Bar B Que? I noticed it looks like you have eaten it in several places, but not Kansas City, and that is one big thing we are known for.
#35
Georgia
71 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by Moonarino
Nice review. We'll be on Magic in a few weeks -- switched from Breeze, decided to wait for Breeze to move from Galveston to PC which is less than half the distance for us. Now hoping Magic will be at least "mostly" as pleasurable as Breeze was for us 3 years ago.

We also have YTD. I didn't see any mention of which dining room/deck is YTD... ?
YTD was in Northern Lights dining room, midship deck 3.
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#36
Georgia
71 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by beshears
Looking forward to reading more of your review, as we are to do the Magic on the 31st of this month.

You mentioned that you like Bar B Que? I noticed it looks like you have eaten it in several places, but not Kansas City, and that is one big thing we are known for.
You are correct. KC is on my list, but I haven't gotten the opportunity to travel there... yet. I will at some point. Work gets me to Texas quite a bit and OKC some, but not KC so far.
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