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This was our first cruise and it was awesome! If I sail again, I would definitely put the Magic at the top of the list... we saw a few other cruise ships in port and by appearance they seem to pale in comparison to the Magic. The service, food, rooms, bathrooms... all wonderful! I don't know how they keep up with it all! The waiters in the dining room for our planned dinners were one of the best parts! These 3 guys served us every dinner we had and we became quite attached to them! Overall the cruise and the excursions were great... there are just a few things I wish I'd known... It's true what they say.... it takes a few days to find your way around and it is frustrating at times. By the time you have it figured out, the cruise is half over! Another good reason to take the same ship next time.... you dont have the painful learning period and you can just jump right in. When planning the trip and looking at the activities on the Magic online.. I thought, how will we choose and how will we have time for it all? The reality is quite different. My boys are ages 8 and 13. I didn't plan or expect to take the 8 year old to Camp Ocean (daycare) at all... but his cousins were also on ship with us and they went so he wanted to go too. He went for a few hours on a few days and he seemed okay about it... they play video games, legos, watch movies, have snacks, play games... he was always happy to go back with his cousins but wouldnt want to go without them. He is a bit nervous in nature I think and did not want to do the big slides at the water park but he would play at the small slide area. He could not swim in the pool without close supervision. Although he CAN swim... the entire pool is 4 feet 4 inches and is usually PACKED with adults standing in it. So he could not touch bottom in ANY pool and it was very busy. He played mini golf twice and could never get on the basketball court and was too nervous for the sky course. All shows (comedy, music, trivia, etc) were too old for him. Kids are active and dont like to sit for that stuff so much. There is an arcade but at $1-2 dollars per game it adds up fast so it's not something we could do all day every day. So for my 8 year old... basically the only fun thing he could do was play at the small slide area. As for my 13 year old... he liked the big slides and did them quite a bit. Mini golf was boring to him. He would have tried the sky course but the times we were there, it was closed because it was too windy. He LOVES basketball and thought he would spend most of his time there... but he didn't even step foot on the court once. It was sssssooo packed ALL THE TIME with adult/older teen/ men. The ONE time during the week there was a space for 12-14 yr olds only was once at 11pm... we went thinking it was an organized activity... it was a free for all... court packed w/ kids of all ages and only chaos. We left. In addition, there were alot of kids there that were unsupervised and being destructive and disrespectful of property. UGH. There is a "club" or "group hangout" area for his ages...we went by probably 6 times and every time there was no activities, no music, nothing but young teens sitting on sofas looking at their phones and cussing. The older group 15-17 looked like they may have enjoyed music and stuff sometimes but I didn't catch that of the younger group and he never wanted to go check it out. I have to say I am glad because although some probably formed some great friendships...others resulted in a "pack" of kids running around together being destructive. Sad. Ditto what I said about the arcade above.....too much $ to go for long periods of time. So mostly he did lots of walking, watching, window shopping, lounging with us.... he did like the water park though. SSSSooooo disappointing he couldn't play basketball. Which reminds me... there were basketball, soccer, bean bag toss, dodgeball tournaments scheduled throughout the week and they were ALL for 18 and older. Summary for my kids..... they could play at the water park. FYI it closes at sunset. Thank goodness the ports kept us off the boat for 3 days so we could explore!!!! Dinner recommendation.... do the "dine at your own time" (or whatever its called) option. Having a set reservation really pins you down... we had to stop what we were doing, pay attention to time, to get back to room on time to clean up and get to dinner on time. We missed several activities and movies at the pool because of our reserved dinner time (which was 6pm). The other set time would have been 815 and would have been the same thing. If we'd had the dine when you want plan then we could've schedule dinner around other interests. DO NOT get the bottomless bubbles for sodas. I may as well have just thrown $170 overboard. When I bought the program, I envisioned my large tumbler full of icy Dr. Pepper at most times.... reality is that I didn't use my tumbler...you can only get soda at certain places and it's usually a pain in the butt... once you get a soda, its from a hot can and poured into ice so it is immediately flat. The lemonade is good and I would have happily drank that all week for "free" if I had known in advance. I got it for my little one as well, even though he doesnt drink soda there is juice on the program... again only at certain places and they usually only had cranberry juice available... everyone gets juice at breakfast anyways without the program. What a waste. Ports: Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Jamaica. In Cozumel we went to Chankanaab... it was okay, not what I thought from online appearance. In Cayman we did the snorkeling and Stingray City tour with Moby Dick (can not say enough GREAT things about them!!!!!! ssooo glad we chose them!). In Jamaica (where alot of people did not get off the ship because they were afraid) we took a bus tour of the area, ate lunch at The Pork Pit (for jerk chicken) and spent 2 hours at a beach... it was ALL amazing and I am so glad we didn't listen to other peoples fears because we would have really missed out! I also wish I could live there. It was my favorite place because it was just so calm and happy. Contrary to popular belief... we were not once offered and never saw any marijuana. I went expecting it, but it didn't happen. You only live once... get off the ship and explore!!!!!!! Happy cruising and exploring to all!

Things I wish I knew BEFORE the cruise....

Carnival Magic Cruise Review by branfam4

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This was our first cruise and it was awesome! If I sail again, I would definitely put the Magic at the top of the list... we saw a few other cruise ships in port and by appearance they seem to pale in comparison to the Magic. The service, food, rooms, bathrooms... all wonderful! I don't know how they keep up with it all! The waiters in the dining room for our planned dinners were one of the best parts! These 3 guys served us every dinner we had and we became quite attached to them! Overall the cruise and the excursions were great... there are just a few things I wish I'd known...

It's true what they say.... it takes a few days to find your way around and it is frustrating at times. By the time you have it figured out, the cruise is half over! Another good reason to take the same ship next time.... you dont have the painful learning period and you can just jump right in.

When planning the trip and looking at the activities on the Magic online.. I thought, how will we choose and how will we have time for it all? The reality is quite different. My boys are ages 8 and 13. I didn't plan or expect to take the 8 year old to Camp Ocean (daycare) at all... but his cousins were also on ship with us and they went so he wanted to go too. He went for a few hours on a few days and he seemed okay about it... they play video games, legos, watch movies, have snacks, play games... he was always happy to go back with his cousins but wouldnt want to go without them. He is a bit nervous in nature I think and did not want to do the big slides at the water park but he would play at the small slide area. He could not swim in the pool without close supervision. Although he CAN swim... the entire pool is 4 feet 4 inches and is usually PACKED with adults standing in it. So he could not touch bottom in ANY pool and it was very busy. He played mini golf twice and could never get on the basketball court and was too nervous for the sky course. All shows (comedy, music, trivia, etc) were too old for him. Kids are active and dont like to sit for that stuff so much. There is an arcade but at $1-2 dollars per game it adds up fast so it's not something we could do all day every day. So for my 8 year old... basically the only fun thing he could do was play at the small slide area.

As for my 13 year old... he liked the big slides and did them quite a bit. Mini golf was boring to him. He would have tried the sky course but the times we were there, it was closed because it was too windy. He LOVES basketball and thought he would spend most of his time there... but he didn't even step foot on the court once. It was sssssooo packed ALL THE TIME with adult/older teen/ men. The ONE time during the week there was a space for 12-14 yr olds only was once at 11pm... we went thinking it was an organized activity... it was a free for all... court packed w/ kids of all ages and only chaos. We left. In addition, there were alot of kids there that were unsupervised and being destructive and disrespectful of property. UGH. There is a "club" or "group hangout" area for his ages...we went by probably 6 times and every time there was no activities, no music, nothing but young teens sitting on sofas looking at their phones and cussing. The older group 15-17 looked like they may have enjoyed music and stuff sometimes but I didn't catch that of the younger group and he never wanted to go check it out. I have to say I am glad because although some probably formed some great friendships...others resulted in a "pack" of kids running around together being destructive. Sad. Ditto what I said about the arcade above.....too much $ to go for long periods of time. So mostly he did lots of walking, watching, window shopping, lounging with us.... he did like the water park though. SSSSooooo disappointing he couldn't play basketball. Which reminds me... there were basketball, soccer, bean bag toss, dodgeball tournaments scheduled throughout the week and they were ALL for 18 and older.

Summary for my kids..... they could play at the water park. FYI it closes at sunset. Thank goodness the ports kept us off the boat for 3 days so we could explore!!!!

Dinner recommendation.... do the "dine at your own time" (or whatever its called) option. Having a set reservation really pins you down... we had to stop what we were doing, pay attention to time, to get back to room on time to clean up and get to dinner on time. We missed several activities and movies at the pool because of our reserved dinner time (which was 6pm). The other set time would have been 815 and would have been the same thing. If we'd had the dine when you want plan then we could've schedule dinner around other interests.

DO NOT get the bottomless bubbles for sodas. I may as well have just thrown $170 overboard. When I bought the program, I envisioned my large tumbler full of icy Dr. Pepper at most times.... reality is that I didn't use my tumbler...you can only get soda at certain places and it's usually a pain in the butt... once you get a soda, its from a hot can and poured into ice so it is immediately flat. The lemonade is good and I would have happily drank that all week for "free" if I had known in advance. I got it for my little one as well, even though he doesnt drink soda there is juice on the program... again only at certain places and they usually only had cranberry juice available... everyone gets juice at breakfast anyways without the program. What a waste.

Ports: Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Jamaica. In Cozumel we went to Chankanaab... it was okay, not what I thought from online appearance. In Cayman we did the snorkeling and Stingray City tour with Moby Dick (can not say enough GREAT things about them!!!!!! ssooo glad we chose them!). In Jamaica (where alot of people did not get off the ship because they were afraid) we took a bus tour of the area, ate lunch at The Pork Pit (for jerk chicken) and spent 2 hours at a beach... it was ALL amazing and I am so glad we didn't listen to other peoples fears because we would have really missed out! I also wish I could live there. It was my favorite place because it was just so calm and happy. Contrary to popular belief... we were not once offered and never saw any marijuana. I went expecting it, but it didn't happen. You only live once... get off the ship and explore!!!!!!!

Happy cruising and exploring to all!
branfam4’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Shore Excursions
Ages 7 to 9
Ages 13 to 15
Service
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin 8B 7433
Wonderful overall! Always clean and the steward was awesome! The cabins are small, as expected, so it can be a little frustrating moving around the room with a family of 4... be prepared to have extra patience. :-)
Deck 7 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Chankanaab National Park Tour
    It was okay. Next time I will hope to find a breathtaking excursion. My son swam with the dolphins which is fabulous but the rest of just swam in the pool (boring). There is a beach but not a large walk into the ocean area.... it is deep and you have to go down stairs. Not kid friendly which is why we did the pool. :-(
    View All 223 Chankanaab National Park Tour Reviews
  • Galveston
    We were only here to board the ship. Went to dinner the night before at Brick House and stayed at Holiday Inn Express on the seawall. It was all good/average... we had a nice evening.
    View All 659 Galveston Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Galveston Cruise Port Review
  • Snorkeling
    Love these guys! Take their tour! See above comments about stingray tour because the snorkeling was the same tour...
    View All 308 Snorkeling Reviews
  • Stingray Swim
    AMAZING. Moby Dick Tours is fantastic! These guys are sssooo great! We had a relaxing boat ride out to Stingray City and we snorkeled and played with stingrays! Wonderful afternoon and I wouldn't book with anyone else!!!! It is a smaller operation which means more personal and not feeling like you moving through a herd of cattle. Also... at stingray city... I noticed all the boats and people together.. Moby Dick goes off to the side a bit away from the crown and makes sure everyone who wants to gets to touch and hold and feed the rays!
    View All 721 Stingray Swim Reviews
  • Beach
    I don't know where we were... LOL!.... we were on a tour and they dropped us off at a beach for a while. It was beautiful and great! See above tour notes :-)
    View All 42 Beach Reviews
  • City Tour
    We got in one of the busses ($5 per person to the beach/hip strip) but ended up staying with them for a tour of the area ($20 per person). They drove us around for a few hours... showed us the area, showed us Rose Hall, stopped for shopping, stopped at The Pork Pit for lunch (jerk chicken) and then dropped us off at the beach for about an hour and a half... then picked us back up and took us back to the ship. They were so informative and nice! We made a great choice by letting them give us a tour!
    View All 26 City Tour Reviews