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“On My Way "Best Cruise Ever"”
Review of Port of Galveston

Port of Galveston
Killeen, Texas
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“On My Way "Best Cruise Ever"”
Reviewed 9 January 2014

I have always been extremely satisfied with our over-all experience departing from Galveston is so convenient which makes the trip even more enjoyable. It would be nice if there could be some more parking for the handicap. I would recommend the Port of Galveston for any of your cruise needs.

Visited November 2013
1 Thank george33700
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Boston, Massachusetts
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Carnival Magic is not very magical”
Reviewed 6 January 2014

I just got back from a 1-week cruise aboard the Carnival Magic and found the experience mostly average. I have been on 3 cruises before this one, albeit a number of years ago so I considered myself new to the cruising scene for this trip.

- I got to vacation with 28 family members (ages 5 to 85)
- Weather was better than Boston
- Cloud 9 Spa (when hot water was working)
- Serenity area for 18+
- Top deck for walking/running, etc.
- Friendly and attentive staff
- "Professional" shows

- Ship sailed at capacity (about 4,000 passengers)
- Long lines
- Food was average
- Poor signage/finding your way around the ship
- "Reality TV" evening shows
- Getting a reservation at the Prime Steakhouse

Here then is my detailed account of the less subjective Pros and Cons.


1. Cloud 9 Spa (when hot water was working)

As you'll read on the Carnival web site, the Cloud 9 Spa provides a wide selection of optional treatments (facial, massage, acupuncture, salon treatments, etc.) that are offered a la carte, and in package form. As a guy, I appreciated the Mens Services and took advantage of a shave and a facial with haircut service. I enjoyed both immensely.

For $100 per person/per week, you get access to a variety of rooms (sauna, hot tub, relaxation room, etc.) that are otherwise off limits.

The one downside was that for 2 days there was no hot water in the showers at the spa. We found this very frustrating to say the least, especially because the initial excuse was that the ship was at capacity and hot water was running out throughout the ship. I'm not sure how true this was because we did find hot running water in our cabins.

Regardless, after taking my concerns to 3 different people, we eventually got a refund equal to 2-days of use, per person. Considering the more than $1,000 we spent in the spa last week, this is the least Carnival could do AND they should have done so immediately without making passengers jump through hoops to address legitimate claims.

In summary, the hot water issues notwithstanding, the spa (and the staff that work there) was a welcome retreat.

2. Serenity area for 18+

You will find the Serenity area at the front of the ship, ahead of the water slides and above the Cloud 9 Spa. The area includes a bar, a couple of hot tubs, and a variety of very comfortable seating options including hammocks and good sized "love seats". The area could get windy during days at sea, but was otherwise a great escape from the pool areas where the noise level could become quite loud.

3. Top deck for walking/running, etc.

The top deck of the ship features an oval track for walking/running, with 7 laps equal to 1 mile. My wife and I enjoyed walking a mile or two each day, especially with the views of endless ocean during sea days. While we didn't take advantage of other facilities on this deck, there is a miniature golf area, rope course, basketball court, etc., that offered a lot of outdoor options for people of all ages.

4. Friendly and attentive staff

One thing I cannot fault Carnival on is their ability to find great people to staff their ships. With staff on the Magic coming from 52 countries there was a definite international feel on board. Without exception, every person my family and I interacted with was friendly and attentive, and provided great service.

5. "Professional" shows

Most of the shows on board this ship featured passengers instead of professional entertainers. When the first night's show featured cruise director James directing a group of 5/6 passengers in a game of musical chairs I thought perhaps I'd come to the wrong theater. What? The second night wasn't any better when the "Dancing with the Crew" (or whatever it was called) show featured 50-60 passengers on stage being taught how to dance 3-4 dance moves. What?

Just when all seemed lost to the reality TV mentality, we got to enjoy "Destination Unknown", a magic show performed by Jason Byrne. Another show that we enjoyed was the juggling comedian ("Edge") who had everyone in stitches.

There were a couple of other shows that mixed the ships' dancers with 1 or more passengers but we found these to be boring and walked out within 10-15 minutes. This is subjective I realize, and some may enjoy the "reality" or "game show" entertainment genres.

Outside of the main theater, the ship has a comedy club with a number of comedians performing there during the week. I attended 4 "adult only" comedy shows during the week and found them to be very funny.

1. Ship sailed at capacity (about 4,000 passengers) which made everything feel small and/or insufficient to cope with demand

The Magic is a HUGE ship. I don't know exactly how many passengers were on board (I was told 4,600 when we checked in) but it was full, full, full. This "at capacity" resulted in long lines most everywhere, especially for food at the deli, pizzeria, and especially the hamburger/hotdog station.
I think the situation could have been resolved by either sailing with 500 fewer guests, or adding capacity to restaurants.

2. Long lines.

We experienced long lines in several areas:
- Waiting for gym equipment during the mornings
- Waiting for food at the deli, the pizzeria, and the hamburger/hotdog station
- Waiting to get on or off the boat

It amazed me that for a ship this size, the deli featured just 1 panini machine. Or that on New Year's Eve when everyone is awake at midnight, that the only place to get anything to eat is at the pizza station. What?

3. Food was average

I enjoy good food, and list "dining out" high on my list of things to do on vacation. With the exception of the Prime Steakhouse (make your reservation early), the food everywhere else was no better than average.

- Food in the Southern Lights restaurant was invariably dry or a mix of overcooked/undercooked food. Soups were warm at best, portions were small (see my pic of the "sushi" appetizer with the tip of my finger as a reference to how small everything was.
- Lido Marketplace (buffet) was a bit better, but featured bacon that was very greasy, hash browns that were akin to the frozen variety you might find in the supermarket (or at a Hampton Inn), and coffee machines that I found to be malfunctioning 3 times during my week aboard. On the plus side, the fresh fruit options were good.

In summary, if the food quality on board Carnival Magic is indicative of Carnival cruise lines at large, I will not return any time soon.

4. Poor signage/finding your way around the ship

While I will admit to finding things more easily by the end of the week, it was very easy to find yourself at a dead end while trying to find some place. For example, from the main lobby on deck 3, you'd imagine you just walk on that level toward the back of the ship to find the Southern Lights restaurant. But no, you have to go up or down a deck at some point and then come back again in order to reach it. I learned my lesson after getting lost once or twice, but clearer signs would have helped.

5. "Reality TV" evening shows

I found there to be a a lot of hyperbole (especially from cruise director James) about the evening shows, most of which seemed more reality TV or game show themed than entertainment. Perhaps I chose the wrong cruise line but my expectation was that we'd see performances with professional signers and dancers throughout the week.

I have no problem with the ship featuring shows with passengers, but stick to honest advertising and market them as such. That way, those of us (like me) who prefer the professional entertainment options can avoid them.

6. Getting a reservation at the Prime Steakhouse

To be clear, the Prime Steakhouse is worth a visit. They do charge $35 a person to eat there but the food is very good. The problem is that it's a very small restaurant and it fills up quickly. When I called them on Tuesday of my cruise there were no tables available ALL WEEK. They did have a wait list however and I added myself to it, along with 4 family members. We managed to get a table for 5:30pm a few days later. Not an ideal time, but at least we got it.

I suggest you book early.

Visited January 2014
5 Thank DBradburn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
424 reviews
114 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 154 helpful votes
“No troubles at all for our Disney Wonder Dec 2013 cruise.”
Reviewed 4 January 2014

My family has never been on a cruise before. We decided to use the Disney Cruise Lines and take a 7 day Bahama's cruise on the Disney Wonder. We sailed from the port of Galveston. We pre-purchased our parking in the secured lot before hand and saved $5 off the "at the gate" price.

The shuttles to and from the parking lot were perfect and on time. The entire experience at the Port was wonderful.

I'm more than happy with Galveston and how the port handled us.

I'd be willing to leave out of Galveston again if Disney decided to go out of it (apparently they are no longer using Galveston as a port).

Visited December 2013
Thank Brett P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
“Galveston Terminal 2”
Reviewed 18 December 2013

Our experience December 8 on RCCL at Terminal 2 was not a good one. We had to stand outside int he cold for two hours before we ever got inside the terminal, then the usual melee going thru security, altho I will say the TSA folks are polite.

Returning,there were few porters available and we had to stand in line for nearly two hours to get one. It seems to me that Terminal 2 is just not set up to handle larger ships like the Navigator of the Seas. Our two prior trips went smoothly getting on/off the ship with nothing like this zoo.

Visited December 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Review of Supershuttle limo service from Houston to Galveston”
Reviewed 11 December 2013

I needed to find transportation from Houston Hobby airport to the port of Galveston to board a cruise. I was in a position of only having a 3 hour window from landing to boarding the cruise so I had to find reliable, efficient transportation. This was a very stressful part of my trip planning. My cruise ship didn't off a shuttle from Hobby Airport.
After researching all options (car rental, taxi and limo) I decided on Supershuttle.
I read many negative reviews and was very hesitant, but I was assured by their booking agent that I could count on them.
I decided on a "meet and greet" SUV service for my family of 4. It cost $135 each way, about the same as their van service. The reviews I read must have been for the unreliable van service, where you have many passengers.
My driver was friendly and waiting for me at the luggage carousel.
I made it to the ship with plenty of time to spare. We were all very comfortable and arrived stress free!
After all the negative reviews I had to write a review saying how incredibly satisfied I was with their service. My return trip to the airport was the same.
Make sure you book the "meet and greet" limo or SUV and you should have no problems!

Visited November 2013
6 Thank deinarson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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