We love DCL and especially the "classic" (smaller) Magic & Wonder as much for their intimacy as their more interesting itineraries. So when we saw they were offering some "VGT" (they pick your stateroom, with a "V"erandah) rates a month or so before departure . . . from New York City to Bermuda - an island I have been to approx. 10 times when I was younger . . .it was hard to resist.
The incentive rate, which was approx. $500 less than the listed rate, and the Disney Gift Cards I had earned at work were burning a hole in my pocket, so myself and Devoted Wife were booked into our 10th and 15th Disney Cruise respectively. 5 days total incl 2 sea days to & from and 2 3/4 days in Bermuda in the middle of the trip. Better than a 3-day'er from Florida, but not the 8~12 day'ers we've done in Europe.
Leaving from the Manhattan Cruise terminal intrigued me as we live 1 1/2 hours away in Central NJ. So no flying or hotel the night before. Wow, this would be different . . . and it was.
As I am familiar/comfortable with public transportation options from many years of commuting to NYC, I chose wisely. We parked at the NJ Transit station in NJ and took trains to/from NY Penn Station.
Embarking, we had more luggage (as I take lots of my favorite soft drinks, and my wife brings candy for the "Fish Extenders"), so we did a taxi from the 8th Ave side of Penn Station, which let us off at the queue on the Northbound side of 12th Ave across from the pedestrian entrance of Pier 88. Perfect. We checked our bags by 11am and waited in the mass of folks who all seemed to get there early as we did.
Disembarking, even though we exited directly with our luggage, it appeared that several hundred of our shipmates preceded us and grabbed the queue of taxi's available at the commuting hour of 7~8am. After declining the special "out-of-town" rate of $35+tip to Penn Station, we wheeled our luggage south on the West Side pedestrian trail approx. 9 blocks to the NYC Waterway Terminal and took the free bus across 34th St and got off right by Penn Station. A little unwieldy with the big bags, but no waiting for taxi's to eventually show up and the price ($0) was right!
The cruise itself was typically fantastic with great service by so many, great food (perhaps I ate too much at Palo!?), amazing entertainment (headed by the wonderful Lisa Karlin as Ms. Gothel and Elsa), and a secure, if a bit bumpy ride out and back to Bermuda. We also enjoyed the trivia games hosted by #tonyfromspain who is a hoot and a half.
We eschew the cruise-line-sponsored excursions for the $$$'s but more so because they are tourism-with-training-wheels. They are typically made for the typical American tourist who eats and shops and wants the world delivered to them via the outside of a bus. I took the beach and public buses to/from HorseShoe Bay one day and the nearby Fairmont Princess Tennis Center the next day to play tennis with the pro from MTM Tennis, Gavin Manders. I had a blast and got some good exercise in. My wife walked around the Dockyards and enjoyed the museum and the little shops. It was great.
It was the first time I've been to Bermuda by sea and, while the location of the Dockyard berths are quite a bit away from the rest of Bermuda (Hamilton, the Caves, the Zoo/Aquarium, St. George, and even the Southend beaches), with a little planning, one can have a nice visit to this terrific place.
This is the lowest-priced Verandah, which is ideal for me/us as we get to walk out on the deck and watch the Manhattan/Brooklyn - NJ/Staten Island shore vanish in the distance, and then see the ocean fly by on the way 30 hrs to the spot in the North Atlantic.
Beds, bathroomS, storage are typically DCL. There was some rocking in both directions as the North Atlantic has activity in the Fall, but I guess I am used to it and slept fine. Housekeeping by Esther was excellent, as usual.
The crowds and the ancient infrastructure of Manhattan are always challenging, but the proximity to dozens of hotels, theatres and yes the NYC Penn Station (with direct service from/to Long Island and NJ) makes the Manhattan Cruise terminal quite convenient for those who are ok with bumping shoulders a bit.
Bermudians are very friendly and helpful to visitors. There are numerous ways to occupy one's self in the 1/2 mile square district that is the "Dockyards" or if one wants to taxi, bus or scooter further afield there are many things to do in Bermuda. I found a tennis facility -- something I've never been able on previous cruises. And the bus service(s) offered by Bermudians couldn't have been better -- I am happy to have returned!