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RDDAILY

Carnival Magic Review July 28 - Aug. 3

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Posted (edited)

Hi fellow Cruise Critic members!  We recently returned from a family cruise on the Carnival Magic.  I love reading all of the member reviews and learn so much from them.  I wanted to do a review of our cruise, and hopefully help some of our fellow cruisers out there who may be going on the Magic, or to any of the cruise ports we visited. 

 

First, a little bit about us.  We live in Miami, so we have lots of cruise ports to choose from!  Our family consists of myself, my husband, and our sons Ryan (10) and Danny (5).  This was our fourth cruise (second one for our kids).  Last year, we decided we wanted to do a short cruise to test out if the kids liked it.  I booked a five day cruise on the Mariner of the Seas.  Needless to say, they are now hooked!   A couple of weeks after that cruise, I booked our cruise on Carnival Magic.  I was able to get a great deal on a balcony cabin.  There were several firsts for us on this cruise: first time visiting the ports on the itinerary, first time cruising out of Ft. Lauderdale (we’ve always gone out of Miami), and first time staying in a balcony cabin (spoiler alert: we loved it and I’m not sure I can do another cruise without staying in one again!!!)

 

Our itinerary was as follows:

Sunday, July 28 – Board Magic at Port Everglades

Monday, July 29 – Sea Day

Tuesday, July 30 – Half Moon Cay

Wednesday, July 31 – Grand Turks (we went to Jack’s Shack)

Thursday, Aug. 1st – Amber Cove, Dominican Republic (we did an ATV tour with Marysol Tours)

Friday, Aug. 2nd – Sea Day

Saturday, Aug. 3rd – Back at Port Everglades

 

More to come soon! 

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Edited by RDDAILY

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Great start to your review!  I'm really looking forward to hearing how your cruise went.  We'll be on the Magic at the end of next month.  I hope you had a great time!

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Before the cruise, I downloaded the Carnival Hub App, and the Port Everglades App.  Both came in very handy!  I checked the Port Everglades App the day before the cruise, and it said that the Magic would be docked at Pier 26.  Since we had never been to that Port, I checked WAZE for the driving directions.  It let me select Pier 26 as the ending address, which was great, because Port Everglades has three different entrances!  By doing it this way, WAZE led us right into the luggage drop off area for the cruise. 

 

I also debated for several months whether to park at the port, or in one of the outside parking lots near it.  In the end, I decided that parking outside just was not worth the time and hassle.  I did not feel comfortable having to leave my car keys with some stranger, then having to lug our luggage on a shuttle to the port, then back again at the end of the cruise.  The parking lot at the port was right across from the pier and covered.  It’s $15 per day.  We ended up paying $90 for the entire cruise.  It was definitely worth it to me.

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1 hour ago, RDDAILY said:

Hi fellow Cruise Critic members!  We recently returned from a family cruise on the Carnival Magic.  I love reading all of the member reviews and learn so much from them.  I wanted to do a review of our cruise, and hopefully help some of our fellow cruisers out there who may be going on the Magic, or to any of the cruise ports we visited. 

 

First, a little bit about us.  We live in Miami, so we have lots of cruise ports to choose from!  Our family consists of myself, my husband, and our sons Ryan (10) and Danny (5).  This was our fourth cruise (second one for our kids).  Last year, we decided we wanted to do a short cruise to test out if the kids liked it.  I booked a five day cruise on the Mariner of the Seas.  Needless to say, they are now hooked!   A couple of weeks after that cruise, I booked our cruise on Carnival Magic.  I was able to get a great deal on a balcony cabin.  There were several firsts for us on this cruise: first time visiting the ports on the itinerary, first time cruising out of Ft. Lauderdale (we’ve always gone out of Miami), and first time staying in a balcony cabin (spoiler alert: we loved it and I’m not sure I can do another cruise without staying in one again!!!)

 

Our itinerary was as follows:

Sunday, July 28 – Board Magic at Port Everglades

Monday, July 29 – Sea Day

Tuesday, July 30 – Half Moon Cay

Wednesday, July 31 – Grand Turks (we went to Jack’s Shack)

Thursday, Aug. 1st – Amber Cove, Dominican Republic (we did an ATV tour with Marysol Tours)

Friday, Aug. 2nd – Sea Day

Saturday, Aug. 3rd – Back at Port Everglades

 

More to come soon! 

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Look at your cute boys! Can't wait to read more.

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Our check in time was 12:00 – 12:30.  I figured if we left home around 10:45, we would get to the port around 11:45.  By the time we dropped off our bags, parked, and walked from the parking garage to the entrance, it should be around noon.  And that’s just what we did!  There was a long line to check in, but it went pretty quickly.  We were on the ship around 12:30. 

 

My original idea was to grab lunch as soon as we got on board at the Pig and Anchor BBQ.  Well, as soon as we walked on board, they put us on an express elevator to the 10th floor!  We did not feel like walking down five flights of stairs with our carry-on luggage, so we settled for lunch on the Lido deck.  My husband wanted to get something from the buffet.  We walked in there, and it was a mad house!  The lines were crazy long, and you could not find a table to sit at.  We walked around the entire buffet area twice, and finally were able to grab a table as someone was leaving.  I checked out the food at the buffet, and was not impressed by the offerings.  My husband grabbed a few things from the buffet, and I grabbed the first of many Guy’s Burgers for the boys and I.  Apparently he was a little bit jealous of our yummy burgers, because he ended up getting one for himself! 

 

 Burgers and ice cream… yum!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Although we really enjoyed our cruise, I think my biggest complaint about the Magic was that the food at the buffet was just not that good.  The buffet offerings were not much, especially when compared to what we had on the Mariner last year.  The Mariner had a large buffet area, with different stations offering pasta, meats, ethnic foods, etc.  In fact, we did not eat one single meal at the main restaurant on the Mariner.  The Magic had a small buffet with salad, one soup, and a few hot dishes.  And what they did have, we did not find very tasty.  For this reason, we ended up eating most of our meals at the main restaurant.  All of the meals we had at the main restaurant were delicious.  And to be honest, I much preferred eating there since it meant I did not have to be getting up to get food for the boys.  I loved being able to just sit down, relax, and have my food brought to me! 

 

My second complaint was the layout of the food venues on the Lido deck.  Outside the Tides pool area, you had Guys’ Burgers on one side, and Blue Iguana Mexican on the other.  As soon as you walked past them, you had the entrance to the Lido Buffet.  Inside the Lido Buffet area, you also had the Deli, and Wok.  Then, as you walked out of the Lido Buffet, at the back of the ship, you had the Pizzeria.  So basically, everyone that was eating burgers, Mexican, Deli, Wok, or pizza, had to sit in the buffet area to eat.  Plus, the lines from the deli and wok mixed with the lines of people getting food at the buffet.  It was just too chaotic and crowded for my taste. 

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Posted (edited)

Beautiful family.  You only live an hour from the port?!?!  I would have way more cruises under my belt.  Good thing I live in the middle of the US.  Can't wait to read more.

Edited by sprint180

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32 minutes ago, sprint180 said:

Beautiful family.  You only live an hour from the port?!?!  I would have way more cruises under my belt.  Good thing I live in the middle of the US.  Can't wait to read more.

 

sprint180 - Thanks!  We're an hour from Ft. Lauderdale, but only 20 minutes from Port of Miami :classic_smile:    Yes, it does make it pretty convenient for cruising!!!

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As soon as the announcement was made that the rooms were ready (around 1:30), we walked to our cabin.  We were in balcony cabin 7386, mid ship.  I selected this cabin on purpose because I knew that being mid ship, we would feel less movement.  I had also read that if you were going to be in a mid-ship balcony, it was better to be on the side of the Red Frog Pub, as opposed to the side where the Pig and Anchor BBQ was located.  I had read in several reviews that apparently the smoke from the BBQ restaurant traveled up to the balconies.  In hindsight, I’m not sure that was a good idea!  The BBQ restaurant was only open until 2:30 on sea days.  Red Frog Pub, on the other hand, was open late every night.  We could hear the band playing music, and people talking loudly right below our balcony.  It was no big deal as long as the balcony door was closed, but just maybe something to think about for future cruises! 

 

This was our first time staying in a balcony cabin, and we all absolutely loved it!  We had such great weather during the week, and the seas were super calm.  It was great to just sit out on the balcony and enjoy the beautiful ocean.

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You are off to a great start!  I also have two little boys (6&9), so I love family trip reports!  Looking forward to hearing more, we've never been on a ship as big as the Magic, but I'm planning on booking the Breeze for Spring break this year! 

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Thank you for the review.  We got off the Breeze this past May and all of us said the lunch buffet was really nothing decent or good, in fact, we are booked on the Mardi Gras for October 16th and will be cancelling it, rather go Royal Caribbean too!

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Great review! I agree with most of your opinions to this point. I'll get to enjoy a Guy's burger in just a few weeks. 🙂

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I did this same 6 day cruise back in May.  The pictures you have posted so far of your family are so darn adorable.  Please, keep them coming!!  Hubby and I did our very first cruise on the Mariner for our 25th anniversary and were hooked.  We will be on our 13th cruise this December for our 35th anniversary.  The Mariner got us hooked and the Magic trip we took made me decide that I had to book another cruise for our anniversary.  Can't wait to see more of your review.

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And finally someone posts a detailed 6 night cruise.  We are on the Magic in two weeks and the lack of detailed reports over the summer has been killing us slowing.  It's been 18 months since our last cruise so we are beginning to have involuntary twitches.  Obsessive planners so please share everything you can.  And THANK YOU. 

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We are taking two of our grandkids on this itinerary in two weeks as a pre back to school get away. They are 10 and 12 and are looking forward to it. We have been on Magic before and really enjoy it. 

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Posted (edited)

Soon, it was time for muster drill.  We had ours in the Northern Lights Dining Room. It was pretty quick and painless!!  After muster was over, we took some time to walk around the ship and explore the different decks.  The boys loved the sports deck, and spent a lot of time playing miniature golf, foosball, and the other games there. 

 

I also discovered one of my favorite things of the entire cruise… the Mango Magic at the Red Frog Pub!  My husband and I are not big drinkers, so we did not get the Cheers package.  But, we do enjoy a frozen cocktail every once in a while.  Holy cow, that Mango Magic was amazing!!  And the boys loved playing the shuffleboard and foosball game there.  Happy parents + Happy Kids=Win!!

 

A few things that I forgot to mention before (sorry, I thought pregnancy brain was bad, but mommy brain is waaaay worst!!)  We brought two boxes of soda onboard.  We just put it in our carry on and it went through security with no issues.  I also purchased two cases of water through the Fun Shops.  They were waiting for us in our cabin.  Lastly, I wanted to sign up for the Dr. Seuss Breakfast on the last sea day.  Once we were onboard and got off the lunch express elevator, there were several tables set up just outside the elevators.  They included spa services, specialty dining, and there was a table for the breakfast.  They had two times: 8:15 or 9:45.  I did not want to wake up early on our last full day onboard, so I opted for 9:45.  Just FYI - once you make the reservation, it's non-refundable.  So, make sure you'll be able to make it if you sign up.  The charge appeared on my account the day before the breakfast. 

 

HUB APP

I downloaded the app on my phone and my husband’s phone before we got onboard.  I have to say, we both loved it!  As soon as we were settled into our cabin, I opened the app and logged in.  You’ll need your folio number (it’s on your sign and sail card) and birthdate.  Once we were logged in, I bought the chat feature for both of us ($5.00 for the entire cruise, not per day). The first day, the chat feature was hit or miss.  But after that, it worked great.  As long as the app is running on your phone, the messages will come in.  I also loved that you could see all of the activities happening that day, and could mark the ones you wanted to attend.  You would then get a pop up reminder for it.  It also showed the food venues that were open, and you could see the menu for that night at the main restaurant.  And, you could check your account to make sure all of the charges and your balance were correct.  After returning from our cruise, I saw an article from Carnival stating that they will soon be adding the kids club schedule to the app. 

 

That night, we checked out the food at the buffet for dinner, but again, did not really like what they had.  We ended up having pizza.  That’s it for our first night onboard the Magic!  Thanks for following along!

 

 

 

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Edited by RDDAILY

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Monday – Day at Sea

 

We woke up around 9:00 and decided to try the Sea Day Brunch.  We walked to the restaurant and there was a bit of a line, but it moved quickly.  I had a made to order omelet, and my husband had the steak and eggs.  He said it was delicious!  We went back to the room and the boys changed into their swimsuits.  They played in the Waterworks area for a while, then spent some time in the Sports Square playing mini golf the other games there.  By 2:00, we were all starting to get hungry.  We got some Guy’s burgers, and took them back to the room.  We sat out on the balcony, and enjoyed the delicious food, and beautiful view of the ocean. 

 

I had seen on the Hub App that from 5:00 to 6:00, they had half price games at the arcade.  My boys absolutely love arcade games.  I’m pretty sure I should be part owner of Chuck E Cheese considering all of the money I’ve donated to them  :classic_laugh:    I took them to the arcade, and they played several of the games.   You just swipe your sign and sail card, and it gets charged to your account.  Their favorite game was a Pac Man air hockey game.  It starts out like regular air hockey with one puck, but then all of a sudden it drops like 20 more small pucks onto the table all at the same time.  It was so much fun to play!

 

After that, we went back to the room and started getting ready for elegant night.  Once we were ready to go, I opened the Hub App and made our reservation (we had any time dining, and you could make a reservation on the app before heading to dinner).  We got to the restaurant and they had our table ready.  We got the lobster for dinner.  It was yummy! 

 

After dinner, we stayed around the atrium for a little bit listening to the violin trio play.  Then we went to the room and got ready for bed.

 

 

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On ‎8‎/‎9‎/‎2019 at 6:36 PM, caryatid said:

You are off to a great start!  I also have two little boys (6&9), so I love family trip reports!  Looking forward to hearing more, we've never been on a ship as big as the Magic, but I'm planning on booking the Breeze for Spring break this year! 

You will love it!  There's so much to do on the ship, they will never get bored!

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On ‎8‎/‎9‎/‎2019 at 9:50 PM, fyree39 said:

Great review! I agree with most of your opinions to this point. I'll get to enjoy a Guy's burger in just a few weeks. 🙂

Thanks!  I'm so jealous.. I'm still dreaming about those burgers  :classic_smile:

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On ‎8‎/‎10‎/‎2019 at 9:14 AM, darwinsrule said:

And finally someone posts a detailed 6 night cruise.  We are on the Magic in two weeks and the lack of detailed reports over the summer has been killing us slowing.  It's been 18 months since our last cruise so we are beginning to have involuntary twitches.  Obsessive planners so please share everything you can.  And THANK YOU. 

LOL!  You will love the Magic.  I hope you have an awesome cruise!

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Tuesday – Half Moon Cay

 

We had a note in our cabin that said they would be handing out tender tickets Tuesday morning, starting at 7:45, at Ocean Plaza.  Around 8:00, I went down to get our tickets.  The line was pretty long, but it moved quickly.  It took about 10 minutes to get the tickets.  Please note (since many people ended up having to leave the line and go back to their room):  Although not everyone in your cabin has to be present to get the tickets, you will need everyone’s sign and sail cards.  You will get one tender ticket for each person in your room.  They are in half hour intervals.  So, you can select 9:00-9:30, 9:30-10:00, etc.  You will get a little plastic card with a number on it.  You just wait for the number to be called, and head down to deck 0 to board the tender.  We were in no rush to get off, so I selected 10:00-10:30. 

 

Around 9:00, we headed to the main dining room for breakfast.  I really enjoyed the food there, and the service was always excellent.  I ordered scrambled eggs, but did not really like it.  They always seemed to be a bit too runny for my taste.  I ended up sticking with made to order omelets the rest of the cruise.  

 

After breakfast, we went back to the room and got ready to head down to the tender.  As you exit, they take your tender ticket from you.  Since this is Carnival’s private island, you only need your sign and sail card to get back on the ship.

 

The tender ride was fairly short, maybe around 5 minutes.  We got to the island and started walking down the beach.  We selected a couple of chairs by the pirate ship bar.  I had brought some toys for the boys to play with in the sand, and two small inflatable rafts for the water. 

 

Let me just take a minute here to say…. this is the most beautiful beach I have ever seen!  And I’ve seen plenty of them!!  We live in Florida, which is surrounded by beaches.  And we’ve been to several islands in the Caribbean.  But this beach was just breath taking!  The water was so calm and transparent.  And the sand was like baby powder.  I wish it would have been a little less crowded.  I considered walking further down the beach, but it was just way too hot, and there were no beach chairs once you got that far down the beach.

 

Around 1:00, we decided we were hungry and wanted to try out the BBQ lunch.  I had no idea where it was located, but saw some people coming to the beach area with food from behind the pirate ship.  So, we walked that way.  If you are standing on the beach, facing the pirate ship, you take the little stairs to the path right behind it.  You then turn left, and you will see several huts with picnic chairs and benches.  That’s where the food is located.  They also had two stations with ice, water, tea and lemonade.  The boys got some burgers, and I got a fried rice that was pretty good. 

 

 

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After lunch, the boys wanted to visit the water park area.  It’s fairly small, but has some cute water splash areas.  They played there for a bit, then went back to the beach.

 

Around 3:00, we were ready to leave.  We started walking back to the area where you get the tenders.  The lines were super long!  It was hot, we were full of sand everywhere, it just was not fun!  It took almost an hour to finally get back to the ship. 

 

As we were leaving the island, I noticed that it seemed like there was a lot of construction going on. I mentioned to my husband how great it would be if they built a dock there so that you wouldn’t have to use the tenders.  Well, a couple of days after our cruise, I saw an article online that Carnival is indeed working on building a dock on the island!  That’s the construction that we saw.

 

We got back on the ship, and went to the room to take a shower and rest.  We went to dinner in the main restaurant that night, then spent some time playing shuffleboard at the Red Frog Pub.  We headed to bed around 11:00.

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Great review! Thanks for sharing. We leave on Saturday for the 8 day itinerary on the Magic. So happy to read about the ship so close to our cruise and about how your kids like it!

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I was a bit worried, because I took two bathing suits for each of us, for four to five days of water fun!  So, thanks to the advice of the wonderful CC community, I bought some plastic beach towel holders that I could use to dry our clothes on the balcony chairs.  They worked out great!  I bought a pack of eight for a couple of bucks on Amazon.

 

 

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We had a note in our cabin that they were going to be cleaning the balconies on our deck the next day (Grand Turks day).  The note said it would start around 10:00 AM, and we should not leave anything on our balcony. I made sure to bring in all of the clothes I had drying out there. 

 

 

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