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Jan Roels

Age: 46

Occupation:mental health administrator

Number of Cruises: 5

Cruise Line: Disney

Ship: Disney Magic

Sailing Date: August 25th, 2001

Itinerary: E. Caribbean

Jan Roelofs  

This being my 5th cruise, I will be reviewing the Disney Magic compared to other cruises I've taken. I can't help but do so, plus I think it's helpful to readers deciding on a ship or line. First of all, I would highly recommend this cruise to others, and would consider this ship or another Disney cruise in the future.

By category, here are my comments:

1. Embarkation: Very quick and smooth. It helps that DCL gives you the forms to fill out ahead of time. Short, quick-moving lines were the rule. Nice job. As we entered the ship my 7 yr. old son was thrilled to see Mickey, dressed as a ship captain, waving us hello from an upper balcony.

2. Food. Overall, excellent and consistent. I was happy with the selection and quality. Not terribly creative, but fresh, tasty and satisfying. I was used to FABULOUS desserts, and DCL's were good but not usually great.

Exception: Chocolate souffle in Palo's. More about that later. The dining program is unique in that you rotate, with your servers, to three dining rooms, all with different themes and decor. We enjoyed all three, and found out ona galley tour they have different kitchens and chefs. The best dishes were prime rib on the last night, lobster tails, and mahi mahi. We enjoyed the animator show in Animator's Pallette(Palate), and International Night, even with "It's a Small World" played loud. Other eateries include a buffet style casual place on the pool deck and a hamburger/hotdog/pizza/ ice cream counter available all day, also near the pools. On the top deck is Palo's, an adults only Italian place, beautiful, with a gorgeous view and excellent service. The food is a notch above dfownstairs, which is saying alot.

3. Service: Overall, very good, bordering on excellent. We had a slight problem in that our table mates had a habit of running late. This caused a delay for us getting our menus orders taken or main courses delivered. I thought that each family or group should be waited on as a separate entity. However, the servers were very accommodating, pleasant and helpful. I was impressed that they knew all our names, even our kids, who spent most dinners in the kid's program. More on that later.

3. Entertainment/Activities: Contrary to popular opinion, there's plenty for adults to do. More than I could squeeze in, really. Everything from bingo to Disney Art of Entertaining series, including cooking classes, table setting, napkin folding, etc. I attended the galley tour and Ice sculpting demo, went to the gym almost every day, and went to the nightly stage show, well, nightly. All great. The stage shows were excellent, all Disney themed, but if you like that kind of stuff, well, you are on a Disney trip, after all. There was also a full movie theater with first run movies, all Disney, but something for everyone-Pearl Harbor, Spy Kids, Atlantis, The Princess Diaries, to name a few. My husband and kids went to several of these.

After hours there were more adult type entertainment, I did not go to any but my table mates- New Yorkers with discriminating tastes- enjoyed the comedy and magic acts especially.

4. Excursions: We generally don't do these, as they are usually overpriced and too structured. However, I heard nothing but positive comments overall.

5. The ship itself: In a word, beautiful. The prettiest ship I've been on. Elegant and tasteful with subtle Disney touches and nautical details. Lots of wood and marble. Plus, it has a nice flow. Traffic moves smoothly. 2500 passengers were well accommodated.

It doesn't have the problem most ships have of "You can't get there from here" where you have to go up or down to go from one end of the same deck to the other. Cabins were roomy and pretty to look at. We were on deck 2, outside starboard. I was concerned that the noise from the upstairs disco/ nightclub areas would bother me but no problem. What we could hear was everything from our adjoining cabin, everything. Fortunately, they were a family with young kids like ours, so there was no loud partying or other annoying sounds. This was my only true complaint, a minor one, fortunately.

Cleanliness is the rule on DCL, apparently. People are cleaning everything all the time. There's no time for anything to get dirty. Our cabin was kept in good shape too. Paulette, our hotess, was friendly and efficient.

6. Ports of Call: St Maarten/St. Martin: Not the prettiest island, and trying to recover from Hurricane Louise in 95. St Thomas: my third visit there, it gets better if anything. Beautiful, clean, good shopping and nice people. Megan's bay does live up to its rep. as one of the top 10 beaches in the world. Castaway Cay: Gorgeous,  Disneyfied but natural at the same time. We really enjoyed our day there and so did the kids. Plenty do do or nothing if you want.

7. The guests: as expected, families with kids, but some couples and singles too. Generally, a well behaved middle to upper middle class crowd, and very friendly. Most people were from the Northeast, N.Y. or N.J. but also some Europeans, Canadians and a few Asians. We were lucky enough to get good table mates at dinner and got together other times with them too.

8. Children's Programs: Saving the best for last. As expected, GREAT! My kids, boys 7 & 10 loved it. They wanted to be there all the time. I literally had to drag the little one away. Two huge areas to play and have age appropriate structured activities, plus a nursery for infants, and a coffee shop for teens. The kids staff was tireless, positive and cheerful all the time. A special thanks to Sally, Emily, Jessica and Vivian for their excellent loving care of my 7 yr. old who can be a handful. He loved them and the whole experience. 

9. Debarkation: A total breeze. No waiting, no searching for your bag, no hassles at all. Quick, smooth and painless. I usually hate this, but with DCL it's a pleasure, if you can call the end of a fabulous family vacation a pleasure.

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