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jam19872016

Carnival Magic 8 Day Eastern Cruise Review

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Hello everyone. I just got back from the 7/6-7/14 8 day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Magic. I love reading other people's cruise reviews while waiting for my next cruise to begin and I hope that by sharing my trip with others, I can help someone else pass the time as well.

 

A couple disclaimers, I LOVE cruising and always have a good time. But I like to be honest in my review. Everything is not perfect on a cruise and I do intend to include the bad with the good. Just because I complain, does not mean I did not have a great time.

 

Also, I may not hit on everything that interests you as a cruiser. I would say from reading many reviews that my cruise style is different from the norm, and that is okay. Please feel free to ask questions about something I do not cover and I will do my best to answer anything that you would like to know about.

 

About Me:

 

I am 31 years old and am lucky enough to live in Florida so taking cruises is more affordable and easier to do than for many people. This was my 24th cruise, my 19th cruise on Carnival and my second time on the Magic.

 

This is my first time writing a review in a few cruises due to some technical difficulties I was having with my camera. I somehow forgot to pack my charger one cruise and since this was a trip to Cuba, I saved my battery for that instead of taking pictures for a review. Then on my next trip my memory card died. I think I spilled water in my camera, I was just glad it was only the memory card and not the camera. All photos are backed up online so nothing lost. Then as I was getting ready for my next cruise I somehow managed to lose my charger again and didn't have time to replace  it. I still have no idea what I've done with it, but I have bought a replacement charger and appear to be good to go.

 

I am taking this cruise solo. Both the people I cruise with are a little bitter about it, but I love solo cruising. It is the ultimate relaxing vacation, you do what you want when you want and don't have to work around someone else's wants and schedules. Perfect. I can't always afford to cruise solo, but I have decided to make it work at least once a year.

 

This was going to be a cruise on MSC Seaside but I waited too long to book and when I went to book it, all inside rooms had sold out. I had a voucher from MSC casino for 30% off and $225 OBC but I would need to use it on a balcony and to be honest, I was not impressed enough with my first MSC cruise to pay that much to sail with them again. I already had the dates locked in at work and I could have gotten them changed, but I just didn't feel it was worth the effort and so I let my voucher with MSC expire.

 

I also had a voucher for Carnival for 30% so I started looking at what was available on that date. I really wanted to do the Breeze. It was my first Carnival cruise and it is very close to home at Port. Canaveral. Knowing I was going solo, I just couldn't get past the price tag that Carnival wanted. Horizon was my second choice but it was doing a 6 day cruise which I just don't have a desire to do at this time. 

 

I ended up picking the Magic and although not my first choice, it was a pretty good choice because it was an 8 day cruise which is always better than 7 🙂 It also was still a Dream class ship. I am finding myself a little bored with the Conquest class and older ships. It is a great problem to have indeed.

 

Although a lot less expensive than Breeze this still ended up being the most I have ever paid for a cruise even with my 35% off. A balcony on MSC was only a little more, but I bet their prices start going up soon. If they are sold out of inside rooms four months out, it won't take them long to realize they are under pricing their cruises.
 

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Day 1 - Embarcation.

 

I spent the night in Stuart as it is about as close as you can get to South Florida before hotel prices start skyrocketing. I was up and on the road a little past 8:30. I am a terrible driver and have a hard time following directions especially in the crazy South Florida highways. I used Park n Go for parking because they were so easy to find last time. I still managed to get turned around (and turned around two more times while trying to get unturned around) but Ft.Lauderdale is much easier to navigate when lost than Miami. I must have spend an hour or more in Miami trying to find my way back to I95.

 

Once I got on the right road, it was again very easy. There is signage that tells you which way to turn for parking once you get close. Once there, they whisk your bags and have you in a shuttle pretty quick. Make sure you are ready before you get there because they hustle you onto a shuttle and have you off to your cruise as soon as you arrive.

 

Once at the port everything was a breeze. No pushy porters insisting I am not allowed to bring my own bags. That is a huge problem in Miami. No one blinked an eye at my fan that I carried on. They have a tendency to tell me I cannot bring a box fan, but I did not have to argue about it this time. I was seated in the priority waiting area for about five minutes and then around 10:45 we began boarding. Super easy, and the earliest I have boarded a ship yet.

 

I headed to my room which was ready for me although I still fell weird going behind the door that says please wait until 1:30.

 

My room was 1351 on the Riviera deck.

 

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I tried to play the upgrade game on this one. This was a 1A room which means it has one traditional bed and then either a couch or in my case, a bed that comes out of the ceiling. It is cheaper and it works for one. There were two of these rooms left, this one on deck 1 and another on deck 6. I went with this one because the other room was against an elevator shaft and I am not sure how noisy that would be. But I was hoping to be offered an upgrade to move into a better room for cheap.

 

Paying outright shot the price up almost $200 and an upgrade offer never came. I lost at the upgrade game, but was okay with the room. I will be getting my exercise this week though that is for sure.

 

Although it is shaped differently, it was very well configured and had very adequate space even if there were two people in this room. Much more floor space without the second bed. Time stamp on this picture says 10:53, definitely the earliest I have ever made it to my room.
 

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Following. I will be sailing the Magic for a B2B in April, for a total of 14 days. It will be for my 50th Anniversary.

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I set my stuff down and went off for lunch. I headed up to Deck 5 for some Guy's BBQ. Still a pretty quiet ship at 11:06.

 

 

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No line yet at Guy's BBQ at 11:09. One couple in line, but there are two lines. 

 

 

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My lunch.

 

 

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This is a step up from the BBQ served on the Conquest class ships but it will still not live up to your expectations if you are expecting BBQ like you get back home. This is a cruise ship catering to 4000 people. Not your backyard catering to one distinct style of bbq. For a cruise ship, it is very good BBQ. 

 

I resisted the urge for seconds. Instead I grabbed a vitamin water from the coffee bar and headed up to Lido for some cake!

 

Dessert.

 

 

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Tastes are a tricky thing. I know that nothing will be as good as the first time you eat it. But I just remember these cakes being better. The first time I had them was on the Magic last year and they were so so good. I didn't have them again until my last cruise on Sunshine and they were still good but a bit dry. That was the case again today, dry. I will have to continue to sample them this week to see if they can live up to the bar I put them on after my first time eating them 🙂
 

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Next I came back to the room and unpacked and chilled for a bit. Then it was off to explore a little.

The ship still not crowded at 1:12.

 

 

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I made my way to the Red Frog Pub where they were having happy hour from 12 until I believe 2. All menu drinks were half off. Very good deal especially for the first day when everyone is already in a drinking mood. I ordered a mango meltdown.

 

 

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I received a plastic straw without having to ask. It is very busy here because of happy hour but the bar was well staffed to turn out orders quickly. Reminded me of NCL where you go to a bar and it is crowded but the service is still quick.

 

Next I headed to the casino. The list of events going on this week.

 

 

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One of the things that set the casino experience apart on Carnival was all the fun events that take place. Those are now almost completely eliminated. The line from the casino is they were getting complaints from people that they had to stay in the casino all day for drawings so that was why they trimmed them down. Right, so that is why the ones you kept are the ones that require you to be in the casino for two and a half to three hours at a time? How dumb do they think we are? I see the only quick raffle still on the roster is the Spin n Win promotion which has such wonderful prizes as a beach towel, a $5 scratch off, a hat and other prizes along those lines.
 

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Muster was held inside which I always appreciate versus the outside muster drills. After the drill I braved 6 flights of stairs so that I could make it to the top in time for sail away. I felt better about myself seeing how many people proclaimed victory upon reaching the top. Glad to know I am not the only out of shape person on this ship 🙂

 

I went straight to the front of the ship to the "secret deck" to watch sail away. The Equinox had already pulled out and set sail.

 

 

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This design on the side of a nearby building caught my eye.

 

 

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Next to pull out was the Caribbean Princess.

 

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Next it was our turn, but we didn't leave. Off in the distance I could see why, there was a rain storm that Caribbean Princess had got caught in. 

 

 

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Just after 5 the storm had passed and we began to set sail. This guy has his own FlowRider in his backyard.

 

 

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Sail away pics.

 

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There was a lot of sea weed in the water and washed up on shore.

 

 

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A shipment of pineapples coming in.

 

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After sail away I cleaned up and headed to dinner. Tonight's dinner menu.

 

 

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I started with the chilled Vietnamese roll.

 

 

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This is usually a favorite but it was a little off tonight. It tasted old.
 

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Next I ordered the honey glazed pork loin and the vegetable lasagna.

 

 

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Both of these were excellent.

 

Dessert menu.

 

 

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On Sunshine dessert menus were handed out at the beginning of the meal, but here they are handed out at the traditional time after the rest of the meal. Would not be surprised if that changed though, it is more efficient to do it all at once although my appetite is hard to predict early on in the meal. Tonight I only had room for one dessert, I ordered the tiramisu.

 

 

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Dinner was great tonight and the typical first night service issues were not present tonight. The dining room was very quiet and the service was quick and much more personal than I am used to. Very high marks. I suspect it helped coming early, as dessert took a bit longer and the dining room was starting to fill in. I sat down at 6:01 and had dessert at 6:44. Very impressive.
 

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I rested in the room a bit then headed out to the casino to try my luck. I love gambling. It is my entertainment. It is not about making money, it is not about earning free or cheap cruises. It is solely for the entertainment value of playing the game. But man it is nice if you can get those free and cheap cruises and maybe even make a little money along the way but that doesn't really happen very often. Casinos are big business and not because their patrons are walking away winners. 

 

But it is nice to dream. I would love, love, love to hit a jackpot. There is no trick except knowing when you have to play max bet, and then just being in the right place at the right time. I am so so so excited to say that after 24 cruises, I was FINALLY in the right place at the right time.

 

 

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It was such a surreal experience. If you have ever gambled, you know slot machines love to give you two out of three, then slow down on the third reel before landing on something useless instead of the one you needed for the jackpot. When the third "TRIPLE" landed I was just like WTFun just happened? Is this for real? I pretty much just froze and next thing I know a bar waiter snapped me back to realty and asked if anyone was on the way. I told him no and he got someone for me. I was very sleepy and still in a food coma and shock and really the whole experience still feels like it didn't really happen! What an amazing thing to have happen!

 

What a time to be traveling solo! I seriously considered buying the internet package for 24 hours just to be able to tell someone about my jackpot! Now I just have to resist the urge to not play too much of the money back to the casino. There is no bad time to win a jackpot, but the best time would be the last night lol!

 

I played for a little while longer until I was sure the machine was not going to spit out another jackpot then turned in early for the night around 10:30. Tomorrow would be our first fun day at sea.
 

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40 minutes ago, grandmarnnurse said:

Following. I will be sailing the Magic for a B2B in April, for a total of 14 days. It will be for my 50th Anniversary.

 

You picked a great ship! Have a great trip!

 

10 minutes ago, Shaded Lady said:

Cool! Looking forward to your review!

 

Thanks! Much more to come.

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1 hour ago, jam19872016 said:

After sail away I cleaned up and headed to dinner. Tonight's dinner menu.

 

 

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IMG024-L.jpg

 

IMG025-L.jpg

 

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I started with the chilled Vietnamese roll.

 

 

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This is usually a favorite but it was a little off tonight. It tasted old.
 

I tried that on my last cruise and hated the texture. Very rubbery. 

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Congratulations on the first night win!! 😊 Great review so far, thank you for sharing.

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2 hours ago, pooksma said:

Congrats on the win! Looking forward to reading more.

 

13 minutes ago, indygirl76 said:

Congratulations on the first night win!! 😊 Great review so far, thank you for sharing.

Thank you it was quite a thrill to finally win something big enough to need a hand pay! 

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1 hour ago, grandmarnnurse said:

I tried that on my last cruise and hated the texture. Very rubbery. 

It used to be one of my favorite apps of the week. Somewhere along the way they changed the wrap that was used and it wasn't as good but still pretty good. Then the last couple of cruises it was bland and now I had the same experience you had, very chewy and stale tasting. Not sure what happened to this once favorite item, but I think I will skip it for a few cruises. I am happy to report though that this was one of the few misses all cruise :classic_biggrin:

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Thanks for the review. We have our first 8 day planned for 2021.  Is it a regular thing for the Red Frog to offer 1/2 price drinks on embarkation day for that limited time? If so, I am making a note!

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Looking forward to more of your review,  we will be on the Magic in February (Superbowl cruise 😄 ) doing the same itinerary. 

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5 hours ago, hockeyluver said:

Looking forward to more of your review,  we will be on the Magic in February (Superbowl cruise 😄 ) doing the same itinerary. 

Just a little FYI, for you, and anyone sailing out of South Florida that week. I hope you already have your hotel booked, as they are pretty much all sold out due to the Super Bowl in South Florida that day, and the festivities begin the week before, so they are booked pretty solid starting the week before, as per someone else in another cruise thread. 

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Great start to your review and a great start to your cruise, congratulations.

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