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harleyquinn228

Carnival Magic Eastern Review- April 7, 2018

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Hello one and all!

 

Just got back from my Eastern Caribbean cruse on the Carnival Magic, and I thought I would give my experience.

 

It won't be the most in-depth with the most pictures, but I will have some, with a pretty good play by play of how we spent our trip. Please be patient with me getting the posts out, I am catching up with a lot of work, and have also never done a review on the boards!

 

Hope you enjoy! Stay tuned!

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Background:

 

I traveled with 4 other friends. We are all in our mid-30's. P and S, who were celebrating their 10 year wedding anniversary, and the main reason we were sailing; N, our other friend, and my husband J. We were supposed to have another couple with us, but unfortunately about a week before the cruise, there was a family emergency, and they had to cancel. So our party of 7 went to 5. We have all been friends for about 12-13 years, some longer. (P, S and J went to high school together)

 

P and S, and myself and my husband have all cruised before with Carnival and other lines. This was the first cruise for N!

 

Pre-Cruise:

 

We had booked over a year out, (except for N who booked just a few months before.) Around Columbus Day, they had a sale. I was able to call and have the sale applied, saving us about $100 pp, and getting a small OBC of $50 pp in the process. Lesson: Always check the sales!

 

I had stared buying AARP gift cards at a discount as well. (No I am not over 55. There are countless threads about it, if you have the time, it's pretty worth it to grab them if available!) We had already paid our balance in full by the time I got them, but once again I called, and they were able to refund our credit card and apply the gift cards! I only used $1000, instead of the whole cruise balance, but it still saved us another $100!

 

I bought one more $500 GC, and used it to buy our last excursion, and then added it to our onboard account once we got on the ship.

 

Pre-Cruise Excursion Adjustment:

 

We booked the Waterfalls of Damajagua in Amber Cove many months before the cruise, as this was the reason P and S picked this particular cruise. We booked through Carnival, and then found out about a month before sailing that it was a bit cheaper elsewhere. (found from a tip on this site!) I went to Shore Excursioneer and searched my sailing and found it there, and then filled out a price match form. They gave us an OBC of $38.50 pp (which didn't show on our account until we were onboard.)

 

Not all excursions there are the same! For this specific one, it happened to be the same exact thing, but tours by private places are sometimes longer, so it just happened to work out for us! Make sure you check the details of yours.

 

Day Before:

 

J and I were due to arrive at about 10PM the night before embarking-Flying into Orlando. Due to weather in Boston, we were delayed and didn't even leave until about 9:30PM. Biggest lesson here: NEVER FLY IN THE SAME DAY! If that had been the morning of the cruise, I would have been losing my mind! This was annoying enough, but at least we were just missing sleep and not our ship. We picked up our rental, drove to P and S's house, and settled in for our last night on land for a while!

 

Next up: Embarkation day, and the port disaster!

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Background:

 

I traveled with 4 other friends. We are all in our mid-30's. P and S, who were celebrating their 10 year wedding anniversary, and the main reason we were sailing; N, our other friend, and my husband J. We were supposed to have another couple with us, but unfortunately about a week before the cruise, there was a family emergency, and they had to cancel. So our party of 7 went to 5. We have all been friends for about 12-13 years, some longer. (P, S and J went to high school together)

 

P and S, and myself and my husband have all cruised before with Carnival and other lines. This was the first cruise for N!

 

Pre-Cruise:

 

We had booked over a year out, (except for N who booked just a few months before.) Around Columbus Day, they had a sale. I was able to call and have the sale applied, saving us about $100 pp, and getting a small OBC of $50 pp in the process. Lesson: Always check the sales!

 

I had stared buying AARP gift cards at a discount as well. (No I am not over 55. There are countless threads about it, if you have the time, it's pretty worth it to grab them if available!) We had already paid our balance in full by the time I got them, but once again I called, and they were able to refund our credit card and apply the gift cards! I only used $1000, instead of the whole cruise balance, but it still saved us another $100!

 

I bought one more $500 GC, and used it to buy our last excursion, and then added it to our onboard account once we got on the ship.

 

Pre-Cruise Excursion Adjustment:

 

We booked the Waterfalls of Damajagua in Amber Cove many months before the cruise, as this was the reason P and S picked this particular cruise. We booked through Carnival, and then found out about a month before sailing that it was a bit cheaper elsewhere. (found from a tip on this site!) I went to Shore Excursioneer and searched my sailing and found it there, and then filled out a price match form. They gave us an OBC of $38.50 pp (which didn't show on our account until we were onboard.)

 

Not all excursions there are the same! For this specific one, it happened to be the same exact thing, but tours by private places are sometimes longer, so it just happened to work out for us! Make sure you check the details of yours.

 

Day Before:

 

J and I were due to arrive at about 10PM the night before embarking-Flying into Orlando. Due to weather in Boston, we were delayed and didn't even leave until about 9:30PM. Biggest lesson here: NEVER FLY IN THE SAME DAY! If that had been the morning of the cruise, I would have been losing my mind! This was annoying enough, but at least we were just missing sleep and not our ship. We picked up our rental, drove to P and S's house, and settled in for our last night on land for a while!

 

Next up: Embarkation day, and the port disaster!

 

Do tell...lol..seriously though, following sailing her in 11 days!!!

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Got my interest up, waiting to hear about the disaster!

 

Haha I guess a lot of things could have been worse, but it was def NOT a smooth entry into the port!

 

 

Finishing that section up now =)

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Port Canaveral:

 

Sorry in advance if this is long and wordy. Trying to be thorough with everything in my experience so maybe it will give perspective and help some people!

 

I sort of experienced 3 different ways to get to the port in this one trip. I know that sounds weird, but you will see how. (Dropping off luggage, rental car return/get to port, parking long term)

 

2 of the 3 cabins booked within our group had FTTF (Faster to the Fun for you newbies ^.^) We booked before the price hike. We usually like to carry on some soda and our wine allotment, and having to tote it around with us at the pool is never enjoyable, so we jumped at the chance to get our rooms early, even without any tender ports. Because of this, we wanted to get on the boat as soon as we were allowed, and hoped that if our solo cruising friend N, without FTTF, got on the “Early/Late” line that he would get on fairly close to us. We had planned to leave at 9, getting us there around 10ish. As things go, we left at 9:30, which still put us in good time to get on early. They usually start to board around 10:45 in the past, so we were golden.

 

J, N, and I took the rental. P and S drove their car, which was going to be staying in the lot for the week. We originally had 2 other people going on the trip, so we needed the space. Even with 5 people and their luggage, we needed another car, so we were going to just drop the rental by the port and pick it up again after the cruise. WHAT WE SHOULD HAVE DONE was all go, drop the rental, and take the shuttle back. Instead, for some reason, we planned to go to the port, drop me, N, and our luggage off, then my husband would drive the rental back and take the shuttle over. Really it was to not have to drag all our luggage on the shuttle, but it was the wrong decision, which you will see why below.

 

We were in Terminal #6 at Port Canaveral. I have sailed out of Canaveral at least 3 times, possibly 4. I have NEVER had such an issue getting in as this trip. I think it was a combination of 3 things: this terminal and how the road feeds into it, people were really obnoxiously slow unloading their cars, and very poor traffic control. I’m pretty sure the cops directing everyone are there on their days off for overtime, and I appreciate them helping, but we found out there was an entire other set of unloading spots that only a handful of people were going to-solely because they weren’t listening to the cops directing them. I was jealous of them bending the rules lol.

 

DROPPING OFF LUGGAGE:

We got into the endless line of cars to get into the terminal between 10:30 and 10:40 I think. I can’t tell you exactly when we actually got into a spot to unload though, but it was about 30 minutes. We watched people dilly dally, search every corner of their cars for things, get out and back in, etc. When we finally got into the spot, it took 3 of us to unload the car in 30 seconds. Done. J then drove over to the rental car return to drop the car off. And so N and I waited for P and S outside the terminal.

 

 

RENTAL CAR RETURN/GET TO PORT:

Ah, Avis rental car at Port Canaveral. I only got to hear my husband explain it on the way in, I got to experience it on the way home! The building is a tiny box, and they have both people returning cars waiting to get onto a ship AND renting cars after getting off of a ship, in a port that on big sail days has 2-4 ships at a time. It is ROUGH.

 

 

So J had to wait in a long line to return the car, then wait in a line to get on a shuttle and get back to the port. It took him about 45 mins to get there, do the stuff, and get back. Great >.<

 

 

In the mean time...

PARKING LONG TERM:

While we were waiting for my husband to get back, P and S strolled up. Apparently if you don't mind rolling your cases down, and you are parking your car there, you can just go right in and park. So they did just that. They waited with us for a while, but then S needed to use the restroom, so they went into the line. I also had to go, but didn't want to leave without J. TIP: There is a bathroom on the outside before security to the right of the doors. That saved the day for me.

 

 

 

P and S were onboard by about 11:30. Made me a little sad that they didn't wait for us all to take the picture together, but they said there was no wait to board, which was opposite our last Carnival Cruise. They told them the rooms wouldn't be ready until 1:30, and as they texted us that, I almost lost my mind, because we paid for FTTF! But I tried to stay as calm as I could after waiting for an extra hour outside for J to return.

 

 

 

Anyway:

 

We went through the line at about noon. N went through about 5 mins before J was back, since he didn't have FTTF and thought it might take a while. He was still before his scheduled time, so he went into the Early line. It worked out bc we all got through security at the same time! The three of us grabbed our picture and walked straight onboard! I did have to retake my picture, which I was NOT prepared for. I wore a hat, expecting to just hop on the slides so I didn't bother doing my hair. But since I did not have purple hair in my passport photo, I guess they needed a newer one =)

 

So, once we actually got TO security after parking and unloading, it was a breeze.

 

TL;DR: If you rent a car, drop it off FIRST and then come to the terminal with your luggage. Would have saved us over an hour!

 

Next up: Embarkation day!

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We were on this sailing. Looking forward to your review. Our 15th cruise, but first on the Magic. Very nice ship .

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Port Canaveral:

 

Sorry in advance if this is long and wordy. Trying to be thorough with everything in my experience so maybe it will give perspective and help some people!

 

I sort of experienced 3 different ways to get to the port in this one trip. I know that sounds weird, but you will see how. (Dropping off luggage, rental car return/get to port, parking long term)

 

2 of the 3 cabins booked within our group had FTTF (Faster to the Fun for you newbies ^.^) We booked before the price hike. We usually like to carry on some soda and our wine allotment, and having to tote it around with us at the pool is never enjoyable, so we jumped at the chance to get our rooms early, even without any tender ports. Because of this, we wanted to get on the boat as soon as we were allowed, and hoped that if our solo cruising friend N, without FTTF, got on the “Early/Late” line that he would get on fairly close to us. We had planned to leave at 9, getting us there around 10ish. As things go, we left at 9:30, which still put us in good time to get on early. They usually start to board around 10:45 in the past, so we were golden.

 

J, N, and I took the rental. P and S drove their car, which was going to be staying in the lot for the week. We originally had 2 other people going on the trip, so we needed the space. Even with 5 people and their luggage, we needed another car, so we were going to just drop the rental by the port and pick it up again after the cruise. WHAT WE SHOULD HAVE DONE was all go, drop the rental, and take the shuttle back. Instead, for some reason, we planned to go to the port, drop me, N, and our luggage off, then my husband would drive the rental back and take the shuttle over. Really it was to not have to drag all our luggage on the shuttle, but it was the wrong decision, which you will see why below.

 

We were in Terminal #6 at Port Canaveral. I have sailed out of Canaveral at least 3 times, possibly 4. I have NEVER had such an issue getting in as this trip. I think it was a combination of 3 things: this terminal and how the road feeds into it, people were really obnoxiously slow unloading their cars, and very poor traffic control. I’m pretty sure the cops directing everyone are there on their days off for overtime, and I appreciate them helping, but we found out there was an entire other set of unloading spots that only a handful of people were going to-solely because they weren’t listening to the cops directing them. I was jealous of them bending the rules lol.

 

DROPPING OFF LUGGAGE:

We got into the endless line of cars to get into the terminal between 10:30 and 10:40 I think. I can’t tell you exactly when we actually got into a spot to unload though, but it was about 30 minutes. We watched people dilly dally, search every corner of their cars for things, get out and back in, etc. When we finally got into the spot, it took 3 of us to unload the car in 30 seconds. Done. J then drove over to the rental car return to drop the car off. And so N and I waited for P and S outside the terminal.

 

 

RENTAL CAR RETURN/GET TO PORT:

Ah, Avis rental car at Port Canaveral. I only got to hear my husband explain it on the way in, I got to experience it on the way home! The building is a tiny box, and they have both people returning cars waiting to get onto a ship AND renting cars after getting off of a ship, in a port that on big sail days has 2-4 ships at a time. It is ROUGH.

 

 

So J had to wait in a long line to return the car, then wait in a line to get on a shuttle and get back to the port. It took him about 45 mins to get there, do the stuff, and get back. Great >.<

 

 

In the mean time...

PARKING LONG TERM:

While we were waiting for my husband to get back, P and S strolled up. Apparently if you don't mind rolling your cases down, and you are parking your car there, you can just go right in and park. So they did just that. They waited with us for a while, but then S needed to use the restroom, so they went into the line. I also had to go, but didn't want to leave without J. TIP: There is a bathroom on the outside before security to the right of the doors. That saved the day for me.

 

 

 

P and S were onboard by about 11:30. Made me a little sad that they didn't wait for us all to take the picture together, but they said there was no wait to board, which was opposite our last Carnival Cruise. They told them the rooms wouldn't be ready until 1:30, and as they texted us that, I almost lost my mind, because we paid for FTTF! But I tried to stay as calm as I could after waiting for an extra hour outside for J to return.

 

 

 

Anyway:

 

We went through the line at about noon. N went through about 5 mins before J was back, since he didn't have FTTF and thought it might take a while. He was still before his scheduled time, so he went into the Early line. It worked out bc we all got through security at the same time! The three of us grabbed our picture and walked straight onboard! I did have to retake my picture, which I was NOT prepared for. I wore a hat, expecting to just hop on the slides so I didn't bother doing my hair. But since I did not have purple hair in my passport photo, I guess they needed a newer one =)

 

So, once we actually got TO security after parking and unloading, it was a breeze.

 

TL;DR: If you rent a car, drop it off FIRST and then come to the terminal with your luggage. Would have saved us over an hour!

 

Next up: Embarkation day!

 

Ah...scared me a bit...we are going out of PC next week but are using goportcanaveral and have shuttleservice..what did u do about ur room not being available?? We also have FTTF for 4 rooms....

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Ah...scared me a bit...we are going out of PC next week but are using goportcanaveral and have shuttleservice..what did u do about ur room not being available?? We also have FTTF for 4 rooms....

 

I wouldn't be too worried if you are doing a shuttle service. I just wanted to let everyone know MY experience with the bag drop off, which was very poorly run. Like I said, I have sailed out of this port a few times and never had that much back up.

 

You will see from my next novel chapter (lol) that the rooms were in fact ready for FTTF, but no one told us! I just knew they were supposed to be ready, so we went through the doors, and our keys were in there, rooms all set. I know that sometimes they are not ready right away, depending on how long clean up takes from the previous cruise.

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We were on this sailing. Looking forward to your review. Our 15th cruise, but first on the Magic. Very nice ship .

 

The ship was pretty nice! I'm interested in seeing different people's perspectives of the same sailing, as everyone experiences different things!

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I wouldn't be too worried if you are doing a shuttle service. I just wanted to let everyone know MY experience with the bag drop off, which was very poorly run. Like I said, I have sailed out of this port a few times and never had that much back up.

 

You will see from my next novel chapter (lol) that the rooms were in fact ready for FTTF, but no one told us! I just knew they were supposed to be ready, so we went through the doors, and our keys were in there, rooms all set. I know that sometimes they are not ready right away, depending on how long clean up takes from the previous cruise.

 

can't wait...lol...thanks for the review!!

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We got off the Magic the same day you got on, we have cruised through PC many, many times (we drive to port), always have FTTF and park at the terminal. Our luggage drop off the week before was flawless (was in line to drop off luggage about 10:30), porter took everything and we went to park. Got through the priority check in line within mins, they started boarding about 11:05 and was on board at approx. 11:12.

 

Went directly to our cabin with FFTF and cabins were ready on Empress (no one has ever "told" us specifically that the cabins were ready, we just know and you go through the hall doors), dropped off our carry ons and was sitting and eating Tandoor Grill by 11:26....

 

Leaving the morning of 4/7 was a breeze and we were in our car and on the road at 7:06 am (self assist with FTTF)....this has pretty much been our experience anytime we are sailing from PC....sorry you had a rough time but it sounds like the car rental might have caused some of the waiting and the headaches you experienced...

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The ship was pretty nice! I'm interested in seeing different people's perspectives of the same sailing, as everyone experiences different things!

 

I'm sorry you had issues with embarkation. Our experience was the polar opposite. We had stayed at Country Inn &Suites with the cruise and park package. The shuttle from the hotel was so efficient. We were dropped off, made sure our bags were off and in front of the porters, left them a nice tip, and never stopped again until we were in our room. We went through the priority line (platinum) and never even went to the priority lounge. We were told (by smiling face after face) to "continue this way". I almost felt as though we were in a fast walking race! Lol

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