The "new refurbished Magic is what our friends call the ship. They have sailed so much that they have been on the newest to the oldest and are looking forward to Disney cruise number 10. As for us, this was our second cruise but there was a 40 year gap between them. Our first experience was not very good and the sea sickness was awful. Now I know why the upper cabins are wonderful -- we had one. We were in 7098 which is the aft end of the mid ship. The stability was wonderful so there was no sea sickness. We have decided that there will be no cruises unless we have a veranda! It was home for resting, reading, and just quiet time. Our cabin steward was unbelievable - patient and even learned our habits after day two. He was there to make sure we returned from breakfast with a clean cabin and so patient when we needed something changed (our grandchildren spend the night with us one night). He even realized that our grandson needed the special pad sitting on our dresser. Loved him and the wonderful towels each night with chocolates!
The spa - so what can I say - amazing. The best deal was the daily Rain Forest pass - what a deal. You can go to the spa as many times each day that you want. They will supply the yummy scrubs, the chairs are heated, the floors heated, steam rooms both moderate and aromatic, plus saunas both in the Rain Forest and in the changing rooms. After the first two days I took my shower in the spa just so I could use the wonderful shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. It is also a great location because the exercise facility is next to the spa. I keep hoping I can find a Rain Forest nearby.....ah, wishful thinking.
Our grandchildren enjoyed the children's program, sort of. Our grandson would not leave because he could not only dress like his heroes but actually meet them. We tried so hard not to laugh. Our granddaughter is not a child nor is she a teenager. There is not much for the in betweener. We stayed with her until she made a few friends at the pool, but it is true. Disney needs to address the age group.
The food is another issue. First, go to Palo for a fantastic dining experience! We did not want to leave and thought if we cruise again, we need two nights. Our server was funny and an expert with the food. The wine, well they were out of about 8 or 9 different wines, especially by the glass, and it was only night two. Our server apologized profusely but said that they have not been able to get the wine on board. We understand to a point, the ship was just re-done; however, this is Disney, and they can do anything at anytime. My only comment - get the wine on board and if this is Palo then make sure you have the wine named after the restaurant. The other food, well it was ordinary. Adults who like coffee should try the Cove Cafe for great coffees, quiet, and comfortable chairs. Cabana's had the primary buffet. Some was good but most it was for those who must have lots of food. There were no culinary delights there, but there was quantity beyond belief. Our problem is that the waste is extraordinary. We decided you could feed a third world country for 6 months to year on what was wasted. Disney needs to address this somehow. Our dinner rotation was okay - the steak on night two was good but very tough on another night, the salmon was over sized (why not have a two size portion? this could save money), the pasta was disgusting, the cold soups were amazing but very small (again why not address the portion size option), the salads were okay, and the desserts were ordinary and small. Sometimes, the desserts were just what the children wanted. Yes, they liked the food, especially the macaroni & cheese and the mashed potatoes.
The best place to eat breakfast for us was Luminere's - good service and quieter than other places. Our assistant server had so much personality that we thought she was the server. What an outstanding person. Our server was quiet and reserved but very efficient. The Head Server did follow through and get us a better table, but it took him quite a while. We did not enjoy the table by the noisy server area. Certainly Disney can do some rearranging.
The activities seems to meet everyone needs. We found the departure event nice since most people were crowded in the middle of the ship. The pirate party worked for us because if you crowd into the section that shows you on the screen then you won't have space to move. We opted for not being there and the children had a place to dance and have fun. The movie theater was comfortable and we could see current movies. Plus, other movies were on the television, but our favorite channel was the map that shows you where you are and where you are going. Frankly, we did not participate much because we enjoyed the cabin and veranda so much. Take binoculars to enjoy watching the ocean, the coast and the ports. We went Grand Cayman which had wonderful options like sting ray city (amazing), snorkeling (fun), and star fish city (interesting). Cozumel was not good - another place for many hawkers and pushy salespeople. We walked for about a mile, but did not venture beyond the main street. We do have experience in third world countries and know better than to go beyond the main street. Is there something better?
Our negative is no fault of Disney. We put down our camera and then it was gone. Our daughter put down her i-pod and it was gone. Unfortunately, with this many people in one place there are people who have sticky fingers. We did manage to prevent our daughter's phone from walking away - it was a teenage girl who thought it look pretty and just wanted a phone. When you report your loss on board do not expect to have it returned to you. I only saw one person recover something and that was when we debarked and went to Lost & Found. On a positive note, the representative said that if they found the item after the trip it will be mailed to you, plus you are given a card to contact Disney 10 days after the cruise.
Our recommendations are: if possible get a room with veranda, stay just between the mid ship and aft, bring binoculars, make sure you remember that you will need to tip everyone, go to guest services and find out what is offered either free or for a small fee and sign up early, and visit the very front of the ship on top for amazing views during day and night. If you want a sunset or sunrise try the aft - beautiful. The most important is to enjoy what you can and want to -- remember NO technology. It costs too much and this is a time to really enjoy quality time.
Overall, it was a wonderful experience and I am recommending it to everyone. While most days were magical, there are always areas for improvement.