The ship that gave Disney Cruise Line a name in the industry has come a long way since its 1998 debut. Standout features such as a Marvel Avengers Academy and thrilling AquaDunk water slide -- both added during a fall 2013 refurb -- set Disney Magic apart not only from its fleetmates, but also in the industry.
Other updates have included the addition of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, a Concierge Lounge, expanded outdoor kids' areas, a new South American-themed dining room and an enclave of bars and lounges, reserved just for adults.
Even with its reimagined spaces, however, Disney Magic continues to retain a sense of tradition. Like its fleetmates, the ship sports a nostalgic ocean liner appearance with a navy-blue hull and red funnels (customized with Mickeys, of course). Its Art Deco design also is complemented by nautical decor, and the Disney staple of "hidden Mickeys" stealthily placed in everything from wallpaper to light fixtures keep the magic alive for those who find them.
There are a few Disney-themed venues that are appropriately colorful and exuberant, but much of the ship's appeal lies in the fact that it's designed for everyone, not just Disney fanatics and kids. This is especially evident in the adults-only pool area, which is strategically tucked away at the front of the ship, away from main pool action, as well as the ship's spacious cabins with myriad storage.
If you're trying to decide between Magic (or its twin sister Wonder) and the cruise line's newest ships, know this: Magic has a more intimate feel than its larger sisters, which makes it easier to get to know your fellow passengers, keep track of family members and have the sense that you've experienced everything the ship has to offer, even on shorter sailings.
Beyond its intimate feel, a cruise on Disney Magic is all about attention to detail. From tubs in all the cabins that make it easy to bathe little ones, to infused water and chilled towels awaiting your arrival after a long day in port, Disney takes care of the things you "didn't think about" to ensure your vacation is effortless.
Disney Magic Gratuity
The recommended gratuities are $4 per person (adult or child), per day, for the dining room server; $3 per person, per day, for the assistant server; $1 per person, per day, for the head server; and $4 per person, per day, for the room steward. Gratuities either can be prepaid, added to your onboard account or paid in cash, at the end of the cruise. Regardless of which method you choose, on the night before disembarkation, you'll receive envelopes that allow you to personally thank your room steward and wait staff. (Those who have already paid or paid via their onboard accounts will receive tickets that show the gratuities paid, to put inside the envelopes.)
All bar, pool deck and coffee bar drinks have a 15 percent gratuity added to the bill. Spa gratuities are not added and are left to the discretion of each passenger. It is suggested that cruisers tip a couple dollars for room service delivery.