Disney Magic Cruise Review by rsfmom
- Sail Date: December 2011
- Destination: Eastern Caribbean
In my opinion, there are two big differences between Disney and other cruise lines in the Caribbean. One is the entertainment -- absolutely first class, over the top! The second is the private island -- all you'd want in a tropical paradise without the hassles of the major ports. More details on those later.
Embarkation was a breeze. There were tons of helpful employees and hardly any people checking in (we checked in at 2:30). We absolutely loved the special touch of being introduced while stepping onto the ship and having the fake paparazzi pretending to snap photos. Definitely a special greeting!
Our room was great. We had a balcony room that was spacious for a cruise ship. I loved that it had two separate bathrooms -- one with a bathtub/shower and sink and the other with a toilet and sink. I don't know if all the rooms are set up this way, but it was really convenient for my husband and I to each have a sink area. The shower was significantly bigger than any other I've ever experienced on a cruise ship.
The public areas of the ship are also lovely. The dining rooms are especially attractive. The only space that I was less than impressed with was the sports bar. It was nice, and we enjoyed watching the football game in there, but I would hardly describe it as a sports bar (they could use a little decorating advice from ESPN club).
The food was definitely a couple of notches better than what we've experienced on RC and Carnival. The quality was better -- for example, restaurant quality filet of beef on the menu most nights (as opposed to tougher grocery store quality we've experienced on other cruises). We ate at Palo twice, and it was wonderful; well worth the upcharge. The service and food were both equivalent to any very upscale restaurant. My suggestion to future cruisers would be to try Palo at least once. Also, stick to the sit down restaurants for breakfast and lunch -- not just for dinner. The buffet food was very good, but the line was a bit cramped and seating was a little difficult to find. One little touch that I have to comment on -- staff members personally hand everyone at sanitary wipe on the way in to all the restaurants and buffets. Great idea, and I really appreciated the extra effort to keep everyone from getting sick.
The staff was absolutely great! I have nothing but exceptionally good things to say about our servers, cabin attendant, and everyone else we encountered on the cruise. Definitely an area that Disney stands out in.
The same can be said about the entertainment. Starting with the paparazzi greeting, the entertainment just kept going. Surprisingly, there was a lot of entertainment for adults. I attended origami classes, a cooking class, movies, and two talks by a Disney Imagineer. We watched all three of the full stage productions, and although the subject matter was aimed at kids, we thoroughly enjoyed the shows. They were of the caliber of any show you'd see at Disneyworld -- I don't know how they manage that on a cruise ship!
The only part of our cruise that wasn't absolutely outstanding was our shore excursions (I guess because these are third party companies). We did a bus tour on St. Martin that was just average. The tour lady was nice, friendly, and knowledgeable, but it was a bit boring. We did a snorkel cruise on St. Thomas which was better -- the snorkeling at honeymoon beach was great. The only problem was that there were people from other cruise ships on the same excursion, and there were some obnoxiously drunk folks from the Norwegian Epic. I'm still shocked at their behavior. It hadn't hit me until then that one of the pleasant things about the Disney ship is the lack of that type of behavior among the guests. No wet t-shirt contests and constant pushing of alcohol drinks.
The final port was the grand finale -- Castaway Cay. It was great! You just walk right off the ship onto this tropical paradise. We headed to the adults only beach, which was huge! Plenty of beach chairs and umbrellas. The bay was just gorgeous -- very shallow, so you can walk out really far. My husband encountered a dolphin; it actually played with him a little. It swam around him and smacked its tail before heading off.
Debarkation was also super easy. No lines at all. Just a little sad that the week was over!