Updated by Gina Kramer, Associate Editor, and Christine Koubek, Cruise Critic Contributor
There's no doubt Disney Cruise Line has a soft spot for Disney Magic, the ship that gave the line a name in the cruise industry. And, as of fall 2013 -- when the ship received its 15th-birthday refurb -- Disney has all the more reason to celebrate.
Like its three fleetmates, Magic sports a nostalgic ocean liner appearance with a navy blue hull and red funnels (customized with Mickeys, of course). While the cabins have been refreshed with new carpet and furnishings, it retains the nautical decor prevalent on all Disney's sister ships. (And, yes, the hidden Mickeys are still there.) But, despite these similarities, post-refurb Magic lives up to its big sister title with a number of company firsts.
Among them are the AquaDunk, a thrilling slide version of the AquaDuck found on Dream and Fantasy; Carioca's, a Brazilian-style main dining room; and Become Iron Man, a virtual game, found in the children's play area, that lets kids interact suit up as Iron Man. Other upgrades include a brand-new look to the kids areas, expanded water play areas (including a toddler splash zone), updated dining areas and re-imagined entertainment areas like the adults-only bar district and spa.
Disney Magic's Art Deco design elements are evident in all of its public spaces, including its newly redesigned atrium. There are a few Disney-themed venues that are appropriately colorful and exuberant, but most of the ship's appeal lies in the fact that it's truly designed for everyone, not just Disney fanatics and kids.
If you're trying to decide between Magic (or its twin sister Wonder) and the cruise line's newest ships, know this: Magic has a more intimate feel than its larger sisters, which makes it easier to get to know your fellow passengers, keep track of family members and have the sense that you've experienced everything the ship has to offer, even on shorter sailings.
Disney Magic Fellow Passengers
Mostly families sail this ship. However, a large number of people do travel without kids because they appreciate the quality of the ship, its offerings and its suite-like cabins. Disney Magic's changing itineraries attract a higher percentage of past passengers looking to explore new places with Disney.
Disney Magic Dress Code
Dress is casual during the day and resort casual -- slacks and collared shirts for men and casual dresses or capri pants for women -- in the evenings, with one formal night and one semiformal night on each seven-night cruise. Although they're optional, dress pants and jackets for men and dresses or pantsuits for women are encouraged. But even these fancier nights lean toward the casual side, with many women dressed in summer or maxi-dresses as opposed to long, formal ones. Swimwear and tank tops are not allowed in the restaurants at dinner, but shorts and jeans are permitted. In Palo, the dress code is a bit more strict; shorts, capri pants, flip-flops and sneakers are not allowed, although you can wear jeans.
Disney Magic Gratuity
The recommended gratuities are $4 per person (adult or child), per day, for the dining room server; $3 per person, per day, for the assistant server; $1 per person, per day, for the head server; and $4 per person, per day, for the room steward. All bar, pool deck and coffee bar drinks have a 15 percent gratuity added to the bill. Spa gratuities are not added and are left to the discretion of each passenger. It is suggested that cruisers tip a couple dollars for room service as it's delivered.
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