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cstep81

Just got back from Magic 8 day Eastern Caribbean with wife and 4yr old

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Didn't really do things like the night clubs, so this is a more family focused review.

 

GOOD

-Waterpark was a blast and was definitely enough to entertain my 4yr old basically all day

-Camp Ocean was a hit and an awesome resource to have 

-Loved all of our ports

 

BAD

-Not really impressed with the shows.  The lead singer in them pretty much ruined it.

-The one time we tried to watch a movie on the big screen it had technical difficulties

-Dining room was slooooooooooooow

-Chair hogs all over the place

-A lot of the events that we wanted to do were at the same time as our early dining

 

First day we just hit the water park, checked out the lido and the skysports upstairs.  Son was enamored with the water park so we spent hours up there and then checked out the pools.  I'm as bald as can be, so finding shade was a little difficult due to chair hogs but I always made it work.   Son absolutely loved the dining room and immediately ate bread and then fell asleep.  Only problem is that it routinely took 90 minutes to get all courses.

 

We did the Seuss at Sea parade and story time, that was a big hit as well.

 

Checked out the first of the Showtime shows.  I enjoyed the sets and theatrics, but the lead singer in all of the shows was awful.  I don't know how to explain it well but he overdid EVERYTHING.   Instead of singing, everything was super theatrical and nasal-y over the top.

 

First port was St Maarten.  We took the orange shirt cab company to Mullet Bay Beach and then walked to Maho Beach.  Maho Beach may be my new favorite place in the world and other family members liked it as well.  For all of us it was something like 50 dollars of cab fares for there and back and we just took snacks from the boat so no need to pay for food.

 

More to come, and I'd be happy to answer any questions about life on the Magic with lil kids.

 

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2nd day was St Kitts and our island tour with Javin James. This was an absolutely amazing excursion and i cant say enough good things about Javin. He really gave us a lot of effort and we never felt like tourists. My son was absolutely in heaven over having a monkey buddy all day. For what we got the price was an absolute steal. It definitely wouldnt be for anyone with physical limitations  though. 

 

Also at some point in the day I lost my best chance at ship on a stick. I got every question right on 90s music trivia but badly lost the dance contest tiebreak.

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Thanks for your review. We'll be sailing out on the Magic on May 25th. I have yet to see a Playlist Production that was more than mediocre at best. On a previous cruise, we took the "Behind the Fun" tour and got a chance to talk to some of the staff members that were in the Playlist shows. Although I didn't find out what their salary was, I did learn that it's less than what some of the other cruise lines pay. Consequently, there's a bit of a turnover in entertainment staff. Like the old saying goes, "You get what you pay for". Basically, if Carnival offered better salaries, they would be able to hire better singers and dancers. I don't even bother to go to the shows anymore. We usually go to whichever lounge the contracted band is playing in, or go to the Atrium and listen to the live music there.

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3 minutes ago, beachbum53 said:

Thanks for your review. We'll be sailing out on the Magic on May 25th. I have yet to see a Playlist Production that was more than mediocre at best. On a previous cruise, we took the "Behind the Fun" tour and got a chance to talk to some of the staff members that were in the Playlist shows. Although I didn't find out what their salary was, I did learn that it's less than what some of the other cruise lines pay. Consequently, there's a bit of a turnover in entertainment staff. Like the old saying goes, "You get what you pay for". Basically, if Carnival offered better salaries, they would be able to hire better singers and dancers. I don't even bother to go to the shows anymore. We usually go to whichever lounge the contracted band is playing in, or go to the Atrium and listen to the live music there.

The lounge acts were all very good and Redfrog had some acoustic acts that were spectacular and perfect for that small venue.

 

For playlist the dancing was good it was really just the one actor that drug his pieces down. For the rock music show they brought in actual singers and it was actually pretty enjoyable. 

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Enjoying your review, your little guy looks like he had a great time!

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Little guy had the time of his life.  When the waiters did the goodbye song on the last day he bawled his little eyes out and said he didn't want to leave and the waiters needed him to stay.

 

Next day was Puerto Rico, this was a day that was really more for us then for the little one.  We walked from cruise port up the hill to the bigger (I think so anyways) of the two San Juan forts.   Despite being hot and uphill, we made it in pretty decent time and got into the fort.  Even though it was hot, we had brought water bottles and they had stations where they could be refilled.

 

The port was really cool to see and take in both the ocean views an the history, but it's probably something I wouldn't feel the need to do again.  Son liked the "maguanas" that were hanging out all over the fort and seeing things like cannons.   

 

As far as San Juan, I was really taken back at just how nice it was in the areas we walked through.  Lots of places to eat, shop, and being able to stop at a CVS and get some things was also  a nice benefit.  Really thought it was cool how they had the local vendors set up on the street near the cruise port.  We had a fairly short day in San Juan, so didn't get to do too much exploring and just hit the fort and a few stores then headed back onto the boat.

 

Of course, we went back on the boat so that we could watch the Spiderverse movie on the big screen by the pool and it ended up having technical issues.  Biggest dissapointment of the whole trip for son. 😞

 

 

 

 

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Your son is adorable!

 

This is a small thing, but you mentioned the sky sports in your first post- does this ship have the thing that's like pool played with your feet?  If so, was it mainly kids playing or were there people of all ages?  I'd love to try it if I'm on a ship that has that, but if it's mainly for kids, I dont want to ruin their fun or make myself look like too big of a crazy person 

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I dont think they had anything like that.

 

There was : Mini golf, pool, "soccer", basketball, bags, foosball, ping pong, ropes course, and a running track.  We mostly did mini golf, but the wind and the cheap little foam golf balls made that quite the challenge.

 

Basketball court was mostly 14-18 year olds, bags was quite the mix of ages, and mini golf mostly (but not all) people with kids.

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OP -  I agree 100% with your assessment on Maho Beach.  I've only been a few times and it's the only thing I want to do on St Maarten.   I'm turning 50 next year and I'm tempted to book a week at one of the Maho resorts to watch the planes land on a daily basis. 

 

Bummer on the Spiderverse technical difficulties.  We look forward to the Dive In movies every Carnival cruise. 

 

looks like y'all had a great time!!!

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2 hours ago, cstep81 said:

Little guy had the time of his life.  When the waiters did the goodbye song on the last day he bawled his little eyes out and said he didn't want to leave and the waiters needed him to stay.

 

 

How cute!! Thanks for posting your review. I have some questions as we will be taking on our little ones (5 and almost 2) on the Magic in December (different itinerary though) but questions geared towards the family side of things as this will be our first cruise with kids in tow. 

 

1. What activities did you son love in Camp Ocean? Did he stay by himself for a couple hours and how many other kids were generally there? Did you do any night owls?

2. How did you entertain your son during dining in the MDR since it was so long? He was generally able to find something he wanted to eat all the time?

3. Do you need to sign up for the Seuss at Sea parade? Did you do the breakfast too?

 

Any other insight or tips/tricks with kids would be much appreciated! Thanks

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He liked all of the themed events that they did in Camp Ocean.  One night was circus, one was penguins...dinosaurs..etc etc.  They did a lot of face painting and he was super into that.  We dropped him off a few nights for 2-3 hours so that we could eat and go see one of the shows.  Did one or two day time drop offs because there were events he wanted to attend. He never did night owls because by 9pm he was so exhausted and grumpy.  There were typically around 10 kids in his penguins room.

 

In the MDR we let him bring a toy like a small action figure or something similar.  He was typically so hungry that bread and dinner entertained him, and he also enjoyed talking to the table behind us.  Some nights when it took a long time he did start to get a little impatient.   Finding food was no problem because they always had a special kids menu.  He ordered the banana split every single night.

 

Seuss at Sea parade was drop in and free, I'd just say to get there 30 min early if  you care about getting a sign for one of the main characters.  We did the breakfast, it was the very first thing we signed up for when we got on the boat.  It was 5 dollars per person and the green eggs and ham were quite the hit.

 

I've attached a picture of the kids menu.

 

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Last port was Grand Turk.  We were pretty tired by this point so we only did the free things at the cruise port, with the exception of 10 well spent dollars on renting snorkel equipment for the day.

 

We got out early enough(within an hour of being able to go) to get the free chairs and umbrellas, so that was nice.  Only thing I really disliked was all of the obnoxious smokers and people listening to music on speakers.  The beach there was very calm, so perfect for my lil man but would have probably been boring for older kids or more adventure seeking adults.  There wasn't really a ton to look at for snorkeling, but I did happen to catch a stingray and some cool looking fish.

 

Margaritaville was a really cool free option to have, son enjoyed the pool and wife and I each had a tasty yet expensive frozen drink.  Some people were well liquored up by the end of the day but that just gave son more people to talk to and no one was obnoxious or loud.  It was by far the most boring of our stops, but it was boring in the exact way we wanted.   It was also really helpful that we were able to go back on the ship to eat lunch and then head back out to our chairs and the beach.

 

 

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And a few last thoughts...

 

-Our cruise director was fine, he wasn't amazing but I also didn't find him annoying.  I don't expect to become best friends with the CD by the end and he provided me everything I need from a CD.

- Men vs Women gender battle was my favorite show, but maybe just because I got pulled up on stage for it?  Hasbro Game Show was fun but also that was maybe just because wife was on stage for it.

-One morning they did a towel animal party in the main pool deck.  This was a great touch, son thought it was great.

-The drainpipe slide didn't have more than 5 minutes of wait all week, and it was really the perfect thrill level for smaller kids.  Mine made the height cut off by like 0.00005 inches.  I think we did it something like 40 times through the trip.

-I wish we'd never told son about the arcade.  Games were expensive and it was all he obsessed about for several of the days.  Thankfully they had two different half price hours that made it tolerable.

- The board game room and sports area were a great addition, I dont think they had them on my two previous ships (Valor and Pride).  They weren't much, but were a helpful way to kill a little bit of time.  Older kids would have been frustrated with the mini golf because the wind blows your ball all over the place.  

- I think I ate at Guy's Burgers like 4 times during the trip and wish I'd eaten there 4 more times.
-Blue Iguana breakfast burritos were a dissapointment.  Eggs were lukewarm and the sausage and potatoes were dried out.  Regular lido breakfast was fine though.

-Unlimited layer cake at lunch was the best thing ever to a 4yr old that likes frosting.  He'd surgically extract the "middles" out of all of the cakes and then leave me the cake part.

-The various pools were just the right amount of crowded.  We could play and splash without being the only kids in the pool, but not be elbow to elbow with others.

 

 

I think that's it for my review.   I got a lot of wisdom off of here before my trip so I'd be more than happy to answer/share anything that others want to know.

 

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On 5/23/2019 at 11:11 AM, cstep81 said:

the cheap little foam golf balls made that quite the challenge.

Huh! Our last cruise on the Magic they were regular golf balls, as mini golf was one of regular activities (probably 20+ rounds in the week). I could understand the lighter balls being a challenge. I wonder when they made that change?

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My only other cruises were the Valor and the Pride, about 10 years ago.  I'm the last person ever to be able to weigh in on how things used to be.

 

😆

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One thing that just popped into my brain and i forgot to mention earlier. Do not do the late disembark where Carnival unloads your luggage. I took tag number 26 and we sat in the lido for about 2.5 hours while my wife stared daggers and my kid squirmed all around.

 

Rookie mistake.

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Can kids use the pool on the back of the ship or is it adults only ?

 

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what documents do you need for small children to get on the magic

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Posted (edited)
48 minutes ago, Ang16430 said:

what documents do you need for small children to get on the magic

If traveling with a parent you will need the childs birth certificate or a passport.

 

 

Edited by Stilles

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3 minutes ago, Stilles said:

If traveling with a parent you will need the childs birth certificate or a passport.

 

 

Yes myself and my husband will both be traveling with them. Just didn’t know if they needed anything else for us for them like a ss card or a photo Id like passport card

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Thank for the review, also found the singers on Breeze not so good also. but glad you made the best out of it!

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We just returned a few weeks ago from the Dream and we also had our four year old boy with us. Our stories are very similar... especially the arcade and the high prices. I came to accept it and looked at it like that was his ‘excursion’ and certainly worth it to him. He still talks about how much fun he had and we can’t wait to go again next year.

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