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Sailing Carnival Magic In December - Questions For Those That Have Sailed Her

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I'll be doing a new year's cruise on the Carnival Magic out of Fort Lauderdale.  Have a couple of questions for those that have sailed her recently:

 

  1. What was your internet experience like?  Plan to buy prior to boarding, don't want to overspend if everyone is reporting a poor experience.
  2. Any recommendations, as far as excursions, for Grand Turk or Amber Cove?  Considering going for an ATV like excursion.  Open to suggestions.
  3. How was anytime dinning for you?  Was there a long wait to get a table?
  4. If you have done a new year's cruise with Carnival before, any tips?  I'm sure it will be completely sold.

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For question #1....Son had ineternet pkg two weeks ago and didn't complain so it  must have been ok.

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1 hour ago, Mr305 said:

I'll be doing a new year's cruise on the Carnival Magic out of Fort Lauderdale.  Have a couple of questions for those that have sailed her recently:

 

  1. What was your internet experience like?  Plan to buy prior to boarding, don't want to overspend if everyone is reporting a poor experience.
    1. We did not have internet issues until the last day when everyone was trying to check in for flights. I was finally able to get through on Delta's mobile app but it took hours. 
  2. Any recommendations, as far as excursions, for Grand Turk or Amber Cove?  Considering going for an ATV like excursion.  Open to suggestions.
    1. Grand Turk - we did a private excursion of snorkeling the wall and swimming with Sting Rays at Gibbs Cay. Highly recommend! Amber Cover we did La Casa En Playa - it was amazing! The food was phenomenal. We are doing it again when we go back in May!

I don't have any insights on the rest. 

 

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I was on the Magic 4 weeks ago.  We had the social internet plan.  We had no problem at all, Whatsapp both text and pics worked pretty quick.  Since we had the plan, occasionally I would monitor Facebook, things like pics and vids took awhile to load, but would eventually come in.  Was able to check in for our return flights with Southwest Airlines with no problem, clicked at the 24 hour mark and got the checkin right away.

 

On Grand Turk we just did a beach day.  At Amber Cove, we did the Big 3 adventure that included both a ropes course and zip-lining over the ocean.

 

We had late seating in MDR so no comments on any-time dining.   I have a pretty detailed review of my trip, so feel free to look for it in my post history.

 

This was our first ever cruise so can't answer New Years Eve questions.

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3 hours ago, Mr305 said:
  1. Any recommendations, as far as excursions, for Grand Turk or Amber Cove?  Considering going for an ATV like excursion.  Open to suggestions.

In Grand Turk, we have just done the pool at Margarittaville (it was okay) and have done a snorkel excursion through the ship. We thought the snorkel tour was great, with two stops (the wall and a reef) before we were deposited on the beach an easy walk from the pier.

 

3 hours ago, Mr305 said:
  1. If you have done a new year's cruise with Carnival before, any tips?  I'm sure it will be completely sold.

I have not done NYE, but have done Christmas. It is a very full time of year to cruise. I think how crowded it will be exactly will depend on where NYE falls. Since it is Wednesday this year, some schools may choose to wait to go back until January 6, others (like my kids), go back on January 2. That will matter to many of whether they want to take it or not. Either way, it will be crowded with families.

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On 9/16/2019 at 10:16 AM, Mr305 said:

I'll be doing a new year's cruise on the Carnival Magic out of Fort Lauderdale.  Have a couple of questions for those that have sailed her recently:

 

  1. What was your internet experience like?  Plan to buy prior to boarding, don't want to overspend if everyone is reporting a poor experience.
  2. Any recommendations, as far as excursions, for Grand Turk or Amber Cove?  Considering going for an ATV like excursion.  Open to suggestions.
  3. How was anytime dinning for you?  Was there a long wait to get a table?
  4. If you have done a new year's cruise with Carnival before, any tips?  I'm sure it will be completely sold.

We sailed on her in May:

1.  We had no problems with internet.

2.  Grand Turk we rented a Cabana at Margaritaville.

3.  Anytime was great.  Used the Fun Hub to reserve a table as we were leaving the cabin and by the time we got to the MDR our table was almost always ready.  Longest wait was just a few minutes.

4.  Have not done New Years.  Sorry.

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We had multiple people rave about a beach house on the ocean in Grand Turk, that was through Carnival Excursions.  We went to Margaritaville which is my go to spot in GT, I'm a parrothead and it's hard to beat jimmy buffett music playing poolside with a swim up bar. 

 

I heard less positive things about Amber Cove excursions.  Again, we just went to the pool/swim up bar.  (I dislike pools on ships so when I can get to a large fresh water pool in the Caribbean I'm attracted like a moth to a flame)

 

we had anytime dining and it was odd, at first, to have to request a table through the app when I was at MDR check in podium.  after that, piece of cake.  never a wait. 

 

no idea on NYE.

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Sailed on the Magic in March 2019.  

 

1) We bought the social plan in advance and it worked really well. 

3) We had YTD and we never had to wait.  However, it would depend on your fellow cruisers and what time they liked to eat and if they are Lido eaters.  I found my fellow cruisers on this cruise to be quite casual and the Lido was busy so it made the dining room much quieter than other cruises we have been on.  New Years Eve passengers may be more into fancy eating and so it may be busier.  As someone mentioned above, you can now put your request in through the HUB app and then come down when your table is ready. 

 

We loved the Magic and definitely would sail her again.      

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Our first any time dining was on the Magic... and it was totally great.  We never waited, we sat at the same table every day, and we had the same server.  We're doing the Magic again the week before you are. 

 

As for NYE things... this is off their website:

New Year's Eve
When: December 31
It’s time to start over. For it’s a new year!  Get ready to throw the biggest party of the year. Festive music, a great rendition of Auld Lang Syne and a fun-filled celebration. Join us for this smile-inducing, iconic celebration as we ring in the promise of the new year.
  • New Year’s Eve Party - The new year is almost here! 
  • New Year’s Eve Bash on Lido Deck - Excitement is definitely in the fresh sea air! There’s no better way to celebrate the end of one year and the promise of the next than the swankiest deck party ever, featuring awesome live music with our house band. Join in for the countdown with your Cruise Director and bring in the new year with your loved ones and a ship load of new friends!
  • Our Youth Programs will host New Year’s Eve parties within their areas.
  • New Year’s Eve After Party (adults 18+) - This iconic evening is known for endless festivities lasting into the wee hours. This party is just getting started! Celebrate in the swankiest New Year's after party on the high seas as we move this party into the Night Club!

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We went on Magic at the end of July.  Did not get the internet plan, so can't comment on that.  In Grand Turk, we got off the ship and walked over to Jack's Shack.  Much less crowded and cleaner than the beach area close to the ship, and we enjoyed watching the famous Topher and Calypso (Jack's Shack doggie mascots) playing in the sand and water.  I thought about renting a golf cart and driving around the island, but with two ships docked that day, the rentals were sold out. 

 

In Amber Cove, we did an ATV ride with Marysol Tours.  Highly recommend them.  Their employees were wonderful, it was much cheaper than doing it through the cruise line, and even our five year old was able to do it. We really enjoyed the ATV ride, and felt safe during the entire ride.  Check out their website, it has all of the info on there. 

 

We had YTD, and never had to wait for a table.  We would make a reservation through the HUB app right before leaving the cabin, and our table would be ready by the time we got to the dining room.

 

You will love the Magic, she's a wonderful ship!

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Just off Magic earlier this month and I can comment on a couple things:

Anytime dining is great.  We used the HUB app to request a table and never had to wait no matter what time we went!

We went to Amber Cove last year and did a Carnival excursion with natural water slides and cliff jumps.  It was one of the best excursions we have done.  It is very intense walking up to the top to get to the slides but so worth it.  I'll see if I can find the name of the excursion.

 

In Grand Turk we went to Jack's Shack.  I'm not much of a "beach day" kind of person but we really really enjoyed Jack's.  Chair/umbrella rental was $10 for the day!

Edited by DozerRay
More info!

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On 9/16/2019 at 10:49 AM, CCLcruiserga said:

 

 

CCLcruiserga - which company did you use for your private snorkeling and sting ray excursion in Grand Turk?

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We were on Magic last week.

  • Did not get internet plan. But I tried multiple times to access the free sites and none of them ever loaded except the funtimes.pdf and I believe that is stored on local intranet. But I did see others with internet access doing social media stuff. Never saw anyone doing anything heavier, like streaming or facetime.
  • YTD Notes from another post: Note, on CC I had seen others post that they had success making special requests in person, "away from others", "ocean view", "Julio's section", etc. And maybe they did, but the two times I tried on Magic last week, I was told to use the app. This was in the dining room and talking to the hostess. I do know on Horizon it was an either/or thing. There was a place you could go to make a reservation, it was near the coffee bar I think OR you could do it on the app. But on the Magic, they were not taking walk-up reservations or requests at least when I tried. Which doesn't seem right, I am sure plenty of people don't have the app.

     

    If you do it on the app, it is first available from the time you make the request. So you're not specifying a time, you're simply saying "first available" and you have 10 minutes once it's filled. Most nights it was filled right away, but one night (the first elegant night) it was a 40 minute wait.

     

    And there might be some formula or rhyme or reason, the app uses to where it assigns your party, but I'm not a huge fan. We really like the convenience of your time dining, from being able to do more stuff. But we definitely miss having the same staff and table mates every night. You are definitely missing out on a humanity aspect with the YTD. With the brunch and breakfast we attended, it was assigned by a human and was much better every time.

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15 hours ago, amypintx said:

 

CCLcruiserga - which company did you use for your private snorkeling and sting ray excursion in Grand Turk?

 

I used White Sands and did the Supreme Snorkel. We did a few snorkel spots, including the wall then to Gibbs Cay for the sting rays. They also free dive for a conch and make fresh conch salad and you can take the shell back with you. When I saw the crowds on the ship tours, I was so thankful we didn’t do that. We had maybe 10 people on ours. 

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We were on the Magic at the end of July.  The only thing I can comment on is the internet.  I got the social package and it was pretty much useless unless we were at the back of the ship.  Our rooms were forward, and it never worked in the room.  It also kept kicking me off and I would have to go through the login process over and over.  But if we were in the back of the ship, it worked fine. 

 

Reading some of the other comments, it makes me wonder if they were having problems on our cruise.

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1 hour ago, Pug Lady said:

We were on the Magic at the end of July.  The only thing I can comment on is the internet.  I got the social package and it was pretty much useless unless we were at the back of the ship.  Our rooms were forward, and it never worked in the room.  It also kept kicking me off and I would have to go through the login process over and over.  But if we were in the back of the ship, it worked fine. 

 

Reading some of the other comments, it makes me wonder if they were having problems on our cruise.

 

When you were able to connect is the Social app OK for email?  Doesn't really mention it in what that covers, just a number of different apps.  

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I was on the magic in 2017.  I had no issues with the internet connecting but it did run slow, even with the biggest package purchased.  We did the any time dining and had no issues, and only time we had a little wait was the first formal night where there is lobster served, however the wait was not bad.  In Grand Turk we went over to Margaritaville, it was awesome!  Have not done a New Years Eve cruise yet!

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I've had the internet package on the magic (work paid for it since I was required to do some work on vacation . . .) and it was great.  I had no issues and did not experience in being slow.  

 

Anytime dining was great - we did not have any issues.  Never had to wait for a table (we usually go to dinner about 6:30 PM)

 

I have not done New Years eve on the Magic but have on the Carnival Dream.  New Years eve was on embarkation day and we had reservation in the steak house for dinner.  Free Champagne was flowing from the moment we boarded the ship. We did not make much use of our Cheers package on this day.  Lots of really cool favors were passed out and were plentiful (hats, noise makers, light wands, etc).  Big count down in the lobby area with a balloon drop and confetti.    Probably one of the best new years eve experiences I have ever had.

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Thank you everyone for the tips and for sharing your experience, appreciate it.  I'll definitely start looking into your recommendations.

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On 9/25/2019 at 7:25 AM, five. said:

 

  • YTD Notes from another post: Note, on CC I had seen others post that they had success making special requests in person, "away from others", "ocean view", "Julio's section", etc. And maybe they did, but the two times I tried on Magic last week, I was told to use the app. This was in the dining room and talking to the hostess. I do know on Horizon it was an either/or thing. There was a place you could go to make a reservation, it was near the coffee bar I think OR you could do it on the app. But on the Magic, they were not taking walk-up reservations or requests at least when I tried. Which doesn't seem right, I am sure plenty of people don't have the app.

     

 

We had the same issue with YTD on the Magic. On the last couple nights, I finally just left the phone in the room and flat out said no when they asked if we would use the app. We checked in manually with the hostess and were seated immediately, while those that had used the app and supposedly had their tables ready were all still standing on the other side of the hostess stand waiting for someone to seat them.

 

So, my advice for YTD is to tell them you don't have your phone (they are VERY pushy about making you use the app, so best bet is to hide the phone) and just check in manually every time. That's also the only way to request a specific area, server, etc. 

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Our social media internet was just ok. 

 

We rented an atv on our own at grand Turk Thru Omar I think.  We got a map and drive around ourselves to the light house and some beaches.  

 

 

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On 9/16/2019 at 10:16 AM, Mr305 said:

I'll be doing a new year's cruise on the Carnival Magic out of Fort Lauderdale.  Have a couple of questions for those that have sailed her recently:

 

  1. What was your internet experience like?  Plan to buy prior to boarding, don't want to overspend if everyone is reporting a poor experience.
  2. Any recommendations, as far as excursions, for Grand Turk or Amber Cove?  Considering going for an ATV like excursion.  Open to suggestions.
  3. How was anytime dinning for you?  Was there a long wait to get a table?
  4. If you have done a new year's cruise with Carnival before, any tips?  I'm sure it will be completely sold.

Booked a 3rd party ATV tour with Zoom Zoom tours. Hosts were very friendly. Even upgraded us to a dune buggy for free at our choice because we booked 2 ATV's and only 1 was available. 

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On 9/16/2019 at 9:16 AM, Mr305 said:

I'll be doing a new year's cruise on the Carnival Magic out of Fort Lauderdale.  Have a couple of questions for those that have sailed her recently:

 

  1. What was your internet experience like?  Plan to buy prior to boarding, don't want to overspend if everyone is reporting a poor experience.
  2. Any recommendations, as far as excursions, for Grand Turk or Amber Cove?  Considering going for an ATV like excursion.  Open to suggestions.
  3. How was anytime dinning for you?  Was there a long wait to get a table?
  4. If you have done a new year's cruise with Carnival before, any tips?  I'm sure it will be completely sold.

Just returned from the Magic on Saturday.

1.  Had premium internet.  Not sure if it was the newer internet or not, but I was not impressed.  Speed was not great most of the time and on Friday it rarely worked for anything but social media.  Tried loading some basic websites and it would not work.  Tried disconnecting and logging back in and restarting, but nothing helped.  Don't expect to do very much, even with the premium internet.

2. Didn't do any excursions

3.  Loved being able to check in on the app.  We tend to eat early.  We went to the dining room four nights and checked in at 5:25 (when check in started) from our room and our table was waiting when when we got to the dining room at 5:30.  Can't speak to how it was later, but on the four nights we were there (we skipped the two elegant nights) the dining room wasn't anywhere near full by the time we left.  Service was the best in some time for the dining room, taking around an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes if we had dessert.

4.  Can't answer

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