This was our 2nd time cruising (both times with Disney) and our 1st on the Magic. I do a LOT of research before any vacation and there are many mixed reviews of the 2 older Disney ships. I will try to be extremely objective in giving my review...which can be very difficult after factoring in my love of all things Disney!
We were extremely excited to take this cruise. As a matter of fact, we booked it almost a full year ago after our AMAZING experience going to Alaska on the Wonder. We love beautiful scenery and the opportunity to mix that with a 5 night cruise AND a few nights in NYC was just too good to pass up! So....here goes!
Embarkation: Extremely easy and organized. We took a 10 minute cab ride from our hotel to the port, unloaded our luggage and had it checked in within 2 minutes of the taxi leaving us at the curb....no kidding!
We got in line, waited about 10 more minutes and were checked in and given our KTTW card and our boarding number. The only "negative" was that we had chosen an online boarding time of 11:30 but they didn't even start boarding the boat until about 12. I know that there were earlier boarding times available so, I'm not sure what happened there. However, we boarded extremely quickly once they started calling out numbers and we were on the ship by 12:15.
The ship: The Magic is just a lovely ship. Considering that she is due for a dry docking, I was very pleased at her condition. I was really looking at all the details...kind of dreading what I would find, but I truly was shocked at how nice she looked. Everything was sparkling clean. Yes, there were a few rust spots here and there which I probably wouldn't have seen had I not been really looking for them! The worst thing I noticed, and I have to admit that this bothered me a bit, was that the Walt Disney Theater had a few seats missing an armrest. The exposed metal was actually uncomfortable AND, had I been traveling with young children, I would have been concerned for their safety. I really feel that something could be done about this without a full dry docking! Overall, the vast majority of the seats (maybe 98-99%) are just fine and it's not a deal breaker.
Staterooms: Fabulous!! LOVE the split bathroom feature! Super comfortable bed and plenty of room for our luggage (3 large suitcases + carry ons!) We chose a deluxe interior room and didn't miss the window at all. We'd rather be out and about then spend our time in the room. Our lovely hostess, Rosa, was just so sweet and accommodating!
Spa: Hey!!! I can finally write a review of the spa! I really regretted not taking advantage of the Spa on the Wonder so, I was thrilled to have 2 opportunities on this trip to enjoy it! Everyone working there was just wonderful! I got a 1 day pass to the Rainforest room which was totally worth it! Heated stone couches, steam rooms etc, etc. OK, here's another negative....one of the steam rooms (a low temperature one with wonderful, contoured chairs) continually dripped water from the ceiling. A little weird and a problem that I'm pretty sure is scheduled to be fixed when they dry dock! It didn't stop me from visiting 2x that day and staying about 1 1/2 hours each time. The 2nd day, I scheduled a seaweed wrap/massage treatment and was treated beautifully by Judy! Worth every penny!
Dining: Love the rotational dining AND the fact that your servers stay with you. Henry and Rochelle, our wonderful Server and Assistant server were fantastic! By our 2nd meal, they knew every preference at the table...down to who wanted a twist of lemon in their Diet Coke and who didn't! The food in the main rooms was, overall, really good! A few, minor "misses" but the Beef Wellington was great and my daughter raved about her Cornish Hen! The buffets have some great, some good and some "meh" food. I suggest taking very small amounts of things that interest you and then going back for the things that you loved! A few standouts...the Asian themed buffet at Topsiders had some fabulous duck and a GREAT stir fry station! There was also a delicious crepe station one day! Yum!!
Entertainment: Hands down...Awesome! The shows are great...we LOVED Villains and Dreams! The Magician/Comedian, Chad Chesmark, was hilarious and John Charles is just fantastic! Don't miss Disney entertainment...they really do it right! My 14 year old didn't spend a lot of time in Vibe but she said it was a really cool place. She just decided to do other things...like see "The Avengers" 3x!
OH! 1 big plus! They previewed the movie Brave for us in a midnight showing the night we were headed back to NY! How cool is that??!!
Pools and Outdoor areas: Love how Disney really makes sure that the adults have their space! Quiet and relaxing...a true feat considering that it's not really that far from the Goofy family pool! The pools are small and there are a LOT of children, but the kids were all having fun and they, for the most part, were very well behaved! Cute slide...WISH, WISH, WISH they would put an AquaDuck on both the Wonder and the Magic!!! I don't know if this is even an option but it would be really great!
I'll do a brief review of the ports the special "port review" area. Overall though, we had a lovely time! Beautiful ship, wonderful guests and amazing staff!