Let me first begin in saying there is no such thing as a bad cruise. I know some will disagree with me, especially those on Carnival a couple of seasons ago, but for our family, vacationing on a cruise ship is the best way to go. Even to this day our discussions of vacations surround Cruise Ships.
We started this life style in March of 2001 on the Disney Magic. Since this was our first cruise ship, my daughter picked to go back to the Disney Magic for a graduation present. When we first signed up for this, we did not know that the ship was going into dry-dock and having some upgrades performed, so all of this really heightened our anticipation for this cruise.
We are Disney Vacation Club members and decided to use our points for this cruise. While the booking went smoothly, we were surprised that we had to pay an additional $95 fee. We also found out later that we would be denied the customarily on-board credit that is given with returning guest. Something that was not told when we joined up with DVC.
We booked an inside cabin since this was to be only a four night cruise. We know from past cruising that majority of the time, one is not in the cabin except for sleeping, bathing, and changing. We were given cabin #2019 which we thought was great since it was basically across the hall from our very first cabin. We were also hoping that with the upgrades to the ship in dry-dock that we may get a Magical Porthole, but that was not the case.
We drove down two days ahead of the sailing and used some points to stay at Saratoga Springs, which is across from Downtown Disney. We awoke the day of embarkation and loaded up for the short drive (1 hour) to the port on Monday morning. On our first Disney Cruise, we used the Disney Transfer from the airport. The transfer was great and “Magical”. Our second Disney Cruise was on the Disney Fantasy, October 2012. We parked in the Deck and walked across the walkway. This time we wanted to take the transferred from the resort to the port, but Disney wanted $75 per person and a daily parking fee at the resort. We chose to drive. When we got to the port, we chose to first go over to the new Exploration Tower at the Port Canaveral. This was great if you are into the past, present and future of the port with many different activities on each floor. The view from the top is great. We then drove over to the deck to park and board the ship. When we arrived we were told to go into the gate in front of the terminal and used the curbside check-in. After checking in we started to drive over to the covered parking when we were stopped and told to park in the preferred area for $95 instead of the covered parking for $75. When we said no, the gentlemen started to show an attitude and finally were allowed to proceed to the covered parking. We parked on level three and walked across the cover bridge. We did have to re-check in because of not parking in preferred parking. Crazy I know, but during the whole process, we ended up checking in a total of three times for the cruise.
We had a check-in time of 11:30 and by 11:40 were on the gangway boarding the ship. We had the customary photo made and had our family announced as we boarded. The new atrium lobby is very nice, but I will say that compared to other ships and the Disney Fantasy, it is small. This came into play during the week as Cast appearance would be set up and lines would form to get autographs and have photographs taken.
We were told that our room would not be ready until 1:30 so we went to look around and compare the old with the new. It was great seeing the Disney Magic once again. The ship is big enough to enjoy yet small enough to move from one end to the other. We visited the new re-modeled Cabanas to have lunch. We were not really impressed with the makeover with lots of browns being used in the walls. The food was good but not great. As always, the boiled shrimp every day was awesome. Each day we did choose to eat breakfast at Cabanas and we did the same for lunch, the menu changed every day for lunch.
The other eating areas on deck 9 (Daisy’s De Lites, Pete’s Boiler Bites, and Pinocchio’s Pizzeria) were great. Each specialized in a different menu with some being cooked to order and all of us were very fond of visiting this area at least twice a day.
The new family slide is long and great. While the Aft pool is still for children, the slide is for everyone, but very few adults used it. The new AquaDunk is not as tall as thought and advertised on YouTube. Our daughter rode it once and that was enough for her. The whole floor dropping out from underneath you was just a little too much for her. In fact, we did not see too many going at it again.
The family pool was like the children’s pool, too small and too crowded. In fact, just as our first cruise, we talked with several who were complaining of this feature. Since our daughter was now 18, we could enjoy the Adult only pool together which was never crowded at any time.
One of the reasons we chose our room was for the Lifeboat drill. The muster is in the Walt Disney Theater where one can sit in a comfortable air condition Chair. It beats standing outside in the heat for a long period of time. I will say that not having to wear the life preservatives is nice, but I wonder if in the case of an emergency, would there be problems in trying to properly secure the life jacket.
We were delayed for almost an hour leaving port due to an unknown reason. We know that a family left the ship at the end and a rumor was told that someone had an anxiety attack. Sailing out of ports has always been an enjoyment with the family. Watching the land go bye is a fantastic feeling. In the other cruises, the ships have always blown its horn with other ships and for those watching the sailing. However during the entire cruise we can count on one hand the times the horn was blown.
During this cruise we had three Broadway shows and a showing of the movie Frozen. The first was a show called “Villains Tonight!” We were disappointed to say the least. First of all it is hard to cheer for the evil ones and the whole production was sub-standard to Disney.
We chose second seating to enjoy a later relaxing evening at dinner. Our seating / dining arrangement were CLLA with the first night being in the remodeled Carioca’s, the old Parrot Cay. The decoration was nice using a lot of white, but we preferred the old Parrot Cay with the natural and colorful atmosphere. The menu was of South American flavor which for the most part was the best menu of all our nights. The second and third was at Lumiere’s and the fourth was in Animator’s Palate. My wife and I felt that the menus were lack luster and the amount was less than expected and we left hungry.
Our first night in our cabin was one to remember. During the night I was awoken to the sound of dripping. I rolled over and went back to sleep. Later my wife got up and stepped in oil. This woke me up and we realized that black oil was leaking from the fire sprinkler. From the looks of it, it had been leaking most of the night. I called maintenance and reported the problem. After over an hour and the leak still dripping, no one came. I went up to Guest Services and reported in person the problem we were having with black oil. Then went back down to the cabin and met a hotel officer who was told that we had a water leak. How do you get a water leak from Black oil leaking? He immediately made several calls and we left for breakfast. When we came back, we were told that we would have to be moved to another room but they had to find one.
During Breakfast, the Captain made an announcement over the intercom saying that during the night the Disney Magic experienced propulsion problems and we would be late docking in our port of call in Nassau. We later docked in Nassau. It was a beautiful day and the waters are so blue and green. Three other ships were already in port. After seven other cruises, this was our first in Nassau. We really enjoyed the people, weather and the environment. As normal for this type of country, we were hassled by some who were trying to sell us trips and products, but a simple no and we were left along.
As forewarned the straw market can be of great finds or expensive trinkets. The view of Atlantis was wonderful and we have said that on the next cruise we must go over and see it. When we returned to our cabin, we found the ceiling removed and the leak stopped. We then went up to the Guest Services and were told that our new cabin was 5502, which was an upgrade to an outside view cabin. After moving we settled in and went to see the Broadway show, “Twice Charmed”. The show was great and very enjoyable. This was more like Disney that we knew and enjoyed. We met one of the cast members of the show the next day helping out the Cast appearances with Captain American. She was a delight and we enjoyed talking with her throughout the rest of the cruise.
The next day we were docked at Castaway Cay and since for the first time all in the family all in the family was adults, we headed to the adult side of the island called Serenity Bay. It was peaceful, quite and so enjoyable. At lunch we ate at that side of the island and the food was again great.
The next day was at sea and a very peaceful day. We spent some time in the Buena Vista Theater watching some movies we missed, “Thor: the Dark World” and “Saving Mr. Banks”. We incurred a problem with the automated gratuity charged by Disney. It took most of the day to correct at Guest Services. Later in the Evening after enjoying the Broadway show “Disney Dreams”, we went back to the room to change before dinner and found out that not one of our keys worked. We saw our Room Host and asked for her help and found out that her key would not work as well. She said that she would call but suggested we visited the Guest Services which we did but were told to go to dinner and maybe the problem would be corrected after dinner. We went back down to talk with our Room Hostess and she already had someone working on the problem. They were able to reset the door lock and we were able to quickly change and make it to dinner.
During dinner we were presented a bottle of wine as a token of the Cruise Line apologizing for the problems we had on the ship. I thanked the gentleman and read the card and saw that it was addressed to someone else. I called for the Head waiter to find the correct couple whom the bottle belonged too. Later the gentleman brought back the bottle and apologized for the misunderstanding, that the bottle was correct, but had the wrong card. I thanked him and opened the card only to find our last name misspelled.
After dinner we returned to our cabin only to find once again our keys did not work again. Just at that time we met an Officer walking by and he called the Room Hostess and again her key did not work. The maintenance man was called again and the lock once again was reset.
The next morning we ate Breakfast in the Animator’s Palate and then disembarked. It never fails that there is always regret in leaving and only wished for a longer cruise.