Overall appearance -
Disney Cruise Line is a must for fans of Disney. Having visited Disney World, Florida and Disneyland, Paris we had high expectations and being first time cruisers we were unsure of what to expect. Of course Disney didn't fail in providing a one of kind experience for my partner and I, and one that will be remembered for years to come.
The Disney Magic is the oldest of Disney cruise lines 4 ship fleet but from the outset you wouldn't be able to tell. The exterior of the ship is immaculate, complete with Mickey on the front and Goofy on the back with the infamous mickey heads on the two funnels. From the point of arriving at the terminal and seeing this magnificent ship in front of you, it really gets you excited for the adventure your about to embark on.
Check In -
Check in was seamless at the port and no sooner had we arrived, handover over our luggage, collected our keys to the world cards, a quick photo with sailor mickey and had a brief stroll around the terminal - we were boarding at midday! From then .. A walk up the galley and in to main atrium were you are welcomed aboard with an announcement of your family name and applause from Disney cast members. Again here the decoration is fantastic, a large open area with Lumière's Resteraunt on your left, chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and your favourite Disney characters worked in to the surrounding stair cases and wall panels.
State Room -
Our room was ready at half 1 ... On the dot! We stayed in a class 9 stateroom on deck 7 with a large porthole. The rooms are beautiful, spacious and comfortable. We had a lovely queen size bed complete with a Disney cruise line pillow embroider with "a dream is a wish your heart makes". A curtained area with a pull down bunk bed (stored away during the day and for those who don't need it), a large comfortable sofa , vanity unit and TV complete the other side of the room. Our state room host was friendly and welcoming, popping in on our first evening to introduce herself and ask how we would like our room prepared during the evening. Every night we would retun to our room to fresh towels, an interesting and amusing towel animal, individual Ghirardelli chocolates and our Personal Navigator for the next day along with any other information for port of calls. The split bathroom was useful as well in that showering didn't block the use of the toilet. There is also a hairdryer in the room and a launch room on several floors (free use of the iron but washers and dryers would charge a small fee to your state room account).
We always attended the first show of the evening at 6.30 ... Our logic was that the majority of families with children would dine at this time and as a a result the theatre would be mostly full of adults ... This wasn't the case and as a result shows would tend to be very noisy as tge children would often get pretty restless and bored. Of course Disney this is to be expected when travelling with Disney but it was often a bit frustrating for those of travelling "adult only" . Perhaps Disney could consider a more adult friendly performance of there shows at a later point in the evening? The shows themselves where, for the most part, spectacular. Highlights being Tangled, The Musical; Walt Disney, The Dream Goes On and Disney Dreams, An Enchanted Classic. The cast and crew are world class and had the audience on their feet after several performances. If anything, the shows were perhaps a bit short at 30-40 minutes but with that being said its unlikely the children would have held out much longer.
Evening entertainment however left a lot to be desired. Despite Jo Slow, who was hilarious, giving it her all in Fathoms for 30 minutes in the evening for a game show such as Match Make or the 80s Quiz ... It seemed Disney had planned adult only entertainment as an after thought and as a rsult from 10.30/11pm the resident DJ Simone was often left playing her club classics to 1 or 2 late night guests and the bar staff.
There always seemed to be a lot going on for families but the adult only offering needs to be reconsidered.
DCL run a rotational dining system which allows all guests and he opportunity to dine in the 3 on board resteraunts ...Animators Palate, Lumière's and Carioca's.
Animators Palate was by far our favouring dining area. On our first and last evening we were treated to a wonderful show ... I won't spoil the details but its fantastic.
Lumière's had a more up market feel to eat and was obviously inspired by Beauty and The Beast ... When compared to Magic Kingdom's, Be Our Guest, it came up short but it was still a pleasant dining environment.
Carioca's was our least favourite dining room and we only ate here once. We didn't feel we had missed out on anything.
Overall the food was OK/ good ... It wasn't spectacular and wasn't without fault. It was often a tad cold when it was served and it was obviously mass produced. However, it was always well presented and it was clear that DCL were trying to produce good food whilst feeding 1200 people per sitting across 3 resteraunts.
The service staff where fantastic and couldn't do enough to help, you build a good rapport with them over the week and they do their best to remember your preferences and your dislikes over the course of your holiday.
Port Adventures -
Excursions with Port Adventures where frankly hit or miss with DCL. We had is me fantastic experiences in the port of Naples visiting Pompeii with our local guide Vito who was knowedgable, funny and charming ... Guiding us through the old ruins and explaining the history as we went. As well as in Villefranche where we visited Nice, Monoco and Monte Carlo - a truelly beautiful part of the world where we could have spent an entire week let alone 1 day!
However we had a dreadful experience in Rome ...Whilst it was the most expensive excursion we booked we returned feeling ripped off and with a bad taste in our mouth. Of course when you book a "Rome On Your Own" excursion you don't expect guided tours of every location however at $200 for 2 of us we expected more that was in essence a shuttle bus service. We were first dropped off at The Colosseum were we were told we had an hour and a half to explore but that this wasn't enough time to go inside to walk around and take a few photos. 20 minutes latest we are left with a collection of photos and nowhere to go. This was repeated in Rome city centre and again at St Davids Basilica in The Vatican .... But the service we have come to expect from Disney or any of its providors . We discussed this with the Port Adventures team when we returned but where basically told that we got what we signed up for but that our feedback would be noted ...
Our only other thought was that for an "all inclusive" cruise ... We sometimes felt a bit short changed. Charging for soft drinks in the theatre, when the same drinks where free on deck 9, or for pop corn was a bit unfair. The cost of alcohol was also a bit of a concern, we aren't big drinkers but a cocktail often coated in excess of $10 ... Being a first time cruiser I'm not sure if this is the going rate ... But it seems a tad pricey for my tastes. The DCL beer mug and token is a good option if you drink beers though!
Even with a few point for improvement Disney Cruise Lines offers a cruise with a unique selling point ... Where else can you do all this in the company of your favourite characters, unmistakeable Disney themed surroundings, world class performances and wonderful cast and crew members?! We had a fantastic holiday, wouldn't hesitate to recommend DCL to our friends and family and made some wonderful new friends!