Age: 21 to 30
Occupation:Real Estate Tax Research
Number of Cruises: 3 to 5 Cruises
Cruise Line: Disney
Ship: Disney Magic
Sailing Date: October 5th, 1999
Itinerary: Nassau and Castaway Cay
My wife and I sailed on an inaugural cruise (Disney’s term) on the Disney Magic. This was our first attempt at cruising. We are 27 years old and have been married 3 years, with no children.
I’ll warn you now, this may get long, but it may be entertaining along the way. At least that is my intent.
Our journey began rather inauspiciously. My wife works for an airline, so we gambled on a stand by flight. We were smart enough try to fly out on Friday for a Monday sailing. Living in north Texas, rain is not normally an issue during August. But, the one night of the summer that it decide to rain, we need dry conditions! The airport was shut down essentially for the majority of the night. We finally gave up on our last hope at 1:30 in the morning and returned home to rest for a try in the morning.
As it turned out, many flights were canceled that morning as well. We were told by an agent, if we flew stand-by, we could make it there possibly by Wednesday the following week. That was no good at all. So, we put our thinking caps on and settled on renting a car one-way. National allowed us to this for about $175 and we were on our way. We stopped in Montgomery , AL along the way (hugging the coast was not an option as a hurricane had just ripped through the gulf coast) and arrived in Gainesville, FL 45 minutes short of 24 from our departure time, so we got charged for two days (ouch). Oh well, we are in Florida and around 24 hours from boarding our ship. We spent the afternoon with my grandparents and they took us to the port the next morning.
Driving over the bridge, we were told, we’d be able to see the ship with no trouble. That was an understatement. It was a moment I think neither of us will ever forget. The big beautiful ship was before us – and we were going to be sailing aboard it for 4 days!
Embarkation was a breeze. We ascended the escalator of the gorgeous terminal (after having our bags checked by porters), waited not more than 5 minutes to check in and we had our Key To The World. We took a few moments to take in the terminal (good idea since you don’t see this part again upon return) and said goodbye to my grandparents. I think they were instantly envious of our vacation. My grandfather is a Navy man. He was impressed by the site of the beautiful ship.
We boarded through Mickey’s ears and were taken to the buffet lunch on Deck 9. This was a nice lunch that we enjoyed outside. We were just beaming to be on board, this was so much better than we expected and now we could nearly relax. The site of the Space Shuttle on it’s launch pad was an added bonus across the horizon.
We found our cabin and settled in with our day bag. Our Navigator was provided with the activities listed for that night and Monday. We learned where we needed to go to sign up for Palo’s and Spa treatments. My wife went to Palo’s and I took the spa tour. Using my best judgement, I booked two treatments. My wife adjusted our seating to late (8:30) and then got us an evening at the adult’s only alternative dining room. Now, we could relax!
Our inside cabin (Category 10) was nice. It was a little cramped, but more than we needed as we used it very sparingly! The closet space was more than ample for the two of us. Nice wooden hangars were provided. A small cooling box and safe were available. We used our sofa as storage for our luggage (unrefined first time cruisers that we were!) and placed all our clothes in the ample drawer space.
The bathroom was a tight squeeze, so we learned to use it one at a time! The water pressure and temperature was fine and the provided toiletries were sufficient. We both enjoyed the hand cream as the salt water and sun dried us out quite a bit.
The vanity in the small living area was perfect for my wife. She would sit there to dry her hair, put in her contacts, and apply her makeup. The small television was next to the vanity, which offered older movies, NBC, ABC, and the Disney channels (who else?). I believe NBC has been removed from the lineup. My favorite touch was the view from the bridge. That was our alarm clock in the morning, the TV came on to show us where we were headed and the direction and speed we were sailing.
Our room was made up daily and turned down at night. Chocolates and artcards were left on our pillows each night with our Navigator detailing our next day’s activities. The drape that one could pull in front of the bed separated the living are from the bed. It was dark in there - so if you need a night light, be forewarned. It was wonderful to have it so dark, we slept wonderfully!
The first night was Disney Dreams in the theater. I missed it as I was getting a spa treatment. My wife said it was good. The following night was Hercules the Muse-ical. My wife missed this one as she had her spa treatment that night. Night three we were in port at Nassau and locals came on board for a nice slice of island entertainment. The final night was the Ghost Ship, my favorite of the shows I saw. The stage is something of which many local directors would be envious. The sound, lighting, staging, and effects were first rate. Sight lines were not a problem, almost all seats were good seats in the two sectioned, but single storied theater. Drinks could be brought in from the bars down the hall, but no service was provided in the theater.
Dinners were art 8:30 each night. The rotational dining was a treat. Each night was a new location. Our first night was in Animator’s Palate. The attraction here was not so much the food as it was the décor. Fiber optics in the walls helped transform the black and white room into a colorful array of characters and movie scenes. Even the dining staff changed with the room! We skipped Lumiere’s the second night for a seat at Palo’s. The adults only dining alternative was a special treat for our anniversary. We found the food here to be average and the service became poor when we passed on any wine for the evening (we do not drink alcohol – have never developed a taste for it). It was obvious from that point forward our waiter was in a rush to move us along. Parrot’s Cay the following evenings was a splash of Caribbean color and sounds. This was a fun restaurant! The food and wait staff was much better than our experience at Palo’s, so we felt better.
Each morning we at in the dining rooms, where we served omelets, skillet meals, or a la carte breakfast items. They were much better than the buffet offered on Deck 9 outside.
Lunches were also at different dining rooms and very good offerings were had as well.
After dinner each evening we caught at least one show at the Improv comedy club. What a riot some of the shows were. Of course, improv is only as good as the crowd, so some shows were average, but the funny comedians made us roll several times. We did not do any dancing in the country bar. Even though we are Texans, country music can scare us from a mile away! No night was complete without a stroll along the promenade or upper deck to enjoy the stars, moon, and sea breezes.
Nassau was our first port. Our first experience outside the U.S.!! We pulled along side the Big Red Boat (not the same thing as DCL!!!). It looked more like a tug in comparison. Our only plan was to stroll downtown and shop. We found some jewelry for my wife. We enjoyed seeing a bit of Bahamian culture as we strolled the streets and visited the Straw Market. That afternoon was spent on board enjoying a near empty ship, good books, empty swimming pools and working on golden brown tans. I could get used to that.
The next day was at sea. Wow – I never thought I would enjoy that as much as I did. We booked the Rain forest spa experience (saunas, steam rooms, and different showering rooms) and found time to rest and catch first run movies. A game show ended our leisurely afternoon in Studio Sea. We are always on the go. This day at seas forced us to relax, although there was plenty to do. A perfect combination.
Castaway Cay was day 3. A beautiful island paradise was waiting for us on the video screen. I got ready hurriedly in order to watch us pull next to the dock (no tender to this island!). We ate breakfast and departed to explore the private island. We rented snorkel gear and explored the protected lagoon. It was a good first snorkeling experience, although the amount of fish was not overwhelming. We walked to the adult’s only private beach to allow us some sight seeing on the island (a tram is provided). We spent some time in the paradise there before returning for lunch at the family beach. An adequate barbecue and fruit lunch hit the spot. We then rented a kayak and enjoyed paddling right near the Magic for some up close views. Soon, we were worn out and headed back to the ship to get ready for entertainment and dinner. Good timing too, as a storm was brewing and rain came shortly after we boarded.
Our last night on board was somber as we knew our fun was about to end. But we had a great meal, enjoyed some more comedy and packed our bags.
We skipped breakfast as we wanted off as soon as possible to try to catch a stand by flight home. We were unable to fly directly back to DFW, so we flew to Miami where we then headed home. We arrived home safely and I drove to drop off our film (good thing we saved some of our budget, that was not cheap!).
We did purchase a few photographs taken by the ship’s photographer. All that were taken were nicely done, but at about $10 a piece, we had to limit our purchases. I did find some nice gifts, art work and a watch to bring home from the on board shops.
We have since sailed on the Wonder and will sail Magic again this September (2000). We are hooked. DCL is definitely a line for adults. Yes, children are numerous, but many opportunities exist to avoid the crush. The ships are beautiful and the entertainment is first rate. The food is not the reason you sail Disney. But if you enjoy living like a king, while being able to act like a grown up kid, you’ll feel right at home on DCL. This cruise is about having fun and escaping the pressures at home!