As the parent of two young ones we are inevitably Disney fans so we decided to try out the Disney cruise. It embarked from New York so being from Boston, this was much more convenient than flying to Florida. We've been to Disney twice and the thing that I love the most about the World is the Disney experience/hospitality. Everything is super clean and seems like "cast members" are there to wait on you hand and foot. I was quite curious to see if one would get the same service on the cruise and boy did they exceed my expectations. ALL the crew members were helpful, bent over backwards to meet our needs and best of all, never stopped smiling. My daughter quickly became friends with our room attendant (Nicole) and our waiters (Pong and Louis) who followed us from restaurant to restaurant pampered all members in our party (cutting my meat while I fed the baby, bringing my husband multiple entrees for dinner, seriously loved it!) and really tried to make sure we had a stress-less and fun dining experience.
THE MICKEY BOAT
I had read a few reviews citing that the Magic was beginning to show her age, and although I did see some things that needed sprucing up (ie. the bathroom tiles) everything was impeccably cleaned and well maintained for a boat that's been in service for 14 yrs. I really liked the size of the boat as we were quickly able to maneuver around the ship. The interior is really a beauty. The detail and the fact that all the Disney logos are hidden in the carpet and ceilings, and are not so "in your face" makes it, dare I say....classy.
The rooms were a decent size for the 4 of us and we love love LOVED the split bathrooms. We were in a 9c (2140) with a large porthole window and I actually loved being close to the water. I read some reviews citing that the aft deck 2 was quite noisy because of the thrusters, but really it was only bad when we were getting in to port, but we were up anyways. I would definitely stay on deck 2 again. We hardly saw anybody.
Palettes LOVED it. Our first night we had the show and it was excellent. The food was pretty good too
Lumiere:eh We had breakfast here and it was good however took forever to get our food. The night we had dinner here it was terrible. Everything was dry.
Parrot Cay: (Buffet) We ended up eating here mostly for breakfast since it was quick. We had dinner here the last night and it was ok.
Palo: I really wanted to try brunch here since everyone seemed to rave about it but alas, we were only able to get dinner reservations. I was a nice experience since we were forced to be kid-less and the ambiance (esp if you sit near the window at sunset) was very nice. The food on the other hand I was NOT impressed. People said it was a 5 star restaurant and I would say 3 star at best. It tries to be though. I will say that the chocolate souffle was to DIE for.
SHOWS & ENTERTAINMENT
This was definitely our favorite part. My daughter loved seeing all the shows (Pirate show was awesome), participating in the character dance parties and meeting the characters for her....priceless! They do a great job casting, the characters are so attentive and patient. It will be so sad when my daughter is no longer a believer. This being our first Disney cruise we wanted to do everything and it was EXHAUSTING. Every night I would take 20 min just to scan over the newsletter for the following day to plan ahead because of the abundance of activities. I was definitely surprised about how many adult things there were to do and would have loved to take part, but this was a family vacation.
I LOVED the Oceaner Club.....however my daughter did not. When you walk in it's this HUGE space with tons of fun things to do. I would have loved to stay and play but parents are not allowed. My daughter goes to preschool so is used to being dropped off, but I think this place was just too overwhelming. They keep it very dark and even though there are structured activities (story time with a a princess, Do Si DO with Snow white, crafts with Peter Pan) there were a lot of bigger kids running around like crazy. I think it would bode well for them to have more staff for the children who need a little bit more attention. She went twice but that was it. The nice thing about the club is they do have Open Houses where parents can stay and partake in activities with their children. We also used flounders nursery where there is a small fee. The shows were always so late so we would put my son in so he could sleep so we could go play. The ladies there were wonderful, and I never felt uncomfortable having him there. I also might add that the security there was amazing.
PORTS & EXCURSIONS
We were on the Canada cruise and stopped in New Brunswick and Halifax and they were ok. We stayed near the ports and being from New England I felt that a lot of the scenery and history was similar but it was nice to see new places. If we didn't have the kids I would have ventured farther out to Peggy's Cove or wherever else, but I must say I did like the boardwalk in Halifax and the maritime museum. Next time I will not book my excursions through Disney. Even though it's convenient, its so much more.
THINGS WE LOVED/HATED
-All the shows were excellent, but they were also so late. My 3yr old is a night owl but after being engaged in activities all day, a 9:45 Pirate show was exhausting.
-Loved that there were character meet and greets ALL the time and we didn't have to wait an hr like in Disney just to get a quick meet. They would also roam the halls and that was such a pleasant surprise when you turn the corner and saw one.
-There seemed to be a ton more of adults (seniors especially) on this cruise which was nice however some of the adults were more obnoxious than any kid could be. Was very annoyed how a lot of parents didn't control their kids, but I guess that can happen anywhere, but worse when you're stuck with them on a boat for 5 nights.
-Transfer to the boat was terrible. We used Disney and were put in a white van. The guy drove like a maniac through the congested streets of NY, but hey we got there.....alive. The way back was much better, were put on a big bus and I felt less vulnerable. I would use Disney transfers again for the the convenience and reliability of making sure you get on the boat.
-Couldn't believe how much food was wasted.
-No one prepared me for the fact that everything was so scheduled and it was total over stimulation for me because something was ALWAYS going on. Definitely not a relaxing vacation but definitely a fun one.
All in all it was a wonderful trip and we were sad to leave but also ready to return home; 5 nights was the perfect amount of time for our first cruise with young ones. Having kids, I would only cruise Disney, you just don't have to worry about anything and the service is impeccable. Looking forward to booking another in the future.