Overall Rating: Excellent
|# of Nights:||11-14 Nights|
Our ship was the brand new Carnival Magic.
Our best cruise ever. We spent two days with friends in Barcelona before the cruise and then were picked up at our hotel (using Carnival transfers) and dropped off at the cruise ship. Literally took 5 minutes to get our stateroom keys and we were aboard. Have never experienced this ease of embarkation before. Had a Cove Balcony stateroom and it was a wonderful value for the price. We were in cabin 2403 and the Northern Lights Dining Room was above us so it was very quiet. We were on deck two about 25 feet from the water line and were able to see fish and dolphin running near the ship. Our stateroom attendents were the best we've ever had.
Food was the normal for Carnival so no surprises but our waiters were fairly new so mistakes were made in the orders sometimes and plates were grabbed before we were finished and I finally had to tell our waiter to ask before he took our plates. I think they were breaking in new waiters at some tables and we got some rookies. Coffee, water and tea were poured from one side of the table to the other on some nights. Overall, the waiters seemed rushed. When we had open seating the waiters were very good...veterans I presume.
Room service was spotty.... they were right on time with breakfast on our early shore excursion days. Used them 4 times but they got our orders right just once. Why they'd bring cereal with no milk is beyond me.
The ship was magnificent! This was only the Magic's 3rd cruise and the ship still smelled brand new. Our sink would not drain the 1st day, I reported it and it was repaired during our dinner meal. That was the only problem we had with our stateroom. I'd guess the ship was running at 90 % capacity because a lot of the dining room tables were not used for the cruise. Night after night they'd be the same empty tables.
The Serenity Deck was vary crowded during sea days so if you didn't get there early you'd not have a spot. People were hogging the cabanas all day. They'd leave their towels on the cabanas and walk off for a couple of hours. Sometimes the attendents would notice and remove their towls but mostly they'd go unnoticed.
Waterworks (outdoor waterslides and ropeworks) was a lot of fun.
The Internet Cafes were always crowded (when they were working) and buying time on them was not cheap. $60 for 2 hours was the going rate and verrry slow connections so most of that time was just wasted. (I personally won't use a computer while on vacation but some people are addicted).
We did not use their specialty restaurants. The steak restaurant was $30 per person and the Italian Restaurant was $10 per person. When on a cruise I don't want to pay extra for my meals. The steaks in the regular dining rooms were very good so why pay for more?
Music levels on the ships were far too high. We went to the Red Frog Pub...a Caribbean themed bar and were chased out by the music blaring, sat outside the Pub and drank their specialy beer which was good. The music on the Lido deck was also very high. There are outside hot tubs on the Promenade Deck and it was very quiet there. We spent a lot of time on the Promenade Deck. I did not use the library because we had brought my Kindle which holds hundreds of books so we can't report on the library. The pianist at Play it Again Sam was constantly starting at a late time. Supposed to start at 9 PM but never started playing before 9:10 or 9:15. Comedy acts were funny. Did not see any big shows because we were exhausted from all the activities on shore days. Movies Under the Stars were very fun. It's on the Lido deck outside and you grab a lounger and a blanket and they have free popcorn for the guests but no butter! That's like going to Las vegas with no money!
Pick and choose your shore excursions. Some were worth what you paid but Rome we did on our own for a very low price compared to Carnival's shore excursions. The train to Rome was 9 Euros round trip and that included our Metro passes in Rome. Likewise we did Venice on our own with friends and had the BEST time. B-)
We went through CruiseCompete.com to book our cruise and they gave us FREE travel Ins. and a soda card (24 sodas, and at $2.40 (including tax) per soda that's quite a bit of savings). If you use CruiseCompete go through Marsha...she was the BEST!
Pre-cruise we used the transfers through Carnival and stayed at the Vincci Arena Hotel in Barcelona. The Carnival transfers to the hotel, from the hotel to the cruise ship and from the cruise ship after the cruise back to the airport were flawless. The hotel was great, in a good location and clean. Morning breakfast was included but they don't know how to cook bacon in Spain I guess... it was almost raw. All else was great.
Remember one thing. Almost everything on a cruise ship is a "profit center". They are not giving anything away. A regular drink is around $7.50 so you had better not have a drinking problem...you'd go broke in a hurry! <hic> ;-) They sell cookies that were very good. The store "Cherry on Top" was cute but of no value to us.
I've listed some problems but overall this was a GREAT cruise and you will get quite a bang for the buck. In the fall the Magic will move out of Europe and to Galveston to replace the Conquest. It's a wonderful ship...try it!