Disney Magic Cruise Review by savysailor55: A Senior Moment on the Disney Magic
Overall Member Rating
A Senior Moment on the Disney Magic
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
My wife and are are experienced cruisers. Disney wasn't on our radar screen until we accidentally came across an "Internet special" for a 7 night West Caribbean cruise targeted toward Florida residents able to travel at the last minute. Signed on first week of January 09 for departure on the 24th. Cost approximately $750 pp, outside ocean view cabin cat 9, deck 2. Couldn't pass on this significant discount. Plus it called at Key West, one of our favorite ports.
Disney Magic has to be one of the most stunning ships afloat. The look is classic Cunard style, only sleeker...can't stop looking at it. Moderate size, carrying 2,000 plus, many which are kids sharing parents' staterooms. Eleven decks. Walkers/joggers enjoy full round the ship paths on two decks. Mouse ears on the two funnels make for easy ID. Pool areas for kids and adults are separate. Shopping is minimal, one shop for misc. and one for Disney stuff. Spa pushes the usual expensive treatments, though the Rainforest More area offers restful escape into steam rooms, saunas, heated ceramic chase lounges, etc. at reasonable price. Gym very well equipped. No casino, a big miss for us. Multi story atrium provides a (relatively smallish) gathering area. Hallways and stairs are narrow, elevators are really cramped. Overall impression is of a small, intimate ship. In service 10 years now. Refurbished and looks great everywhere... no threadbare here!
Staterooms are generous sized. Deck 2 midships location for us proved ultra smooth sailing even in rough seas. Round super size porthole, diameter 4 foot, offered unique, nostalgic view of the passing water close up. Ultra quiet inside the stateroom...Disney built cabins with extra soundproofing for families. We may never book a balcony again. Only complaint was a mini bathtub that squeaked when moving about during showering.
Dining was a highlight, absolutely best food we've experienced compared to Princess, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Costa, Viking, and Carnival. Server staff excellent and friendly. During 7 nights we rotated dinner through the ship's 3 restaurants, a very nice change of environments, each different theme. Servers follow your rotation. One disappointment was initial table assignment. We had asked to be seated with adults, but found ourselves with a family with two children. Head waiter swiftly and gladly corrected and we joined two great table mates our age traveling by themselves. Optional Italian restaurant Palo well worth $15 pp extra.
Entertainment is Disney oriented for main production shows, much more impressive than those found at WDW Orlando. Really great for kids, but gets a bit boring and repetitive for adults after 3 or so nights. Technology was most impressive with productions including lasers, stage elevation changes, costumes, mix of video and live action, performers mingling into the audience, etc. Main theatre seating is ultra tight, very uncomfortable leg room, so choose carefully who you sit behind and in front of. Clear views with no columns. Sound quality superb. Cabaret shows are also quite good, though across 7 nights of shows only 4 different performers were scheduled: magician, comedian, singer, ventriloquist. More variety is needed. Family oriented material, no blue stuff. Don't sit in the front row unless you want to be volunteered onstage. Movies also shown in a different theatre, included new 3D Bold. The digital technology for 3D is less than impressive, the movie appeared dark thru those glasses.
Port excursion we took at Grand Cayman was a bust. Butterfly Farm's guide talked mundane detail for 30 minutes, after which we saw precious few actual butterflies. Bus driver was late in picking us up at several stops. A stop at "Hell" was misrepresented as we were diverted "next door" to a copy cat thing at a shack owned probably by a friend. Tortuga stop proved to be a storefront for a rum vendor, my guess is the guide's family owned the place. Turtle stop was the only winner. And, if an adult traveler on a Disney shore excursion, be prepared to be on a small cramped bus with ten or more active, excited children. We suspect many Disney arranged shore trips are similar (what else would you expect?). Better bet for the adult traveler is to book a cab and customize. In Cozumel we skipped our booked tour. Key West we took the tour on Old Town Trolleys, a classic, then took in sights by walking. Disney private island Castaway Key wonderful, absolutely first class beach and water experience with direct ship docking, no tenders.
Getting on and off the ship/luggage handling executed flawlessly by Disney... masters of crowd control. Port Canaveral easy to reach and get around/park.
Overall PROS: The price we booked for, all the food, the dining service, the classy ship itself, the gym and spa, friendliness and efficiency of all staff members from deckhands to officers, Disney Character appearances and your access to them, Cruise Director Brent, fireworks in the night sky, hygiene hand wipes mandatory before dining, tipping policy discretionary (no auto deduction to your bill - staff worked to earn your $$).
Overall CONS: Cramped theatre seating, repetitive main production show content/music, smallish public areas on decks 3 and 4, overly expensive Bingo ($69 for electronic 24 card device, $19 for 3 paper cards, small payouts), a daily newsletter cluttered and hard to read, art auction over-focus on Disney art almost exclusively.
Bottom Line: We honestly felt this is a cruise line that dearly wants to please you, makes you feel welcome and wanted, a personalized travel experience. We test drove it for traveling with our children and grand kids in 2011. Seniors and adults traveling without kids should give Disney a try! Less
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