cruises

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Magic Review

While the Magic's cabins may be relatively plain, and its cuisine is far from gourmet, this is a ship that's hard not to enjoy.

July 28, 2011
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Unveiled in May 2011, the 3,690-passenger (double occupancy; at most it can fit 4,730) Carnival Magic is the second in Carnival’s Dream Class series, but it’s not a carbon copy of its older sister (Carnival Dream, launched in 2009). In addition to two large pool areas and one of Carnival’s trademark WaterWorks aqua parks with multiple water slides, its deck-top areas include such additions as the first ropes course at sea as well as the first outdoor weight-lifting area at sea (think Venice Beach). Dubbed SkyCourse, the ropes course is part of a deck-top area called SportsSquare that also has a basketball court (which supposedly doubles as a soccer playing area), a miniature golf course and ping pong.

On the inside of the Carnival Magic are several showrooms and a wide range of bars and lounges including Carnival’s first-ever pub, the RedFrog (serving Carnival’s own craft beer, ThirstyFrog Red). In addition to two main restaurants, the ship also has a steakhouse (a Carnival trademark) and a new-for-the-line casual Italian eatery. Like other mass-market lines, Carnival offers flexible “dine at your time” seating in one of its two main restaurants (the other offers dinner at fixed seating times). In general, the Carnival Magic is a casual ship, with a “cruise casual” dress code in all of the restaurants (although the ship does have an “elegant” night, where everybody sports their best attire).

In addition to such cruise ship mainstays as a duty-free shop and photo gallery, Carnival Magic’s retail shop line-up includes a first-for-the-line sweet shop. Families, couples, and singles should find plenty to do.

The Carnival Magic is a big, mass-market ship that’s packed with all sorts of fun-focused activities, from the first ropes course at sea to some of the hottest water slides at sea. Like other Carnival vessels, it aims at a wide audience of vacationers looking for a not-too-expensive, not-too-stuffy warm-weather getaway. Families, in particular, will find it appealing, and for travelers on a budget, it’s hard to beat.

Unveiled in May 2011, the Carnival Magic is the newest of Carnival’s 23 ships — a significant plus in a segment of travel where newness counts. It boasts a cleaner, less flashy decor than older Carnival vessels with a number of new venues including Carnival’s first pub (a lively, Caribbean-themed outlet) and a bustling family-style Italian eatery where the waiters sing in between courses. It also offers extensive children’s facilities, multiple pool areas, and multiple show lounges including a comedy club.

Like other Carnival ships, the Carnival Magic isn’t a luxury product. Cabins are relatively plain, though perfectly functional, and the dining isn’t gourmet (though the food in the main dining rooms is if anything a cut above what’s offered on competing mass-market lines). It’s also not a formal ship, if that’s what you crave. Casual is the word on board.

Overall, for its price point, the Carnival Magic is a great ship.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Overview
  2. Cabins
  3. Dining
  4. Drinks
  5. Recreation and Entertainment
  6. Kids, Services and Other Details
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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