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Scott Wolfe

Age: 21 to 30

Occupation:Real Estate Taxes

Number of Cruises: 3 to 5 Cruises

Cruise Line: Disney

Ship: Disney Magic

Sailing Date: September 16th, 2000

Itinerary: St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Castaway Cay

Disney Magic 7 Day Eastern Caribbean Cruise

September 16-23, 2000

My wife and I (both 29) sailed on the Disney Magic with no children.  To answer the question we get most often, yes, you can enjoy a Disney cruise without kids.  And no, the kids do not rule the ship.  The new 7-day itinerary is a perfect vacation for children, families, or adults.  This was our third Disney cruise and by far the best.

Embarkation was a breeze.  We stayed at a Disney resort for two days prior to cruising.  When we checked into the hotel, our card was issued that worked with your stateroom as well.  So, once off the bus, it was 2 minutes through the terminal to the ship.  

Chronology and Entertainment

We arrived a little after 1:45 and our stateroom was ready, so we went directly there to drop off our carry on luggage.  Our stateroom host met us in the hallway.  Javier was always smiling and greeting us warmly.  The room was in great shape each morning and beds turned down in the evening.  When did he rest?  We then went to the lunch buffet upstairs on deck 9.  It was adequate.  Let the gorging begin!

We participated (voluntarily of course) in the safety drill.  This took maybe 20 minutes and then we were off to the sail away party.  As we ascended the stairs, we recognized rain (living in Texas this summer we had forgotten what it was like!).  This drove us back inside as we pulled out of the port.  The veranda was a perfect alternative.  We sat outside and watched as we steamed into the ocean.

That evening we simply relaxed prior to the evening show.  It was the welcome aboard variety show.  A humorous puppet/ventriloquist and a funnyman (no other way to describe his act) were a big part of this show and we were off to a great start.  For those with second seating (like us) there was a cabaret time that has been inserted between the shows and dinner.  This night we visited the family version of Dueling Pianos.  It was pretty mediocre, but the kids seemed to enjoy it and that is important.

The first day we were at sea.  Lots of wind and large swells rocked the ship a good deal, but I was armed with meclazine.  I suffered no seasickness at all and my wife did fine without any medication.  On sea days, Disney rolled out the activities.  Behind the Scenes was a nice series that featured jack of all trades Jeff Kurtti.  He worked for Disney in many different capacities, but now is his own boss.  He has written multiple books for Disney and is now involved in producing DVD’s for Disney.  He had a wealth of information regarding his career path and the workings of Disney corporate culture.  Not only were his talks informative, but quite humorous with his self-deprecating style.  This series, in addition to the entertaining track and the navigation track, was a fine addition to the activities available on board.

The afternoon was spent relaxing followed by a great show.  Hercules the Muse-ical was presented that night.  Although it followed the story line of the recent movie, it strayed from the plot line with many twists on the original, with hilarious results.  Hades stole the show with his monologue ¾ of the way through the show.  The male muse and Hades’ minions also provided great comic performances.  The cabaret show was quite good with Chucky the duck puppet!  This was also the first formal night – the Captain’s Gala Reception.  It was terrific seeing a large number of guests dressing in the formal attire.

Day two was also at sea.  My wife went to a skin clinic at the spa while I went to a dessert cooking class (complete with samples and a wine pairing) and then another session with Jeff.  This second session was more informal and some nuggets were revealed (I could share them but I’d have to kill you!).  In the afternoon, we attended a backstage tour of the Walt Disney Theater.  The theater is very impressive.  It is on par with Broadway stages technically and esthetically.  We then went to a showing of a short film titled “The Making of the Disney Magic” followed by a forum with members of the crew.  This was very informative and revealed a great deal of the amount of work for which the crew is responsible. 

That evening’s show was the final performance of “Voyage of the Ghost Ship” aboard the Magic.  It was retired in order make room for a new game show and the props for a show later in the week.  The cast seemed energized by the finality of this show and gave a great performance.  The cabaret show was Michael Huggins and he had more antics and magic to amuse the families in attendance.  It was standing room only in the Rockin’ Bar D.  We attended the adult version of Dueling Pianos.  It was only slightly better.  As the alcohol began to flow the show became much less Disney and fairly raw in nature.  Some of what was being said and sung was material we laughed at and then felt embarrassed to admit we found it funny!  I wonder how long Disney will keep this type of show; I found the Improv comedy on board last year more entertaining.

Day 3 we were in port at St. Maarten.  We took a sailing excursion as we raced 12-Meter yachts that competed in the 1987 America’s Cup race.  Although our boat did not win – we did finish second!  The crew was very patient with us landlubbers and we were able to do a fair job of moving the sails.  This excursion was wonderful.  My wife was very apprehensive about doing this but admitted it was a highlight of the trip.  She chose to take a less active role in the race and had a great time as the timekeeper.  Other jobs available were cooler queen and cheerleader!  I chose to grind and was not sore the next day, as I feared.  That afternoon we did some shopping and strolling downtown Phillipsburg.

There was no show that evening as we were in port until late.  After dinner there was a deck party.  As a dance troupe was performing the heavens opened up with unexpected rain.  The troupe paused momentarily considering whether to finish the dance, but the show went on and they finished in a steady downpour.  Most guests scrambled inside or below deck.

Day 4 we were in St. Thomas.  We did not take a Disney sponsored excursion.  We chose rather to take a Taxi to Magens Bay.  For $30 we got two people to the beach, a stop on the way back to downtown for some shopping, and then back to the ship.  The price for a similar excursion was twice that price.  We had a great taxi driver that splits his time between NYC and ST. Thomas driving cabs.  His information was quite helpful and interesting. 

That evening C’est Magique was performed.  This show is difficult to describe, but it was fantastic.  It was a show I am not sure I understood immediately.  But as I replay it in my head, I think I did enjoy the performance.  It had a great soundtrack to it and only two words spoken.  The music was based on operatic themes from some of the great composers (Bizet, Mozart, Wagner, Beethoven…) and illusions were presented.  The magic card trick was a nice feature of this tantalizing show.  In the cabaret show , a juggler put on a fun show, culminating in three beanbag chairs being juggled in the middle of the room!

Day 5 we were at sea again.  We had our character breakfast this morning.  Although it is definitely designed for kids, it is great fun to see the smiles on their faces and listen to giggling and merriment going on all around.  Young at heart can enjoy this as well as the kids!  We spent a great deal of time on the upper deck worshipping the sun gods that day.  Be careful, the Caribbean is much closer to the equator and the sun is intense.  You don’t feel it since the sea breeze cools you, but we got out of the sun and saw the effects!

We had one more question and answer session with Jeff and Darren of the cruise staff.  Lots of nice fun nuggets and the revelation that Disney bought ABC (this information was new to a guest)!

The show that evening was Disney Dreams.  It has been awarded with accolades and great reviews from cruise industry professionals.  Although it is a nice show, I found the other shows more entertaining.  The cabaret show this night was an ESP presentation.  The entertainer did some amazing things with providing names, dollar bill serial numbers, and other information to unknown participants.  My wife was called on stage; her  participation was not prearranged.

The final day was at Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island).  This place was beautiful.  There was a lot of construction going on to fortify the dock and breakwater against further hurricane damage.  Once completed, this tropical paradise will be heaven on Earth.  As it was, it was spectacular.  There was a lot of soft, white, powdery sand and palm trees swaying to the tropical rhythms.  The ground coverings were very pretty with indigenous plants and flowers along walkways.  There were plenty of water sports to keep one busy and bars were easily located to quench your thirst.  That day we had sunscreen handy!

The evening’s show was a farewell variety show featuring the juggler and ESP act from the previous evenings and illusions from the star of C’est Magique.  It was amusing, but not up to par compared with previous evening’s entertainment.  One more cabaret show that we attended was a family game show titled “Walk the Plank.”  This was definitely kiddy oriented, but it was our last night and we were so tired.  Any old chair would have held us just perfectly!

Food

Food was good at times, but disappointing on occasion.  I was adventurous and tasted some new dishes that were previously untested.  I must admit I enjoyed every new meal.  I selected duck, lobster tails, lamb, tuna steak, and sea bass.  All were received with very nice results.  Those meals were quite good, including the good old stand by Prime Rib.  Each night I followed the recommendation of my server Cedric (from France).  When my wife would stray from his choice, she was generally disappointed.  Way to go Cedric, I am sorry I could not muster the courage for Escargot!  Ben, (England) our beverage server, was adequate and had a great personality. 

On Disney ships, dining is rotated among 3 unique restaurants.  One is the French Lumiere’s, the next is Parrot Cay (a tropical theme room), and finally Animator’s Palate (a black and white room that comes alive with color as your meal progresses with fiber optic lights in the walls).  Each dining room had its own galley and chef overseeing the meals.  In addition to the unique dining room evening, there were 4 evenings where no matter what room you were in, the menu was the same.  These nights were the Captain’s Gala, Tropicalifragilistic night (Tropical theme foods), Master Chefs night (recipes inspired by chefs from Walt Disney World), and the International evening celebrating the nationalities of the crew (55 countries represented).  Disney has certainly been criticized for its food, but it is improving and the chefs are listening.  Many evenings we saw chefs visiting tables, talking to guests, and taking notes.

Overall Comments

The Magic is a beautiful ship.  The cast members work very hard to keep the ship looking like new.  Magic is about two months from going into dry dock.  One has to wonder what could be done to spruce this immaculate ship up from its current condition. 

The cruise staff is attentive and responsive.  There were several instances where guests were disappointed or upset.  In every instance the staff went above and beyond the call of duty.  A more accommodating staff could not be found.  Disney does consider customers as guests and nowhere is it more evident than on this ship.  You feel as if you are visiting friends for the week and they are sharing their ample facilities.

This itinerary is only into its first full month of operation and they seem to have been doing this for years.  Disney has hit a homerun with this more upscale and adult friendly cruise.  With this kind of performance, the repeat cruiser reception will continue to increase from its all ready large numbers.

Should you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to reply.

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