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Carnival Magic

Carnival Magic Cruise Ship Review

Carnival Magic Cruise Ship Review
Carnival Magic departs Dubrovnik, Croatia on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 as part of her maiden voyage. Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

Big and exciting at 130,000 tons and carrying some 3,646 passengers double occupancy, the Carnival Magic and her sisters are Carnival’s largest and newest vessels. Introduced in June 2011, Magic feels a bit more toned and high-end, design-wise, than her older fleetmates—but let’s not split hairs: The ship is another incarnation of the bright and busy floating resorts Carnival is famous for, and offers some impressive new innovations.

Activities On Carnival Magic

Carnival Magic Cruise Ship Review
Passengers indulge in the culinary delights offered in Carnival Magic’s Prime Steakhouse. Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines.

For example, yesterday’s ho-hum Internet centers have morphed into the Fun Hub, an onboard social networking tool that guests can access via their own computers or devices, or at one of the 36 Fun Hub stations scattered around the vessel. You can create a personal profile and interact with shipmates, plus access information about onboard entertainment, dining and ports.

There’s also a fresh new indoor-outdoor entertainment space called the Lanai, which stretches from one side of the ship to the other on the Promenade deck ans offers a pair of over-sized ocean-view hot tubs cantilevered out over the ship’s rail, plus a café and a bar. Another industry first: 15-minute laser light shows set to rock music by Pink Floyd, Van Halen, Boston and other classic bands. The daily shows are offered on the giant outdoor movie screen in the Seaside Theatre on Deck 12, where you can also catch films and concerts.

Magic also introduces the first ropes course at sea, where guests can strap into a safety harness, choose between beginner or intermediate courses, and work their way along 230 feet of rope bridges, swinging steps, and beams suspended above the top deck.

Most of the ship’s entertainment venues reside on Decks 4 and 5, making the area especially conducive for bar hopping and strolling. Magic has a grand three-story show lounge, a pair of two-deck high main restaurants, a sushi bar, an elegant steakhouse, and a sprawling two-deck-high indoor-outdoor buffet restaurant offering just about everything.

Family Friendly Carnival Magic

Carnival Magic Cruise Ship Review
The cool factor aboard Carnival Magic is undoubtably the SkyCourse, the first-ever ropes course at sea. Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines.

The Cloud 9 Spa and huge gym take up the forward section of three decks, and include the adults-only Serenity outdoor relaxation space. The Deck 10 pool area is hub of skimpy bathing suits, cold drinks and fun contests, while the kids are catered to on Deck 11 in the Magic’s city-sized Camp Carnival play area for ages 2 to 11. Other parts of the ship coddle tweens (ages 12–14) and teens (ages 15–17) with dance floors, Wii video games and more. Fun lovers of all ages will appreciate the four water slides, one a 214-foot long twisty thrill ride, not to mention three pools and seven hot tubs. There’s also the Carnival Waterworks “sprayground,” miniature golf course and a combo basketball-volleyball court.

Staterooms On Carnival Magic

As aboard Carnival’s other ships, Magic’s cabins are roomy, with standard inside cabins measuring 185 square feet and outsides a generous 220 square feet. All sport very comfortable bedding, plus a TV, minibar, hair dryer, small sitting area, and bathroom with shower.

A range of higher-category cabins and suites, including the Cloud 9 spa cabins, offer even more amenities and space. For something different, check out the Cove Balcony cabins, set down near the waterline—reminding you that you really are at sea, even on this giant ship.

Carnival Cruise Reviews

To read a review of a particular ship, click the link under "Read the Review." If applicable, our Live Voyage Reports offer a day-by-day overview of an actual cruise onboard. In some cases, there may be more than one report, to be sure to see if your favorite destination is represented.
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Avid Cruiser Posts, Photos & Videos Featuring Carnival Magic:

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    • Thanks for your comments Becky. I’ve met John also, and he is amazing. Have you seen my interview with him, The Many Faces Of John Heald? You can always count on Carnival to deliver a solid, and value-priced, vacation experience. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Amber. Great review, and good points. Very interesting perspective for teens. I have one, but she’s only 16. Thanks for sharing. See you on board when you’re 21!

    • My wife and 2 young sons far younger than you cruised and we simply put an adult name on each cabin. Then we put the 2 boys in one cabin and no issues for anyone

  • I’m not a fan of Carnival Magic. The ship had serious overcrowding issues and the lack of staff in the buffet was very much noticeable compared to other similar lines like RCCL. I will say our stateroom was big and clean, which is a good thing because that’s where we spent most of our time (on our balcony).

      • The buffet on Carnival Magic is where the overcrowding issues were very apparent. Massive crowds combined with lack of servers (in the buffet on Carnival it’s self serve for drinks for instance) it made dining in the buffet unpleasant. The buffet had very long lines. Food quality in the buffet was ok but the selection was limited compared to RCCL (Explorer of the Seas). RCCL’s buffet has many more choices, tasted far fresher, and there was constantly servers refillign drinks, cleaning tables, etc. The layout of the buffet made more sense as well helping with flow.

        MDR food on Carnival as well as their sit down “Brunch” (they combine breakfast and lunch sitdowns) was good. The service levels in the MDR was excellent and the food quality was decent. RCCL also had great MDR service however I did find RCCL food to be very heavy in terms of sauces.

        My favorite cruise food wise was on the Star Princess. Lots of seafood, always fresh, the MDR food was to die for (and was the quality of the food was a cut above both Carnival and RCCL.

        Between my 3 cruises I would consider RCCL and Princess again, but not Carnival. The lack of service (cutting corners?) really showed in multiple areas on the Carnival Magic. The entertainment for example was all imported from the Phillipines and felt sparse. My wife is Filipino so this isn’t a knock on the Phillipines, more a knock on the cruiseline as they were obviously paying bottom dollar. There was almost no live entertainment on the lido deck, they had a “DJ” instead that played loud club type music most of the day.

        My issue with Carnival Magic is that where they cut costs it REALLY showed — lack of staff, overcrowding on the ship, food quality up and down depending on venue. RCCL and Princess were FAR more consistent across the board with Princess coming out on top in terms of food quality and service. RCCL had the nicest ship of the three (Explorer of the Seas), Carnival had the largest cabin.

        I sound like I’m complaining but I’m not really … we only paid 400 bucks per person for a balcony cabin on that Carnival Magic cruise using a casino rate. We definately got value for what we paid, however, if I was to do it again I would pay more for a better experience.

        I’m actually looking at the upper premium (Oceania, Azamara, Windstar) and luxury lines (Silversea, Seabourne, Crystal). I don’t think I can afford the full luxury but I’m thinking upper premium might be a good alternative. I really liked the experience on Princess (considered to be a premium line). I might also look at Celebrity.

        One other option is the “Ship in a ship” concept … MSC’s Yacht Club looks interesting and my parents rave about MSC in general.


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