11 Disney Magic Spring Break Cruise Reviews

Embarkation in Miami a bit rocky, the check in was not well staffed in addition to enormous amount of first time cruisers, everyone confused & slow, slow, slow. Stateroom needed much attention lots of patchwork, shower loose and ... Read More
Embarkation in Miami a bit rocky, the check in was not well staffed in addition to enormous amount of first time cruisers, everyone confused & slow, slow, slow. Stateroom needed much attention lots of patchwork, shower loose and sprayed water from neck, missing caulking to messy over caulked area's and the noise, you could not get away from it on the 8th deck, do not book an stateroom with a connecting door and stay away from deck 8. Chair dragging, running, jumping quiet about 0100hrs. The ship is showing her age, deck 4 very narrow for running track. Dining same as the Dream class yet no one dressed for dinner on this ship but a handful of us. Minimum activities, everything everywhere trivia! Our stateroom host was on his phone almost always, left trash bins ajar never refilled soap, had to ask for it and shampoo etc. He smiled and always apologized, just off putting & we are neat freaks so he never had much to do. The movie theater had zero leg room, it was very uncomfortable if you are over 5'6". The sail away party was awful, I can go hear a DJ anywhere, if you have a choice skip this one. (Unless you enjoy really small elevators packed with people and stairs that are so narrow they are hard to navigate especially when there are children running up & down them with no parents in sight. No Magic on the Magic in our opinion, pretty bad when you are Okay with disembarkation day! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We just returned from a 5 Day Cruise on the Disney Magic. We departed from Port of Miami. Ports visited were Cozumel and CastawayCay. We had stateroom 2550. The cabin was nice and quite. I really liked the 2 “room” bathroom. ... Read More
We just returned from a 5 Day Cruise on the Disney Magic. We departed from Port of Miami. Ports visited were Cozumel and CastawayCay. We had stateroom 2550. The cabin was nice and quite. I really liked the 2 “room” bathroom. With 3 girls ....having the toilet and shower/bathtub in separate rooms was very convenient. The mattress were fairly comfortable. I do believe it’s about time for these mattresses to be replaced. Our stateroom host was great. He couldn’t do enough for us. My granddaughters (8 and 10) loved everything! The kids club (Oceaneers) was a favorite. They could check themselves into the club, and I would pick them up. They enjoyed the musical productions at the end of the day, too. These were well done. The girls loved dressing up on pirates night! (Bring your own costumes. Buying these on the ship are quite expensive). They also loved dressing up in princess dresses, which we bought before we packed for the cruise. We signed up - online - (a few weeks before leaving on the cruise) for ticketed Disney Character events. Do this as early as you can as they “sell” out. These events are free, but you have to sign up. Also we had fun with the Marvel Day-at Sea. Heads up - Since this is basically, just one day, the lines get very long ( hour wait) to meet Capt America and Thor! While we were waiting to get onto the ship, we were given a letter, informing us that the Mexican government recently lifted a tourist warning on traveling between the Cancun area and Cozumel. Nevertheless, Disney was cautiously avoiding excursions across this area. This made me very nervous about doing a reserved snorkeling excursion in Cozumel, so I cancelled it. We did a little shopping in Cozumel...a little overwhelming for an 8 and 10 year old due to lots a cigar smoking and salesmen calling out to us to buy their goods. Not much fun for us. Castaway Cay was a nice break. The captain couldn’t get the ship docked until about noon ( rough seas ) so we only had snacks offered on the island. We had Fun snorkeling (although not much aquatic life to see) . The girls felt comfortable in the floatation vests offered by Disney. We brought our own snorkeling gear since it ran about $100 for the 3 of us to rent them. We loved renting bikes ($10 each) and biking around the island. It was a great way to see the island and the beautiful ocean scenes. Bottom line, the girls had a blast on the cruise! And I loved seeing their joy and excitement. It was nonstop excitement over meeting Disney characters, nonstop high energy throughout the ship! I could hear young moms expressing exhaustion about day 3! My girls loved the pool area, even though the pool looked like a can of packed sardines....so crowded! My only complaint was the quality of the food. Given the price of a Disney Cruise, Disney should definitely improve on their cuisine! I heard multiple passengers complaining. The recent cruises I’ve done on - Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Holland America; all had far superior cuisine to Disney. My girls weren’t too disappointed because all they cared about were the free ice cream cones and room service delivered cookies and milk at the end of the day. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
My family has cruised the Caribbean a handful of times. We love the vibe of the Caribbean but yearned for different ports, and a more port intensive cruise compared to the usual 2-3 ports that you get on a standard Eastern or Western ... Read More
My family has cruised the Caribbean a handful of times. We love the vibe of the Caribbean but yearned for different ports, and a more port intensive cruise compared to the usual 2-3 ports that you get on a standard Eastern or Western cruise. That put a Southern Caribbean on our bucket list. When we saw that one of our favorite ships, The Magic, was sailing just a handful of Southern itineraries we did what we could to be on that ship. This cruise left from San Juan. We had called on San Juan once before during an eastern sailing that diverted there instead of St Martin because of a tropical storm. We decided then that a few hours didn't do that town justice and were eager to visit again. We spent 2 nights pre-cruise and an additional night post cruise in San Juan to do some exploring and lots of eating. I booked our cruise, and subsequently the flights fairly last minute. While that gave us a good deal on the cruise the flight cost probably made up for that as they were not as inexpensive as they would have been a month earlier. The flight was about 4 hours from Philly and was pretty uneventful. While there were long lines getting out of the airport and to a car in San Juan, it did not take too long and it was easy - good signage - to get a cab to our hotel. It was hard to decide whether or not to stay in old city, on the beach, or near the port for a 2 pre cruise days. We ended up staying near the port at a Hyatt House. We had a one bedroom with a kitchenette which worked well for the 4 of us. The hotel had a pool and a lounge - free breakfast. We also had a room with a cruise terminal view - nice bonus to see our ship pulling in! That is always good for building the excitement. There were a few restaurants in walking distance and both the port and old city were a quick cab ride away. It was quite lovely though and I would definitely visit again. Embarkation was not too bad, though you do wait in line - with your luggage OUTSIDE of the terminal in San Juan. San Juan can be a tad warm! It went pretty fast but we were a bit sweaty by the time we got inside. There was also a snafu in the port. They didn't see on the computer that we had done our registration online and make us fill everything out again. Only to find it as we were filling out our last sheet. It was a bit annoying at the time but it didn't delay us too long. By the time we finished our boarding number was called and we walked on the ship. I want to say the process from drop off to on board took about an hour. A tad longer than we have experienced on other sailings from Florida. We had sailed the Disney Magic in 2013 and I personally loved the smaller feel compared to her larger sisters the Dream and the Fantasy. She is older but it is hard to tell. She has been upgraded a few times in her years and she shines like a newer ship. We jumped on a deal so our cabin was an ocean view guarantee. I was hoping the magic Disney fairies would sprinkle pixie dust on us and upgrade us to a balcony but ended up happy with our stateroom. Our ocean view room had a fairly large porthole window, a kind sized bed, and a couch. It boasted the split bathroom that Disney's ships are known for. One room has the toilet and a sink and the other room has a tub/shower combo and a sink. Our stateroom host was great at keeping our cabin clean and our bucket filled with ice. All Disney ships have rotational dining - they have 3 main restaurants where your wait staff follows you to each night. Each restaurant has it's own signature menu - then for the other 4 nights of the cruise there are different themed menus that is the same through all of the restaurants. If you don't want to eat at your main dining room you will find there is adult for fee dining, quick service food, room service, or quicker less formal sit down dining in Cabanas (which is buffet during the day) On the Magic they have more tables that seat large groups, while on the Fantasy and Dream they have many more 4 tops so that families can sit at their own table. It so happened on this trip for the first time in our Disney history - we were sat with another family. Let it be known that I am super shy and socially awkward at best. My kids are just fine though - not shy at all. The hubs is actually pretty outgoing too. So at face value this situation was really only uncomfortable to me. Dinners were pleasant on the surface but it wasn't an ideal situation in the end and we wished we would have asked in the beginning if it would have been possible to have our own table or be moved. I should have learned my lesson with this in the past when we weren't happy with our waitstaff and did not switch. I'm always too afraid of offending someone. The food was very good. No issues with the service staff, they were good at their jobs and bonuses for being really good with the kids/teens. Our assistant server even made gorgeous name drawings for each of the kids to take home. For breakfast or lunch you can go to the buffet, call room service, or you can sit down in one of the MDRs. In addition, during breakfast one of the quick serve locations has fruit and pastries or you can leave a card out for continental breakfast items to be brought to your stateroom. For Lunch in addition the buffet all of the quick serve locations are open. All of the food and service is excellent. Lines were busiest in quick serve and the buffet at main dining times and when we came back in from port. If you go at a slightly off time you will skip the line. This was a port intensive itinerary so we didn't take too much time for scheduled daily activities. We did go swimming, we watched an afternoon comedy show, and watched movies by the pool or in the theater. However we did do some of the adult only shows/comedy shows/game shows for the first time in 7 cruises! We were missing out. While we aren't big joiners it was fun to watch. Lots of laughs and good to have some adult time. The gym on the ship is more than adequate if you want to use a cardio or weight machine to work off some of those extra desserts. The promenade deck does wrap around the entire ship if you are into open air walking or running. Plus there is shuffleboard out there for some added hazards during your run :) 3 laps makes one mile on this deck. The kids did spend some time in the kid clubs. I have a teen and an 8 year old. The teen was just okay with the teen club. The club on the Fantasy and Dream is much more modern so she wasn't super excited that this area on the Magic hasn't been updated in quite awhile. The teen hangout resembles an urban loft with comfy worn in furniture. It's only decor but I guess in her case it did make a difference. She did make friends to hang out with though and had fun with them. The kid club on the Magic was re imagined just a few years back - I think in 2013. They have an avengers section, toy story, pixie hallow, and mickey on the one side of the club. The other side has navigation center, an illustrators area, computer area, and a huge interactive floor. The little one loves all of this kind of stuff and always found something to do and someone to play with. They do have organized activities in all of the kids clubs and you can see them either on your daily paper or on the app. Speaking of the app - it was convenient if you carry your phone with you. You can text anyone on the ship using the app (so keeping in touch with family and friends). The kid club will keep in touch with you that way too. You can also view what's going on, what restaurants are open and their menus, look at shore excursion and port info, and see character appearance times. We did book all of our excursions through Disney. We actually found it hard to book outside of the cruise line. When we contacted the providers we wanted to use they said they sell through the cruise line only. I'm sure not all excursions/companies were this way but the ones we chose were. Disney does a good job with shore excursions however. The price is never too extreme and from what we have experienced the companies they contract with all do a very good job. I will go more in depth on excursions in the port section of the review. All in all this was an amazing cruise on a cruise line that really knows how to make your cruise magical! We loved every second of this vacation. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
I expected my first Disney cruise to blow me away. The dinner service was so lacking that it colored my whole cruise. My paid for birthday cake for my special birthday which was not delivered on the correct evening was so disappointing. ... Read More
I expected my first Disney cruise to blow me away. The dinner service was so lacking that it colored my whole cruise. My paid for birthday cake for my special birthday which was not delivered on the correct evening was so disappointing. That colored my feelings for the cruise too. However, the evening shows were wonderful, the Concierges were wonderful and the Concierge Lounge was wonderful, with great coffee and Afternoon tea too. Pirate Night was excellent fun. The ticketed meet and greets were very easy to do and fun. My Concierge cabin was very noisy, above us and inside the cabin it creaked. The mattress dips a bit too much and some drawers stick. However, there was lots of room in our cabin. The school age kids couldn't find anything they wanted to buy in the gift shop with the gift cards I gave them. There wasn't a big selection in the gift shops on board. If my kids wanted to go on a Disney cruise again, I would go with them if they wanted me, but I wouldn't choose to go on another one. I like other cruise lines better. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
The Disney top notch customer service began even before we stepped on the ship. They sent emails every once in a while reminding us of things to bring, preorder, and book (e.g. excursions, photos packages, etc.). Then, when it got closer, ... Read More
The Disney top notch customer service began even before we stepped on the ship. They sent emails every once in a while reminding us of things to bring, preorder, and book (e.g. excursions, photos packages, etc.). Then, when it got closer, they sent us a small spiral book that had all of the information we needed, specific to us, along with our luggage tags. That was very useful since it had our flight information (I didn't even book that through them), transportation to and from the airport info, itinerary, and what to bring. When we got to Miami, someone was waiting for us at the baggage claim to take us to a bus that took us to the ship (because we booked the transportation- which I recommend). When we got to the port, the ease of embarking was remarkable! We've been on other cruise lines and this was much more organized and everyone was friendly! When we got on the ship, to our surprise, they announce your arrival with a microphone and employees smile and clap for you (our 8-year-old loved that). Our first stop was to the kids Oceaneer Club where we got our son a band (not extra) that he wears the whole trip to get in and out of the club. It's great! They know exactly where your child is the whole time!! That was very reassuring. I can't say enough good things about this club. There was plenty to do, lots of fun activities, in a safe environment. Our son absolutely loved it! The ship was the smallest we had been on, but I really liked it. We were never bored or amazed by all it offered onboard. It is a beautiful ship. The lines to meet characters were not that long, considering how many people were onboard. Same for the amazing broadway shows! We just got there 45 minutes early and always got front row! (They open the doors 30 minutes prior, so only stood for 15 minutes). We really enjoyed the Game shows, juggler (from Americas Got Talent!), bingo, and the broadway shows! The Star Wars shop and other shops we great! On Grand Cayman we did the Dolphin Extreme which was a lot of fun!! On Castaway Cay we were going to Jet Ski, but it was cancelled due to rough waters. But, that island was our favorite!! So nice and very fun!! The disembarkation was very smooth. We were well informed on what to do beforehand, which I appreciated. Everything from the last breakfast onboard to collecting our luggage (from a carousel!!) off the ship was very impressive. The absolute best we had been through. Disney is very organized, has the absolute best customer service, and everyone onboard was very happy. I felt safe and was happy the entire trip. I highly recommend going!! I will definitely do it again! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We recently traveled with our 4 children on the Disney Magic. There are a lot of great things about Disney. The food was great, customer service excellent and the boat offers a variety of programs to keep children of all ages ... Read More
We recently traveled with our 4 children on the Disney Magic. There are a lot of great things about Disney. The food was great, customer service excellent and the boat offers a variety of programs to keep children of all ages entertained. There are a few things that we were not thrilled with or wish we had known going in. I am a planner, so I read all the information sent to us and looked up things like dress code and policy on bringing alcohol on board. We adhered to the "no shorts" and packed accordingly. I have 4 boys, so they were not thrilled when they were in long pants and collared shirts every night and other kids and adults were walking in wearing gym shorts and t-shirts. If there is going to be a dress code provided, Disney should stick to it. If they want to accommodate more casual diners, they should designate one dining room for this. Disney also stated we could bring one bottle of wine per adult. When we arrived there were people with cases of water, multiple bottles of wine and other alcohol. This would have saved us a lot of money and if we had known Disney was so flexible on their own policy, it would have been helpful. Repeat cruisers told us that they always bring things on board that Disney states they do not allow and no one ever says anything. I am glad they are flexible, but again, either change the policy or create something they are going to adhere too. The food selections were great and my kids loved the flexibility of options and times they could eat. There were a few up-sell items I did not feel were necessary. Water is one, why not give guests water? We had to purchase a bottled water package. They also have fresh popcorn outside the theater every time a show is on, but only for purchase. How much can popcorn really cost compared to everything else they include in the dining plan? The same was true for any of the kids frozen treats and smoothies that they offered. It was just a bit confusing to the kids to have the up-sell items scattered among the included items. Lastly, the excursions were a bit of a cattle call. I had not been to the caribbean for several years and the excursions were all geared toward getting gratuity and up-selling photo's. So much so, that it was hard to enjoy the excursion itself. We did a lot of standing around waiting "our turn" and it made for very long days. A 30 minute snorkeling experience would take 4 hours. We would cruise again, but we would not do the organized excursions but look for some private ones. Our best one, was at Castaway Cay the last day, skip all the float, snorkel and bike rentals. The kids can swim, have lunch and then we took a sandbar excursion. It was 3 men on their boat and only 3 families. We spend two hours on a mile long sandbar, just us. They had music, games, rum punch, snorkeling gear and never once asked for gratuity. It was by far the best, most relaxing excursion we had. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We traveled over Spring Break with our family of four - mom, dad, and two boys ages 13 and 11. As first time Disney cruisers, we were a little worried it may be geared toward a younger crowd and that we would be fighting off character ... Read More
We traveled over Spring Break with our family of four - mom, dad, and two boys ages 13 and 11. As first time Disney cruisers, we were a little worried it may be geared toward a younger crowd and that we would be fighting off character trying to pose with us. We needn't have worried! It was magical from the moment we drove into Port Canaveral and saw the Disney Magic waiting for us! We dropped our bags for curbside check in (with no pressure for a tip) and headed straight to the parking garage right next to the ship. Not necessarily cheap, but oh-so convenient - secure AND covered. Don't even think of parking elsewhere! We were two hours early for our scheduled check-in time and prepared ourselves for a wait. No such thing! We walked right up to get our IDs made, got registered quickly for the Oceaneers Club, and then walked right onto the boat. We were grinning from ear to ear as they announced our family's arrival onto the Disney Magic! We hit the lunch buffet right away which was perfect timing as rooms were not ready just yet. Then we started exploring the ship. The boys immediately found the basketball court and spent the majority of their time playing with the other 400 kids ages 11-14 who were on the ship! Absolutely perfect for them (though they could use a bigger court with a regulation height hoop.) We heard there were 1000 kids on board but we really didn't feel overrun by little ones. Maybe it was our later dining time (8:15), but it didn't feel like a children's cruise at all (thank goodness!). Had to make an effort if you wanted to get a picture taken with a character! Our younger son spent some time in the Edge program. Our 13 year-old would stop by but was most likely to just use them for their organized sports activities. Their favorite was MIDNIGHT dodgeball on the sports court (top deck, front of the boat!) There must have been 50 kids up there when we stopped by - all monitored by Disney staff. Kudos to them for providing fun stuff today ALL DAY LONG! At 11 the Oceaneers Club just felt too young for him. But he has been an old soul all his life, so give it a try if your child is the right age! One very useful thing we loved was the Disney Cruise Line app which helped us keep track of all the ship's activities on a daily basis. It even sent reminders to our phones throughout the day of activities we had highlighted. The ship allowed access to that app for free via wireless, so it worked even if you didn't buy a data plan. We loved the entertainment all around - did the 6:15 show every night together. There Disney-themed shows were great. Least favorite by far was an acrobatic dance troupe that used lots of special effect lighting. Almost walked out! Comedians were great. Used the fitness center some but would have liked ot use it far more. VERY disappointed that kids of ANY age are not allowed in there unless with the teen program (which only went during our dinner hour) or with a fitness instructor (extra fee of course). My husband and older son enjoy working out on vacations - and it is a nice balance to the all-you-can-eat mentality that comes with a cruise. For them to claim it is an "adults-only" area but then let you use it if you pay for an instructor is a little shady to me. Had a pedicure done at the spa figuring it would be a nice treat. The staff were very fine but of course services were overpriced. VERY limited selection of nail colors in the regular price range - a few more with a $25 upcharge. Should have left then. Went for broke to get hot pink only to discover rough spots in the polish after I left. Not impressed but what can you do. Get your pedis at home - but know that rough sand on the beaches will wreak havoc with your polish! Dining: Disney rotates you through all three dining rooms throughout the cruise which was wonderfully entertaining. Each has a different theme and feel. You keep the same servers no matter where you go for dinner, and we loved Zsolt from Hungary! We could have used better info on the dress code. It says that shorts aren't allowed but that definitely was not the case. My boys mostly wore long pants and collared shirts but could have gotten away with much more casual looks. We also didn't realize there would be formal and semi-formal dining nights. My husband felt a bit under-dressed without a tie but truly was fine - just know that there will be some tuxes and fancy dresses mixed in with more casual looks! And while 8:15 may seem like a late dinner time, eating at 5:45 is just too early in our books! We brought a deck of cards and a chess set and got the whole table involved in games while we waited for our food. The kids' meals were always brought out early - if you have younger kids the Disney staff will even come get them from the dining room and take them to the Oceaneers Club so you can finish you dinner in a leisurely, vacation-y manner! Don't hesitate to bring pirate gear - you cannot overdo it on pirate night! Excursions: We did the ruins/beach club in Cozumel and loved our guide, Patrick/Patricio. He had a passion for the history of the island and a true desire for its future growth. The ruins were interesting, and we learned something about Mexico before heading to the beach. The beach club (Playa Mia) itself was just OK. Plenty of room to change clothes, slides, small pool. My boys most enjoyed the floating inflatables. Didn't really feel we had time to do more than one thing there - could have opted to catch a cab back to the ship on our own but didn't. Cabs were plentiful there though should you consider that route. Opted not to do an excursion in Grand Cayman and just took a shuttle to Seven Mile Beach. We ended up at the public beach - Sea Grape, I believe. There is a small restaurant there and some changing facilities - nothing fancy. Some wonderfully enterprising folks have put up a floating waterpark and then charge by the hour per kid for you to use it. Great fun for my boys again. The water itself is gorgeous as you would expect. The sand is rougher than in the US - more rocks. Big drop off heading into the water but levels off and isn't too deep for a while. Some older people were having trouble getting out of the water - steep climb. One woman had a cane which I can only imagine is tough to use in wet sand! On the way back to the ship, we stopped off at Margaritaville right by the dock. Gotta love Jimmy Buffet - there is a pool and waterslide right there in the restaurant! Even a bar IN the pool you where you can swim up and order drinks! Nice end to our time in GC! Jamaica was another port we decided not to do an excursion. Frankly, next time we would just stay on the ship, but having never been to Jamaica, we figured we had to go ashore and check things out. The immediate port area itself (Falmouth) is very nice. All the usual shops you find waiting for the ships and plenty of souvenirs to choose from. We decided that things in Grand Cayman had gone so well that we would venture to the beach in Jamaica too. It was bad from the minute we got into the cab, and I will rest most of the blame on this particular cab driver. We should have been worried when he was negotiating a price that meant "no tip"! There was a reason for that - we NEVER would have tipped him in the first place - and we generally overtip, I assure you! (He stopped on the side of the raod to "urinate" and tried to get my husband to agree to stop and let him get his car door fixed by his cousin - trying to eat into the three hours we had booked with him. His driving was far more than assertive and he honked far more than anyone else we came across!) Anyway, he eventually got us to Montego Bay to the public beach there. We were expecting something pretty based on views we had coming in (and our time in Cozumel and GC). This beach though was just sad and depressing. You had to pay to get in, but we didn't even get that far - it just looked that bad from the road! We had him turn around and drive a half mile back to MARGARITAVILLE! Cracked us up, but right there overlooking Montego Bay, Jimmy Buffet has another restaurant AND a FREE floating waterpark. Food is overpriced, service slow, but view is wonderful and fun priceless! You can slide down the tube slide from the second story deck right into the water (life preservers available as well). From there it is a short swim to floating trampolines, rockwalls, and an obstacle course. We did buy some food and beverages to fortify ourselves for the ride back. We left feeling like Jimmy Buffet had saved our trip to Jamaica. Castaway Cay: Leave it to Disney to create its own paradise smack in the middle of paradise! Our favorite stop - more than enough chairs/umbrellas for EVERYONE; loved snorkeling together as a family and couldn't have felt safer doing it. They have lifeguards way out from shore keeping an eye over the snorkelers. Water was quite comfortable (and I am not known for my tolerance of cold water!) The slides at Pelican Plunge were awesome - fast and fun. Hold onto your hats/sunglasses or you WILL lose them. We did the combo rental equipment package and did use up all our options. Not sure we would bike it again - not that much to see! The island could use a pool but that's about it! Arriving back in Florida, disembarkation was simple. Cruised thru customs after a last meal (breakfast) with the same servers we had all week. Nice to say a final goodbye to them! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Disney made this trip as easy and painless as possible. We were shocked at how easy it was to stick to a budget, only dining with an upcharge was Palo. The ship was beautifully appointed and the staff was wonderful. Stateroom Our ... Read More
Disney made this trip as easy and painless as possible. We were shocked at how easy it was to stick to a budget, only dining with an upcharge was Palo. The ship was beautifully appointed and the staff was wonderful. Stateroom Our party split up into two rooms, a balcony stateroom and an inside stateroom. The balcony room featured split bathrooms (one room with toilet and sink, one room with shower and sink) that were extremely helpful. The standard inside staterooms only feature one. There was lots of storage in the room and under the bed. The bunk beds were surprisingly comfortable and the kids looked forward to seeing the towel animals each night. We also used the curtain at night which excited the kids to have their own "room". I would definitely recommend taking advantage of the Wave Phones as we used them consistently. They work throughout the ship, are permitted everywhere, and feature texting as well. Entertainment The shows in the Walt Disney Theatre were fantastic, our family would never miss them. We watched a few movies in the Buena Vista Theatre and enjoyed that. The deck parties seemed to target younger kids with the characters but we still had a good time. Character greeting lines appeared very long and we avoided them as much as possible. Take advantage of the photo service since we were disappointed as to how few we had at the end of the cruise. Dining Rotational dining was unique and we loved it. We looked forward to checking in with our waitstaff and telling them about our day each night. We only realizes halfway through the trip that Lumiere's serves breakfast and lunch. This is a much better alternative to the crowded buffet. We did Palo brunch one morning since it was much easier to get reservations and was cheaper. The food was fantastic and totally worth the extra fee. We even snuck some chocolate covered strawberries back to the room so the kids could enjoy them. When considering ordering room service, keep in mind that even though the food is free, you will still need to tip. As an alternative, simply run up to Cabanas buffet and bring your food back to the stateroom. You just leave the plates in the hallway. Youth Clubs The youth clubs were fantastic and the staff made all the children feel welcome. Encourage your kids to go to the open house so they can meet the counselors and other kids. We had an 11 year old who was worried about being separated from our group in the oceaneer club (rest of kids were ages 12-14) but the staff let him into Edge and he loved it. Our 14 year old tried the teen club, Vibe, but felt too young so he stayed at the the preteen club Edge. Ports and Shore Excursions All of our shore excursions were booked through Disney, which made things very simple. Our snorkeling in Key West was disappointing, the water was 10 feet deep, very cold and murky. We still had a great time and the staff was nice. The open bar on the way back was appreciated. In Grand Cayman, we did the dolphin interaction and turtle farm. That was absolutely spectacular, though pricey. In Cozumel, most of our group was ill so we canceled our tour of the ruins. Disney gave us a full refund even though we canceled the day of. Two adults in our group got off the ship and took a cab to the ruins. This worked well and we enjoyed moving at our own pace. Castaway Cay was wonderful and it had everything we needed. Our group booked a kayaking tour, but it felt unnecessary because there was so much to do on the island already. I would recommend simply enjoying the beaches or renting bikes or kayaks on your own. Activities The family pools were extremely crowded but might be fine for younger kids. The Twist n' Spout waterslide was surprisingly fast and our kids had a blast. The AquaDunk was very exciting and neat. If you want to enjoy the pool areas and have short lines, get back on the ship a little early on port days. When the boat is at sea, the upper decks get pretty crowded. The daily navigator was extremely useful. I bring different colored highlighters and the family each highlights activities they might be interested in doing. You can also pick up extra copies at guest services. In summary, the Disney cruise was very enjoyable and I'm sure your family will have a great time too. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We booked a 7 night cruise with Disney aboard the Disney Magic for Spring Break week. This cruise was a total surprise for my 10 year old daughter. She thought we were going to the Port to watch the ships leave the docks! She had no ... Read More
We booked a 7 night cruise with Disney aboard the Disney Magic for Spring Break week. This cruise was a total surprise for my 10 year old daughter. She thought we were going to the Port to watch the ships leave the docks! She had no clue that we were actually going on the Magic! The Disney crew is top notch! They played along with everything that we were saying, never giving any indication that we were actually going to be sailing that day. She found out as we were unloading our luggage at check-in. I think that is the first time in her life that she was speechless! Our room was ready as soon as we boarded the ship, about 2pm. It was nice and clean, and more spacious than I had thought. We had lunch at Topsider's Buffet. It was pretty good. Everyone on the ship was so nice and polite. There was so much to do. My daughter was enrolled in the Oceaneer's Lab, and loved it. She made so many friends. I felt safe leaving her in the Lab as all of the children wore "Mickey Bands", an electronic device that holds their name & staterooms while on board, as well as whom may or may not pick them up, and the password. The staff was super friendly and always willing to help if needed. Our stateroom host was fabulous! He never got upset if he came to clean our room and we weren't ready. He just smiled and stated that he would be back later. Our room was always turned down and ready for us after dinner at night. He made the most amazing towel animals for my daughter each night, as well as left her chocolates. The Dining staff was spectacular. We had the same dining room server and assistant server throughout our entire cruise. They knew what we wanted to drink each night and were aware of our food allergies. They made sure that we didn't order anything that would cause an allergic reaction. They checked all of the food that we ordered to make sure that there was no cross-contamination as well.There was so much to do on board! They had Broadway style shows, movies, shopping, bars, pools. They had a place for everyone! There is even an adult section on the boat, so you can take some of that "ME" time that we all seem to miss. The adult section on the boat consisted of a pool, two hot tubs, a bar, a coffee shop, a spa, and the famous Palo restaurant. Both my mom and myself took full advantage of the spa. We got manicures, pedicures, massages, and facials. Not to mention the Rain Forest Room! That place was so relaxing. We also visited Palo for the champagne brunch. The servers there are very nice and attentive as well. Granted, Disney does charge more for their cruises than it appears that some cruise lines do, but they live up to what they promise! This was a wonderful family vacation that will be repeated in the years to come! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Disney's Mediterranean Cruise: Preparation, Reservations, Hotels and Flights As an intro, let me cut to the chase and say that I loved this cruise. My somewhat skeptical French husband loved this cruise. My 4 year old was in preschool ... Read More
Disney's Mediterranean Cruise: Preparation, Reservations, Hotels and Flights As an intro, let me cut to the chase and say that I loved this cruise. My somewhat skeptical French husband loved this cruise. My 4 year old was in preschool nirvana and even the 18 month old came home a Mickey convert who now makes "kissy" noises every time he sees a photo of Minnie Mouse. But, as those of you who know me are well aware, I have 5000 ways to say that I don't like something. So I am going to break down the cruise into the good, the bad and the stupid. Once again, there was enough good to make us book a Caribbean cruise on Dec 10th, 2011 while still on the boat, but there is always room for improvement. .. and complaining. At the end of each section here, you will find a 1 to 4 star rating for all encounters. Pre-prep and planning To start with, I had not planned or foreseen that we would be going on the Disney Cruise this spring. I had not spent hours of time researching and plotting, like I used to do when I was young and childless. Now, with two boys under 5, plotting, obsessing and compulsive behaviors are purely leisure time activities. The initial setup for going on this cruise started something like this. Julien: You know, Lucas has a school vacation. Me: No, again?? He just went on vacation. When does it start? Julien: April 16th Me: Oh. We had this conversation sometime around March 25th. Now you must understand that school vacations in Paris are sacred family time, and therefore most of the interesting things to do were already booked by more organized parents ....or the extraordinarily wealthy. So, I got online and started researching options in somewhat of a blind panic. We had pretty much decided on going to Djerba la Douce Club Med for 7 days, but it was going to be 4500 Euros and honestly, I didn't really relish the idea of lying around feeling like "I am the Walrus" on a beach in Tunisia in lukewarm weather. In addition, the kids programs looked like they were great if your kids were 9 and above. It didn't seem so great for younger kids. I had looked at the Disney cruises, and even went so far as to call and ask about their childcare option but it just seemed too expensive. So, I went to the Disney cruise site again just for hyucks and giggles. Once there, I found a standard inside stateroom on the April 24th 11 Night Mediterranean Cruise for 3500 US dollars if I booked through the US site! 3500 dollars vs. 4500 Euros. 11 nights vs. 6 nights. I thought it was a no brainer, but called Julien to see what he thought. Of course, he agreed. But by the time I went back to the site, the room was gone and the next nearest option was $5000...much swearing ensued before I was able to calm down enough to go to bed. But the next morning, the lovely husband got up at 5 am and checked the site again, and it was back, so he booked immediately. So, we were on! We decided not to tell Lucas until we got to the ship, which was really hard for Mom! I also had to have all the cruise info routed to my sister in Nashville, as that is the only US address we had, but my fabulous and organized sister was kind enough to forward all of our info to us in Paris, at some expense to her (love you, Myra!). All we had to do then was book our plane flight to Barcelona for the day before the cruise, get our hotel, and pre-book our "Flounder's Reef" nursery time. "No biggie" I thought....hmmmm. Let me take these one at a time, as some things I could have controlled but most I could not. Hotels: First, I tried to book one of the hotels that was recommended on the Disney site. All of them were fully booked. So, I called the customer service line to have us put on the waiting list. In the meantime, I did some research and could not find anything remotely decent for under 350 US dollars per night. I later found out from our friend Nick Lesser, that there was some sort of festival in Barcelona, but this resulted in us booking a fairly expensive hotel called the Hotel Boria. When I next checked on line with the Disney Cruise website ( which takes for *(*#@ ever to log on to and then can't reach your intended destination half the time) it told me that I owed 750 US dollars NOW or my cruise would be canceled. You can just imagine how bad my blood pressure went up during the 4 hours that I had to wait in order to call them. As it turns out, they had just added a hotel room once it became available without checking with me. Let me repeat that. They had 1) added 750 dollars to my bill 2) without telling me 3) for a HOTEL room and 4) had the audacity to come across with a threatening tone on the god awful website. Now, unless the room comes with , I don't know, Johnny Depp, who offers additional add ons, then I can't fathom a hotel room for 750 dollars for one night. I know they exist, but let's face it, with 2 kids in tow, there is nothing that will be worth $750 dollars a night...not even with sexy celebrity man because I would be too tired to make any use of him. So, I called, I shrieked and they took it off the bill sheepishly. So, Hotel Boria it was. After meeting Nick Lesser in Barcelona, I found out we could have gotten much cheaper if we had called him...so that was a learning. Flounder's Reef Nursery: BE FOREWARNED. This is a big development area for Disney Cruise and they are a bit evasive about it when you call. The Oceaneer's clubs are for children starting at 3 years old and are open from roughly 8 am until midnight ....and they are included in the price of the cruise. This is NOT true for the nursery, which is your only option for kids 3 and below. Your are fairly limited on the number of hours you can reserve ahead of time, and on the hours you can book in general. When I was researching the cruise, I found that the website did not provide any information on how many hours of nursery time you could book. They were upfront about the incremental cost ( 6 dollars per hour) but very evasive about the time. This resulted in the one bad phone call that I had with Disney customer service. They allow you to reserve up to 28 hours or so of Flounders reef nursery time before you get on board for an 11 night cruise. I called to find out how many more hours they might allow you to book once you got on board. The customer service representative said , basically, that I should be happy with 28 hours. I told her that this was less than 3 hours a day if you could manage to split it up that way. If you happen to want to take one of their all day adults excursions, that eats up 10 to 12 of your hours and you are then left with roughly an hour a day. What I wanted was to be able to get and keep Seb on a schedule of spending the morning with us and then going to the nursery after his nap until dinner time. The woman at customer service told me that SHE ENJOYED spending time with HER grandchildren and would never consider putting them in the nursery that long. I responded by saying, "Excuse me, but are you insinuating that I am a bad mother because I want a vacation?" to which she responded "Oh no, some people just don't like to be with their children as much as others". At this point, I hung up, called back and asked to speak with a manager and recounted the story with as much dry ice and acid as I could muster. I will say that they responded appropriately by falling all over themselves to apologize and upgrading my room, but really, how did this person slip through the cracks of the Disney armor. Once on board, we did manage to wheedle enough hours to create a little bit of a routine for Seb, but it was far from easy. In addition, there are few, if any, places on the boat that are both contained and specifically for toddlers. They are not allowed in the pools unless they are potty trained, so be prepared to chase your toddler around the boat and put up with his protests when he can't get in the pool. All this being said, the nursery itself was great and well designed. After the first couple of days, Seb stopped complaining about being dropped off and actually bonded quite well with the care givers. Flights: What can I say? Iceland blew up. Who knew? But our airline came through, so good on ya Iberia. So we had made it to Barcelona, to the hotel, and were ready to get on the cruise for the next day!! The Ship, the Characters, the Clubs and the Crew The Ship: The Disney Magic is Ginormous!! The thing is at least 13 floors, with some possibly hidden beneath where the White Rabbit sleeps. And it must be fairly well designed as it was put to the test on the last full day of our cruise when we encountered a somewhat scary storm. The waves were big enough that they closed the port in Nice. We were already at sea when it hit and it was truly spectacular. The waves were high enough that some of the spray made it over the top of the ship. They closed all the decks but the clubs remained open. Lucas and I spend time in the Oceaneers club bouncing from one side of the ship to the other when the ship lilted. He said it was "like flying". At some point, the ship's captain came on board and said that this was a rough storm but that we were not in any danger. He also said that the Disney Magic had been through 2 hurricanes without incident. However, they decided to take the ship closer to the shore and between two islands to minimize the discomfort for us. I am not normally prone to believing things people tell me, but my gut told me that we were never in any real danger. The ship felt incredibly stable. Given the size of the waves, even the rocking was minimal. While a lot of people stayed in their rooms, there were a few of us who were not prone to motion sickness out and about and enjoying mother nature at her finest. I have to say that this was a truly memorable experience for me and I was actually quite glad to have experienced it. My poor husband might not feel the same, as he ended up with seasickness on his birthday. But the rest of the family was fine and enjoyed the show. In short, the ship itself felt super solid and as safe as you can be. It goes without saying that there are railings everywhere, most with plastic covering them. The stairs are such that there are few places that a child can fall very far. And there are Disney crew members roughly every 6 feet. For those with kids who don't sleep, this cruise thing has an added bonus. The gentle rocking of the boat keeps the kids asleep and makes it much easier for them to soothe themselves back to sleep. Both of our boys have been notorious non sleepers. Our oldest just now sleeps through the night, and he is 4. The youngest wakes up multiple times. On the cruise, they both generally slept through. So it is a real vacation for you parents who don't sleep. I forgot how much energy I can have if I get sleep. The Stateroom & Stateroom Attendant : We had a deluxe inside stateroom. This means that the layout consisted of one queen bed, 2 single beds in a bunk bed arrangement, and a crib for Sebastien. The bathroom is "split" in the deluxe stateroom which means that there is one room with a sink and tub / shower and another with a sink and toilet. This proved quite useful in the "getting ready" process. A nice addition is that they put a sliding drape between the queen bed and the rest of the room, so that after the kids go to bed, you can still have a light on in the parent area. You also have a small fridge, a TV and a tiny table. Let me say that I liked the inside stateroom, as we could control the "environment" and create a bedtime atmosphere whenever we wanted. The lack of window didn't end up bothering me at all. In fact, it all felt quite cozy...so much so that this is what we chose for our second cruise. When it comes to upkeep, they come to clean your room just about every time you leave it, even if it is only to go get a snack. We are AWFUL when it comes to making messes. I mean, really world class. One day, Sebastien decided to climb on the unmade bed and eat at least 1/2 dozen cookies. Then Lucas joined him. So when we left the room, in addition to all our usual mess, there were cookie crumbs on the unmade bed, the floor, the walls, the TV, the counters and in the tub. When we came back from lunch, it was completely spotless, crumb free and our suite attendant had made the towels into hanging birds. Truly amazing. After a week of this, he actually sent us a bottle of wine at dinner. Let me repeat. HE sent US a bottle of wine. All I can figure is that he likes a challenge. The Pools: This is another of the "development" areas for Disney, when it comes to toddlers. In general, there are three pools on the Disney Magic. First, there is an adults only pool area with a small pool, a Jacuzzi and a bar. This seemed nice enough and really was kid free. But I must admit, we only used the bar part of this area. Once we had a couple of hours of non kid time, we didn't really want to waste it in the pool...and Jacuzzis gross me out as I have been in one too many that seemed to be growing either new life forms or fat, randy men. Instead, we went to the pool bar, got a drink, sat on the deck and soaked up the scenery. This was great for us, so I am not complaining at all. Second, there was the Goofy pool that was one of two family pools. This one was a bit confusing to me as I could not really see the benefit. The pool itself was small and was located right in front of the big screen TV which showed constant Disney movies. So, I guess this is where you are supposed to watch Little Mermaid and get appropriately water logged. But having a pool there really seemed a bit superfluous. Maybe when my kids are older it will make more sense. It did have some nice deck chairs to sit in and watch the movie though. The last was the Mickey pool, which was the hub of most activity. It was surrounded by all the outside eateries like Pluto's dog house, where you could get hotdogs, chicken nuggets, burgers, tacos and the like. There was also Pinocchio's pizza near the Goofy pool which serves...well...pizza. In addition to kid food there was also a Goofy Grotto that had nice sandwiches and fruit. The pool itself was shaped like Mickey's head, and thus divided into three sections. There was the regular pool with a waterslide for the older kids...which Lucas loved loved loved. There was a couple shallow "ears" for kids who were potty trained but too small to swim. Then on the side there was a water play area for the toddlers. This was where I have my "issue". The water play area is right next to the pool area but the toddlers are not allowed in it until they are potty trained. So, Sebastien could see ALL THE FUN the other kids were having in the pool and wanted to go. As the area is not closed off, it meant that we spent all of our "family" pool time with one of us chasing him as he made his mad dashes for the pool, the stairs, the bathrooms, the handicapped door leading to the elevators, you name it. OK, it wasn't intolerable but it would be much better with fewer escape routes. The Oceaneers Club/ Lab and Flounder's reef and Character Experiences: This is the heart of it. This is why you came. This is why you chose Disney rather than Royal Caribbean or Princess. This is what they do...and they do it better than anyone else. And let's face it, no one else has Mickey and the Princesses. I am lumping all three of these things together, as I feel they are really at the core of your child's experience...and the joy they will have. There are lots of pluses here and a few negatives. When I called about this cruise, one of the nice customer service reps told me that you don't want to book this cruise if you want serious bonding time with your child. He was mostly right. The Oceaneer's Club and Lab are hard competition. These clubs are for ages 3 to 11. The Oceaneer's Club is more for the younger set. It has a play area with a pirate ship theme. There are slides for sliding, ropes for climbing, a large open area for games, activities and general running around, and a back room area with a bank of computers loaded with age appropriate games, in addition to blocks, crayons, paper, books and just about everything else you could imagine. Just about every hour there is some activity lead by a unnaturally enthusiastic counselor or an actual character. During the course of the cruise, Lucas was taught how to fly by Peter Pan, how to dance with Snow White, and how to be a pirate by Captain Hook. He also had story time with Belle, surfing lessons with Lilo and Stitch and a pajama party with Goofy. And this is not all of them but merely the ones that seemed most memorable to me. The only downsides to this area are that there are movie screens here that show Disney movies almost nonstop, so if your kid is a TV addict (like mine) you will want to tell the counselors to make sure that your child is engaged. I must say that they did a great job with this, as most of the times that I came to pick up Lucas, he was playing rather than watching the tube. The other downside is that the play area is a little dark but the kids didn't seem to mind at all. After Lucas' first day in "the club", we were awakened each morning with "I want to go to my club". When we came to get him for dinner, we were met with "I want to eat in my club". We did get him on a couple of excursions, but in retrospect, I would have pared that down significantly. By the end of the cruise, he was more open to doing things with us again, as he had participated in so many of the activities that he didn't feel like he was missing out anymore. The Oceaneer's lab is more for the over 7 set, although both clubs are accessible to ages 3 to 11. The Oceaneer's lab has more by way of manual activities. They have a kitchen, blocks, computers and it seems like a gazillion interactive video games. You can also bring your toddler into either of these clubs to be with their siblings as long as you stay there with them. Seb seemed to enjoy these areas almost as much as Lucas, and got a thrill out of bullying the bigger kids. Flounders Reef is the nursery where you can book time for your infant or toddler. I have mentioned the problems here earlier but to reiterate, you MUST book your hours in advance as they fill up. You are also very limited in the number of hours that you can book, so be prepared for that. In addition, you will need to bring your own diapers, wipes, formula and baby food , if needed. If your child is eating regular food then they will serve them meals. There is a service that allows you to preorder diapers, wipes and the like before the cruise, but I didn't book early enough so we couldn't use this service. I would recommend it as diapers take up lots of room in your suitcase. Once you get past the annoyances of booking and logistics, the nursery itself is quite good. There is a slide in the area, games, toys and a TV as well...which they seem to use sparingly. There is also an area in the back with cribs for sleeping. The counselors all seemed to be that special type of person who bonds to infants and toddlers. All were very patient and loving. After the first 2 days of whining at drop off, Seb got quite used to it. I think he felt that he had to have a token whine at every drop off but it only lasted until they took him in the room and he saw the slide. Then it was "mom and dad, who?" One additional point to add about the counselors in general is that they treat your kids like rock stars. Walking down the corridors of the ship, the counselors would say " Hi Seba" or "Hey, Lucas, are we going to dance today?" They remember names, and usually there are one or two that specifically seem to bond with your child. I don't know if this is planned but it certainly seems to work out that way. Julien and I joked that we were clearly just" those people" standing next to SEBASTIEN in the hall. There is also a club for tweens, as well as one for teens, but I had no experience with these so I can't comment with any authority. The Characters: This ship is a character-fest. There are two basic types of character encounters: the scheduled and the ad hoc. Scheduled Character Events: For anything scheduled, I cannot stress enough the need to READ THE PERSONAL NAVIGATOR that is delivered to your room every night. And I mean read the full content, don't just read for the holding (for all you lawyers out there). They have a schedule that tells all of the times and places for character experiences. It also lists shows, which are character based. We found that a lot of the character experiences occurred between 5:30 and 7, which was a bit hard for us, as we had dinner at 6. So this is one benefit of having a later dinner. There were also character experiences around the lunch hour. Twice during the cruise, they had the massive Princess Fest. During the course of the cruise, one sees the Princesses at dinner, or in the clubs or other random places but this has most of them in one place. In ours, we had Princess Tiana, Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora..along with Alice in Wonderland who wandered down the line to entertain all the little girls dressed in their princess attire. BE FOREWARNED IF YOU HAVE GIRLS, they do sell some princess gear at these events and I saw more than one screaming meltdown because someone could not have YET ANOTHER set of gloves that she already had. Make sure you bring your autograph books to this one, and your camera. They will take pictures but we found their photos really too expensive, and didn't buy any of them. Ad Hoc Character Experiences: There are also lots of ad hoc character moments. We had a fun encounter with Donald duck at breakfast one morning. Most of the princesses made occasional appearances at dinner. For example, Beauty AND the Beast came to Lumieres one night. For the older crowd, they also have a Pirates in the Caribbean deck party one night. It started at 9:30, so it was a bit late for younger kids, and Lucas was hard pressed to stay up. In addition, the theme was that Pirates (including Captain Hook and Captain Jack) take over the party for a while. This was a little scary to Lucas, even though Mickey saves the day at the end. However, it was worth it to see his face when they had the fireworks. Apparently, it is the only cruise line to do fireworks at sea, and they did a great job. Once again, BE FOREWARNED, they sell a lot of stuff at this, and I had to deal with a whiny 4 year old until I finally gave in and bought him yet another plastic pirate sword. I don't give in that much, but I didn't want to spoil the moment and I figured it was an example of "pick your battles". On the whole, the character experiences are great. The drawbacks are the lines at the scheduled events. It seems better to go a bit late rather than early but that was just our experience. The ad hoc experiences were much more memorable and fun. The Crew in General: Anyone who has done any significant traveling has, sooner or later, learned one fact. People who work in tourist areas hate tourists. Maybe it comes from the fact that the most obnoxious tourists are usually the most visible and vocal ones. Maybe it is simply a case of "you hate what you need". Whatever the reason, it is what it is. So my expectations for any adventure where I must be in contact with those providing services for tourists go something like this. 15% will be new hires ....and the other 85% will hate me on sight. Of those who hate me, only 5% will be able to completely mask that fact, while 20% will be openly hostile. The rest will fall somewhere in the range between vague contempt and barely contained annoyance. On the Disney Cruise, I was pleasantly surprised that the aforementioned ratios did not seem to apply....with a couple of notable exceptions. The restaurant staff, housecleaning staff, room service and pretty much everyone else was so pleasant that I had to wonder a bit if Disney issues drugs with the uniforms. The fact that the cheerful attitude rarely seemed forced made me all the more suspicious that happy pills are used. Either that or they have a truly kick ass selection process and every naturally happy person who is born is recruited to work for Disney while still in diapers. Hmmm, this may explain a lot about the state of the world. In any case, all of the people who interacted with my children were great. Most of the ones who interacted with me were also fairly fabulous, except the Vista Spa and Guest Services...of all things. I will cover Vista Spa later, but let me rant about Guest Services now. Guest Services: OK, I expect a few things from Guest Services, which are 1) that they are able to answer my questions 2) that they do so with a pleasant attitude and 3) if I am face to face with them when this is happening, that they better be #@%$ing smiling...particularly if they are telling me something I don't want to hear. About half the people I encountered at the Guest Services desk failed on all accounts. Therefore, I gave up going to the desk and just used the phone after the first few days. As these people were useless, I won't mention them again. (Note to Disney: these people hurt your brand...fire them) Dining,the Vista Spa, and all the things I left out. Dining at Disney I have already mentioned the various kids offerings around the ship. Besides this, there is a fairly nice buffet called Topsiders, which is open often. There is also room service, which is open ALWAYS. Really, always. I called a 2 am to get slices of white bread for a hungry and grumpy Seb. They delivered it within 15 minutes...and with a smile. But the heart of the Disney dining experience is your evening meal. As you will read in any decent Disney cruise book, they have a rotational dining system. Every night you eat at one of 3 restaurants: Parrot Cay, Lumiere's or Animators Palate. But, the nice thing is that, as you rotate through these 3 restaurants, you have the same wait staff. Our servers, Grace and Laurent, got to know our kids so well by the end of the cruise that they automatically brought them strawberries as an appetizer without having to be asked. (My kids only eat red fruit...sigh). In addition, you also share a table with another family, who rotates with you. Normally, I am not super keen on eating with strangers but we were paired with a really lovely British couple, Emma and Jim. They had two children very similar in age: a 4 year old boy and a 2 year old girl. Coincidence? I think not. This is the kind of attention to detail that makes Disney different. By the end of the cruise. Elliott and Lucas were chasing each other around the table screaming, and the toddlers were enjoying Baby Einstein dinner dates. "? This system also means that the boys automatically had someone that they knew fairly early on in "the club", and I saw Lucas and Elliott playing together there as well. As an added bonus, I got additional insight on the excursions from Emma, as they were much braver than us and did the "Rome in a day" extravaganza. When they appeared at dinner that night, they both looked a bit like war survivors. In short, the takeaway seemed to be "what were we thinking"? They also had a bad Tunisia experience, but with the market in Tunis. I will she or Jim comment, if either feel inclined. A note on dinner planning. "READ THE PERSONAL NAVIGATOR", she says again. It tells you (on the top right heading for those who overlook headings) the dress code for each evening. There IS a formal night, and we completely missed that little piece of information. We showed up in rumpled sundress (for me) and rumpled khaki's (for Julien) as we had made zero effort. I won't even mention the state of the kids. The staff was super attentive and fairly amazing during almost every moment of our cruise.... except for one. Here it comes. Our head waiter, Grace, asked me THE question...the one question you never ask a woman who has kids. The question you should really know better than to ask if you are a woman who has had kids. So, there I am, about to dig into my delightful appetizer of scallops when Grace says (loudly) "so I never asked you when you are due?" Yes, she did. Dinner suddenly turned to ashes. God, I hate this question. Mind you, I have gotten it fairly often because I am a fairly thin woman in all areas except the belly, where my muscle tone and cartilage have been shot to hell after baby number 2. As I have been told by a doctor that this cannot be fixed with anything besides the longed for tummy tuck, I will have to come up with a better quick response to this question than " Uh, um, I'm not pregnant" which is what I said to Grace. I could not really see her blush, as she was from Jamaica, but she began stuttering like crazy and back pedaling.....but damage was already done. Really, one should know that one does not ask that question unless one has been TOLD that the woman is pregnant or unless she YOU SEE THE HEAD CROWNING RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU. I will say that she had the good sense to avoid me like the plague for the rest of the meal but the ego takes a huge hit after this sort of thing. In a way, I felt bad for her as she did such a lovely job otherwise, but still. Note to Disney Training folks: you need to train on this...end of story. Overall , the restaurant experience was fun and lively. Be prepared for characters. Be prepared for parades. Be prepared for Opera singers who may force you to sing in a microphone. I will say no more. The Vista Spa For the most part, were exactly what I would expect at your average spa on land...but they were not "Disney". They were polite but not particularly pleasant. The woman who did my pedicure was subtly hostile about her work experience, but didn't seem to take it out on me or my toes. The person who cut my husband's hair was irritable but did a good job. Thus, it was not unlike any other spa experience and better than quite a few. Happy Feet in San Jose comes to mind :). But none of this would keep me from going back because they offered at least one really unusual service...the Exotic Rasul. The Exotic Rasul is basically where they take you and your husband to your own private room. This comes equipped with tiled floors, a shower and a plethora of body scrubs, lotions and oils. The other area is a steam room. They spend about 10 minutes telling you about the products, close the door, and leave you alone to do whatever you will do for the other 50. At the 50 minute mark, they knock discreetly and you come out sheepishly whenever you can. Before going in, they stress that the couples LOVE this and that this is YOUR time. So, for us, this was a not so subtle way of saying "go , have sex, with our blessing". With that in mind, we didn't really need the 10 minute diatribe on the different oils but one must keep up appearances. Also, the steam room was a bit treacherous from that perspective. But, all things considered, this was a very lovely experience that couples can use however they see fit. From other readings, I have found that other couples did not take the hint and wore bathing suits, actually tried all the oils and tentatively played in mud. To my mind, all that is fine if you were doing this alone, but there is a reason your mate is there. Enough said. I thought it was quite amusing that after we came out, the staff who wandered by merely smiled knowingly and avoided eye contact. No one said anything to us and they let us leave at our own pace. Tons of fun, and surprising from Mickey!! Shore Excursions: Mickey is NOT responsible. Let me make one BIG forewarning about the excursions. They are NOT, repeat, NOT run by Disney. They are run by vendors hired by Disney. As this was only the second season (I believe) for the Mediterranean cruise, there were definitely some vendor management kinks to work out. The shore excursions, on the whole, were spotty and bifurcated in range of experience. I will break down the ones we attended but there were many more, so do your homework before hand, and you may avoid some of the mistakes I made. For the Disney shore excursions, see the port reviews below. For the non Disney ones, read on. Non Disney Excursions After the first two planned excursions, we decided that we would not do anymore planned excursions that we had not already bought. Instead, we did a few on our own, and all of those were wonderful. Julien and I got off in La Spezia and took a cab to Portovenere, where Byron was inspired and not too far from where Shelley died. It was a glorious lovers day, and definitely worth a visit. In Villefranche, we took the kids to the beach ourselves and all of us had a great time. It cost nothing and the boys were in toddler and preschool heaven. So, the takeaway is 1) for simple pleasures, do it yourself and 2) for non simple pleasures, do it yourself. For the extraordinary things, like the winery or perfumery, you can't really do it yourself and it is well worth it. But be conservative as the shore excursions are very expensive and will eat up your budget faster than anything else. Ratings: Dining Experience: *** ( would be a 4 but for THE comment) Vista Spa: ** Summation :) I want to put in a caveat here in that, believe it or not, I have not covered everything in this review. There are lots of additional adult bars and activities that we didn't really have the energy or inclination to do. There were all sorts of classes and tastings, such as cooking classes, how to make the towel animals, sangria tasting, margarita tasting for those who want to either get educated or get toasted. For the "let's all share a family activity" types there was karaoke, something that seemed vaguely like "Family Feud", a family dance club and bingo. For the "let's get away from the family" types there was a sports bar, a dance club, a couple cocktail bars, a coffee house and several adult only shows at the clubs. Also, as I mentioned earlier, there is a club for the 11 to 13 set, as well as "the Stack" for teens. There was also a gym which I avoided like a vampire avoids the light. I mean, this is a VACATION after all. For those gym rats who actually enjoy working out (my husband, Matt and Shelley come to mind) this might be useful but it is unlikely to be the gym of your dreams. Julien went a couple times and thought the facilities were OK but not great. Lots of the bikes were broken and they had no way to fix them as the vendor was back in the US. In short, I think this gym exists really for those who have eaten a bit too much and want to spend 20 minutes in the gym so that they can alleviate the guilt...but that is just my perception. As we didn't really use any of these things, I can't really make any assessment of how worthwhile they are. I can only say that these things exist, along with lots of other options, so it is fairly hard to get bored unless you really dedicate yourself. All in all, taking into consideration all the pro's and con's, this was a great family vacation. In truth, it is probably one of the best "family" vacations that I have ever taken...including family vacations taken when I was a kid. It was not perfect, but that is part of the joy of the family vacation. It is not going to be perfect. Kids will be kids. Things will not be what you expected. Plans with go awry. Someone will eat poop. But maybe it is these moments that we remember most vividly and talk about most frequently, like veterans remembering a war (or lawyers remember law school). What Disney does, and this cruise did exceptionally well, is mitigate the pain of these things so that you can enjoy the moments more. You have to love the fact that their onboard store had : Infant Tylenol, children's Tylenol, Benadryl, Dramamine, diapers, wipes, various baby foods and a couple of binkies...just to name a few. They seem to know that your children have sucked the intelligence right out of you, so they pay attention to all the details that you are incapable of concentrating on for more than a few moments. They also know that togetherness, to be truly enjoyed, must be paired with time apart. As a result of all this, and before the cruise was even half over, Julien and I had waited in the surprisingly long line to book our next cruise. So, for Christmas 2011, Sebastien, Lucas, Julien and Lexy Delorme will be joining "Auntie M" and "Uncle Bean" on the Disney Magic for the Western Caribbean Cruise. Between now and then, I guess the boys will have to be content with Disneyland Paris :). Ratings: Not covered below Disney Customer Service Line: *** (annoying grandma woman aside) Disney Cruise Line Website:* (their website sucks, don't get me started) Flounders Reef Hours:*** Flounders Reef staff and care: **** Hotel Boria Customer Service Line:** Hotel Boria:*** Nick Lesser:***** Iberia:**** The Ship ***** The Stateroom Attendant ***** The Pools *** The Oceaneers Clubs ***** The Character Experiences ***** Guest Services * Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
I took my girlfriend on this cruise for spring break and it was a blast! We mostly relegated ourselves to the adult areas of the ship. They were very comfortable and relaxing. SHIP: Beautifully designed and decorated. Clean as a ... Read More
I took my girlfriend on this cruise for spring break and it was a blast! We mostly relegated ourselves to the adult areas of the ship. They were very comfortable and relaxing. SHIP: Beautifully designed and decorated. Clean as a whistle. Classic oceanliner style with Disney flair! CABIN: VERY spacious with a large bathroom. Beautifully decorated. FOOD: Nearly everything was delicious. Buffets were great, main dining is wonderful, and a night at Palo is an absolute MUST. STAFF: Wonderful staff. Very attentive in both the hotel divisions and the food service. Cruise directors and hosts were great! PORT CANAVERAL: What an incredible terminal. Disney really went above and beyond. Embarkation/Debarktion were a piece of cake and didn't take more than 10 minutes. SHOWS: Be sure to get to every show! They are wonderful! Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Disney Magic Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.4
Dining 4.5 4.2
Entertainment 5.0 4.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.2
Family 5.0 4.2
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.0 4.0
Service 4.5 4.7
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 3.0 3.7

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