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Laura

Age: 31 to 40

Occupation:Recruiter

Number of Cruises: 3 to 5 Cruises

Cruise Line: Disney

Ship: Disney Magic

Sailing Date: October 21st, 2000

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

Laura

OPENING COMMENTS: We really enjoyed this cruise.  We are former cast members so we knew what to expect from the Disney crew.  If anything we tend to be more critical and see things regular guest miss.  The embarkation was hassle free.  We got there early  and a line had formed but they entertain you with games and characters appear for your first photo opt.  As soon as clearance was given boarding went very quickly and the lunch they served was great.  By the time we ate our inside stateroom was ready.  We have cruised before so we decided instead of getting a room with a balcony we would use that same money for excursions, the spa and some extras.  The room was very large compared to other ships and the storage was unbelievable.  We immediately met our steward Norman who was always helpful and friendly.  Believe me keeping two females' stateroom clean is a chore.  We were able to explore the ship and tour the spa.  We too were disappointed with the ESPN club.  The selection of games played was terrible and we were looking to watch any of the Florida college football games but none were on. 

DINING:   Make sure you make reservations once you have boarded if you want to go to Palos for dinner, tea or brunch.  For the adults this is a must do, but very shortly after they started taking the reservations the times quickly disappeared. So check on that as soon as you can.

As for dining, I know many have been critical on the food served.  Don't expect five star meals, don't get me wrong we thought the food was very good as was the selection.  We loved our servers Tamara and Bettina who quickly learned our names and made sure every evening our regular drinks were waiting on the table for our arrival.  Listen to their suggestions regarding entrees they truly know what they are talking about.  We loved the rotation of restaurants and the chance to get dressed up.  We never felt pressure to get alcoholic drinks on board, except for the usual drink of the day sale.  If you don't like what you ordered send it back. If you don't see something you want ask for it, most times the servers will go out of their way to make you happy with your meals.  Then remember this come tip time.  You can order as much as you want.  One of our tablemates ordered 5 escargot orders. We ate at Palos for tea, dinner and brunch.  Let me just say the servers were impeccable.  They could not have been friendlier, we had past servers come by just to say hello and then they sent us thank you letters for coming. Food & Wine selections were excellent. Loved it!!!

CABIN:   I also heard some complaints about the lower and back rooms.  You could hear the loud engines in Parrots Cay & Animators Palate, so I cant imagine having a cabin back there.  I wouldn't recommend the window outside rooms either.  They are on the lower decks. Save your money unless you are claustrophobic or just get the balcony room. We were on deck six, midship, it was convenient and on the rockier nights it was not that bad.  If you get queasy go for a walk on deck 4, take an antihistamine or Dramamine and drink lots of water.

ACTIVITIES: As on any cruise you can do as much as you want or as little as you want.  There are plenty of activities.  Check out the Inside Disney tour series, very good.  Plenty for the kids to do as well.  Some I wish adults could have done.   They offer trading cards to the kids which make great collectables at every event, but adults without kids were not allowed to collect them.  This was a big let down and we were only able to get a few.  If you are pin collector there are trading times available too.  The selection of excursions was good too, we had already decided which ones we wanted to go on before we boarded.  So that was pretty easy but we did hear some filled up very quickly.  Our one regret was that we only went on one, a snorkel & sail in St Thomas aboard a pirate ship, "Doubloon".  We wish we had done the sailing regatta as well we heard it was excellent too.  Maybe next time.  If you have never sailed or snorkeled the crew was very attentive and made all of us feel special. The kids hoisted the sails and piloted the wheel. Believe me when I say do an excursion instead of going on your own on an island.  We tried this in St Marten and ended up returning to the ship early.  We did not care for this island and would rather have had longer in St Thomas, Castaway or at sea then this island. Disney has no gambling unless you count bingo.  This missing item never bothered us and found we could better spend our money elsewhere.  But if you cruise to gamble this is not the ship for you!

ISLANDS:   Loved the time at sea it was so relaxing and the crew can keep you very busy.  We also loved St Thomas and Castaway Cay.  They give you towels when you disembark at Castaway, grab a few extra and bring you own snorkel equip. to save a few dollars.  Also watch the ship during your stay there a few crewmembers always drill and test the emergency boats.  Pretty interesting to watch.  As you leave every port attend the deck party.  Its great to watch the reactions of other ships to our special horn and a few surprises when you leave Castaway.

MISC:   We lived in our swimsuits and shorts.  We did dress up two evenings in formal attire.  Most of the women wore evening dress or the classic black dress, but nice dresses were worn as well.  Ladies it was a great place to pull out that Formal dress you never get to wear.  Men wore suits and tuxedos.  The children were accordingly dressed in formal attire.  These are the nights to get a variety of photos taken and you get free cocktails while you wait in line.  Recommend going down early or between seatings.  To save some money we suggest bring some drinks to put in your mini bar.  We bought a case of sodas & water and kept our little fridge stocked, it really saved us on drink orders.  They don't stock the bar unless you request it.  Children can get mugs to refill for the entire cruise for a reasonable fee, but nothing like that offered to the adults unlike WDW.  Bring your own snorkel and fins, they provide free life vest and you save a few $$.  Check out your TV daily, you will find info on activities and if you missed the seminar on excursions or duty free shopping they play it continuously 24 hours after it is been given.  Lifeboat drills are mandatory, they check off each cabin & guest, think of it as a photo opportunity.  As two single females and experienced cruisers we did not expect the love boat but did hope that with school in session there would be fewer children.  We were wrong, but for the most part they have too many of their own activities.  It is also where you go.  We spent time at the adult pool, restaurant & beach, and went to the clubs after 9pm for adult fun.  The only place where it became annoying was during the nightly show in the Walt Disney theater, but they seemed to calm once the shows began.  Once you get your bearings you will find the quiet niches.

SPA:   This was our only real let down.  We had been to the spas at WDW, with good experiences.  If you want to attend a class or get a treatment you have to sign up the first day.  We both got facials at the same time and had different experiences.  My facialist was ok but it was the horrible sales pitch for products at the end that really irritated me.  I had every intention of a few purchases but she was very hesitate to disclose the price until I had chosen the products.  Needless to say they were all over $90 and I quickly changed my mind.  My sister had a better experience.  The facialist explained the products and gave her written prices and when to use them.  She has a different skin type, but the prices were all in the $20-$40 range.  If you want to go to the spa go for the reasonably priced mineral bath or the all day access Rainforest sauna.  Massages go very quickly reservation wise. We took two classes walking & taebo. They were pretty strenuous for beginners.  We found deck 4 and ended up walking at all times of the day.  It was the best exercise, they play great music to get you moving.  Most of the time there were only a handful of people out their exercising or reading on lounges.

WRAP-UP :  We had the best, most relaxing week aboard.  If you are given good service remember the crew members name at the end of your voyage and reward them.  Most of these employees work very hard at only a little above minimum wage.  All were friendly and helpful and if we had a problem we tried to be very nice about it.  Which seemed to get us quicker service.  Overall this was the best cruise we have taken.  Bon Voyage and Have lots of Disney Days!!!!

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