Magic... not exactly magical.... review.

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#1
Virginia
881 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
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.
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Up next-
Carnival Magic 3/18, Carnival Conquest 3/18, NCL Getaway 10/19

Past Cruises
Carnival Paradise 6/17, Carnival Ecstasy 4/17, RCCL Independence of the Seas 2/17, RCCL Enchantment Of The Seas 4/16, Carnival Paradise 4/15, Carnival Paradise 12/14, RC Explorer of the Seas 10/14, Carnival Miracle 7/13, Carnival Pride 03/13, Carnival Freedom 10/12, Carnival Legend 3/12, RC Independence of the Seas 3/11, Carnival Inspiration 11/09, Carnival Elation 12/06, NCL Southward 2/92
#2
DFW
1,235 Posts
Joined Sep 2014
A charge now for afternoon tea? Is this fleet wide?

Sorry it was a mixed bag.
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March 2015 Carnival Magic: Key West and the Bahamas Review Pictures
February 2016 RCL Liberty of the Seas: Western Caribbean Review Pictures
June 2017 Coral Princess: NB Voyage of the Glaciers Alaska Review Pictures
October 2017 Norwegian Dawn: Bermuda Review

#3
Virginia
881 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
Originally posted by Beachiekeen
A charge now for afternoon tea? Is this fleet wide?

Sorry it was a mixed bag.
It really wasn't much, I want to say like $1.95 a person, but I am pretty sure we never used to pay anything.
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Up next-
Carnival Magic 3/18, Carnival Conquest 3/18, NCL Getaway 10/19

Past Cruises
Carnival Paradise 6/17, Carnival Ecstasy 4/17, RCCL Independence of the Seas 2/17, RCCL Enchantment Of The Seas 4/16, Carnival Paradise 4/15, Carnival Paradise 12/14, RC Explorer of the Seas 10/14, Carnival Miracle 7/13, Carnival Pride 03/13, Carnival Freedom 10/12, Carnival Legend 3/12, RC Independence of the Seas 3/11, Carnival Inspiration 11/09, Carnival Elation 12/06, NCL Southward 2/92
#4
453 Posts
Joined Nov 2017
Thank you for sharing. We are very interested in attending the military gathering and hope they have one on the Valor!
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#5
453 Posts
Joined Nov 2017
Originally posted by gnocchi_mommy
It really wasn't much, I want to say like $1.95 a person, but I am pretty sure we never used to pay anything.
Was this a charge to get into tea time or was this an upcharge because premium tea was purchased?
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#6
New Hampshire
2,544 Posts
Joined Mar 2015
I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the MDR. My husband and I were on the Magic in November and that was not our experience at all. We had YTD and had fantastic service, no matter what section we were seated in (we never request a certain waitstaff). And the food was delicious as always.

I agree with you completely that the shows on the Magic are the best we have ever seen on Carnival. Especially Flick. I’m hoping this is the direction they are going in for future shows because we loved that Flick was more than just signing and dancing. I’ll be on the Horizon next month and apparently they will be debuting some new shows. Can’t wait to see them.


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~~~ Cruising Christine ~~~ Links to cruise reviews below

My past cruises:

#1: Carnival Dream / 10-25-2015 / 7 days / New Orleans, Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel ***Halloween Cruise*** Read my review here
#2: Carnival Conquest / 7-2-2016 / 5 days / Ft Lauderdale, Nassau, Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk ***4th of July Cruise***
#3: Carnival Conquest / 7-7-2016 / 4 days / Ft Lauderdale, Nassau, Freeport ***Carnival LIVE w/ Trace Adkins*** Read my B2B review here
#4: Carnival Fascination / 11-6-16 / 7 days / San Juan, St Thomas, Barbados, St Lucia, St Kitts, St Maarten ***40th Birthday Cruise*** Read my review here
#5: Carnival Legend / 4-30-17 / 8 days / Vancouver, Tracy Arm, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, Seattle ***Cinco de Mayo in The Last Frontier*** Read my review here
#6: Carnival Magic / 10-28-17 / 7 days / Port Canaveral, Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, Costa Maya ***2nd Halloween Cruise***
#7: Carnival Horizon / 4-22-18 / 7 days / Barcelona, Messina, Naples, Rome, Livorno, Marseilles ***Husband's Early 50th Birthday Cruise***

My future cruises:
#8: Carnival Imagination / 9-2-18 / 4 days / Long Beach, Catalina Island, Ensenada ***Labor Day Cruise***
#9: Carnival Conquest / 2-24-19 / 6 days / Ft Lauderdale, Nassau, Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, Amber Cove ***10th Anniversary Cruise***
#10: Carnival Conquest / 3-2-19 / 8 days / Ft Lauderdale, Princess Cays, Grand Turk, Curacao, Aruba ***2nd B2B on Conquest***
#11: Carnival Vista / 11-30-19 / 7 days / Galveston, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay ***After-Thanksgiving Cruise***
#12: TBD ***Platinum Cruise***
#7
Texas
2,709 Posts
Joined May 2014
Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts.

I agree our last couple of experiences in the MDR have been disappointing in some ways, mostly the food, not the service.

Glad you enjoyed other aspects of the Magic.
#8
NC
1,441 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Thank you for your review and your perspective of the Magic. We are leaving in 13 days for our next cruise on the Magic and have sailed her before (including within the last year).

Every trip is different even on the same ship, for us we love the Magic and she is our favorite ship by far on CCL. We have found that YTD is a much more consistent experience for those nights we choose to enjoy a sit down, MDR type dinner, this opinion is for any ship truthfully. Recently, in the tea room we only paid for a tea "upgrade" (to a premium tea) but even if they charged for the experience outright, it is still something we would do.

We will be sad to see the Magic leave PC later this year but we are booked on her sister ship the Breeze next Spring and look forward to trying her out.
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#10
Missouri
1,727 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
On the Breeze March 4th tea time was free but there were some upgraded teas available for $2 and some change. Tea, beyond the basics has had a fee in the dining room for a while though...

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Tracy in Missouri
#11
Maryland
45 Posts
Joined Dec 2014
Totally agree about the size of the comedy club.

Sailed on her last April and being used to the Spirit class ships, the cattle call to get in and mandatory exit between shows really turned me off.

Also found the lines in the buffet much less manageable.

Sticking to Spirit class.


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#12
739 Posts
Joined May 2017
Originally posted by gnocchi_mommy
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.
Hi gnocchi, reading your feelings about your cruise I came away thinking your cruise sounded pretty good!
Hard to have sparkle during Spring Break!
You were wowed by guest services response to a luggage screw up,
Carnival did great getting you on the ship quickly, and your cabin was ready,
You thought the Italian Rest. was great, BTW we agree totally, having visited it 4 times in 3 cruises,
Shows, wow, again agree,
Red Frog Pub you loved it, we liked it too,
Dr E was great, again agree totally,
Casino, friendly staff, great airflow, and you won, lucky you,
Sounds like a pretty good cruise!
What seemed to bother you the most was not enough employees, too slow service, crowded pools.
Maybe because of 'when' you went, school break!
We never cruise school break, or in the summer, as the ships are always filled to the max! Cabins that have normally 2 adults, will have 3-4 with kids added, and multiply that by a thousand plus cabins,,,,well, that might explain why in our opinion, all cruise lines $uck at this time of year! Some might say 'add extra staff', but no cruise line does!
Agree with you, seems most cruise food is either too salty, guess its preservatives, or too bland, guess its so cruisers can season it themselves! Most wouldn't like the amount of pepper I put on!
BTW, Try 'your time dining' in the MDR, we love it!
Hope you enjoy your next cruise more, as it won't be during school break, happy cruising!
#13
NE Ohio
4,865 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by gnocchi_mommy;55583903

[B
The not so good- MDR. Oh wow. This was our worst MDR experience ever on a cruise. We had 6 pm set time dining[/b]. 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.


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.
Exactly. We had the same experience. We also heard others on our cruise complain. Some folks were comped steakhouse. We didn't complain at guest services but I did send a comment through the email survey after I returned.

My comments from the survey went unanswered and no other response from Carnival. Not even a "sorry". I also reported my experiences on this board and many people didn't seem to want to believe me. So I completely understand.

I hope your future cruises are better!
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Carnival Splendor - Sept. 2009 Mexican Riviera

Carnival Fascination - Feb. 2011 HMC and Nassau
Carnival Ecstasy - Sept. 2011 Cozumel and Progresso
Carnival Victory - Feb. 2012 San Juan Southern itinerary
Carnival Glory - July 2012 Boston to St. John NB and Halifax
Carnival Freedom - Oct 2012 KW, Ocho Rios and GC
Carnival Liberty - Feb 2013 Belize, GC, Coz, Roatan
Carnival Pride - Oct 2013 PC, Nassau and Freeport
Carnival Freedom-Feb 2014 St Thom, Antigua, Tortola, Nassau
Carnival Fantasy - July 2014 Nassau and Freeport
Carnival Conquest - Oct 2014 Coz, Belize, Roatan, Costa Maya
Carnival Liberty - March 2015 St. Thomas, St Kitts, St. Maarten, Tortola
Carnival Paradise - September 2015 GC, Coz
Carnival Pride - Halloween 2015 Grand Turk, HMC, Nassau
Carnival Conquest - Feb. 2016 GT, La Romana DR, Aruba, Curacao
Carnival Splendor - Oct. 2016 Montego Bay, GC, Cozumel
Carnival Vista - Feb. 2017 Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts, St Maarten

Carnival Paradise - Sept 2017 Key West, Cozumel
Carnival Magic - November 2017 Belize, Coz, Roatan, CM
Carnival Miracle - February 2018 Roatan, Belize, GC, Roatan
Carnival Pride - Sept 2018 Bermuda
#14
116 Posts
Joined Jul 2014
No cheese nuts and olives??? Seriously i loves those! Did you ask for them? I know last year the 1st 2 nights the automatically gave them to us. The other nights we had to ask
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