Number of Cruises: 5
Cruise Line: Disney
Ship: Disney Magic
Sailing Date: July 26th, 2006
Itinerary: Castaway Cay
Truly you must experience the Magic it to
believe it. From the moment you arrive, Disney goes above and beyond to create a
stress-free vacation for families. After an easy pass through customs, we
boarded the grand vessel and headed to deck seven to find our room. Disney’s
Magic boasts of the best cabins in the industry and for good reason. The
larger-than-average rooms allowed plenty of room to move around and a split bath
makes it perfect for families. There’s even sleeping privacy. The large
verandahs are delightful for spending private family moments.
The entertainment begins the moment you step foot on to the ship. Disney characters meet and greet passengers and crew members are busy with smiles for everyone. A bon voyage deck party complete with live band and dancing was held (our kids were in the swimming pools before we even set sail). And as the whistle blew and we left the shore, I saw more than one person with tears in their eyes as the familiar strain of It’s a Small World After All played.
We needn’t have worried if the kids would need us. They didn’t. They were too busy digging for whale bones, swimming, playing ping-pong and basketball, learning animation, creating their own volcanoes, dancing with princesses and meeting new friends. Since the children were happily involved in their own activities, my husband and I went to wine tastings, shows, relaxed and made new friends of our own.
The only challenge for the week is how to fit in all the wonderful activities. There’s so much to do on the Magic. Thankfully, Disney’s on top of this too. Each evening, an itinerary of the next day’s line-up is delivered to your stateroom.
A favorite of our kids was the children’s program. Nearly an entire deck is devoted to children’s programming. The Oceaneer Club is for ages 3 to 7, while the Oceaneer Lab is for ages 8 to 12. Activities are further separated by appropriate age groups. For example, the 3 and 4 year olds, 8 and 9 year olds, etc. There is also a nursery for ages 3 months to 3 years and a teens-only supervised program
Reassuring is Disney’s commitment to a secured safe program. They take the security of the children very seriously and are constantly upgrading our security measures. Pagers are given to the parents so if a child desires to be picked up, mom and dad are only a quick page away. A password, which is provided at the beginning of the voyage, must be given for designated members of the party to pick-up a child. At times, our four-year old still experiences separation issues and his counselor Desta went above and beyond to make the transitions much easier.
On the ship there’s something to fit everyone’s tastes. And speaking of tastes, there's not enough ink to talk about the delightful dining experiences. It’s certainly true that one can literally eat their way around the clock (thank goodness for the exercise room). The nightly dining is superb as you and your wait staff rotate together between Parrot Cay, Lumiere’s and Animator's Palate. There is also an adults-only option at Palo’s. Palo’s is an Italian restaurant overlooking the ocean (reservations are required). For those who need an in-between meal snack fix, there’s a 24-hour pizza station, soda station, ice cream and more. (And don’t forget about those midnight buffets.)
A highlight of the week was the mid-week top deck pirate party. Passengers were encouraged to don their best pirate apparel and take part in lively fun. The party featured Captain Hook and Captain Mickey and dancing, food, and music kept the happy crowd on their feet. A sensational fireworks display capped the night off. To add to the theme, Disney showed Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest throughout the entire week.
Disney has extended the on-ship magic to its private island – Castaway Cay. At this 1000-acre Bahamian island, families can get up close and personal with stingrays, snorkel, parasail, fish, go boating and more. Shop, dine and listen to live music amid the beautiful beaches. Or simply lay in a hammock as the gentle breeze of a palm tree blows. For adults wishing a little time alone, Serenity Bay is an adults-only beach. On the island, children can participate in organized activities. On our cruise, we had the luxury of two days at Castaway Cay. Its incredible beautiful and well worth two stops. Lending a helping hand to families, Disney suggests and reserves shore excursions for additional port stops. Ports can be extremely busy and crowded, so take their advice and let Disney handle the particulars.
There is so much to do and see yet Disney takes all the work out of it. Aside from the wonderful places and activities we were involved in; it’s the people we miss. My son’s new best friend lives 1000 miles away but is as close as e-mail, the crew who are from all over the world - new friends but truly not forgotten ones. Aptly said during our last evening “what you can’t see with your eyes, lives in your heart.”