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Carnival Freedom vs. Carnival Magic


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Good morning everyone. We are in the process of researching/booking a cruise for spring break 2022. I know are really far away, but we like to plan in advance to get the best pricing. We live in FL and both ships will be leaving from FL at the time of sailing so travel to/from the port is not a big factor in our decision making process. The itinerary for both sailings offer a mix of new and old places for us so that is also not a big factor in our decision making process. The biggest factor is the on board experience. It will be myself, my wife, and our daughter (10 as of this sailing) on the cruise. We prefer a ship that offers the "modern" amenities and activities for kids (water park, mini golf, family oriented shows/activities, etc) and also some of the upgrades you may find on the newer ships (variety of bars, lounges, restaurants, etc). My daughter does like going to the kids club as well. While not a complete deal breaker, we also like to look at the flow of the ship, the flow of people on this ship (quick service, getting on/off, etc).   

 

At the time of this sailing we will have been on Carnival Elation, Inspiration, Liberty, and Mardi Gras (July 2021). We have also been on Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas (x2), Allure of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Independence of the Seas (x2), and Serenade of the Seas. We have also been on Norwegian Sun, Dawn, and Escape.

 

Outside of the Mardi Gras sailing, all of our Carnival cruises have been shorter sailings on older ships so we really don't have much to compare the ships or on board experiences to. I will say that all of those sailings tended to feel very crowded and you always felt like you were in a line (getting on/off the ship, getting a drink, etc), but we were still on a cruise on vacation so we still had a great time.  

 

With all of that being said, please give me your thoughts on Carnival Freedom vs Carnival Magic. Any input is welcome and appreciated. Bonus points to those who have been on both.

 

 

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Both ships have lots of lunch choices included in the fare, and great amenities for the whole family.

 

My young adult granddaughters give a slight edge to the Magic.  This class of ship has by far the best spa facilities.  I give a slight edge to the Freedom.  It feels less crowded with few long lines.

 

We all would happily sail on either.

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If you want a pool for adults, go with Freedom.  If you want a ropes course, go with Magic.  Also Magic has a nice outdoor seating area by the Red Frog Pub.  We been on both ships a couple of times.  I really like Freedom because of the adult pool and when we sailed out of Galveston, the staff was fantastic.

 

I don't really think  you can go wrong with either ship.  If it were me, I would look at each ship's amenities/activities and determine which are important to your family.  The above poster mentioned the spa being better on Magic.  If you spend time in the spa, that would be important.  If you don't, then look at things like the sports square on Magic, or the water slides.  They're both going to have pretty much the same entertainment.  Pull up pics of both ships & let your daughter get involved by getting her opinion of the water features.  

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Just off the Freedom - the advice above is spot on.  Magic is a little bigger with a little more open spaces on the Promenade deck. 

 

Spa options on Magic are more plentiful (including Spa rooms), but the adults only pool area aft on Freedom is a nice touch.  Really - they are quite similar with practically the same offerings (food wise anyhow).  At this point, I'd look at ports or bottom line cost as a determining factor unless spa or pool choices cannot distinguish a selection.

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I was on Freedom three years ago this week. I was on Magic in December and I'm going back in August.

 

Freedom is a nice ship and I would go on it again. It's going to be very similar to your Liberty experience.

 

I like the Magic's design better. On the Magic you're going to have Ocean Plaza on the promenade, a Lanai where you can walk all the way around the ship outdoors on the promenade, Guy's BBQ on the lanai, A larger Alchemy bar, a larger Red Frog Pub, IMO a better comedy club. 

 

Up above lido you're going to have an Italian restaurant on Magic which is $15 for dinner. They have a pasta bar for no charge at lunch. I believe freedom had an Ole Fashioned BBQ up there which is the old BBQ before Guys.

 

For the kids magic adds the sports square and the ropes course.

 

On the plus side for Freedom it has the dedicated sports bar where on magic the red frog pub kind of doubles as a sports bar.

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Carnival Magic is my favorite Carnival ship, so the choice would be an easy one for me. Saint Greg’s post above provides a lot of good information. The only thing I would caution you about is from my experience, Carnival’s larger ships always feel more crowded than Carnival’s smaller ships. Personally I don’t think any of their ships feel too crowded, with the exception of Sunshine, but if you felt lines were long on Fantasy class ships, you will likely have similar if not worse line experiences on a bigger ship like Magic. 

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22 minutes ago, PhillyFan33579 said:

Carnival Magic is my favorite Carnival ship, so the choice would be an easy one for me. Saint Greg’s post above provides a lot of good information. The only thing I would caution you about is from my experience, Carnival’s larger ships always feel more crowded than Carnival’s smaller ships. Personally I don’t think any of their ships feel too crowded, with the exception of Sunshine, but if you felt lines were long on Fantasy class ships, you will likely have similar if not worse line experiences on a bigger ship like Magic. 

That is my fear. The lines we felt on Carnival were so much worse then anything we have experienced on Royal or Norwegian. That's not bashing Carnival, just pointing out our experience. We have wondered though if those lines felt worse since they were mostly 3-4 night cruises around holiday weekends where you may have more of a concentrated crowd in the pool/bar areas. We have always wondered if we were on a 7+ night cruise, if it would feel different. 

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Since you want to book during spring break you're going to have extremely crowded ships, whatever you choose.

 

That would push me over to the Freedom.  But I really love the Freedom.

 

Truly there is plenty for families to do on both of these ships.  Do some mock bookings to see which one offers better cabin selections at this point.  The Magic has cove balconies but the Freedom doesn't.  If you go that route book forward of the mid-ship elevators to avoid being under the galley.

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3 hours ago, Ronaldo807 said:

That is my fear. The lines we felt on Carnival were so much worse then anything we have experienced on Royal or Norwegian. That's not bashing Carnival, just pointing out our experience. We have wondered though if those lines felt worse since they were mostly 3-4 night cruises around holiday weekends where you may have more of a concentrated crowd in the pool/bar areas. We have always wondered if we were on a 7+ night cruise, if it would feel different. 

I will be on the Magic on April 5 & 11, our first B2B, to celebrate our 50th Anniversary. I booked it after sailing the Breeze, as we fell in love with the layout of that ship, and this was its sister ship. We booked it over a year ago. My daughter sailed it last Easter, and came back complaining of long lines. I told her I noticed long lines on the Breeze in the buffet, and since the Breeze was our first Carnival ship since returning to them (after sailing NCL and RCCL following 5 Carnival cruises, the last in 2007) we thought that maybe this was the norm for Carnival. Then I sailed the smaller Glory just this past February 2-9. There never was a long line in the buffet. Not ever. We had zero issues with getting food from any of the venues. My hubby said he loved the smaller size. So, we will be going on the Magic and with our eyes wide open, and knowing there will be lines, and deciding which size ship we prefer. I hope to do a review of the Magic, so look for it. (I have my Glory review posted. 

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We were on the magic last spring break.   It was a bit crowded for me compared to our last cruise on the breeze in January.  Ships are pretty similar.  Just longer lines for food and stuff.  And a bit harder to find lounge chairs.  But we expected it since it was a busy time.   It wasn't horrible or anything.   We liked the ship.  My son likes having the ropes course.

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32 minutes ago, Ronaldo807 said:

Thanks everyone. We are leaning more towards going on the Magic. It's a little bit cheaper and half the drive so we won't need a hotel room. 

Good choice! Stay tuned for my review. I should arrive back home by the end of April, and hope to get to it then, if not started while on the road home. We debark on April 19, but plan on stopping at a few places on our long drive home. And the hubby is always trying to research places to relocate to (to escape NYS high taxes and insane liberal government), so not sure exactly when that review will post.

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Both are great ships that have much more going on than the Inspiration and Elation did. The difference between these two isn't that astronomical. Itinerary/price could put one over the other. If I had to pick a winner, it's the magic though.

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3 hours ago, grandmarnnurse said:

Good choice! Stay tuned for my review. I should arrive back home by the end of April, and hope to get to it then, if not started while on the road home. We debark on April 19, but plan on stopping at a few places on our long drive home. And the hubby is always trying to research places to relocate to (to escape NYS high taxes and insane liberal government), so not sure exactly when that review will post.

 

So you should consider California for relocation. Oh wait, you did mention escaping high taxes and insane liberal government so THAT won't work. But it is 75 and sunny here today (and pretty much year round). We could relocate - but the house is mortgage free + we have a rental property here to take care of as well. Plus 2 grand kids (grandson 10 & granddaughter 9 months) only 30 minutes away. We dote on them at least once a week.

 

Once upon a time (pre grand kids) we were considering the hill country between Austin & San Antonio, Tx for retirement. Around the area of San Marcos or New Braunfels. Gorgeous homes, wonderful people, etc., etc. Only downsides are summertime humidity and fire ants (that we could see).

 

Hurry up April. Our B2B on Magic is in October and are so looking forward to your review. We have a Spa Balcony for our 2 weeks.

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11 minutes ago, SDPadreFan said:

 

So you should consider California for relocation. Oh wait, you did mention escaping high taxes and insane liberal government so THAT won't work. But it is 75 and sunny here today (and pretty much year round). We could relocate - but the house is mortgage free + we have a rental property here to take care of as well. Plus 2 grand kids (grandson 10 & granddaughter 9 months) only 30 minutes away. We dote on them at least once a week.

 

Once upon a time (pre grand kids) we were considering the hill country between Austin & San Antonio, Tx for retirement. Around the area of San Marcos or New Braunfels. Gorgeous homes, wonderful people, etc., etc. Only downsides are summertime humidity and fire ants (that we could see).

 

Hurry up April. Our B2B on Magic is in October and are so looking forward to your review. We have a Spa Balcony for our 2 weeks.

Totally understand your reluctance to relocate. Our home has been mortgage free for awhile, and 10 of our 15 grandchildren all live near by. (2 are in the Dallas, TX area, and 3 in Minot, ND.) This is probably what keeps us here, and never quite happy with any of the areas the hubby points out. 

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On 2/19/2020 at 2:59 PM, Ronaldo807 said:

That is my fear. The lines we felt on Carnival were so much worse then anything we have experienced on Royal or Norwegian. That's not bashing Carnival, just pointing out our experience. We have wondered though if those lines felt worse since they were mostly 3-4 night cruises around holiday weekends where you may have more of a concentrated crowd in the pool/bar areas. We have always wondered if we were on a 7+ night cruise, if it would feel different. 

 

I always accepted the long length of Carnival pax lines as "normal" until I started cruising other cruise lines.  My experience is with about 40 Carnival seven day sailings.

 

The embarkation, debarkation and buffet lines on Carnival are ridiculously long, compared to Royal or NCL, even MSC.  On a January Royal Symphony sailing (6,000 pax), we did a walk off debarkation, and there were just 11 people in front of us.  It almost felt like I was doing a Carnival Diamond priority debarkation.  

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19 hours ago, evandbob said:

 

I always accepted the long length of Carnival pax lines as "normal" until I started cruising other cruise lines.  My experience is with about 40 Carnival seven day sailings.

 

The embarkation, debarkation and buffet lines on Carnival are ridiculously long, compared to Royal or NCL, even MSC.  On a January Royal Symphony sailing (6,000 pax), we did a walk off debarkation, and there were just 11 people in front of us.  It almost felt like I was doing a Carnival Diamond priority debarkation.  

Agree that this has not been our experience on Royal or NCL. NCL still hasn't released their sailings and we are still looking over some of the Royal options. We had narrowed it down to the Magic or Freedom if we go the Carnival route. 

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So I have been on both class ships and must say the Magic has more for the kids and open deck space but honestly the adult pool (Covered when bad weather) is the best. Hot tubs, pool, bar and pizza and seafood shack right there. I swear we spend almost our entire sea days there

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