Sailed November 20th-27th. All I can do is compare the Magic to other cruises. If you want to book the Magic...don't...spend some money and fly to Port Canaveral and go on the Dream. 100% Better. I don't know where to start. I will list some things.
1. The cruise director seemed a little dry and came across as someone who didn't know what he was doing. He may manage well behind the scenes but up front he was not entertaining at all.
2. Although 1/3 of the ship was sick to food poisoning, my review will not be based upon this...it could happen to any cruise.
2.5. It seemed like the crew was definitely working out kinks (For instance, it seemed like everything started late, there were several technical difficulties throughout the ship and during the main shows) which is unfortunate because we have been on 3 Carnival cruises, raved about them and finally convinced family to go with us...we were embarrassed and they probably will not go back.
3. No special food events were listed in the Fun Times or mentioned by the staff. There was an evening that had a Mexican buffet during the only deck party they threw. No one knew they were serving food. It would have been nice to know that this was occurring to plan for it. Also, we happened to come across a chocolate buffet on Lido the last day of the cruise that was not listed in the fun times anywhere...again, it would have been nice to plan for it.
4. There was one deck party which was not done very well. In the beginning there was a huge crowd awaiting the party at 10pm. Of course, the staff showed up at 10:15. Then, they proceeded to whittle away the crowd for a huge game of limbo. After 20 minutes of limbo the crowd had halved (I guess they found the buffet) then they started passing out party favors and dropping blow ups in the pool. Proceeded to do a few regular dances which were typical and fine.
5. Tiger shrimp is no longer offered everyday. BAD mistake. Now they offer chips and salsa instead which you can get anywhere anyways. I remember, like other cruisers we spoke too, when we looked forward to try to new things on the menu. The new menus, we were trying hard to figure out what we wanted to eat.
6. The ship itself is neat. Waterworks is great and the ropes course is OK for a one time thing.
7. The ship was accommodating to the hundreds of football fans that wanted their thanksgiving games played. Kudos.
8. A few things of comparison. On the Dream (Magic's sister ship) they had things to make the trip fun and different than other Carnival cruises. Magic had your typical Carnival trivias, one deck party...what you would expect...nothing special. The Dream had that stuff too but also had a running murder mystery with alot of the staff involved, the Fun Patrol where you had to find clues to find them every night and achieve a fun game to win prizes such as champagne and ships on sticks. They had an idea that during all the on board games your deck would receive cumulative points to win in the end (Decks 1 and 2 were the red team, etc). They had a deck party of the ages as a lot of points were up for grabs on everything. We started out in a club learning a dance and getting points, learning a chant against the other teams, then we went to another club to do another crazy fun task (that most anyone could do), then went to do a team karaoke and finally march to the deck to do team chants, and dances and it was crazy fun. For someone who doesn't drink and needs more than the typical go to the deck a play some songs it was great! I realize what I mentioned is not for everyone, but the Dream had all the regular Carnival things the Magic had and also these...
9. Steakhouse was great like all the others in the Carnival line.
10. Maitre D was accommodating like all the others as well. Never met housekeeping as we had in the past, a shame. And they never gave us a towel animal on the last night to which my 3 year old (1st time cruiser) was disappointed in. Wait staff was fine. Cleanliness was good. It did seem as if the smoke vents in the Casino were not working well because it was tough to walk through the Casino pass by.
11. All in all this cruise soured us on this line a bit. To be hailed as their best ship, expectations were high, it was just sad. We will try Royal Caribbean in Alaska or Disney next time. The Disney Dream we docked next to looked amazing.
We'll always have the amazing memory of the Carnival Dream.