Age: 31 to 40
Number of Cruises: First Cruise
Cruise Line: Disney
Ship: Disney Magic
Sailing Date: May 1, 2000
Itinerary: Castaway Cay
The Cast Members
Me: Rita, single mom, 34
DS: Ryan, 10
DD: Ashley, 2 ½
The other family
KA: my friend from work, single mom, 30 something
KASON1: my friend's 16 year old son
KATWIN1: my friend's 13 year old twin son
KATWIN2: my friend's 13 year old second twin son
I have wanted to go on a cruise since I was 10 years old living in Honningsvag, Norway. We would have a lot of cruise ships arriving all summer long bringing in tourists who came to see North Cape. I would use to go down to the wharf and talk to the people who disembarked. A wonderful American couple brought me on board the Royal Viking Sun and showed me around. That made a huge impression on me and I have always wanted to cruise since then. Luckily security was more lax back in the 70's so I was able to see that beautiful ship from the inside. Even though we were not cruising the Norwegian Fjords, I was truly looking forward to this cruise.
We arrived at Port Canaveral around noon on May 1st. When we came into the terminal we sat down to wait. There were comfortable benches around, and the TV's were playing Disney cartoons. There was a sign that said we could board at 1pm, but they actually started boarding at 12:15.
When boarding started I was asked if I had a card for my 2 ½ year old, and I did not. When we checked in at the Port Orleans resort at Walt Disney World, they did not give me one for her, because she did not need a card for the parks. I waited less than a minute and a card with Ashley's name on it was handed to me. The rest of us had blue cards, but she got a brown one. Then we went through the security check, where they hand checked the stroller and we had to send the carry on's through the x-ray machine. It was fairly quick and painless, and we were on the ship within 5 minutes.
We walked onto the ship and they announced us by name, "We welcome the Parker family onto the Disney Magic". That was really nice. They directed us towards the elevators to head for the buffet. Then I noticed it. Oh, no, we must be on the wrong ship, we must be on Carnival's Tropicale, what a stench of raw sewage. I was in shock, I was incredoulous, how could this beautiful ship stink like this. It smelled on the third deck, but when we got to deck 9 the smell was gone. We smelled it again later when we came off the elevators on deck 7. Luckily the smell disappeared after the ship started sailing, and we never smelled it again. My assumption is that they were emptying the sewage tanks of the ship, and the smell drifted into the ship. Thank heavens it was only temporary. People who arrived later probably never smelled it. Disaster averted thank heavens
The lunch buffet was good. Smiling CM's were handing out trays and utensils. We were at Topsiders and got Jumbo Shrimp, salad, bread, desserts, all sorts of good stuff. The drinks were ice-tea and fruit punch. We all hurried through our lunch because we wanted to see our stateroom.
We got to our stateroom and we had an inside stateroom, category 11 on deck 7. It was stateroom 7119. It was the closest inside stateroom to the elevators. We were next to crew work areas, but we never heard any noise from this stateroom. It was quiet during the entire trip.
I thought the stateroom was large. We did not have a split bath, but the room was big. The safe was large enough to fit all of our wallets and my Sharp camcorder. It locked easily with my key to the world card. I made DS put his key to the world card on top of the phone, next to mine, so it was always in one place.
Nikki was our stateroom hostess and she was always smiling. She always had something nice to say to my kids, and our cabin was immaculate. She folded our clothes, hung our wet swimsuits on the clothes line in the bathroom, and made towel animals for us. She also brought fresh ice twice a day. Nikki, if you are reading this, I want to adopt you.
I had brought a six pack of diet coke ½ liter bottles on board, and put those in the fridge. It is really a cold box, not a fridge, but it worked. Later on I also put my DD antibiotics in it. I unpacked everything and got things put away. Unfortunately the stroller and suitcases were to large to fit under the bed. I put them all on one side of the bed, and that worked.
The stateroom is beautifully appointed. Lot's of woods, nice colors. A small tv that you can pull out, nice remote to go with it. I liked the table that we could put lower or higher. The navigator and other guides were waiting on the counter for us. Lots of towels, shampoo and lotion. I was impressed. I layed down on the bed for a minute and thought "I can't believe we are actually here." Unfortunately DD and DS only allowed me a minute of laying down before they wanted to explore.
I let DS explore while I sternly told him to make sure he was in the stateroom at 3:45 to get ready for the life boat drill. He got back on time, and we grabbed our life jackets and headed to the assembly station. For DD they had left an infant flotation device that I knew was never going to work. It was sort of a raft that you can put an infant in, and it completely encloses. My little escape artist would be out of that in 15 seconds flat. Also it is not meant for a 2 ½ year old. When we got to the assembly station I held it up for the CM there and they said they would have a childs lifejacket sent up to us later, and they did. Since DD did not have a life jacket to wear,the experience was a little easier on us. We also got to assemble inside in the nice air conditioned Animators Pallet and they had us sit down inside. We sat and sat, my DS and I wearing life jackets, and DD not having to wear one. This made things easy, since she was not restrained and complaining. It was over in 20 minutes and we headed back to our stateroom. I later found out from KA, that they had assembled outside in the heat with screaming children everywhere. For no other reason than to get assembly station T inside, get stateroom 7119.
We headed topside to deck 9 and Goofy's pool for the bon voyage party. Goofy and Pluto came out and everybody was dancing. My DD got up and danced with Pluto. He held her hand and they danced. It was so cute. I love to watch little children dance. The party was great, good music, bubble machine, characters, sunshine, CM's serving drinks. Everybody were in a great mood. Then we heard the horns blow "When you wish upon a Star", and off we went. We could hardly feel the ship moving. I went to Pinochio's with DS and bought him a drink sticker for his card for $16, and he was now set for all the sodas he could ask for for the remaining of the cruise.
Now the time was 5pm, and I took DD and headed for the medical facilities. They are open from 4pm-7pm in the evening, and outside those hours there is an extra charge. They also have open hours earlier in the day. I wanted to have DD ears checked out ASAP, and went to the front of the ship, 1st floor. We were the only ones in the waiting room, signed in, and I asked for a Norwegian, English, or US doctor. We were told the pediatrician was US, and was happy with that. Minutes later we were escorted to the Snow White examination room. It was decorated with Snow White and the 7 dwarfs. There were lot's of Disney toys in there and DD found them and started to play. The nurse, male nurse from the UK, came in and took DD vitals, and we waited a few more minutes before the doctor came in.
What a wonderful pediatrician. He is a board certified pediatrician from Oregon. He is slowing down his practice in Oregon getting ready to retire, and works on the Magic from time to time. He was really gentle with DD and found pink bunnies in DD ear. He gave us an antibiotic called Ampicilin, and gave us antibiotic ear drops. He said he treats the little ones more aggressively on the ship, because he wants them to be able to enjoy the trip. He would normally not give the ear drops unless it was an ongoing ear infection that was hard to cure. He was the best. I laughed when he told me to keep DD out of the pool and the water. He laughed too and said he "just had to say it", but understood that would be hard. All in all, he was great, and we were treated well.
When we got back to the waiting room, they prepared a bill, and charged the $81 to our stateroom. I got an itemized bill that I could give to my insurance to try to get reimbursed. While we were doing the paper work, there were several parents of Make a Wish Foundation kids that came in. They came to find out if lab work could be done for their children being treated for cancer. That was not a problem, so my understanding is that this medical facility is well equipped. During our trip I saw several children being sponsored by the Make a Wish Foundation, and because of the joy I saw being brought to them, I have decided to make it one of the charities I donate to. What a worthwhile cause to bring such joy to seriously ill children.
After seeing the doctor it was time to get changed for dinner. We were at table 62 for first seating in Parrot Cay. DS was not in the cabin, so I left the tickets where he could see them, got changed into a skirt, and grabbed DD and went to dinner. DS is 10, and if he can't be there on time, he will go without. I got to the table and KA and KATWIN1 was there. She was missing KASON16 and KATWIN2. We were 3 kids short, but we were not the ones that would go hungry. Actually the boys walked in 15 minutes later together.
Our server was Nalin and our assistant server was Immogen. The head waiter came around and introduced himself, and that was the only time I saw him the entire trip. Guess where that one is leading to on tip night. Anyway, I tried to warn KA against the Surf'n'Turf, but she wouldn't listen. She had some and did not like it. Just lobster pieces covered with gravy. They got to do something about that. The bread was great, they had delicious banana bread. They served my DD soda in a fancy glass, and I wished they had had some covered cups or something like that for the little ones. She was good though, and did not spill at all, or break any glasses the entire cruise. The same cannot be said for one of the twins. We started our repeated ritual of moving all the cutlery and glasses away from DD, and she got crayons to color the kids menu with.
I had the coconut shrimp and onion rings and they were great. My entre was Sun dried Tomato crusted Snapper. It was pretty good. I really liked our dessert of Bananas Foster Flambe, but they did not prepare it at the table. It tasted really good though. The boys all got specialty drinks with dinner. They were $4.50 each + gratuity. They all got virgin strawberry daquiris. Later KA paid for hers with the onboard credit she got from Dreams Unlimited.
After dinner we headed to deck 5 to sign up DS and KATWIN2 for Oceaneer Lab. KATWIN2 is 13 and belonged with the teenage crowd, but he saw the lab and wanted to go there instead. It took us over 30 minutes to get them signed up. Later KATWIN2 changed his mind and got changed back to being with the teens again. He thought the lab was booring. I gave DS the authority to sign himself in and out, and because of this, did not receive a pager. I did not need one.
We explored the ship some more. It is so beautiful. Then DD was having a melt down and we went back to our cabin. I loved how the beds were turned down, All the lights were off except the bedside lamps, and the curtain was drawn. It looked so inviting. Chocolates and poems on our pillows. I can get used to this.
I watched TV while DD fell asleep and I soon fell asleep myself. The ship was rocking a little bit, no much though. We all slept very well.
Since there were not parks to hurry up and run to, and since our dolphin swim was not until 1:30, we slept in today. We got up around 9 and went to top siders for breakfast. I have heard others complain about runny scrambled eggs, I did not see that. The eggs I had were good. Also had pastries and I especially like their chocolate filled danish. I thought the food was yummy. To drink they had OJ, and iced -tea. We grabbed their containers with milk. I had lots of toast and that was good too.
TIP: If you are going to get bagels for breakfast, it is on a separate buffet. The butter and cream cheese is next to the milk on the main buffet. Grab some if you know you are going to have a bagle, instead of having to backtrack to it.
While we were eating we were watching the people on the ship next to us. It was a Carnival ship, I think it was the Fantasy. I think our pool areas looked much nicer than on the Carnival ship. On the other side of was the Big Red Boat, and further away was the Royal Caribbean Ship Sovereign of the Seas. If I am going on a different cruise line it will be either Royal Caribbean or Princess. While I have kids we are going to stay with Disney.
KA and her boys got off the ship and walked into Nassau to shop. They later told me they had a great time. KA bought a wrap to wear over her swimsuit.
After breakfast DD and I changed and got into our swimsuits. We headed for the Mickey pool, and I watched as my daughter played for an hour. It was a beautiful day. This is what I had been looking forward to.
We stayed in our swimsuits and put our cover ups on. We grabbed some towels from the pool deck for our excursion since I had read on this page that they were not provided at Blue Lagoon, thank you DIS. We had lunch at Topsiders and then went to the front of the ship to get off. I thought we would have to walk forever to get a taxi, but as soon as we got off the ship, there was a taxi a few feet away. To get off the ship we had to have our key to the world cards scanned, I was glad I had remembered to bring DD card.
The taxi we drove in was actually a black limo. It was quite nice. It was fascinating to look at all the sights as we drove towards Paradise Island. The charge was $4 per person, and we agreed on the price before getting in the car. In addition there was a $1 toll on the bridge that KA paid. The ride took about 10 minutes.
We were 15 minutes early for the boat to take us to Blue Lagoon, so we just hung around in their little termina. This is where DD discovered ash trays and how fun it is to play with the sand in those ash trays, ugh. Most of the time was spent keeping DD out of trouble.
The boat to Blue Lagoon was a 2 story Calypso boat. DD and I stayed downstairs, while KA and the boys sat outside upstairs. I had been a little worried about the safety of this boat and maybe a lack of lifejackets. No worry, right above our heads, the entire ceiling was lined with lifejackets. The same kind they have on the Magic. They had both adults and children's life jackets onboard, in easy reach. The boat rocked a bit on the trip, and if you are prone to motion sickness, Bonine may be necessary. The boat ride took between 20-30 minutes.
We got off the boat at Blue Lagoon at 2pm, and were ushered into an information area. They basically told us how to behave around the dolphins, and what we could or could not do. They emphasized where we could touch the dolphin, and where we could harm the dolphin, if we did, like around the eyes etc. It was only about 5 minutes before they split us up. KA and the boys went to do the swim, while DD and I went to do the encounter.
We were all ushered down onto the docks and we sat with our feet in the water. We had been pre warned we would get wet. DD has her little feet in the water and suddenly she sees the dolphin. You would have thought she saw a shark. I have never seen her little feet move so fast, out of the water they came, and behind my back she went. I managed to get her to sit down again, but she would not put her feet back into the water. The dolphin was big and beautiful and he drenched us. He swam around and splashed us and we were soaked in cold, salty, sea water, Yuck, But it was fun. Then everybody lined up to have the dolphin kiss them and have their picture taken. That was the whole encounter. DD would not go in the water with me, so we did not even get to touch the dolphin or get a picture. Oh, well, such is life with a 2 year old.
DD and I went looking for KA and the boys, and boy did they have a great experience. If you are going to the Blue Lagoon, contact them direct at www.dolphinswim.com and book the dolphin swim and not the encounter. KA and the boys spent over 30 minutes in the water with the dolphins. They touched them, got dolphin kisses, had the dolphins jump over then, and they fed them. The best part was when one by one, the instructor had them do the "dead-mans'float" in the water, the dolphin then swam up behind them and put his nose on their feet and pushed them through the water at 25 miles per hour. It was incredible, I am so jealous I did not get to do it. At least DS was able to do it with KA and her boys. This experience is what we came for and it was out of this world. A must do.
TIP: They don't provide towels at Blue Lagoon. Unless you want to be wet and miserable, bring towels from the ship.
After the swim KA bought the video from the experience. They also had pictures, but we did not buy any of those. We waited around until the boat went back. We did not get off the boat at Paradise Island. We stayed on it, and it took us directly to the cruise ships. This saved us $29 taxi fare. On the boat trip home DD climed up on my lap and fell asleep. There was quite a breeze on the boat, so I wrapped a couple of towels around her to keep her warm. It was such a nice boat ride with DD cuddled up to me, and the boat moving through the water. I love that little girl so much, and holding her on that boat ride, no worries, no schedules to keep, nothing to do but be together, that was a moment I will cherish.
TIP: A stroller is not necessary if you are doing the Dolphin Swim or the Dolphin Encounter. We were picked up feet away from the ship, we were dropped of feet away from the Calypso boat. Blue lagoon was very small, lots of stairs and small paths, and it would have been a pain to fold and unfold a stroller the entire time. If you do not need a stroller for a child to take a nap in, don't bring one.
We got back to the ship and had to walk the lenght of the ship to board. If it had just been me, it would not have been a problem, but 25lbs of squirming 2 year old was a pain. This was the only point where I had wished for the stroller, but the hassle would not have been worth it. We got onboard and they scanned our cards, and had us put our carry-ons through the x-ray machines. We took the elevator to the 7th floor and went to our cabin. I could not wait to get our salty wet swimsuits off. I took first dibbs on the shower to DS dismay, and made him watch DD while I showered. He was a good sport about it.
We made it back before 6pm, so we got ready for our dinner at Lumieres. I wore a pant suit, and the kids were all dressed up. We walked to the Atrium and had our pictures taken with Captain Mickey at the Captains Coctail Party. I tried to get a picture taken with Captain Henning, but he was done for the night.
As we walked into Lumieres, we walked by Captain Henning, and lo and behold, it said Norway on his name tag. Henning is a Norwegian name, so I figured he was from Norway, but I wasn't sure. I asked "Kan vi fa hilse pa Dem?", and he looked floored. We spent the next few minutes talking Norwegian together.. He is indeed from Norway, and he is very nice. I really enjoyed meeting him.
We got in to Lumieres and were escorted to our table. We immediately started removing all cutlery and glassware from my DD immediate vicinity. Gave her her childs menu, 1 crayon this time instead of 50, and some bread. I had brought a sipper cup and poured her drink into that. Amazingly all the boys were present, and on time tonight.
I had the creamy lobster soup, which was ok. Then I could not decide between the Herb Crusted Sea Bass or the Red Wine Marinated Lamb Shank, so I had both. Gluttony on the high seas. I loved the Sea Bass, KA hated it. I hated the Lamb Shank. The Sea Bass was fantastic. For dessert I could not decide between Creme Brulee or Layered Chocolate Truffle Delight, so again I had both. (By the way I started Weight Watchers this week, so I am paying for it). The desserts were good, and I liked the Creme Brulee the best. It was a nice dinner in a wonderful atmosphere.
After dinner I took DD to Flounders Reef. We got there at 8pm and I left here there until 10pm. She cried when I left, but I expected that. They issued me a pager, and I went to do something exciting during my break from her. I did laundry. I hear everybody say WOOOOW. It needed to be done, and there was no live show this evening. I got the laundry, grabbed a dollar bill and my key to the world card and went to the laundry. Oh, no, the detergent was 75 cents, 3 quarters needed in exact change. Back to the room, and luckily I had 3 quarters. While the laundry was spinning, I went back to the cabin and read. It was quite nice not to have to chase DD around.
After laundry I went to pick up DD at 10pm. She was asleep, I carried her back to the cabin, and put her to bed. Nikki had again turned down our beds and the chocolates were there. It was so nice. DS came in and said he was hungry, so he ordered 4 cookies from room service. They arrived in 15 minutes, and he tipped the waiter. He felt so adult, it was pretty neat.
Woke up around 9am and headed for Topsiders for breakfast. KA and her boys were already there. Food was good, and we were discussing where to go on the beach. We were all excited to see Castaway Cay so we hurried through breakfast and got ready to get off the ship. I put sun block 45 on DD, DS and I.
In Nassau we got off the ship at the front. At Castaway Cay they had us get off the ship towards the aft.
TIP: You can buy beach toys at Castaway Cay, or check them out from Scuttles Cove. I had bought some toys at Toy's ‘R' Us and brought them along. DD loved playing with them, so they are a must. Even the boys ended up using them to bury each other in the sand.
We took the tram to the beach area and got some beach chairs under umbrellas. We then headed to the water and it was COLD. Most of the day we spent at the waters edge playing with DD toys. It was a lot of fun. The ships photographer came around, and when I saw DD pose for him and look really cute I knew I was sunk. I would be spending a fortune on pictures.
We were close to Cookies Bar-b-que, and had lunch at 11:45. It wasn't crowded yet. It was pretty standard fair. I grabbed several bottles of water. DD loved the potato chips and ate hers as well as mine.
I was tired and ready to get the sand off, so we walked to the tram. Of course DD wanted to be carried. DS bless his heart helped out and carried her part of the way to the tram. We got to the ship and rinsed off most of the sand before entering the ship. Again I had first dibs on the shower (selfish mom), and it felt good to get all the sea water, sand and salt off.
We went down to Shutters to look for pictures, but they were not open yet. The lady who worked there snapped at some passengers and told them rudely that they did not open until 5. She wasn't very nice to them, and should consider getting a different job. This was the only openly rude person I saw during the entire cruise.
While waiting to go into dinner, I watched them cast off and the ship get under way. It was a beautiful evening with a setting sun and calm waters. It was so beautiful. We went outside on Deck 4 and sat for awhile enjoying the ocean breeze and watching the horizon. This is what cruising is all about.
Dinner tonight was at Animators Pallet. I really enjoyed the show and the changing colors. I had the Ceasar's Salad, Pan Seared Salmon, and Parmesan Crusted Veal Chop. Yes, you can probably tell I could not make up my mind about the entre and had 2 again. The salmon was good, the Parmesan Crusted Veal Chop was great. For dessert they brought out a bunch of samples of different desserts. My favorite was the chocolate mousse. I would like a bucket of chocolate mousse, a good book, a quiet reading/eating spot, and I am set. The chocolate mousse was a chocoholics dream.
Tonight's show was Voyage of the Ghost Ship. I took DD to Flounders, and she screamed when she realized I was leaving her with a sitter. She kept up the crying for 3 minutes. I hurried out of sight and she calmed down, I never got paged and she did well. KA and I went to the theater. It is very nice, but the show was not very good. KA said Hercules was a lot better. After the show KA and I looked through some of the shops and caught a couple of minutes off the improv at the comedy club.
Picked up DD and went to bed. Slept really well.
We are getting up later and later every morning. Spent most of the morning watching DD play in the pool. If it sound like I don't talk much about DS, it's because I hardly saw him. He checked himself in and out of the Oceaneer Lab and was busy most of the day.
Since the boys had disappeared KA and I decided to try Lumiere's for lunch. Boy did I wish we had done that before.
BIG TIP: Don't waste your time on Topsiders. Eat in the restaurants, the food is so much better.
We got to Lumieres and asked the waiters for a table where others did not have to observe DD. KA was worried we had to dress up for lunch at Lumiere's, but nobody else had. The waiters were great. Wished we had them for waiters instead of our regular ones. We started out with fresh fruit, then I had some sea food, then for dessert we got fruit coctail in rum with vanilla ice cream. It was so yummy. Best lunch we had all week. The waiters kept DD entertained. One of them even picked her up and hugged her as we left. Learned a big lesson here about where to eat lunch in the future.
Went to Shutters and spent $100 on pictures. It was a pain finding our pictures, but DD was able to find hers. She loves to pose for pictures and I bought every one she was in. Note for self, bring more money for pictures next time. I got 2 formal pictures of all 3 of us together, and they are the only formal ones we have. Normally I get nice pictures of the kids and I am never in the picture, now we finally have some of all of us together.
Went back to our cabin and got my tip envelopes out of the safe. I had brought cash in individual envelopes with me, already sorted out in the correct amounts. I am really glad I did this when I saw the line at Customer Service. I put the envelopes in my bag and headed for dinner. Outside our cabin I saw Nikki and handed her the tip envelop. I thanked her, and I feel she earned every penny of the tip.
Our final dinner was at Animators Pallet again. They had all the lights and colors already on, and did not run the show again. It was very nice though. For appetizer I had the Lamb Skewers and CousCous from the Moroccan Chef. It was excellent. Then for dinner I had Grilled Pork Tenderloin, and it was ok. For dessert I had both the Apple and Cranberry Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream, and Warm Chocolate & Hazelnut Pudding with Vanilla Sauce. I loved the Cobbler, did not like the Chocolate Pudding.
KA and I handed our servers the tip envelopes and left. The head waiter never came around, and I did not go in search for him to give him a tip. It was 7:30 by the time dinner was over and I headed to Flounders with DD. This time she only cried for 2 minutes after I left. She is getting better.
I was excited about watching Disney Dreams. It was great. I loved every minute of it. The special effects were incredible. I had tears in my eyes. This is the not to miss show. KA liked Hercules better.
After watching Disney Dreams I picked up DD and headed back to the cabin to pack. I watched the debarkation video on the TV, it played over and over again, then I packed. I had red colored luggage tags and put them on the suitcases. I removed the old tags to make sure the luggage did not go on another cruise without me. It was sad to pack, but all good things have to come to an end. The suitcases had to be outside our cabin door by midnight. I put everything outside except our carry on, and stroller.
I had given DS a 10:30pm curfew on the last night. (Thank you parents who warned me about the all nighter the kids try to pull the last night). While I was waiting for him I went to the very back of the ship and outside on the deck there. It was quiet, peaceful and nice. The only noise was DD. We cuddled up on a chair for a minute and just spent some quiet time together. It was really nice.
Back in the cabin DS decided he was hungry. He ordered room service, and I had him get me the kids chicken fingers dinner. I arrived promptly and was very good. After we ate we set the alarm for 6:30 and went to bed. We had to be at breakfast by 7am.
The alarm rang and we got up at 6:30. We made it to Animators Pallet for breakfast by 6:50. I was surprised to se our regular servers, I did not think we would see them again. Breakfast was over by 8am and we went to the Atrium deck 3 to disembark. We waited outside on the promenade on deck 4. It was another beautiful day and we just sat out there watching the ocean. The ship was cleared by 8:15 and we walked off. The depression set in. We found our luggage and a porter hauled it to the Delta counter. It was really nice to be able to check the luggage right there.