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Marauder40

Carnival Magic Review, August 11 - 17, 2019

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Posted (edited)

Finally getting around to writing my review for my cruise on the Carnival Magic.  This was my family's first cruise ever.  As a family we have been to an all-inclusive in the Dominican Republic and with my wife I have been to Sandals in both St. Lucia and Jamaica.  We are a family of 4, with a 11 year old son and a 15 year old daughter.

 

We flew into Ft. Lauderdale on the 10th and stayed at Embassy Suites.  We took an Uber between the airport and the hotel and had absolutely no problems with the ride itself.  It did take a little while to make our way from where we picked up our luggage to the ride-share pickup location.  It was annoying making our way through numerous people offering to give us a ride even though there were large signs in the area talking about not taking rides from unofficial sources.

 

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Embassy Suites

We picked Embassy Suites because several years ago I use to have lots of business trips to Ft. Lauderdale and would stay at either Pier 66, Embassy Suites, or the Marriott Marina (now Hilton Marina.)  Based on reviews and the fact that there were 4 of us, I liked the fact that we could have two separate rooms, "free" breakfast, and close to stores.  The rooms were exactly like I remember, other then new flat screens, nothing has been updated in the room since I was there YEARS ago.  The rooms are in need of updating.  For lunch we walked around and actually went to Hilton Marina.  Probably would stay there next cruise.  Since it was a Saturday, we went to church and then had the Uber drop us off at the beach area for dinner. 

After dinner we returned to the hotel and turned in.  While the kids got ready for bed I quickly walked to a nearby liquor store to pick up my two 750 ml bottles of wine.

 

Breakfast was OK, nothing special, but we would later find out it was probably better then the breakfast buffet on Lido, much less lines and similar quality things like pancakes. That morning we had no problems calling an Uber for drop-off at the Port.  Just make sure you download the port app to know which terminal your cruise ship is docked.  Uber needs that info, can't just enter Port Everglades as your destination.  Also make sure you keep your passports out in the Uber.  EVERY person in the car needs a picture Id to get through port security, so if your kids don't have drivers licenses, they need their passport.

 

Embarkation

The Uber dropped us off right at the terminal. Our bags quickly were turned over to the porters and we got in line.  We were surprised that there was nothing telling us where to go, but we just followed everyone else and got in the long line.  We had a 12:00 check-in time  and didn't have FTTF.  It was 12:00 so we were right on time for our check-in time.  The line wound toward the side of the building but moved very fast. Once we were in the terminal itself there was only a 5 minute line to see the people that check your passports and boarding passes.  Another 5 minute line for the x-ray machines (I held up the line a little because I didn't realize my wallet had a metal lining.)   After that we had our pictures and went straight for the ship, only stopping a few times when people had to again check/scan our boarding passes.  Other then stopping at those points we just kept walking, no lines at all.

 

We kept walking up the escalators, up the ramps and soon were on the gangway to the Magic.

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By 12:30 we were on the Magic. A little confused since the only people to greet us were people handing out safety forms and handing out spa raffle forms.  There was someone with a sign that told us to ask him if we had any questions, but through this board and Youtube sites like Parodeejay I knew what to do.  My son who had been doing tons of research was actually amazed at how small the atrium looked compared to what he thought it looked like based on videos and I had to tell him how different angles and lens make things look.  We quickly took our pictures in the lobby and made our way to the elevators.

 

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We went to the express elevators to 5 and 10 and based on feedback from people on here, instead of going to the buffet we gradually made our way to the Italian restaurant.  Stopping for things like the pictures in front of the life-rings, pictures off the side and things like that.

 

Cucina del Capitano

 

After activating our Hub app and looking at ship's maps we made our way to Cucina del Capitano.  At first they assumed we knew the drill but as soon as they found out we were first timers they explained everything.  The restaurant was almost empty.  We made our way to the table and sat down, filled out our forms and quickly decompressed from the rush and hurry of what happened. I highly suggest this instead of the buffet on the Lido deck, much better then the rush and lines in the buffet area.  The food was good and the options were great for a variation of appetites.  My wife is Italian so has her wants, my son just wants to check EVERY box he can and my daughter is a butter pasta type person.  All were able to get what they wanted and the food was pretty good for what it was, just quick stir-fry type Italian.  The fact that it was so quiet and an easy place to store the carry-ons made it worth its weight in gold.

 

Room 2254

 

After lunch we made our way to the room.  It was a cove balcony room.  My wife is prone to sea-sickness so we purposely wanted a room as low and middle of the ship as possible.  We also specifically wanted a balcony since she figured being able to see out and get air would be better if she had issues.  We were a little nervous about noise since we were right next to the forward elevators.  

 

The room was exactly like we expected.  I had to do the mandatory bed bug check and my wife had to do the room whip-down.   Of course there were no bed bugs or that would have been brought up much earlier in this review.  We did find a couple dusty areas (top of TV and top of a picture frame) but for the most part it was clean.

 

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We then went and looked around the ship, getting our baring and things like that.  Muster drill was no problem at all.  We had the upper level of the middle dining room.  There were only announcements for two cabins that were late and they were found pretty quick.

 

After muster drill half of us went back to the cabin to watch sail-away and the other half went to the atrium for the sail-away party.  Due to an incoming rain storm they moved the sail-away part to the atrium.  It was a little crowded there but my daughter loved it.

 

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Edited by Marauder40

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Lots more to come, probably will try to put up one post a day.  Our itinerary was Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, and Amber Cove.

 

Things coming up include:

* What is that yellow stuff on the balcony?

* Problems with Club O2.

* Problems with Camp Ocean Sharks

* Lost prescription glasses in Margaritaville

* Daughter's new addiction to shopping/free stuff

* Big 3/Zip-lining adventure in Amber Cove

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Marauder40 said:

Lots more to come, probably will try to put up one post a day.  Our itinerary was Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, and Amber Cove.

 

Things coming up include:

* What is that yellow stuff on the balcony?

* Problems with Club O2.

* Problems with Camp Ocean Sharks

* Lost prescription glasses in Margaritaville

* Daughter's new addiction to shopping/free stuff

* Big 3/Zip-lining adventure in Amber Cove

 

Looking forward to hearing about Camp Ocean.  My son had an issue there the week after your cruise.  He was a Stingray though, but they seemed to be combined a fair amount.

Edited by schittenden

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3 hours ago, Marauder40 said:

Lots more to come, probably will try to put up one post a day.  Our itinerary was Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, and Amber Cove.

 

Things coming up include:

* What is that yellow stuff on the balcony?

* Problems with Club O2.

* Problems with Camp Ocean Sharks

* Lost prescription glasses in Margaritaville

* Daughter's new addiction to shopping/free stuff

* Big 3/Zip-lining adventure in Amber Cove

We are sailing on the Magic for the first time in October. Looking forward to the rest of your review. Thanks for sharing.

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I figure that instead of doing the day by day review, after the first day I would split things more into topics.

 

This post will be about food.  Overall we liked most of the food that we had in the MDR.  We were officially assigned to the late seating in the main dining room.  We tried to wait-list for early but were unable to get it.

 

Lido Marketplace Buffet

We were actually majorly disappointed by the buffet.  We tried to eat breakfast here on the first day and were disappointed.  Even though we got up pretty early,  there was always a long slow moving line.  It was pretty easy to figure out why the main buffet line was moving so slow, they put the things like syrup, cereal and other things like that at the end of the line instead of somewhere else so people that are able to quickly get food off the buffet line itself, hold up the entire line putting on syrup, getting their cereal and other things.  If they moved all of that stuff to a fixing table of some type I am sure things would speed up a lot.  The food on the buffet at breakfast was very average if not bad.  Both the scrambled eggs and the pancakes were horrible.  Some of the things were OK, like the different forms of Eggs Benedict.  The omelet station line moved way to slow to give it a try.

 

That was the only meal we actually ate there.  At different times we would take a look and either not want to eat there or not want to deal with the slow lines.  We were actually surprised by the fact that mid-day the ENTIRE buffet shuts down and the only things that are open food-wise are the pizza place, Guys and the Blue Iguana (not including pay places.)  We thought they would leave a couple things open, like either the deli, salad place or the desserts.  Desserts on the buffet actually surprised us as well.  The first evening they had lots of cakes, and we liked tasting them.  Another day they had lots of different chocolate desserts, but other then those two times, the desserts on the buffet were pretty disappointing.

 

Blue Iguana Cafe

My wife decided not to do the breakfast buffet  and got the breakfast burrito.  She loved it but there was usually a pretty long slow moving line.  We never tried lunch because we eat that style of food a lot and wanted to branch out more.

 

Guy's Burger Place

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All of us tried Guy's Burgers at different times.  They were good, but in our opinion they weren't anything special.  The lines varied at times.  They basically make entire trays of burgers at a time.  If a tray was ready, they could move pretty fast but as soon as they completed a trey the line ground to a halt.  Also, except for my son, everyone in our family likes burgers done medium, unless you want to wait for a special order, all the burgers are done medium well or well done.   I am sure the burgers are better then what you would normally get on a cruise line, they are better then all the fast food chains and places like 5 Guys, but if they had to compete with other places that specialize in real burgers, not sure they would even place.

 

Guy's Pig and Anchor

The biggest issue with this place is it is only open for limited hours on sea-days.  Everyone in my family except me ate there.  In Maryland we have a chain that specializes in barbecue that we eat a lot called Mission BBQ.  Based on the feedback from my wife and everyone else in my family the food wasn't any better then Mission BBQ.  Never felt like making my way down off Lido deck to deck 5 to get stuff that I can easily get back home.

 

Pizza

We tried the pizza place a couple times, usually when everything else was closed or most things were closed and we didn't want a burger.  The pizza is average.  When it is the only thing open the line can be long and depending on what is ready at the time it can move very slow.  We are honestly surprised that during the day when it is the only thing open they don't have more people working there.  We understand that during the off hours (i.e. morning, late night) they might not have lots of people working there but you would figure they would send a couple more people there to work when they are the main food option.

 

Southern Lights Dining Room

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After the first day, this is where we spent all the rest of our breakfasts and dinners.  For dinner we had the 8:15 seating.  The food was good.  We were also surprised by the amount of food that was supplied with each entree.  Based on previous reviews on the first day a few of us ordered more then one main entree and we quickly found out we didn't need to do that.  After the first day we stuck to one or two appetizers and then usually only ordered one entree per person.  

The food was better then we expected.   The service was great.  Our waiter, Ma, was great at figuring out what we liked.  She was also very accommodating when had to either rush our dinner to get to a show or one of us had to maybe even take a dinner or one of us had to show up late due to something going on elsewhere on the ship.   Honestly all the food was good, not great, but good.  The steak was better then we expected based on reviews we had read.   They were also very friendly during ssssssssssshowtime and encouraged my daughter to dance along.

The only issues we had were that we had a small table for four away from everything.  If you think about the dining room and instead of going in the main door, you go in the right door, our table was right in front of that.  Other then our own waiters you couldn't see anything during any of the ssssssssshowtimes.

Breakfast was much better then on the buffet and you never had a line to wait in or find your table. 

 

We never had any problems finding something good to eat with the selections on the menu, including for my daughter who is real picky about what she eats.  The only surprise on the menu was that since one of our elegant nights was the port day at Amber Cove, they never really featured Dominican foods on the menu.  They only used the standard elegant night menu on that night and the next day the featured section was just generic Caribbean.  

 

General Comments on Food

We were surprised at how little was focused on cleanliness for the guests.  Previous things we had seen online talked about crew making sure people either cleaned their hands or used the sanatizer.   None of that was happening on this ship.  They had the sanatizer machines and washing stations, but very few people were using them.  They have the things on the back of restroom doors so you don't have to touch the handles, but based on the bins, you could tell very few people were using them.  There were little stickers on the water/drink areas that mentioned you shouldn't refill your glass, you should use a new one, but you would see lots of people doing that and refilling their own water jugs at the spigots, including putting the lip of the bottle where they actually drink against the spigots.  One time my daughter was refilling her water bottle the proper way (using the ship cups to fill up her water bottle) and someone came up to her and told her to just put the water bottle up to the spigot.  She told them why she was doing it that way and even pointed to the sticker and the person was shocked.

 

At least two of the blue things on the Lido deck where you can use water to wash your hands were broken.

 

Another thing that may have an effect on the food.  In the MDR on the last day they mentioned that this was the last cruise for the head chef.  Not the one in charge of just that dining room, but the entire ship.  Things could change based on the new chef.

 

All in all food in MDR was better then we expected.  It was on par with the all-inclusive resort we visited with my family in the Dominican Republic.  Food at the buffet was worse then we expected.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

The topic for today is on-board activities with kids.

 

Camp Ocean Sharks

We had a feeling before going into the trip that my son wouldn't be happy with Camp Ocean.  He is 11 years old which puts him at the top of the range for Camp Ocean.  He also hates doing anything that identifies him as younger.  He hated the fact that he had to wear that green wristband that shows his muster station.  We had an agreement with him that he would at least have to give Camp Ocean a try.

 

On the first day they had an open house where you were supposed to just get an overview of the club and verify your information in the system and signup if you didn't already do that.  We signed up in advance but when we got there the computer flagged us as not having signed up in advance, but then when they went into the records themselves it showed we had signed up.  I think they need a little work on their system.  They also told him about the Sharks and were able to look in the records and let him now how many other Sharks there were.  He felt a little better when we left there.

 

That night they had a "mixer" that if the kid showed you needed to bring at least one parent.  That was a bust.  There was maybe 10 kids there.  We tried to play on one of the systems, it turns out that each system only has one game.  They have a label on the monitor that says what game it is, but there is no method of switching the games on each system.  Of course the systems that had the good games were already taken.  We figured we would take ANY game that would work with two controllers.   Most of the ones that were left didn't work at all or you couldn't get the second controller to work.  So my son volunteered to play a board game with me.  He found the game Sorry.  The game was beat up.  The board itself was in 4 pieces (not a travel set, a broken board) so you had to put it back together.  There is no way that more then two people could play the game since only one color had enough pieces, you could make enough pieces based on the second player being ALL of the other colors since there were so few of any other color.  Not a good advertisement for a kid who already didn't want to be there.

 

There were two other events we convinced him to try out.  The first one he went to he said he was the ONLY 10 or 11 year old and that all the games they played were geared to the 9 year old.  He really wanted to win something so he tried two of the trivia events.  One was the emoji trivia and he didn't like that at all.  The second was a generic trivia thing and he said that it was again mostly 9 year olds playing games and they never got around to the trivia.  One thing that made us nervous was that if your kid is allowed to sign them-self in and out, they are supposed to tell them where they are going when they sign them-self out.  This time when he signed himself out he told them he was going to the "Southern Lights Dining Room" since he was meeting us there.  He told them exactly that, and they wrote "lounge."  Sort of defeats the purpose of doing that if they don't even write what the kid tells them.  That was the last event he attended since he had no interest in going back. 

His basic impression of the Sharks was that the only people that ever showed up were either on the video games the entire time and didn't want any interaction or were the 9 year olds and that ALL of the games and fun were geared to them or even the younger groups.

 

 

Club 02

Club 02 had us more nervous then my daughter.  My daughter is pretty shy, but she is also VERY energetic so the two together can make it difficult for her to meet new people.  The first day on board, during the day they have a time where they want a parent to come with each child and verify the information and put a Club 02 sticker on their badge.  They were late getting ready for that but we quickly verified our registration and they answered any questions either my daughter or I had.  

 

That night she went to the mixer based on numerous suggestions from here.  She came back crying.  She said that ALL the people that were there were rude, cussing like crazy, and the only music they played was rap music.  She hates rap music.  Nobody talked to her even though she tried talking to people.  She didn't like the vibe at all.  She didn't want to go back at all.  We convinced her to try some of the day activities because it might be totally different.

 

She went back for a day activity and she said it was totally different.  The people that came out for the day activities were totally different from the ones that came out for the night ones.  She even tried another night activity and left pretty fast because NONE of the nice people went to it.  She loved the teen bingo, trivia, and scavenger hunts.

 

Pool and WaterWorks

The first sea-day my son and I were able to get out to the pool area pretty early.  My wife and daughter went to both the Morning Show and the a couple shopping shows.  I am a person that needs to stick to shade since I burn pretty easy.  I was able to find a place on Deck 11 overlooking the pool and put down our towels and stuff.  I was however surprised by how much of Deck 11 is actually a smoking area.  I thought that other then the nightclubs and casino that the other areas would be small.  An entire side of Deck 11 is a smoking area, so we had to avoid that section.  My son and I were quickly able to use both slides and then use the pool for awhile.    No lines at all.  I took a ride on each slide and he did several rides on each.  He played around while I watched.  Things were great on the first sea day.  By the time things were starting to get crowded it was lunch time and they wanted to do other things.

 

On each of the port days son just wanted to check out either the aft pools or hang out in the whirlpools on Deck 5.  He had no problem finding space each of those times.  One day my wife and I were able to find a place on Serenity Deck close to the water slide and able to see our kids use the water slide while we relaxed there.

 

On the last sea we got a later start, not only did we get up later but I attended the Morning Show and the Disembarkation show.  When we got to the pool there was no space.  We had to walk halfway down deck 11 towards aft before finding a place anywhere near the pool.  The lines for the water slide were long and the pool was packed.  I then tried the aft pool and it was just as packed.

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I all of sudden remembered why I prefer land-based all-inclusive vacations.  If there is one thing that makes me not cruise again it will be this.  I did stay at my lounger and relax and let my kids run for the water slides.  Even my son didn't feel comfortable getting into that pool with all those people in it.  They did both watch the hairy chest contest.

 

Sky Park  

On the first sea-day my son wanted to do the ropes course.  We had a little bit of wind and lighting in the distance so it was closed for awhile but when it opened up he asked if he could go and he was told that he could go in his bathing suit but it had to be TOTALLY dry.  So he sat with me on the side of the pool until it dried then went on the course.  The first day he only did it once because the weather went downhill again and started to lightly drizzle after he got on it and they cleared the course.  The second day he got on it again and did it twice more.  He was proud of himself, but I did mention to him that he was cheating a little by holding onto his safety strap a lot, that he should only be holding onto the ropes course itself.  He quickly got back on and did each of the complete paths without holding onto his safety strap.

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I think he did the course a total of 6 times, I did it once and my daughter did it twice.  Everyone loved it.

 

One of the times we were up there we also tried the mini-golf.  It is fun just to have it, but it is totally in the sun and all the holes are just 2 par holes.  Not very challenging.  When my family played I just watched since I didn't have sun screen on.

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My daughter did the course twice, once with us and once with the daytime members of Club 02.

 

Trivia Events

Based on watching Parodeejay my kids REALLY wanted to win a "ship on stick" so we attended several Trivia events and Trivia-like events.  Most of them were pretty well run.  They were quick and kept interesting.  The only problem was that we were never able to win any of the games where only one person wins.  My daughter thought she would win the Harry Potter trivia game, but it was VERY well attended, standing room only.  The winner of that one had every question right AND had to win a face-off question against someone else.  Both kids were able to get one of the Carnival medals from trivia because of the Trivia pursuit version of Trivia, they were on the winning team. 

 

The one exception to well-run events was when they played Hasbro Cranium.  The ship's host didn't really know how the game worked so they called for a guest to run it.  Not only is the game a little confusing, if the person running it doesn't have the right personality, the game becomes real boring.  Several teams left in the middle because they got so bored.  They were disappointed they didn't win a ship on a stick but they had fun and at least had the Carnival medals.

Edited by Marauder40

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I did forget to mention that on our first sea-day while my son was waiting for his swimsuit to dry so he could go on the ropes course, all of sudden they cleared the pool, drained it, and refilled it.  I highly suspect someone left a personal souvenir in the pool. 

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On 8/29/2019 at 9:20 AM, Marauder40 said:

I figure that instead of doing the day by day review, after the first day I would split things more into topics.

 

This post will be about food.  Overall we liked most of the food that we had in the MDR.  We were officially assigned to the late seating in the main dining room.  We tried to wait-list for early but were unable to get it.

 

Lido Marketplace Buffet

We were actually majorly disappointed by the buffet.  We tried to eat breakfast here on the first day and were disappointed.  Even though we got up pretty early,  there was always a long slow moving line.  It was pretty easy to figure out why the main buffet line was moving so slow, they put the things like syrup, cereal and other things like that at the end of the line instead of somewhere else so people that are able to quickly get food off the buffet line itself, hold up the entire line putting on syrup, getting their cereal and other things.  If they moved all of that stuff to a fixing table of some type I am sure things would speed up a lot.  The food on the buffet at breakfast was very average if not bad.  Both the scrambled eggs and the pancakes were horrible.  Some of the things were OK, like the different forms of Eggs Benedict.  The omelet station line moved way to slow to give it a try.

 

That was the only meal we actually ate there.  At different times we would take a look and either not want to eat there or not want to deal with the slow lines.  We were actually surprised by the fact that mid-day the ENTIRE buffet shuts down and the only things that are open food-wise are the pizza place, Guys and the Blue Iguana (not including pay places.)  We thought they would leave a couple things open, like either the deli, salad place or the desserts.  Desserts on the buffet actually surprised us as well.  The first evening they had lots of cakes, and we liked tasting them.  Another day they had lots of different chocolate desserts, but other then those two times, the desserts on the buffet were pretty disappointing.

 

Blue Iguana Cafe

My wife decided not to do the breakfast buffet  and got the breakfast burrito.  She loved it but there was usually a pretty long slow moving line.  We never tried lunch because we eat that style of food a lot and wanted to branch out more.

 

Guy's Burger Place

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All of us tried Guy's Burgers at different times.  They were good, but in our opinion they weren't anything special.  The lines varied at times.  They basically make entire trays of burgers at a time.  If a tray was ready, they could move pretty fast but as soon as they completed a trey the line ground to a halt.  Also, except for my son, everyone in our family likes burgers done medium, unless you want to wait for a special order, all the burgers are done medium well or well done.   I am sure the burgers are better then what you would normally get on a cruise line, they are better then all the fast food chains and places like 5 Guys, but if they had to compete with other places that specialize in real burgers, not sure they would even place.

 

Guy's Pig and Anchor

The biggest issue with this place is it is only open for limited hours on sea-days.  Everyone in my family except me ate there.  In Maryland we have a chain that specializes in barbecue that we eat a lot called Mission BBQ.  Based on the feedback from my wife and everyone else in my family the food wasn't any better then Mission BBQ.  Never felt like making my way down off Lido deck to deck 5 to get stuff that I can easily get back home.

 

Pizza

We tried the pizza place a couple times, usually when everything else was closed or most things were closed and we didn't want a burger.  The pizza is average.  When it is the only thing open the line can be long and depending on what is ready at the time it can move very slow.  We are honestly surprised that during the day when it is the only thing open they don't have more people working there.  We understand that during the off hours (i.e. morning, late night) they might not have lots of people working there but you would figure they would send a couple more people there to work when they are the main food option.

 

Southern Lights Dining Room

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After the first day, this is where we spent all the rest of our breakfasts and dinners.  For dinner we had the 8:15 seating.  The food was good.  We were also surprised by the amount of food that was supplied with each entree.  Based on previous reviews on the first day a few of us ordered more then one main entree and we quickly found out we didn't need to do that.  After the first day we stuck to one or two appetizers and then usually only ordered one entree per person.  

The food was better then we expected.   The service was great.  Our waiter, Ma, was great at figuring out what we liked.  She was also very accommodating when had to either rush our dinner to get to a show or one of us had to maybe even take a dinner or one of us had to show up late due to something going on elsewhere on the ship.   Honestly all the food was good, not great, but good.  The steak was better then we expected based on reviews we had read.   They were also very friendly during ssssssssssshowtime and encouraged my daughter to dance along.

The only issues we had were that we had a small table for four away from everything.  If you think about the dining room and instead of going in the main door, you go in the right door, our table was right in front of that.  Other then our own waiters you couldn't see anything during any of the ssssssssshowtimes.

Breakfast was much better then on the buffet and you never had a line to wait in or find your table. 

 

We never had any problems finding something good to eat with the selections on the menu, including for my daughter who is real picky about what she eats.  The only surprise on the menu was that since one of our elegant nights was the port day at Amber Cove, they never really featured Dominican foods on the menu.  They only used the standard elegant night menu on that night and the next day the featured section was just generic Caribbean.  

 

General Comments on Food

We were surprised at how little was focused on cleanliness for the guests.  Previous things we had seen online talked about crew making sure people either cleaned their hands or used the sanatizer.   None of that was happening on this ship.  They had the sanatizer machines and washing stations, but very few people were using them.  They have the things on the back of restroom doors so you don't have to touch the handles, but based on the bins, you could tell very few people were using them.  There were little stickers on the water/drink areas that mentioned you shouldn't refill your glass, you should use a new one, but you would see lots of people doing that and refilling their own water jugs at the spigots, including putting the lip of the bottle where they actually drink against the spigots.  One time my daughter was refilling her water bottle the proper way (using the ship cups to fill up her water bottle) and someone came up to her and told her to just put the water bottle up to the spigot.  She told them why she was doing it that way and even pointed to the sticker and the person was shocked.

 

At least two of the blue things on the Lido deck where you can use water to wash your hands were broken.

 

Another thing that may have an effect on the food.  In the MDR on the last day they mentioned that this was the last cruise for the head chef.  Not the one in charge of just that dining room, but the entire ship.  Things could change based on the new chef.

 

All in all food in MDR was better then we expected.  It was on par with the all-inclusive resort we visited with my family in the Dominican Republic.  Food at the buffet was worse then we expected.

 

 

I totally agree about the buffet. It was a disaster the entire week after your cruise as well. The buffet line was long and slow. I don’t think it helped that the toppings for oatmeal were in the middle of the buffet and you had to ask someone at the end of the line for oatmeal. I think people were confused and held up the line trying to figure out where he oatmeal was.  I refused to eat breakfast there, and when that’s where our group went, I just went to BlueIguana and had them make some delicious breakfast tacos on corn tortillas.

 

We like the pizza more than you do. I love that style of crust and the fresh from the over char. I only had it twice, but I like it. 

 

I agree on the BBQ, except I think Mission is better than what is on the ship and comes without the metallic aftertaste of the forks on the metal plates.  

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I keep checking back to your review!  Waiting to find out what the "yellow stuff" was lol!

 

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1 hour ago, mommio said:

I keep checking back to your review!  Waiting to find out what the "yellow stuff" was lol!

 

 

Only editing on my tablet/phone today.  Will try to get a small update up tomorrow.  Maybe the next section will include that since I can come up with a few topics that don’t  need the ability to add pictures.

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We sail on the Magic Sept 28, 2019. Can you the names of the current Captain, the Hotel Manager, the Chief Eng. and Cruise Director

 

Thanks

 

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4 hours ago, leedm said:

We sail on the Magic Sept 28, 2019. Can you the names of the current Captain, the Hotel Manager, the Chief Eng. and Cruise Director

 

Thanks

 

 

The cruise director was Simon London.  The cruise we were on was the last cruise for this captain.  The captain is taking some time off and will become the captain for the Panorama.  They said this was the last cruise for SEVERAL crew members.  The only ones they said specifically were the head chef and the sound technician (since he was in the theatre at the time and he is leaving for the birth of his child.)

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16 minutes ago, Marauder40 said:

 

The cruise director was Simon London.  The cruise we were on was the last cruise for this captain.  The captain is taking some time off and will become the captain for the Panorama.  They said this was the last cruise for SEVERAL crew members.  The only ones they said specifically were the head chef and the sound technician (since he was in the theatre at the time and he is leaving for the birth of his child.)

Thanks

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Sorry for the delay but the Labor Day weekend kept me pretty busy.

 

Today's update is without many pictures just to get a quick one up, but future posts will be about our ports and excursions, those will have more pictures.

 

Room 2254 and What's that Yellow Stuff

In the first post I mentioned that we were in Room 2254. It is cove balcony room on the 2nd deck.  We specifically wanted a balcony as low and mid-ship as we could get.  Cove balconies were perfect for us.  It was low to the water.  The room was right next to the forward elevators. If you walked two rooms forward you came right into the elevator bay next to the stairwell, if you walked two rooms aft you came right to the glass elevators.  I loved the location, a short walk and one floor on the stairwell brought you to the atrium, a short walk and down one deck on the stairwell brought you to the area to get ready for the gangways, and if we didn't have our Ft. Lauderdale excursion, we could have only walked a few feet on the same floor and departed that way.

 

No noise from the elevators them self, but I am sure we heard more people walking by then a cabin all the way aft or forward would hear.  We did have someone that would smoke a little marijuana every day at a certain time based on the smell in our room, but we couldn't tell which room it was.

 

On the first day we were asked whether we wanted morning, evening or both services.  We choose both since it was our first cruise so we didn't know which would would really prefer and we also wanted it since there was four of us, which meant lots of dirty towels and things like that.

 

We received towel animals every day and the room was kept very well by our room steward.

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One thing that was real great about our room was probably a coincidence but EVERY time we docked the gangways were on our side of the ship.  It was entertaining watching people get on and off the ship and as someone that dealt a lot with the Navy, watching how things happen going in and out of port was interesting.

 

Problems with the room.  Other then getting use to such a small room, bathroom, etc. like any first time sailing family has to do there was only one real problem with the room and believe it or not we never reported it.

On the sea day we walked out onto our balcony and right next to one of the beams overlooking the ocean there was a pool of yellow stuff.  We couldn't figure out what it was.  I never took a picture of it because it was such a faint shade of yellow it wouldn't really show up well.  It only showed up since it was on top of the white railing, not the wooden railing.  We all had theories on what it was, rust, bird stuff, etc.  Nobody wanted to smell it or put their finger in it just in case it was dangerous. We figured out we would tell our cabin steward about it when we saw him.

 

It was only when we went on our first Port day that we could figure out what it was.  If you looked at our cabin from off the ship, you would notice two VERY large exhaust fans right above the cabin.  We figured out that they were exhaust fans that lead to one or more kitchens and that the yellow stuff was just oil/grease getting through the fans.  When we got back on board we could tell that was what it was.  We were going to report it but on our bed that day was a note that said they were going to be cleaning all the balconies in Grand Turk since there are only so many ports that allow the cleaning of balconies, so we figured it would get cleaned that day, and it did.  Two days later more appeared.  We did get some on 3 different sets of clothes, since some was actually on the wood railing and you couldn't tell it was there.  We thought it would come out, but we have a few stained shirts.

 

 Hub App

We loved the Hub app.  It was great to have a copy of everything going on the ship with you at all times and to highlight just what you really want to go to.  You can also quickly select the Kid and Teen club and tell what is going on in those areas right now and during the entire day.  We also enabled the chat feature so that we could all keep in touch.  3 of us had iPhones and one of us had an iPod and there were no problems using it on any of them. The only annoying thing is that you have to keep it open at all times and sometimes it could take awhile for a text to make it to you.  Personally I don't think they should be charging you $5 a person for the chat feature.  Maybe $10 for the entire room would be better or something like that.  It was convenient that if your kid checks them self in and out of the Kid's club the App will tell you where they are going when they check out, the only problem we had with that is whoever entered that information wasn't always exact.  One time my son told the person exactly "Southern Lights Dining Room" and they entered "lounge".  Luckily he was meeting us in the dining room but if we weren't sure where he was going, there is no way lounge would be accurate enough.   The only thing that surprised us was that the maps within the App have no way to indicate exactly where you are on the map.  Probably due to the fact that GPS wouldn't work inside the ship, but I am sure there are ways around using the locations of the different repeaters.

 

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On 8/28/2019 at 1:31 PM, Marauder40 said:

Also make sure you keep your passports out in the Uber.  EVERY person in the car needs a picture Id to get through port security, so if your kids don't have drivers licenses, they need their passport.

 

Kids under 16 do NOT need a photo ID      They should have their boarding passes out in order for the guard to see 

 

 

Thanks for the great review./    Sailing MAgic again in January

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56 minutes ago, serene56 said:

Kids under 16 do NOT need a photo ID      They should have their boarding passes out in order for the guard to see 

 

 

Thanks for the great review./    Sailing MAgic again in January

 

The Uber driver told me that everyone needed a photo Id including the kids.  I questioned her on it.   I thought that was a little funny, but took her at her word for it.  Maybe it just makes it easier, better odds at getting through without the more detailed search.

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Most people traveling with kids especially littles do not have photo I’d.   I have not been asked for their pictures entering a port 

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We will be on the Magic in April. Your experience with the pool is why we dislike larger ships but this one had the itinerary we wanted so we just wont be in the pool. Usually on sea days we spend it on Lido getting in and out of the pool to cool off. We were on the Breeze a few years back and the pools were cloudy due to all the people in them standing there like sardines washing off the sweat and sunscreen.

Edited by dltvermont

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Half Moon Cay

Early in the morning we were awakened to a real loud banding beneath us and a few minutes later we went onto the balcony and saw this.

IMG_1088.jpg.8eebd402561074fbc02a0b134b0bdec1.jpg 

 

The first tender boat was docking to start taking over the crew to the island.  We watched them load up that boat and then load up a cargo boat.  We quickly got dressed and headed up for breakfast.  The announcements kept saying that whenever you are ready for heading for the island, with your entire party, head to the lounge on Deck 5.  After a quick breakfast we headed to Deck 5 and there was a long line winding through the casino.  Why did they have to wind through the smokey casino, couldn't they have wound the line the other direction?  I sent my kids and wife out of the casino so they didn't have to deal with the smoke and I waited in line.  They then said that only one person per party had to wait in line.  I wish they had told us that earlier.

 

We receive boarding number 42.  They were pretty quick at running through the numbers.  We went to the atrium and waited there for them to call our number.  We were the last number in one of the sections called and headed down to deck 1.  At the deck 1 stairwell the person said they hadn't called our number yet and was going to stop us, but I let them know that they did call our number and she quickly let us through to the boat, just like the one in the picture above.  I wish I had a lower number because we ended up sitting in the sun, but it was only about 20 minutes to get to the island.  Of course as a person that burns easy, would have preferred to be on the bottom level of the boat.

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Our view of the Magic from the tender boat.

 

Since we were such a high number lots of people were already on the island so we started walking up the path.  We knew it wasn't worth it to head to the beach right there because it was packed.  Since our kids are older we didn't bother with the splash pad.  We walked up the path, past the bar and the lobster shack and then headed for the beach.  We found a row of chairs within the shade of a tree and laid down our towels. 

 

We had purchased a snorkeling set in advance from Fun Shops and had it delivered to our cabin on the sea day, so we quickly got that out and headed for the beach.  This was both of my kids first time snorkeling so it took them awhile to get use to the it, but they had a lot of fun.  They quickly learned to keep their eyes closed if water got into the mask or when they weren't using the mask because the water was very salty.  The only issue we had was at one point a family tried to take over our chairs, but I just happened to be right there at the time and politely told them not to move our stuff.  The sand was powdery, not many rocks.  Usually the only time we found a rock or two was in the water, but nowhere near needing water shoes or anything like that.  We hardly saw any fish while snorkeling. 

 

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View from our area of the beach and from our chairs, note that we picked one of the back rows due to it being shaded at the time.

 

Everyone played on the beach for awhile until it was lunch time.  We headed over to the pavilion early based on advice to get there as soon as they open. The lines weren't to long.  My family waited in two separate lines.  The line I was in all of sudden ground to a stop because the family in front of me asked for a vegetarian burger and the person working the line at first was very confused, then had to go elsewhere to find the burgers and of course the family just stood there blocking all access to the rest of the line and no other employees stepped up to serve the burgers and dogs so we had to wait awhile for the guy to come back.  My wife and the kid with her went and found a place to sit at one of the pavilions and got their drinks and were eating by the time we found them.  The drinks on the island are the same exact drinks you get on the ship.  The food is the same exact stuff you can get in the buffet since ALL the food and the chefs come from the ship.  Just your typical burgers, dogs, and chicken with some pasta dishes and some average desserts.  All the food is just average.  Of course after having Guy's burgers on the ship the burgers on the island are nowhere near the same.  The only thing good about the food on the island was that at the pavilion it was free as opposed to having to pay for it like we did at all the rest of the ports.

 

After eating and making a quick stop at the rest rooms we went back and swam and played at the beach a little longer.  After awhile the sun moved in a way that we no longer had shade at our chairs, so I started exploring the area.  Walking around, going to the bars and the pirate ship.

 

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I found that it wasn't real easy to flag down the bartender here, between the people just hiding in the shade there and the dedicated drinkers it was hard to get their attention.  There was lots of space, just lots of people keeping the bartenders attention.

 

Earlier then we expected the kids were getting tired of the beach and just wanted to head back to the whirlpool and water slides on the ship after a little souvenir shopping.  We went back to the tender area.  I took all the bags and sat near the Rum Runner bar (which oddly didn't feature Rum Runners) and got a drink, and the rest of the family went to the straw market looking for a souvenir. 

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After everyone was done we got into the LONG line to get a tender.  The line moved very slow, the fans barely moved and only a few of the water misters worked.  There has to be a better way to manage getting off the island.  Maybe something similar to the method they use to get on the island, where you get a number then can wait in the straw market area.  Of course I see how that can be abused (i.e. someone getting numbers for their entire party, while they just wait on the beach.)  Something better has to be done, because after a great day on the island waiting in a long hot line to just get on the tender leaves a bad impression.  After we finally got through the island immigration/security area we just happened to be right behind the last people to get on the boat, so we had to wait in the little shack/cattle pen area until the next boat. Since we could pick wherever we wanted on the boat, we sat on the lower level in the shade.  Eventually we made it back to the ship.

 

Impressions of Half Moon Cay

* Best actual beach we have ever been to, white powdery sand, clear water

* lots of chairs (but we were the only ship there, doubt it would be that way with more ships)

* small amount of shade unless you rent the hot clam shells

* tender to the island was fine, but the long line to leave the island stinks

* food - average to below average

* snorkeling from beach - not much to see

 

 

 

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Grand Turk

We weren't due to pull into our next port until 11:00 a.m. so it was a slow morning getting ready.  Went to the MDR for breakfast and slowly got ready. As we were pulling in we noticed that we were pulling in with the Carnival Pride.  That was special for us since we live in the Baltimore area and see the Pride in port all the time (just this past weekend we saw both the Pride in port and the Grandeur of the Seas anchored off-shore due to its engine problems.)

 

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Although we were excited to see the Pride we knew that since the Pride was already in port that meant that things would be crowded and all the best spots would already be taken and we were right.

 

Soon after they opened the gangway we went ashore.  We quickly walked through the duty-free shop and made our way to the beach.  The goal was to go to Jack's Shack based on reviews from on here.   We quickly saw that ALL of the port green chairs and umbrellas were taken.  Based on previously viewing videos of Grand Turk it looks like they are putting out less and less of the free umbrellas and chairs and more and more of the privately owned ones are going up.

 

As we were walking LOTS of people kept offering us chairs and other services (i.e. hair braiding, excursions, etc.)  as we walked.  We turned most of them down.

 

We went past the first swimming area with very few seats available, past the boat pull up area to an area with a blow-up waterpark set up.    I quickly re-thought what I was doing and decided that it might be best to stop here.  We weren't planning on eating a Jack's shack and there was another restaurant/bar with Fee Wifi right there so if we really wanted to we could get something there so we decided to get some chairs near the floating water park.  All the front row seats in that area were taken by people from the Pride, so we quickly paid $20 for our two seats, and the guy got us an umbrella and put it up for us.  $20 for an arm band for our son for the water park and our beach day was on.

 

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Luckily you could swim on either side of the water park for free, so my daughter got out the snorkeling gear and swam on each side of the water park while my son was on the water park.  Within 5 minutes he had hurt himself jumping off the high section and didn't want to go back, but we quickly convinced him to go back.  It turned out on the right side side of the water park underwater was an old sunken ship frame that we could look at and surface dive down to.  One warning about the water park is that your really need to watch your kid, there are people from the island also watching but they seem to be there to just help the kids get back on if they fall or up the tall thing.  Occasionally they would be talking with each other and not paying attention, don't assume they are life-guards.  

 

The sand on the beach was nowhere near as soft as Half Moon Cay but it was fine, there were a lot more rocks in the actual water, almost considered putting on the water shoes but was able to get by without them.

 

Eventually it was time for the people on the Pride to make their way back to the ship.  We quickly moved from the third row of chairs to the front row of chairs.  The person watching the chairs had no problem with this, but he was constantly on anyone trying to sit down without paying.

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Things quickly got less crowed as more and more people from the Pride left.  The kids continued to play around, taking turns with the snorkeling gear and my son going back to the water park.  We also found out that we were within a five minute walk of the bathrooms, so this area seemed a pretty good place to set up.  The kids also liked snorkeling because there were a lot more fish then we actually saw in HMC.

 

After awhile we decided to start heading back to the ship.  The plan was to make a QUICK stop at Margaritaville, all four of us get food on the ship, and then 2 of us head back to the island for some shopping while the other 2 hang out at the pool or whirlpools.

 

As we walked back they cleared the swimming area for safety reasons since the Pride was pulling out.

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As we approached Magaritaville we used a foot-washing station then found two chairs in the sun near the pool and dropped all our stuff.  3 of us cooled off in the pool while the fourth person watched our things.  Everyone quickly got bored with the pool and we collected all our stuff and started to head out.  We went to another foot wash station to clean our shoes off and headed for the duty free station. 

 

While in the duty free station I noticed I was missing my normal prescription glasses.  I was wearing my prescription sunglasses and usually hung my other glasses from my shirt.  I knew I had for a fact had my glasses when we got to Margaritaville but didn't know where they were.  So I went back and looked at all the places I had been within Margaritaville.  Someone had already taken over our spot at the pool and they weren't there.  I looked around and couldn't find anything.  I considered it a lost cause, so went back to meet with everyone else and my wife decided to take another look.   

 

While this was going on my daughter was real upset because she wanted to get her charms and things from Diamonds International.

 

She looked around, got the DJ to make an announcement,  and even walked all the way back to the area on the beach we were.  On the way back she found them hanging on a board near one of the foot wash stations.  I guess I had accidentally dropped them there.  It looks like they had been stepped on at least once since they were very bent but at least I got them back.  Thanks wifey 😉

 

After the delay we made our way back to the ship, quickly had lunch and my wife and daughter went off the ship to Diamonds International and other souvenir shopping.  They were able to get the free charm, but they were out of the bracelets.  

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After all of us were back on the ship, we watched for pier runners and the process of leaving port.  There were a couple of late families but no pier runners.  The interesting thing was before people got off the ship they warned people about bringing back shells and sand.  After the last person was on-board, security from the aft gangway brought out a blanket filled with shells ranging in size from small to the large conch shells and sand.  They dumped them on the dock.  We were surprised by the amount of stuff confiscated.   Then from the forward gangway they brought out another blanket, with a lot more shells and sand.  You could tell by the reactions from the crew, this was a lot more then they normally confiscate. They also dumped this stuff on the pier.  One of the workers from the ship that is responsible for carrying things and pushing up the gangways tried to take one of the shells, but an officer saw him and told him to get rid of it.  He threw it down.

 

Impressions of Grand Turk

* Good beach and water, but more rocky then HMC

* better free snorkeling then HMC

* not a fan of the constantly getting hit up for things 

* not a fan of there being so few "free" chairs, umbrellas even though they advertise them

* short pier, easy to get back on the ship for a meal or to switch between swimming and shopping

* not a fan of being the second ship in port, first ship gets all the best locations

Edited by Marauder40

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On 8/30/2019 at 9:12 AM, Marauder40 said:

Sky Park  

On the first sea-day my son wanted to do the ropes course.  We had a little bit of wind and lighting in the distance so it was closed for awhile but when it opened up he asked if he could go and he was told that he could go in his bathing suit but it had to be TOTALLY dry.  So he sat with me on the side of the pool until it dried then went on the course.  The first day he only did it once because the weather went downhill again and started to lightly drizzle after he got on it and they cleared the course.  The second day he got on it again and did it twice more.  He was proud of himself, but I did mention to him that he was cheating a little by holding onto his safety strap a lot, that he should only be holding onto the ropes course itself.  He quickly got back on and did each of the complete paths without holding onto his safety strap.

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I think he did the course a total of 6 times, I did it once and my daughter did it twice.  Everyone loved it.

My kids loved the sky course, each going multiple times on several different days. I did it once, hung on to my harness for dear life at some point (I don't love heights) and decided that once was enough! I was really glad I did it though, as that is something I wouldn't do normally!

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3 minutes ago, dctravel said:

My kids loved the sky course, each going multiple times on several different days. I did it once, hung on to my harness for dear life at some point (I don't love heights) and decided that once was enough! I was really glad I did it though, as that is something I wouldn't do normally!

 

I went on it once and didn't have any problems with it, but didn't do it again because I was getting hot.  The interesting thing is that my son claims he is afraid of heights but he had no problem doing it multiple times.  In a future post I will be talking about our adventure on a zip-line/ropes course at Amber Cove.

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Enjoying your review; gives the good, the bad, cites things that are your preferences, etc.  This is the kind of review that is helpful and I will be on this ship in a few weeks 

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