We just returned on Saturday from a 6 day on Magic. There were some things that Carnival did really well and others, not so much.
Embarkation - We had the 12:00 to 12:30 check in time. Our shuttle from our hotel only had the 10AM slot open, so we took that. Arrived at the port and it was crazy with passengers just getting off the ship. We went to check in and it went very quickly and efficiently. I believe we were aboard around 11AM.
Dining - We immediately went to the barbeque on deck 5. there was no line and plenty of seating. the food was good. We ate our breakfasts in the main dining room. Food and service were always good. Went to the Italian place one day for lunch. Very good! We did Guy's for lunch one day. Good burgers and fries. The rest of the days we were in port. Never did eat at the buffet except for the chocolate extravaganza. What's not to like? We ate dinner in the Northern Lights dining room. We had assigned early seating. This normally takes place in the Southern Lights dining room, but I emailed the maitre'd and asked to be seated as mid ship as possible as we have some in our group who are sensitive to movement. I was very pleased he placed us in the mid ship dining room. However, the meals were very hit or miss. Some nights the food was excellent and others just average. Our waiter Joseph and his assistants were excellent!
Room -- We had a mid-ship balcony. Our steward asked if we wanted morning or evening service. I asked for both and he accommodated us with stellar service and attitude!
Entertainment -- This is where Carnival seemed to falter. We had four different shows but with the same cast. The Carnival singers and dancers were OK, but seemed to be trying too hard. A lot of screaming instead of singing. The quality is just not up to the standards of other cruise lines we have sailed. The Comedy club was good! Saw two different comediennes and enjoyed them both. The Love and Marriage show is always a hoot!
Ports - LOVE Half Moon Cay. Grand Turk was good, although we didn't get a chair at the beach. The locals were charging $50 for 2 chairs with umbrellas. We found spots at the pool and enjoyed that. We stayed on the ship at Amber Cove. Just felt that lounging on the ship would be less hassle and more relaxing.
Disembarkation -- Did self assist. We were at the airport by taxi at 7:30.
Overall thoughts. - I can't say I didn't enjoy our cruise. I just think we're more in tuned for a more upscale experience in dining and entertainment. I still think Carnival gives you the biggest bang for your buck, but you do get what you pay for. I'm ready to try Princess and see how it compares. if there's something I didn't mention and anyone has questions, I'd be happy to answer.