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Nicole Einrem

Age: 45

Occupation:Office Manager

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Disney

Ship: Disney Magic

Sailing Date: 2009-06-6

Itinerary: Eastern Carribean

To celebrate my mom's 70th birthday this year, we decided on a Disney cruise. About our party: Gma (69), I took my best friend instead of my husband and two of my three children (15 & 17). My sister's family included a 7 year old boy. My teens said it was the best vacation they have ever taken. The 7 day eastern Carribean had 3 full days at sea and 3 days at port. We stopped at St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay.

We thought the food was great. Not used to such fancy food but we tried quite a bit of new things. Each night in the scheduled dining room was a choice of several appetizers. Main dish selections included beef, poultry, seafood & lamb. This was too wierd for my teens so one ordered macaroni and cheese from the kids menu every night and the other one got either a steak or chicken breast with a baked potato. There was a choice of about 5 deserts each night, all presented very nicely. There was not much we didn't care for. We got in the habit of ordering extra appetizers or deserts so that we could all try them.

I would recommend choosing the earlier sitting. They have dinner at 6:15 and 8:15 and the meals take about 2 hours. By the time we were done at 10, we were too full and tired to go to other activities and enjoy the late night snacks that they have available in different areas (The 11:15pm desert buffet one night was so awesome). My sister also said this was too late for her son to eat. You have to ask but they will arrange it so that the kids can eat fast and go back to the fun zone.

There was also a pizza joint, burgers and hot dogs and a fruit/sandwich/wrap place. The Topsider buffet ran different themes (Mexican, Chinese, American). We ate breakfast there several times and lunch a few times. They also had a kids line-my sister used it on Chinese day.

The fancy adult restaurant, Palo, was great for my sister and her husband who went for their anniversary. She said the chocolate souflee is as good as I read in other reviews. We also went there for high tea one day. Only $5 extra. We got to sample as many teas as we wanted and they brought us a plate of finger sandwiches and a stacked tier plate of deserts. It was fun for the 4 grownup women to hang out for tea (even tho two of us don't drink tea - we tried it anyway).

Soda is free on deck 9. If you order it in a bar, it's $2/can!

We got a standard small stateroom that slept 3. I wish we could have upgraded to the version that had the split bathroom. They were not available in the area near my mom's room which was one with a veranda. They loved the veranda. The first couple of nights were cool and they just left the door open all night. We just happened to see a whale while standing there in her stateroom one day. My teens were slobs, I think that if they would've unpacked and organized their stuff into the cabinets right away, our room might not have seemed as small.

The room attendant comes and makes the beds in the morning (or whenever the teens got up) and comes back in the evening to turn down the beds and make the couch back into a single bed. They also amused us with the towel animals each night. Since we did not have a window, I turned the tv to the view from the bow so when I woke up, I could see if the sun was up or if we were in port yet.

There was a hair dryer provided in the bathroom.

The onboard activities were very fun. They had a variety of trivia games at different times. Mostly Disney themed. They had karoke several times. Live music and comedians also played in the lounges sometimes for adults only and sometimes for families. The kids programs sorted by age were great. They also have daycare for kids age 2 and under but you have to pay extra and make reservations. The teens got to make up their own schedule of activities and each of my daughters picked a different group of kids to hang out with. They stayed out late and roamed the ship. They liked to go to a kids room that had a bigger suite and they would order room service. Lots of pizzas and cookies.

The broadway type shows were great. They also showed UP that is in theaters now in 3D. There was also another movie theatre that played several Disney/Touchstone/Pixar movies throughout the week. I made it to Bedtime Stories and Race to Witch Mountain. We could also watch movies on the big screen from the deck or the family pool/hot tubs.

The pools were pretty good. Sometimes they seemed really warm. Not good on a hot day with a sunburn. There is a toddler and kids pool by the water slide (kids only darn), then the family pool which isn't too deep and also has two hot tubs available. The adult pool was nice for short laps or just cooling off and also had two hot tubs.
We didn't use the spa but my friend used the very nice excersize room almost every morning.

St. Maarten: my sister and husband took the Eco Hike where they were bussed up a mountain and walked down. It was loose and rocky and they had to concentrate. We took a water taxi ($6 gets you unlimited round trips to downtown and back to the ship all day). There is a pretty nice beach there and a lot of shops and restaurants in that area. It was so hot the shopping wasn't that much fun, so we ran back to the ship to get swimsuits on and spent the afternoon swimming on the beach.

St. Thomas: We booked the Coral World Marine Park Semi-Submarine Ride. We took a wild taxi ride (seats mounted on the back of a pickup) across the island. It was hot here too and they divided us in half where some went on the boat ride and some walked around the exibits. There was a beautiful beach next door but we didn't have time to check it out since as soon as we were done with the submarine ride, we had to take the taxi back to the boat. We could've stayed but then would have had to pay for the taxi ride back. We wanted to do the sky tram up to the top of the hill near the ship, but they were having technical difficulties so we missed that. Went through a few shops near the boat and then had to go rest and cool off. This is part of US Virgin Islands so we sent home postcards from here using American stamps. They still drive on the left side of the road.

Castaway Cay: The adult beach was great. The family beach snorkel area is kept separate from the swimming area to keep from scaring the fish. I did not have fins on the first time I went out and had to work pretty hard and never got all the way out to the submerged Minnie. It was shallow and nicer at the adult beach. The BBQ was awesome. We also signed up for the stingray event ($35). After a short educational program, you got to feed trained stingrays with their barbs removed. Then we could swim with them for a while. After they ate they went deeper and since I can't see without my glasses and the water was murkey becuase they stir up the sand, I didn't have much luck finding them after that. 17 was scared and wouldn't even try it so that was a big waste of $35. The teens also didn't like the submarine ride saying it was boring.

Compared to snorkeling in Hawaii, I was disappointed. I only wish that I had signed up for some snorkeling trips where you could see more fish.

Pool towels are available to take ashore on all islands which was very nice.

All in all, we were all satisfied with our great vacation. If you like Disney characters, this is the place to find them. They were all over the ship at scheduled and random times. You could stand in a short line to get your photo with them and they didn't care if you also used your personal camera at the same time. The character breakfast was fun when they all came to our table to take pictures but that was the one meal I didn't care for.

Everything felt very relaxed and the staff were all very friendly. They had one formal night (Golden Mickeys-sort of like Oscar night walking the red carpet on the way to the show) and one semi-formal night and one pirate night. I didn't take any dress up clothes, but no body cared. If I had had my whole family along, it would've been great to dress up and do family pictures. They had several stations set up with different backdrops. The photographers were very good, but since the photos were pretty expensive ($10-20 each depending on size), we didn't buy any. My friend did get one of her with Goofy. Our group of 8 had 4 digital cameras so we figured we were covered.

Getting on and off the ship was so easy. The hard part was getting the bags packed and out in the hall before 11pm the night before getting off. You fill out a form to go through customs and they ask do you have any tobacco or liquor and we said no and left the building. It's that easy.

I had read that it's easy to use a lanyard to carry your roomcard around. They were about $6 so the cheapskate that I am, dug out some old nametags on lanyards from meetings I had been to and my kids, mom and friend used those to keep their card in. I still carried a bag around since I thought I needed my "Navigator" with me at all times. This is the schedule of events that gets delivered to your room each night for the upcoming day.

Embarkation: I would recommend getting on the boat as early as possible and getting in on the tour of the ship right away. I took one later on in the week and learned a lot of interesting things. It would also help figure out where everything is faster for first timers.

They have a form you can fill out at the end of the trip for recommended tips. Using the recommended amounts for head server, server, assistant server and room attendant, it came to about $250 for three of us. Then they printed out tickets for us to put in an envelope to hand to those people and it went on my final credit card statement along with the shore excursions, any alcoholic or smoothie drinks and things out of the souvenir shops on board.

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