Background: This was my 6th cruise, DH's 5th cruise and DD's 1st cruise. This was our first Disney cruise. We usually cruise Royal Caribbean, but, Disney was leaving out of NYC so we couldn't pass up the chance!
Port of NYC: We drove to the port from MA and planned to park at the port. We had no trouble getting a parking spot at the port. You must pay for parking when you enter the lot. Once we found a spot we had to pull our luggage to the elevator to bring us down to the check-in area.
Check-In/Embarkation: Checking in was very easy! When we completed our on-line check in we selected a port arrival time of 11:30-12:00. We arrived at the pier at 11:45 and were through the security line and into the check-in line within 10 minutes. We waited in the very short check-in line for about 5 minutes. The agent was having trouble with his computer and was in the process of rebooting when we got to the desk. It only took a couple of minutes and we were all checked in, with photos taken in a few short minutes. We received boarding number 7 and they were already up to number 14. So, we walked right from the check-in desk on to the ship!
Stateroom: We were in a standard inside stateroom on deck 6. We were actually in one of the sideways cabins (6015) and we absolutely LOVED the layout. It seemed more spacious that the traditional cabin layout. This stateroom did not have a split bathroom and that was fine by us! DD's age at the time of sailing was 2, only a few weeks shy of three, and the host had placed a diaper genie and a bed rail in the room before we arrived. I had called to request the rail, but not the diaper genie. Having that there was a nice touch as we were just beginning to potty train. The cabin was in pretty good shape. We had one light bulb out that didn't really affect the lighting of the room but it was fixed before we could even mention it. The bathroom was in pretty good shape for a 12 year old ship. Some of the grout in the shower had come out, and finding a "warm" temperature for water in the sink was tough as the hot water was HOT!
Dining: We had a great dining room team and enjoyed our dinners in the main dining rooms. We visited Lumiere's and Animator's Palate twice. We never had dinner in Parrot Cay as we ate in Palo that night. The food was on par with what we have had in the past with Royal Caribbean. The dinner in Palo was very good and well worth the extra charge.
For breakfast we tried the buffet at Parrot Cay and we didn't really enjoy it, the food was on the cooler side. We also had a sit down breakfast at Lumiere's which was good but took longer than expected. We really enjoyed Topsiders buffet for breakfast as you could get omelettes made to your taste.
We also did the High Tea, but, Disney is no longer offering this after August 2012. This was very good as well and we are a little sad that they are doing away with it!
Activities/Entertainment: There were plenty of things to do on board the Magic! We went to almost all of the nightly shows in the theater and enjoyed them all. We especially loved Villains Tonight and Dreams. We took DD to her first movie in a theater as Disney has a movie theater on-board showing recent movies. We were actually able to see Brave on board even though it was out in theaters at the time! This was a nice perk!
Character greeting were great. It definitely trumped waiting to see characters in Disney World. We didn't have to wait in the heat and the longest line we waited in was about 20 minutes. There were plenty of opportunities during the cruise to meet your favorite characters. Such a great experience! We especially loved the Character Dance Party as the characters were down dancing on the floor with all of the children. This was another fabulous experience!
Children's Activities: DD was too young to go to the Oceaneers Club/Lab, so we had to pay to put her into Flounder's Reef Nursery when we went to Palo. DD absolutely loved it in there and asked to go back every time we passed by. The counselors were great and we could see DD having a great time thanks to the one-way mirror.
Service: I mentioned earlier we had a great dining team. They were very attentive and were awesome with DD. Out Stateroom Host was great as well. He had the light fixed ASAP and quickly remedied a problem we had with the bed. Every Cast Member we encountered on the ship was warm and friendly, especially with DD.
Halifax, NS: We did not have any excursions booked so we went off on our own here. We took the hop on/hop off bus to the Citadel and took in some history on Halifax. It was a nice experience. The city is very clean and the local are helpful and friendly.
St. John, NB: Again, we did not have any excursions booked so we walked the city on our own. We visited Tim Horton's for coffee, went to Freak Lunchbox for candy, spent some time outside at a local park and enjoyed a small farmers market at the port. The welcome here was very nice as ladies received roses, men received lapel pins and children received Canadian flags. The local here were also friendly and helpful. Another beautiful and clean city!
Disembarkation: This was completely painless. We went to our assigned breakfast and waited in the assigned lounge for about 20 minutes before our tag was called. We went right to the luggage collection area, grabbed our bags and waited in the customs line. We waited in line for about 15 minutes. We were then out the door and onto the elevator to return to the car. Very easy!
Overall, we loved our experience on Disney Cruise Line and would sail with them again in the future!