Age: 41 to 50
Occupation:Real Estate Appraiser/Bank Manager
Number of Cruises: 2nd
Cruise Line: Disney
Ship: Disney Magic
Sailing Date: October 7th, 2000
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
Deluxe Outside Stateroom, Deck Six Forward, No Verandah. We've read many Disney Magic Cruise reviews, and I approached the seven day cruise with mixed anticipation.
Some things were executed wonderfully, The embarkation and debarkation procedures were flawless, with the minor exception that we received the wrong baggage at our stateroom in addition to all of our luggage. No big deal. Excellent marks for this part of the experience.
Some reviewers have said that "children do not rule the ship", but we disagree. We go to Disney World three times a year. We enjoy being around children, and there were over 1,000 on our cruise in mid-October! There were indeed children everywhere and by the end of the week, with friendships made, the older ones were all running through the hallways, pushing all the elevator buttons, racing up and down the stairways, girls teasing the boys, boys scaring the girls, etc. A week long cruise might be too long in this environment for adults traveling without children.
The ship was beautiful. The stateroom was large and well appointed, with more than enough drawer space. Housekeeping was top notch. A word of caution, pick your location carefully. We were deck 6 forward outside, and the location was excellent. We spoke to people on Deck 2 rear, and they all complained about engine noise and nightclub noise that required headphone use nightly to try to get some sleep! We noticed first hand the loud engine noise in Parrot Cay Dining Room at the rear on deck three.
The common areas were spacious, well laid out, and beautifully appointed as well. Hint: Take the Navigator's Bridge tour. It was very interesting and informative. Also, the question and answer sessions with the Captain were informative and entertaining.
We've read much about the food, and we too, felt that overall, the food was very disappointing. The rotational dining experience, which brought you to three different dining rooms, was useless. The food all tasted the same and was unimaginative. Don't go on this cruise for the food. You will be disappointed. Note especially that the adult restaurant, "Palo", was not worth the hype or the effort to get the coveted reservation. A quick survey of guests corroborated our feelings. The food, preparation, and variety of selections, were all sub-standard. Afternoon Tea at Palo was terrific, though. We highly recommend Afternoon Tea, but skip the dinner at Palo.
Dinner in the other restaurants was the best meal of the day. Lunch and breakfast were quite poor. The pancakes were always cold and rubbery. The same for the waffles, the hamburgers, and french fries. Skip the breakfast and lunch buffets. A sit down breakfast and lunch is available. This is your best option. Order the omelets. They were always prepared fresh and were the best choice.
A word about the service. While overall the wait staff was attentive and cordial, they really pressured you into ordering alcoholic beverages. If this isn't something you enjoy ordering at every meal, be prepared for unpleasant pressure. Disney should not pressure the wait staff to push drinks on the travelers. The great deal of pressure was a negative in our dining experience.
The entertainment was excellent about ½ of the time. The welcome aboard variety show, Hercules Musi-ical, and Disney Dreams shows were very good to excellent. Skip the late week variety and magic shows. Go to a movie in the excellent theatre instead. First run movies on our cruise included Duets, Clash of the Titans, and Fantasia 2000. It felt as if the entertainment quality "ran out of steam" for a seven day cruise.
The deck party was a lot of fun when we were in port. We also enjoyed the late-night dessert bar that was offered sadly only once during the week. The late night snacks were generally poor consisting mostly of cardboard tasting "bowling alley" pizza and sandwiches.
A word about dress codes. The ship is very informal. This is your vacation. Dress comfortably. While it was nice to see people dress formally for dinner twice in the week, the formal wear served no purpose other than to allow Disney to charge $20.00 for a photo. There was no grand or special dining experience, no orchestra, no dancing, and again, the same, average meal. Travel light. Leave the formal wear home.
We went to three different ports, and by a wide margin, Disney's Castaway Cay was the best stop. The beach was beautiful. The bar-b-que afforded some of the week's best dining experiences. We would have liked to spend more time there. St. Marteen was disappointing, with vendors hawking you to purchase inferior merchandise at prices that were no bargain. Save your money. Shop back at home. All the beaches at all three ports were beautiful.
If you are looking for Disney character photo opportunities, the cruise is the place to be. All the children were afforded numerous photo and autograph opportunities.
Without question, and universally agreed, a big disappointment was the ESPN Skybox. The place was beautiful, with state of the art television and transmission capability. But there was no football coverage on Sunday, a full day at sea, and only sporadic baseball playoff coverage throughout the week. The bartender, Simon, in the Skybox, was terrific, but frustrated at the inability to broadcast major sporting events due to "contractual restrictions while at sea". Even the captain noted that the lack of sports transmission capabilities was a "guest dissatisfier" (the Captains phrase).
Overall, we have many fond memories of our week at sea, and met lots of nice people, both fellow travelers and staff. This was my second cruise. It wasn't the "vacation of a lifetime" though, and if we do decide to cruise again, we'll opt for a three or four day excursion instead of a week long cruise.