For two adult, childless, first-time cruisers (26 & 30), who are admittedly huge fans of Disney, this cruise was the BEST. We had a great vacation and don't regret a second of it. We were able to do as much or as little as we wanted to do the whole week, both on and off the ship. Our vacation started off on the right foot, when we stayed overnight at the Hyatt Regency Hotel at Orlando International Airport. We were able to leave our luggage in our room, which we next saw in our stateroom aboard the Magic that evening, while we enjoyed breakfast and breezed through the cruise check-in right at the airport. Then, we boarded a Disney bus to the port on our schedule, and arrived just prior to our boarding number being called. I knew right then, we had made the right decision. Everything was so easy!
The Magic had plenty of activities and wonderful entertainment throughout the day and night, such as Disney stage shows, comedians slash magician or juggler or hypnotist or ventriloquist More
(there was someone different every night, for both a family show and an adult-only show). We had some really wonderful meals, both the "included" dining rooms and the "pay a bit extra" Palo Restaurant (Palo Brunch is NOT to be missed if you enjoy food at all). The breakfast buffet, on the other hand, was not so good. Easily remedied by just going to the regular dining rooms for table service. Regardless, we had excellent service whenever we turned around. One of my favorite memories was coming back to the ship on Grand Cayman Day after an early-morning excursion (Nautilus semi-sub/reef snorkeling, also fantasic for newbies to snorkeling like myself), and getting to enjoy the adult pool and spa practically to ourselves for several hours.
If I haven't convinced you Disney-philes already, my cheapskate husband not only booked our next cruise onboard (they have great incentives), he also purchased Disney Vacation Club! He knew within a few days that Disney is going to be how we will vacation in the future, kids or no kids. Less
Wonderful central location, mid-ship, and not too far from stairs/elevator/laundry. We saw plenty of children in the hallway, but it was extremely quiet once we were in our cabin and we rarely heard anything from the hall or from neighbor cabins.
We booked the Nachi Cocom Beach Break. At $55/pp, it included the normal "beach break" amenities, such as access to the beach, dedicated lounge chairs and an umbrella, a pool and hot tub, a 3-course lunch (Mexican or American fare), and unlimited drinks. We added on a couple's massage for $70/pp and 30 min. jet ski ride. They really made sure we were taken care of the whole day. They only take up to 100 people per day (one of the reasons we chose them), and they were definitely not full the day we were there, even though there were 6 cruise ships in port that day. In fact, most people were gone by 2 PM, and we practically had the place to ourselves the final few hours. By the time they called us a cab and we rolled out of there, we were so happy and relaxed. We would definitely go back to Nachi Cocom and we highly recommend it to others.
The Nautilus Semi-sub tour was booked through DCL along with the reef snorkeling. It was the first time I've ever done anything like this, so of course I was delighted. The sub was maybe a third full, so we had plenty of room, and we often went back and forth between sides of the sub, depending on what was visible. I think if the sub was full, it wouldn't have been the same experience. It was a great experience, however, I wouldn't do the same exact one again, though I would do a semi-sub in a different location for variety.
The reef snorkeling was part of the Nautilus Semi-sub tour. I booked this excursion through DCL because it was family-friendly, and therefore the only reason this newbie would agree to try snorkeling. I am afraid of the water, and I did indeed panic upon trying to snorkel. I was about to give up, when through the calm words of our tour guide and his throwing me a life saver to hold on to during snorkeling, I was able to relax and enjoy myself. It was an amazing experience, and one I would definitely do again.
The Hemingway House was $12.50/pp and all we wanted to see was the cats. (We love cats, and have a poly-dactyl cat of our own.) We saw plenty of them, got to pet them and take lots of pictures. We had zero interest in the guided tour (included in the price) or the house, which we walked quickly through. We enjoyed the grounds more. I would also not do this again.