We sailed from Barcelona on the June 8 trip, stopping at Malta, Palermo, Naples, Rome, Florence, Corsica and Villefranche. We are a family of 3, with an 8 yr. old daughter. This was our 2nd Disney Cruise, both on the Magic. The cruise totally lived up to our expectations both on board and in the ports.
This is a great itinerary and I was surprised at how relaxed I felt after returning from vacation, considering the cruise is very port intensive. The 3 day stretch in Naples, Rome and then Florence is tough and for me, splitting those ports with a sea day would be preferable, rather than making it the last day of the cruise. Several folks expressed that same idea and I noticed lots of folks didn't get off the ship in Florence.
We took 3 Disney port adventures and I was pleased with all 3. The first was the Sorrento/Pompei excursion which included several hours in Sorrento, followed by a guided tour in Pompeii. The guide could have been more experienced in Pompeii and 90 minutes here is just not enough time. However, for the money, $89, it was a good value and a really nice overview. The next day was Rome and we took the full day tour and needed every second of it. Besides a leisurely lunch, which was included in the tour, we only had 15 minutes of free time at the Trevi Fountain, which included the bathroom stop, and 15 minutes at the Vatican gift shop. Otherwise, we were touring. This was a fantastic day, really well done. The final Disney excursion was to Florence and we did the Florence on your own, for $89, which basically got you transportation to and from the city. This was just right as we had 4.5 hours of free time, once we arrived. I heard cruisers from other ships complaining that their tour got them to Florence, only to give them 1 hour to explore. The remaining ports, we did on our own. Malta is a really cool old wall city and we really enjoyed the armory with all the suits of armor. Palermo is a contradiction, in terms of architecture and diversity. We visited the catacombs, the hard to find catacombs. We had to take several buses and only found the place b/c a local lady noticed how lost we were and motioned for us to follow her as she walked home, towards the catacombs. She spoke about as much English as we did Italian, but somehow we got there. The pizza in Palermo was outstanding. In Corsica, we went to the beach that's mentioned as being in walking distance of the port, the local beach. It was not high tide so there was plenty of room and we had a beautiful day to spend a few hours there. There are really no amenities around this area, though, like bathrooms. However, it's easy to find and it seemed that lost of ship folks found their way. Our final port was Villefranche, which was easy to navigate. We actually jumped on the train and took a 5 minute ride to Nice, where we promptly got lost. Except for the very friendly folks, and the exceptional quiche, I did not love Nice.
Back to the ship, the cabins cannot be beat, either in storage space or the split bathroom concept. We had 3 people with 3 very large suitcases and everything had a place, with plenty of closet and drawer space. The rotating restaurant concept is nice and I would describe the food as avg, in taste and above avg in plating. It's very pretty and some dishes are exceptionally tasty, while others are just ok. However, the servers try very hard to please you and notice if you don't seem to be enjoying something. They offered to bring alternate dishes, w/o us asking and were very attentive. We really enjoyed breakfast in Parrot Cay and ate there nearly every morning. The brunch at Lumiere's was also pretty good, with a nice variety of dishes, but they only did that on one day of our cruise.
The kids club and activities are too numerous to recount. Suffice it to say, the 8 yr old made flubber, several times. For those who don't know, flubber making is a big deal and Disney even had one late night flubber class for adults, which was fun. The kids baked cookies, constructed volcanoes, and played gaga ball, whatever that is. The drop off pick up system is flawless and we always felt that our child was supervised and safe. She also really enjoyed the Disney characters who were always patient for pictures and autograph signing. The photographers were not aggressive, at all, and always made sure that we had time to take our own photos, as well. The Pirates of the Caribbean deck party is a huge hit. It was a huge highlight and everyone enjoyed it, that is, if they could stay awake for the party, which didn't start until around 10 p.m. The buffet for the party is awesome and I enjoyed the selections as much as I did anything in the dining rooms. The roasted turkey legs were a huge hit with the kids and the crepe station pleased the adults. The pools were busy but not overly crowded on our cruise. In fact, the ship only had 300 kids on board for our sailing and we never felt crowded. The crew is super friendly and I never passed anyone who did not ask about my day or what we planned to do in port, etc...This was true for the officers and crew, as well as the state room attendants and the folks in food service. They genuinely want to please you and go out of their way to accommodate any request. I also appreciated the fact that Disney makes very few announcements over the intercom, which means no loud early morning port and tender messages. This review is long but I only scratched the surface. I would be happy to answer questions, if someone wants to send me a private message.