Length: 964 ft
The Magic makeover of 2013 brings a new water slide; kids' Oceaneer Club and adds Marvel Comics characters.Best For People Who Want
More Disney! Bring it on, Goofy, Mickey, Tinkerbell; a family-oriented vacation with the focus on spoiling your kids to pieces with a lifetime experience they will never forget.Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
Adult oriented cruising including quiet time in the sun, a casino at night; a library; adult-oriented (rated PG-16 at least) and to be around as few children as possible.Onboard Experience
Disney characters are everywhere, whether we are talking about costumed actors dressed as Mickey and Dopey hugging your kids for a photo-op, or just referring to the wall-art, statues, banisters on the stairways and wallpaper. Even the ship's horn sounds "When You Wish Upon A Star" instead of the traditional blast as it departs a port. Still, grown-ups as well as kids are likely to enjoy this stunning ship, whose cabins are huge and beautifully decorated, because it has that Disney quality of attention to detail and finding something interesting in everything you see. Disney's private island, Castaway Cay may well provide the best private island experience of any cruise line. The dining program is marvelously innovative; you dine at the same table number with the same dining companions and servers each evening, but in a different restaurant. There's non-stop fun for all, including some adults-only lifestyle and enrichment courses with guest lecturers, wine tastings, cooking classes and a champagne brunch.
There are a few odd notes amid all the opulence here. The 24-hour coffee station has only styrofoam cups, and instead of butter, what you get with your meals is a margarine blend called "butterine." In view of the fact that everything from soup stock to all of the breads and pastries, is made fresh on board, this can only be adjudged as "oddly out-of-place".Decor
Sumptuous fabrics, wood, and hand-woven carpets and furnishings - and the Disney logo - are ubiquitous. The cabins are decorated almost identically, combining modern design with nostalgic ocean-liner elements such as a steamer-trunk closet for kids, globe- and telescope-shaped lamps, map designs on the bedspreads, and a framed photograph of Mr. and Mrs. Walt Disney aboard the ocean liner Rex sometime in the 1930s.
Some of Disney's vast archive of animation cels, production sketches, costume studies, and inspirational artwork is displayed around the ship.Public Rooms
When passengers first arrive and enter the majestic Disney Magic atrium what do they behold but a large bronze statue called "Helmsman Mickey" somewhat reminicient of Lord Nelson in Trafalgar Square. The Walt Disney Theater, which features Disney on Broadway-style productions, is popular at night (though, to be clear, you will not see the same shows Disney has on Broadway such as "The Lion King"). PG-rated Disney movies may be viewed in the Buena Vista Theater.
The ship's sophisticated, elegant adult-only areas are often all but deserted. The art deco Sessions piano bar has large circular windows and cozy leather chairs. Rockin' D Bar features country and western and rock every evening, while the adjacent Beat Street offers comedy. The main Internet center, adjacent to the Promenade, is small and cramped. Not so, though, Cafe Cove, a coffeehouse with books, newspapers, magazines, and a small Internet center, a favorite of most grown-ups.
Two large boutiques sell Disneyana. Logo apparel and suitcases, duty-free perfumes and liquor are also available. (Do note that you can bring your own booze aboard to enjoy in the comfort and privacy of your stateroom, but if you buy duty-free from the shop, it's held for you until the end of the cruise.)
Five areas are dedicated to kids and teens, three of them dating back to 2005, when three conference rooms were converted into the Ocean Quest play area for kids, with a scaled-down replica of the ship's bridge on which the more fanciful among them can vividly imagine themselves steering the vessel.
Teens have new area all to themselves (formerly the ESPN Sports Zone).Cuisine
Disney's cuisine has improved dramatically since the ship was introduced, to the point at which it can now be said to rival Princess's, with All-American and Continental fare likely to please all but the most sophisticated palate. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, and pizza are available until 6 p.m., and late nights snacks are served in the adults-only lounges. Room service is available 24 hours. The exceptional adult-only Italian restaurant, Palo, has a refined and elegant atmosphere and levies only a $10 surcharge.Restaurants
In a system invented by and unique to Disney Cruises, each evening passengers dine in a different restaurant with a different theme. Parrot's Cay is tropical, Lumiere's art deco. In Animator's Palate, the room gradually changes from black and white to color during your meal. Palo, an alternative adults-only restaurant, is chic and elegant, but tough to get a reservation for; make your reservation soon after boarding and choose a time either early in the evening (6-6:30 p.m. or 8:45-9:30 p.m.).
A lot of past passengers have pronounced Parrot Cay, the vibrant Caribbean marketplace-themed dining room, their favorite place to eat. Here the waiters bellow Buster Poindexter's "Hot Hot Hot" and encourage any kids present, to the horror of at least those parents eager to instill in their progeny a sense of decorum, to join them in a mid-meal conga line.
The casual dining restaurant Topsider's, high up and aft, serves breakfast and lunch buffets and is open for dinner as well. Its location is splendid, but its indoor layout makes it difficult to navigate.
Those seeking a casual luncheon menu should head for the self-service Topsider Buffet, but only after being forewarned of its frequent long lines, especially on embarkation day. Limited 24-hour room service is also available.
On that hotbed of outboard activity otherwise known as Deck 9, there are two fast-food locations and a fruit and ice cream bar. Pluto's Doghouse serves burgers, fries, tacos and crisp, juicy chicken breast tenders loved by all non-vegetarians. Pinocchio's Pizzeria isn't nearly as popular, but Scoops, the ice cream station, is a major crowd-pleaser.Service
As you might expect, it could hardly be more upbeat, especially in children's areas.Tipping
Gratuities can be charged to your shipboard account. The recommended tipping guidelines per person (including children) are as follows: Dining Room Server $25.75 Dining Room Asst. Server $18.75 Dining Room Head Server $ 6.50 Stateroom Host/Hostess $25.25
Dining Manager and Room Service tipping is at the passenger's discretion on all cruises. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar, beverage, wine, and deck service tabs.Entertainment
Though the Broadway-style productions aren't nearly as glorious as you might expect, given that Disney is so successful on Broadway with the Lion King and adult shows like Aida. But, nevertheless, they are known to be some of the most elaborate and expertly executed shows at Sea, with huge casts, wonderful costumes and jaw-dropping special effects.
Meanwhile, the performers in the family lounges also excel at getting everyone involved. Studio Sea, one of the liveliest spots aboard Disney Magic, is a dance club where parents and children actually dance together. In 2005, a giant screen was added to the ship's funnel to show movies and broadcasts around the pool area.
The deck parties on Magic are some of the most enthusiastically attended at sea, with the Pirates of the Caribbean one being a particular highlight.
For the grownups, there are adult-only nightclubs like the Piano Bar, a lively Jazz Club, and hilarious comedians in different lounges at various times.Cabins
Most other cruise lines would call Magic's standard cabins, in which up to four passengers can feel comfy, mini-suites. Standard inside and outside staterooms are a generous 173 sq. feet, while those with private balconies measure 253 sq. feet. Disney's popular suites can comfortably accommodate four or five people in their 291 square feet. One-bedroom suites are 591 sq. feet. Deluxe suites have two bedrooms and private concierge service. Standard stateroom amenities include color TV with CNN and Disney PG movies, a bath and a half, hair dryer, and good storage space for a short cruise.
In all but the least expensive inside cabins, Magic's bathrooms are divided into a "bath and a half" configuration. One room has a toilet, sink and shelves for makeup and sundries; the other a shallow tub, shower and sink.Fitness/Spa
There are three pools, one adults-only. Kids love the long water slide. The Vista Spa and Salon, operated by Steiner's of London, has hydrotherapy and all the usual massage and beauty treatments.
During the major refit in 2005, the spa and fitness areas were expanded, and now include three indoor/outdoor spa treatment rooms, new exercise equipment, a spinning class area, and private consultation rooms. -oriented passengers will love the gym, with more equipment than many passengers from small towns in the Midwest would find at their local YMCA. Additional sports activities include basketball, paddle tennis, volleyball. There is a quarter-mile separate track for jogging.Children's Facilities
The ship has age-appropriate childrens programs that are the best at sea seoarated as follows.
6 to 36 months
3 to 11 years
Kids can stay with siblings upon request. Kids all get tracking bracelets that allow the "keepers" to keep track of their locations.
The days are filled with fun activities; movies, dress-up like pirates and princesses, massive video games for up to 16 simultaneous players, jungle jims, etc.Attire
With the exception of the Captain's Dinner, at which formal attire (dress or gown for women and dark suit or tux for men) is recommended, evening attire for gentlemen is pants and shirt, skirts or pants for women.
This was my first Disney cruise, but fourth overall. I have also cruised with NCL twice, and Royal Caribbean. This cruise was overpriced, when you compare it with similar styled cruise lines
The food quality was substandard at best. Most of our meals came out lukewarm, heavily sauced, and over salted. This was consistent throughout the cruise. It's almost as Disney felt that since they were creating the Disney "magical" experience with the characters, that the adults and children wouldn't notice the lack of variety in food, fresh fruit or appetizing meals. I know that children's palates aren't as developed as adults, but please, there is just some much mac n' cheese (made with what seemed like velveeta), pizza and chicken fingers that a child can eat over the duration of a 7 day cruise. The orange and apple juice was only available during meal hours, so if you didn't plan ahead and bottle some for your stateroom, your child was drinking milk or from the soda station
We had a family deluxe oceanview. Our stateroom attendant was polite and did a great job of keeping our room clean, tidy, and well stocked withfresh towels, etc.
The Disney meet and greets were fantastic for the children. You have alot of opportunities during the cruise to meet with the different characters. If your little ones are looking at getting some autographs and pictures, you will want to get the majority of them as early on in the cruise as possible. Disney runs their ship lean, which means closer to the end of the cruise, you have less opportunity to meet the characters as many of them double for the evening entertainment. Also, for those families that didn't get their quota of photos earlier on in the cruise, they are now scrambling to get as many photos as they can before the end of the cruise. Picture taking is scheduled, and random all at the same time. Since there always seems to be a character(s) walking around on the ship, you often end up taking unplanned pictures causing you to miss other onboard activities. Due to the lineups sometimes taking a 1/2hr or more for photo taking, kids often end up getting cranky. If you can take turns with lineup duties, and have your little ones join you just before their photo is to be taken, you will make your life alot easier.
All three swimming pool areas for the younger babies, children and adults were extremely small and insufficient for the number of people onboard.
The evening (Broadway type) entertainment was also fantastic, and is definitely a higher calibre to what I've seen on other ships. The shows were done "Disney" style, and they didn't disappoint. The pirate party was also fantastic, with the fireworks show at the end - Awesome!
We did our own excursions and we were quite happy with the price and activities we were able to do on our own. I've always found that the excursions offered by cruise lines were higher than what you can get if you plan it yourself, but make sure you do your research beforehand, so you're not wasting time at port. If planning ahead isn't for you, then go with a pre-packaged excursion since there's bound to be at least one which, will interest you and your family.
If you want to see as many Disney characters as possible - than this is the cruise for you. If you are looking for the best quality cruise experience for your dollar, I would recommend a similar styled cruise which offers some character events and children programs.
Reading this review you might think that this cruise wasn't that bad, but please take into account that this itinerary only goes to 3 ports of call. Leaving alot of time spent using the amenities and onboard activities. Overall, this cruise was disappointing due to the cost, poor amenities, and the lack of quality food.
This is my sixth Disney cruise, and I wanted to give a thumbs up to the newly reconditioned Magic. The entertainment broadway style shows were fantastic, and the new Disney Dreams really were great.
However, the comedian really was quite bad, and to be quite frank, a lot of folks walked out on her.
As for excursions, if you go to St Marteen, stay on the boat. The water is too choppy for snorkeling and the reefs are nasty. The island is littered with plastic bags and tires -- a lot like the bad parts of New Jersey.
The Dolphin encounter on St. Marteen is a total waste and should be avoided as the service staff there does not care about the customer. I made Disney aware of this and they are looking into it.
Let me end on a very positive note -- the staff on the Magic are amazing. They truly cater to your every need and define service.
Truly you must experience the Magic it to believe it. From the moment you arrive, Disney goes above and beyond to create a stress-free vacation for families. After an easy pass through customs, we boarded the grand vessel and headed to deck seven to find our room. Disney's Magic boasts of the best cabins in the industry – and for good reason. The larger-than-average rooms allowed plenty of room to move around and a split bath makes it perfect for families. There's even sleeping privacy. The large verandahs are delightful for spending private family moments.
The entertainment begins the moment you step foot on to the ship. Disney characters meet and greet passengers and crew members are busy with smiles for everyone. A bon voyage deck party complete with live band and dancing was held (our kids were in the swimming pools before we even set sail). And as the whistle blew and we left the shore, I saw more than one person with tears in their eyes as the familiar strain of It's a Small World After All played.
We needn't have worried if the kids would need us. Theydidn't. They were too busy digging for whale bones, swimming, playing ping-pong and basketball, learning animation, creating their own volcanoes, dancing with princesses and meeting new friends. Since the children were happily involved in their own activities, my husband and I went to wine tastings, shows, relaxed and made new friends of our own.
The only challenge for the week is how to fit in all the wonderful activities. There's so much to do on the Magic. Thankfully, Disney's on top of this too. Each evening, an itinerary of the next day's line-up is delivered to your stateroom.
A favorite of our kids was the children's program. Nearly an entire deck is devoted to children's programming. The Oceaneer Club is for ages 3 to 7, while the Oceaneer Lab is for ages 8 to 12. Activities are further separated by appropriate age groups. For example, the 3 and 4 year olds, 8 and 9 year olds, etc. There is also a nursery for ages 3 months to 3 years and a teens-only supervised program.
Reassuring is Disney's commitment to a secured safe program. They take the security of the children very seriously and are constantly upgrading our security measures. Pagers are given to the parents so if a child desires to be picked up, mom and dad are only a quick page away. A password, which is provided at the beginning of the voyage, must be given for designated members of the party to pick-up a child. At times, our four-year old still experiences separation issues and his counselor Desta went above and beyond to make the transitions much easier.
On the ship there's something to fit everyone's tastes. And speaking of tastes, there not enough ink to talk about the delightful dining experiences. It's certainly true that one can literally eat their way around the clock (thank goodness for the exercise room). The nightly dining is superb as you and your wait staff rotate together between Parrot Cay, Lumiere's and Animator's Palate. There is also an adults-only option at Palo's. Palo's is an Italian restaurant overlooking the ocean (reservations are required). For those who need an in-between meal snack fix, there's a 24-hour pizza station, soda station, ice cream and more. (And don't forget about those midnight buffets.)
A highlight of the week was the mid-week top deck pirate party. Passengers were encouraged to don their best pirate apparel and take part in lively fun. The party featured Captain Hook and Captain Mickey and dancing, food, and music kept the happy crowd on their feet. A sensational fireworks display capped the night off. To add to the theme, Disney showed Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest throughout the entire week.
Disney has extended the on-ship magic to its private island – Castaway Cay. At this 1000-acre Bahamian island, families can get up close and personal with stingrays, snorkel, parasail, fish, go boating and more. Shop, dine and listen to live music amid the beautiful beaches. Or simply lay in a hammock as the gentle breeze of a palm tree blows. For adults wishing a little time alone, Serenity Bay is an adults-only beach. On the island, children can participate in organized activities. On our cruise, we had the luxury of two days at Castaway Cay. Its incredible beautiful and well worth two stops. Lending a helping hand to families, Disney suggests and reserves shore excursions for additional port stops. Ports can be extremely busy and crowded, so take their advice and let Disney handle the particulars.
There is so much to do and see yet Disney takes all the work out of it. Aside from the wonderful places and activities we were involved in; it's the people we miss. My son's new best friend lives 1000 miles away but is as close as e-mail, the crew who are from all over the world - new friends but truly not forgotten ones. Aptly said during our last evening "what you can't see with your eyes, lives in your heart."