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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.

Bucket List Itinerary Trip

Disney Magic Cruise Review by Jenn_K

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: April 2017
  • Destination: Southern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom
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.
Jenn_K’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 7 to 9
Ages 16+
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom
Cabin 09C 2014
The cabin was good for our family of four. Large porthole shaped window. Pull down bunk and sofa bed plus a king sized bed. Split bathroom - adequate storage and closet space. Space under your bed for suitcases. No crazy noises or smells. quick walk to the stairs and elevator. Loved this location when we came back from excursions, one flight of stairs and your are back in your room.
Deck 2 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Kayaking
    The best excursion! We did a kayak, hike, and snorkel along with a small beach break. At the end we were treating to time in a gorgeous garden with rum punch and banana bread.

    The guides were awesome. The kayaks were all doubles so you partnered up. The guides showed us different marine life that lived in the mangroves we kayaked through. After that we boarded speedboats to do a little snorkeling. The snorkeling was pretty good and easy too - no strong currents. After the snorkeling we took the boats to a small little stretch of the island where we could hike if we wished and/or play on the beach and in the water. There was a local woman who had some grilled food and beverages and local beer. It was quite nice. After that is when we headed back to the start where we sat in the beautiful garden with punch and banana bread until our buses arrived back. Hands down the very best excursion I have ever taken
    View All 36 Kayaking Reviews
  • Harrison's Cave
    Booked with cruise line. Transport to and from the caves was included on an airconditioned bus The cave tour was informative - great sights to see. Educational and interesting. There are a few tiny stalls if you want to buy souvenirs
    View All 82 Harrison's Cave Reviews
  • Martinique
    Walked around port, lots of local stalls and shops intermixed with the bigger cruise line type stores (think Diamonds International etc). There is a small park and swimming area close to the port if you want to do that.
    View All 357 Martinique Cruise Port Reviews
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  • San Juan
    Beautiful town. Easy to walk around. Visited both Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristóbal- can walk from one to the other OR you can use their trolly. The walk is quite scenic though so if you can handle about a half mile I suggest it. The enterance cost is minimal, I want to say it was $7 per person.

    We ate at Restaurant Raices for lunch one day and it was super authentic and delicious. Great service too. You must have coffee from Cafe Colao which is close to the port where some of the visiting ships come in at.

    We went to Metropol another night for dinner - I think it is a chain. Service was great and the food was really good. I have no way of knowing if it was authentic but the mofongo was delicious.
    View All 3,803 San Juan Cruise Port Reviews
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  • St. Kitts (Port Zante)
    I expect our experience was only average because we didn't visit anywhere except the local shops. The port is good for your brand name and run of the mill cruise ship type stores. Lots of jewelry and perfume and trinkets. Easy port to walk around though
    View All 1,703 St. Kitts (Port Zante) Cruise Port Reviews
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  • St. Lucia
    Boarded a spanish style galleon ship. Went for a sail. Drinks and snacks provided. Rum punch included and local beer for a small fee. Super fun staff entertained us with pirate stories. Once we dropped anchor we could swim, snorkel, walk the plank, and swing on the rope swing. On the sail back we brought out the cannons to fight a an "attacking ship" Festive music and games on the sail back.
    View All 13,277 St. Lucia Cruise Port Reviews
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