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We chose a Disney cruise because we've never done one (Disney) and there were some sailings out of NYC which saves us a flight. To review a Disney cruise, I have to break it into two pieces: a) Disney and b) Cruise. For the Disney part, it was potential 24/7 Disney immersion. If you love Disney, this will press all the buttons. Ongoing character meet-and-greet, Marvel day-at-sea, a day at WDW parks, movies, theatre etc. That being said, if you’re not a total Disney nut, you may wish to think about either choosing a bigger ship with more amenities or another cruise line. I can’t personally justify paying twice as much for a cruise when there were a lot of things that lacked vs. my experience on other cruises. Karl Holz, President of Disney Cruise Lines, said it best: “We’re an entertainment company that just happens to have a cruise line.” Even though there were some OMG moments on the cruise, they lost their luster due to lacking in other areas. Definitely not the best run cruise line I've experienced. The food in the dining rooms were great, and the Animator’s Palate was a wonderful experience, but the food experience throughout the rest of the ship was lackluster at best. Cabanas (the buffet) was repetitive and wasn’t even open for dinner. Dining is done in early or late seatings and even though we booked 2+ months in advance, we couldn’t elect the early seating and we have two kids under 6. This made for a tough dining experience with the formal dining (tired kids waiting course after course). The other option was to choose the “fast food” but for some unexplainable reason, there are no silverware setups outside anywhere after mid-afternoon, and if the weather is lousy, there is NO option to eat inside unless you go back to your cabin. I honestly don’t get that at all. Very frustrating. If you find a Disney cruise that goes to their private Castaway Cay, lucky you. I thought it was great. That was a highlight for me for sure. The cabin was unremarkable save for the 2-part bathroom. There is a WC separated from the bathing area which could make for a more convenient morning when more than one person needs primping. The cruise propaganda kept going on and on about their Broadway-quality theatrical performances, and their claim is valid based on talent and set design but how many kids do you know that would enjoy sitting thru Les Miserables? I find that my other experiences in the theatre on similar sized ships to be more interesting and with much more variety. Again, if you LOVE Disney and don’t mind hearing Under the Sea a dozen times in a week, you’re probably in the right place if it’s worth the much higher fares to you. The service and cleanliness were not on par with what I expect based on sailings on other cruise lines. On NCL, for example, almost every single employee was effusively outgoing and attentive. I did not get that impression with the Magic. Not that the service was bad, but not up to par versus the rest of the industry. And I remember walking the ship in the early morning on NCL cruises and seeing them cleaning things I would never ever think would need cleaning, yet they were steam cleaning and wiping down every corner and cranny they could find. It was not rare that I’d find rice krispies or popcorn littering carpets and chairs throughout the Magic. Railings were grimy and salty at times (both public and in my cabin) which I’ve never noticed on any other cruise ship. There is also no private, quiet adult area on this ship. What’s that? You’ve heard about Quiet Cove, the 18+ area reserved for adults? Well, yes, I thought that would be my respite too. But alas, it’s a thoroughfare for families between the 2 main pools and the aft elevators. As well, deck 10 is right above which is a main thoroughfare for kids going to the Wide World of Sports courts. So its status as a quiet, adult-only area is in title only, not in practice. On the flip side, the kids club was just a free-for-all with a bunch of video games and TVs. When our kids would come out of the NCL version, they'd be so excited about what they did and the new friends they met but with Disney, I'd walk in and they'd be unengaged, watching TV or playing video games. More than one time I walked in and found my kids amongst a few dozen sitting a few feet away from a huge TV playing Mickey cartoons. Although they DO have counsellor-led activities, they're not nearly as engaged with the kids as what I've experienced elsewhere. TL:DR – unless itinerary, departure city or a need for a Disney fix is of utmost importance to you, I cannot recommend the Disney Magic. Either try a newer Disney ship or find a different line and save your money (or take two cruises!)

You can't out-Disney Disney, but you can cruise better

Disney Magic Cruise Review by cybercfp

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2017
  • Destination: Bahamas
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah
We chose a Disney cruise because we've never done one (Disney) and there were some sailings out of NYC which saves us a flight.

To review a Disney cruise, I have to break it into two pieces: a) Disney and b) Cruise.

For the Disney part, it was potential 24/7 Disney immersion. If you love Disney, this will press all the buttons. Ongoing character meet-and-greet, Marvel day-at-sea, a day at WDW parks, movies, theatre etc.

That being said, if you’re not a total Disney nut, you may wish to think about either choosing a bigger ship with more amenities or another cruise line. I can’t personally justify paying twice as much for a cruise when there were a lot of things that lacked vs. my experience on other cruises. Karl Holz, President of Disney Cruise Lines, said it best: “We’re an entertainment company that just happens to have a cruise line.” Even though there were some OMG moments on the cruise, they lost their luster due to lacking in other areas. Definitely not the best run cruise line I've experienced.

The food in the dining rooms were great, and the Animator’s Palate was a wonderful experience, but the food experience throughout the rest of the ship was lackluster at best. Cabanas (the buffet) was repetitive and wasn’t even open for dinner. Dining is done in early or late seatings and even though we booked 2+ months in advance, we couldn’t elect the early seating and we have two kids under 6. This made for a tough dining experience with the formal dining (tired kids waiting course after course). The other option was to choose the “fast food” but for some unexplainable reason, there are no silverware setups outside anywhere after mid-afternoon, and if the weather is lousy, there is NO option to eat inside unless you go back to your cabin. I honestly don’t get that at all. Very frustrating.

If you find a Disney cruise that goes to their private Castaway Cay, lucky you. I thought it was great. That was a highlight for me for sure.

The cabin was unremarkable save for the 2-part bathroom. There is a WC separated from the bathing area which could make for a more convenient morning when more than one person needs primping.

The cruise propaganda kept going on and on about their Broadway-quality theatrical performances, and their claim is valid based on talent and set design but how many kids do you know that would enjoy sitting thru Les Miserables? I find that my other experiences in the theatre on similar sized ships to be more interesting and with much more variety. Again, if you LOVE Disney and don’t mind hearing Under the Sea a dozen times in a week, you’re probably in the right place if it’s worth the much higher fares to you.

The service and cleanliness were not on par with what I expect based on sailings on other cruise lines. On NCL, for example, almost every single employee was effusively outgoing and attentive. I did not get that impression with the Magic. Not that the service was bad, but not up to par versus the rest of the industry. And I remember walking the ship in the early morning on NCL cruises and seeing them cleaning things I would never ever think would need cleaning, yet they were steam cleaning and wiping down every corner and cranny they could find. It was not rare that I’d find rice krispies or popcorn littering carpets and chairs throughout the Magic. Railings were grimy and salty at times (both public and in my cabin) which I’ve never noticed on any other cruise ship.

There is also no private, quiet adult area on this ship. What’s that? You’ve heard about Quiet Cove, the 18+ area reserved for adults? Well, yes, I thought that would be my respite too. But alas, it’s a thoroughfare for families between the 2 main pools and the aft elevators. As well, deck 10 is right above which is a main thoroughfare for kids going to the Wide World of Sports courts. So its status as a quiet, adult-only area is in title only, not in practice.

On the flip side, the kids club was just a free-for-all with a bunch of video games and TVs. When our kids would come out of the NCL version, they'd be so excited about what they did and the new friends they met but with Disney, I'd walk in and they'd be unengaged, watching TV or playing video games. More than one time I walked in and found my kids amongst a few dozen sitting a few feet away from a huge TV playing Mickey cartoons. Although they DO have counsellor-led activities, they're not nearly as engaged with the kids as what I've experienced elsewhere.

TL:DR – unless itinerary, departure city or a need for a Disney fix is of utmost importance to you, I cannot recommend the Disney Magic. Either try a newer Disney ship or find a different line and save your money (or take two cruises!)
cybercfp’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Ages 3 to 6
Service
Onboard Experience

Cabin Review

Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah
Cabin 05B 6058
Our cabin was in a poor location as we let Disney pick for us. Oops. We ended up right by the midship elevators and stairs which -- oddly enough -- was a hangout for the teens that thought the Vibe and Edge were too dorky (?). Loud passersby but as bad was the constant creaking all over the cabin when we had rough seas.
Deck 7 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

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