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Disney Magic Cruise Review by jonasaa

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Disney Magic
Disney Magic
Member Name: jonasaa
Cruise Date: June 2014
Embarkation: Barcelona
Destination: Western Mediterranean
Cabin Category:
Cabin Number: 6014
Booking Method:
See More About: Disney Magic Cruise Reviews | Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews | Disney Cruise Deals
Member Rating   5+ out of 5+
Dining 5.0
Public Rooms 5+
Cabins 5+
Entertainment 5+
Spa & Fitness 5.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Shore Excursions 5.0
Embarkation 5+
Service 5+
Value-for-Money 5+
Rates Not Rated
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Ship Facts: Disney Magic Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Disney Magic Deck Plans
Disney Magic for Those Who Want to Escape the Day-to-Day World

BACKGROUND INFO

As our choice of Disney Cruise Line last year was such a success last summer (Western Caribbean), we booked this Mediterranean cruise onboard the last time. We are a male married couple (33 and 36) from Norway.

HOTEL INFO

We arrived at Barcelona late morning the day before the cruise, and headed straight to Hotel Miramar (got it through Hotwire! Excellent choice!). I am sure the hotel has the most splendid view of Barcelona in the entire city. There were people coming up to our hotel just to check out the view. It is also fairly close to the cruise port (5-10 min cab ride). I'd rate it 8/10, mostly because they didn't follow up on some of the requests I had (I asked for a little more shower gel, never got it). Will recommend anyway! They gave us free Cava when we checked in.

Barcelona, by the way, is amazing! Consider staying there for an extra 2-3 days if this is your port of embarkation.

TRAVEL TO PORT OF EMBARKATION

We did not book any Disney transport this time, as I would rather do the Magical Express coach when in Florida. Taxi was rather cheap, and the port is easy to get to and visible from the Hotel Miramar. I would not recommend walking there if you carry a lot of luggage (which, and let's be honest - if you're going on a 12-night cruise - you will).

SHIP INFO

The Disney Magic is one of the two oldest in the Disney cruise ship fleet. It was renovated summer 2013, and despite some elements they probably couldn't and wouldn't change, it was spotless. Nothing seemed worn, which is a major plus. I can unfortunately not compare it to how it was pre-refurbishment. Despite being significantly smaller than the Disney Fantasy, there still will be a lot of walking! I did wish the adult outside area was larger, but I might just have got spoiled from the Fantasy. Theming is good, perhaps a tad less than on the Fantasy? Still, it's Disney standard so you won't notice unless you are very picky, like me. Walking into ship on the first day really felt like "coming home".

STATEROOM

Having a stateroom with "only" a large porthole window felt slightly less luxurious compared to last year’s choice with a veranda. Price was the deciding factor. Plenty of space, and the standard split bathroom, were both a plus. I did not expect the tub to look so worn! Either they didn’t change it during the 2013 renovation, or it had suffered heavy use since then. Our stateroom host and staff kept it immaculately clean at all times – I almost felt bad. A minor leak/spill in the bathroom (we guessed from a drain maybe) was fixed and cleaned promptly. I don’t think it even took 5 minutes. The only negative thing I will say was that the bathroom had a distinct unpleasant odor when we arrived. I believe the staff fixed this quickly, as it went away.

DINING

We were yet again treated to the pleasantness of the Disney Dining Rotation, and paired at table 32 with two other couples, one from the US and the other from Australia. Just like last year, we felt it was a perfect match. These were funny, sociable, and pleasant people to dine with every night. Our servers were Sana from Indonesia and Joy Vusani from South Africa. They were both poured from Disney’s finest Service Excellence bottle. Rarely have we been taken so well care of. You know that when you hug your waiter on the last day of the cruise. Joy’s catchphrases were “Certainly!” and “May I?” We are certain to request her should she still work for Disney Cruise Line next year. Our server at Palo, Mirko, had a gleam in his eye (we dined there twice), and treated us royally.

As for the restaurants: Animator’s Palate is probably the crown jewels of the fleet. I have to say I do prefer the old black-and-white style to the Fantasy AP version. Lumiere’s is a nice restaurant, but lack the incredible splendor and luxuriousness of Royal Court on the Fantasy. The theme is Beauty and the Beast, and it could easily do with some more magical effects to make it “pop!”. We were underwhelmed by Cariocas. While it is a nice restaurant, the food is just okay, and I don’t get the South American theme. It did have one of the best desserts though!

Palo, while a bit smaller than on the Fantasy, serves perfect food in a perfect setting and with flavors to die for. Everything has just the right texture, temperature, spicing, and garnish. Do not miss out on either brunch (buffet style serving) or dinner (table service).

We did also have pizza from Pinocchio’s Pizzeria (freshly made from scratch, of course), assorted wraps, cheeseburgers and fries from the outside deck area quick service restaurants. All as good as you can expect. The 24 hour included room service was swift and delightful. The drink stations on deck 9 were great, as expected.

Breakfast was normally served at Cabanas, as it was the first thing to open in the morning. Sadly we only got to try table service breakfast once during the cruise, at Lumiere’s.

Oh – and Disney! Here’s something to improve – get better croissants! We get better frozen ones from the grocery store!

ACTIVITIES

We did feel like the ship had fewer activities than on the Fantasy. This was never a problem, and our Port Adventures were often from early morning until late afternoon, so all we managed to make was usually the show of the night and then dinner. After that we were almost exhausted. We did, however, find time to do some activities such as Mixology, Whiskey Tasting, Chocolate and Liquor Tasting, and Tequila and Margarita Tasting. These were somewhat less interactive than on the Fantasy – some of the drinks in Mixology were already mixed? It was confusing. Otherwise, a lot of fun.

Pro-tip: Sign up for classes the moment you get on the ship! No joke!

We also found time to try the spa. Unfortunately, the cheap spa visit option is not to be recommended. Half of the showers didn’t even work (!), and one of the saunas was so hot I couldn’t stay there more than a minute. It’s dark and gloomy compared to the Fantasy, and we will skip it next year. It is not up to Disney standards, which is odd even though it’s outsourced.

SERVICE

Of course you will be engulfed in the Disney Difference that only Disney can provide. Every person you encounter will greet you, smile at you, and make you feel noticed. I must say, though, after having roamed the stateroom halls a few times (Fish Extender business if you’re into the tradition), the endless greetings and “Hello sir, how are you?” tend to bend over to the tiresome side. I am sure some of them asked me two or three times in the same day. Having 10-15 people ask you how your day is… well, they need to work that out.

People everywhere will smile at you, and brighten your day at every turn. From the constant cleaning to the cruise director – they all dance around in an orchestrated and cohesive experience that is sure to melt the coldest of hearts.

A curious note: When reentering the ship with our Key to the World cards, they had our face pictures on file from last year! That’s quite impressive!

ENTERTAINMENT

The shows are still great, just as we hoped for. Unfortunately some of the voice talents were a little lacking this time. The “All Aboard: Let the Magic Begin” was forgivably expected (“you’re on a Disney cruise!”), but “Villains Tonight!” was great fun! “Disney Dreams – An Enchanted Classic” was beautiful (also award winning!), but I think they should have switched the actress that played the main character with the actress that sung Circle of Life. She could have had her own show, singing the entire Lion King soundtrack, and no one would ever question why! We MISSED “Twice Charmed: An Original Twist on the Cinderella Story” (due to some of the activities mentioned earlier), and also the main show at Animator’s Palate. It kind of crushed my soul.

A musical show by Kerry Butler (who I had no previous knowledge of), a French juggler show, and random character appearances (random to me, as I don’t really look up their showtimes) spiced up the remainder of our free time.

Pirate Night is great, but mostly for the kids. I did enjoy the fireworks, naturally.

PORT & SHORE EXCURSIONS

Unlike last year, every Port Adventure (shore excursion) was a good choice this time. Our least favorite must have been the Dassia Beach Package on Corfu (from what we understood, Glyphada Beach is a much better choice). The Mediterranean was surprisingly cold for swim – and I’m from Norway! Weather was 90% amazing, except for our day in Rome. We booked and did most excursions through DCL so that we wouldn’t be stuck in any port, being our first Mediterranean cruise. The only non-DCL activity we did was Crawling Through Venice’s Cicchetti Pubs through Rick Steves. Highly recommended!

DISEMBARKATION

There comes a time when all good things come to an end, and a Disney cruise is no exception. We had a final breakfast, this time in Lumiere’s, and brought our suitcases with us when leaving through Venice. A short cab ride (they are right next to the cruise terminal) brought us to Marco Polo, the Venice airport. All stateroom charges have been charged to our credit cards, so after filling out a short survey and tipping our servers and hosts, we could leave the ship without a care in the world.

SUMMARY

Mind you: Disney Cruise Line does not do any marketing in Norway. Apparently, they don’t need to, as their ships are pretty much full to capacity on every itinerary. They cater mostly to Americans, meaning the ship is as good as devoid of any Scandinavians but us. It’s odd – given that DCL is an award winning cruise line company – but we’ve come to enjoy some time off from our fellow countrymen and neighbors. We booked a new cruise for next year – this time, 7 nights along the Norwegian fjords! See you all real soon!


Publication Date: 07/15/14
Read the Western Mediterranean ports review by jonasaa
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