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Mardi Gras to Magic - thoughts


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I asked a question to our TA and in New Cruisers. Our now first cruise will be on the Mardi Gras (July hopefully). We are booking a replacement cruise for our canceled first cruises from July, August, November, and now March. Our only options within affordability are the Carnival Magic or NCL Encore. We are seriously considering Magic because we can get a balcony vs interior only on other cruises. The other reason is if something happens to July cruises, I have been told the benefits of the OBC can be applied to a cruise that is already booked.

 

My question is whether we would miss out on things to do on the ship between Mardi Gras and Magic? I know the Mardi Gras has the roller coaster and is much bigger. I am pretty sure they have slides on it as well. My other feeling is if we don't try a smaller ship we may not. From what I have read, people really like the Magic. I know reviews are subjective and people will hate one ship and like another from a different line. I am just trying to get other's thoughts before we put a deposit down on our next cruise window. If we have to wait until November, it will be 2 years between vacations and really need it.

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1 hour ago, BoozinCroozin said:

 Our only options within affordability are the Carnival Magic or NCL Encore. We are seriously considering Magic because we can get a balcony vs interior only on other cruises. 

 

My question is whether we would miss out on things to do on the ship between Mardi Gras and Magic? I know the Mardi Gras has the roller coaster and is much bigger. I am pretty sure they have slides on it as well. My other feeling is if we don't try a smaller ship we may not. From what I have read, people really like the Magic.

 

Even though the Mardi Gras is larger, by no means is the Magic a small ship. There is only about 130 feet difference between the two.   The Magic doesn't have the roller coaster but it does have many other activities to keep you entertained. 

 

Edited by RWolver672
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1 hour ago, RWolver672 said:

 

Even though the Mardi Gras is larger, by no means is the Magic a small ship. There is only about 130 feet difference between the two.   The Magic doesn't have the roller coaster but it does have many other activities to keep you entertained. 

 

Thank you for the feedback. This is exactly the type of information I am looking for to help sway my decision. I am torn between Carnival Magic (balcony) and NCL Encore (interior). I am leaning more towards the Magic for the extra night/day and balcony. 

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My vote is for Magic! Don’t know much about Norwegian, but if I were paying for the cruise, I would most definitely take a Magic balcony room vs an interior any day. You will be hooked on balcony rooms forever. There’s plenty to do on Magic. That size is plenty big enough for me. Don’t think you would regret it.

 

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Never been on NCL but my son (he was 8 at the time) and I really enjoyed the Magic. He loved the water slides and ropes course, and the sports square area. And the BBQ 🙂 He's all about the food. We had a balcony on lido and it was really nice. We have Mardi Gras and Horizon booked for the future but I wouldn't hesitate to go on Magic again. 

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I've cruised the Magic and Encore, and I would easily choose the Encore, even if it was an inside cabin... Nothing against the Magic, but Encore is just on an entirely different level...

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2 hours ago, sid_9169 said:

I've cruised the Magic and Encore, and I would easily choose the Encore, even if it was an inside cabin... Nothing against the Magic, but Encore is just on an entirely different level...

 

Sid, What would sway you to the Encore?    I know every ship and every cruise is different, but just wondering what made the Encore special.

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the Magic is not a small ship. in fact it is the largest we have ever been on and in a week didn't see it all. we are booked on the Mardi Gras next and then the Magic the two cruises after that. our preferences have always been slightly smaller ships.

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35 minutes ago, lazydayz said:

 

Sid, What would sway you to the Encore?    I know every ship and every cruise is different, but just wondering what made the Encore special.

First of all, it's brand new, whereas Magic is a decade old now. Encore has a dozen or so restaurants, including French, Italian, Asian fusion, Steakhouse, seafood, a pub and a diner, in addition to the three included main dining rooms. A wine bar and a brew house. A race track and water slides. A huge virtual reality type arcade and laser tag, as well as an arcade, if you have kids...A mojito bar, whiskey bar, and a huge observation lounge... Nothing against the Magic, but Encore blows it away...

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Thanks, those were things I was considering as well for my daughter. Go carts would be a few rides on it at most. She does not play video games, so VR is not much benefit. Laser tag may be cool, but I think she would probably do it once and be done. We "will" be on Mardi Gras in July, so we will have the megaship feel and get to ride the first roller coaster at sea. My gut is telling me on either ship you may only get a handful of chances to ride the go carts or roller coaster. 

 

In the end my wife wanted to go to St Kitts. The other main deciding factors were an extra night on the cruise, balcony cabin, better use of my airline credits, and $300 OBC. We will know on this one if missing big things like a roller coaster, go carts, or VR are important.

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We love the Magic and the Breeze.  We've been on the Magic twice and would definitely do it again.  Can't really say much about the Mardi Gras since all the information that is out there is all we have to go on as well.  We have been booked on the Mardi Gras since February of 2019 for April 24 of this year, but I'm not sure if that will happen.  We probably will reschedule to next year either way.

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If you are new to cruising, you'll love Carnival if you are the type who prefers active to passive vacations.  Bingo, trivia, hairy chest contests, drink mixing contests,  line dancing, comedians, etc. can all be found on Carnival no matter what size the ship.  We're booked on MG and Sunrise this year .... if they go .... and Horizon and Magic after that.   And then there's also the spa and fitness areas and mini golf and sports atea and an arcade.   And the nightclub!  Its hard to do it all even on a 7 day trip.   Its all very laid back and not stuffy as it could be on higher priced lines.  I haven't tried NCL and don't plan to.  Why fix it if it isn't broken?  Maybe in another decade I'll feel differently.  Idk.  

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I have been on the majority of Carnival’s current ships, with Panorama and obviously Mardi Gras, being two exceptions. Magic is my favorite Carnival ship just ahead of any Spirit class ship. I don’t think you would be disappointed at all cruising on Magic. 

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We loved the Magic! I highly recommend the Aft extended balconies. The one in the middle is a bigger room. If you can get the 9th floor, your balcony is completely covered. The views are wonderful and you don't get all the wind like on a regular side facing balcony.

 

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Since you're posting this dilemma on the Carnival board, it makes complete sense that the majority of responses will be pro Magic.  However, I have to fully agree with Sid and would go on the Encore.  

You are cruising with your daughter, so it's not like you're going to be sitting on your balcony for hours on end.  You also get all of the extra perks on NCL including the drink and specialty packages, so my feeling is that these perks outweigh the balcony, especially cruising with a child.  The size of the Encore, combined with the age of it both are pluses versus the Magic.  The Encore is 25% larger and 8 years younger, being the newest in NCL's fleet.

If you don't believe Sid and I, put the same post over on the NCL boards and see their reaction.  By the way, I have cruised on the Magic's sister ship, the Breeze as well as the Bliss and the Escape, sisters to the Encore, so my opinion comes from first hand experience.

Good luck with your dilemma.

Edited by SNJCruisers
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