This was our second Disney cruise, both on the Magic, both during spring break. We were afraid that this one would not be as "magical" since it wasn't the first, but it may have actually been better.
Both times our daughter celebrated a birthday on board this time she turned 11. I just cannot imagine another line that allows parents the piece of mind when their children are off on their own, like we get from Disney.
Let me start by saying that we are HUGE Disney fans..... so choosing DCL for our first cruise was a no brainer. We booked a bounceback cruise last year when we were on board, and although we realized our love was cruising in general, and not necessarily DCL, we decided to book another DCL cruise while our daughter was still young and the "magic" was still there.
On our first cruise we had a balcony, tis time we booked an inside stateroom to save money and it was fabulous!!! Very roomy for the 3 of us, and because we are very social, we would More
only use the room for a bed and bath - otherwise we were in public areas, up on deck, in clubs, restaurants, etc. Even when we had our balcony cabin, we didn't spend much time there except to maybe check the weather when we woke up each day....
The room was clean, spacious, in good shape. We had a problem with our shower handle slipping a bit but that was fixed quickly.
The toiletries provided by DCL are about the best I've received in any hotel - it's the H2O spa bath products and I even buy them when not on the ship!!!! So definitely kudos to DCL there.
All public areas were clean and fresh, and there were always crew members cleaning SOMETHING - polishing banisters, cleaning light fixtures, anything to keep up the Disney standards.
In fact, when we were docked in Cozumel, side by side with the Fantasy on her maiden voyage, you would never guess that the Magic was 14 years old compared to the brand new Fantasy. Sure, she showed a bit more age, but not THAT much.
Last year we really enjoyed the dining on DCL and this year it seemed to have slipped a bit. We are somewhat "foodies" we love to experience new foods, but this year it seemed a bit lackluster, although the menus were the same. The exception was Palo, the adults only surcharge dining experience. First of all, we tried Palo for brunch AND dinner this time and both were incredible!!!
Palo brunch offered more food than I could even imagine - we walked away so stuffed we almost fell asleep in Key West that day! Dinner was absolutely incredible - the food, the service (Mo may be the best server I've had ANYWHERE!), the atmosphere. There was a $20/person surcharge for both dining experiences at Palo.
We did not utilize the kids clubs (Oceaneers Lab and Oceaneers Club or the Edge) this trip. We registered our daughter for the Lab but because we were traveling with a family we met last year on this cruise, she and the other child spent all their time together just exploring the ship, watching movies, swimming, etc. We felt she may have been a bit young for the Edge (she just turned 11 on the cruise) and the Edge is ages 11-13. Since our daughter is still in elementary school, we weren't too sold on her being in a club with mostly middle schoolers..... Next year for sure!!!
I do know that last year we LOVED the clubs for kids, so we got the id bracelet for our daughter this year, even though she spent a full 10 minutes in the club!!! lol
The entertainment - it's Disney, what more can I say? The Broadway style shows are second to none. Dreams, Villains Tonight, and Twice Charmed are all three high energy and colorful and full scale productions. With a typical Disney edge, I find myself tearing up during each one..... This year I could not even bring myself to attend the final night's show because it brought me to tears last year.....
The adult entertainers, who double as family entertainers early in the evening, weren't nearly as good as last year. We had a hypnotist, Dale K, who was on our cruise last year, and he was great! We watched family show with him in the Walt Disney Theater and loved it! The second comedian, was a juggler - no idea of his name but he certainly did not live up to last year's entertainers.
Last year we did an Eastern Caribbean, and this year was a Western - we were NOT excited going into this itinerary, mainly because we knew the western ports were flat, versus the beautiful mountain topography of the eastern islands.
With the exception of Key West, we were pleasantly surprised at the wonderful excursions in Cozumel and Grand Cayman. Less
Of course Disney's private island is the highlight to any DCL cruise. Castaway Cay is done in true Disney fashion. This year we rented a private cabana and while I don't regret it, I probably would not do it again for our family. It would be wonderful for a family with infants or toddlers who need the shaded hut for a nap, or for an extended family to relax and have a "private" getaway, or for that family with an elderly or handicapped member who doesn't like being in crowds or in the sun all day.
It was beautiful, and it was nice to have servers bring us drinks, and bring our food back to our cabana for lunch, but for $500 for the day, we felt like we HAD to be there, and really, we enjoyed snorkeling, bike riding, etc, so we only spent maybe a total of 2 hours in or near our cabana.
On Cozumel we went to the all-inclusive Mr Sancho's beach. Fantastic choice!!! It was not crowded, the drinks and food were all delicious and the service was great! It didn't hurt that we were with another family so our kids had companions to play with. This would not have been as enjoyable if it were just our family of three. Also, the beautiful, clean pool had a swim up bar and the kids loved it, too!
Best. Excursion. Ever.
On Grand Cayman we booked a private excursion with Fat Fish Adventures, and our captain Jordan made this the BEST excursion I've ever taken! We did Stingray City, snorkeling, Starfish Beach and Rum Point. Jordan didn't stick to a strict schedule, instead he watched to see when a large boat would leave an area, and then he'd take us there so we'd be snorkeling alone over a beautiful reef. He did the same with Stingray City. I will book with Fat Fish again when I come back to Grand Cayman. And because of this excursion, I WILL be back to Grand Cayman! Loved it!
We love doing tours like this when a city offers a history that you can't learn on your own. This tour only offered 4 on/off stops though, and it was a LONG tour for such a small town. I felt there were a lot of areas visited that were not necessary.
Key West is really an adult port. We did a trolley tour and had a couple drinks in Sloppy Joe's. Our daughter referred to the town as "Freakville" after seeing some of the locals..... My husband met up with a college fraternity brother who lived her though, so that was fun for him. If I visited this port again on a family cruise, I would probably allow my daughter to stay on the ship while my husband and I enjoyed Duval Street alone.