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Disney Magic - Cruise Ship Review - Passenger Reviews

Disney Cruise Line's cruise ship Disney MagicDisney Magic was Disney Cruise Line’s first ship, launching with much fanfare in 1998 and setting the tone for Disney’s first decade in the cruise business.

The Look Of Magic
Magic is a long, proud-looking vessel, designed to evoke the flavor of the great early 20th century ocean liners. Outside, she has a beautiful black-white-red-and-yellow paintjob that looks classic and grand and is a perfect match for Mickey Mouse’s signature outfit.

Inside, her public rooms and cabins are done up with timeless Art Deco and Art Nouveau style, with mouse ears and other Disney-isms sprinkled around so subtly that it’s actually fun to try and spot them among the design motifs. Even the ship’s horn is distinctively Disney, belting out the first notes of “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

Well laid out and kept fresh through frequent updates and upgrades, Magic offers spaces for kids, spaces for families, and spaces for adults only.

The pool deck, for instance, has three different pools. The two-foot-deep Mickey’s Kids’ Pool is shaped like Mickey Mouse’s face and has a giant Mickey hand holding up its water slide. Next door is the Splash Zone, a play area for kids under 3 who aren’t toilet trained. The four-foot-deep Goofy’s Family Pool is flanked by hot tubs, letting adults relax while keeping an eye on the kids. Finally, separated off from the others, the adults-only Quiet Cove pool has whirlpools, waterfalls, lounge chairs with plush cushions, a poolside bar and a coffee bar.

Disney Cruise Line FunDisney Magic For Kids
Inside, kids can play at some of the biggest and best children’s facilities at sea, taking up nearly half a deck. The Oceaneer Club for kids 3–10 is a kid-proportioned playroom with a Neverland theme, where kids can climb and crawl around a giant pirate ship, dress up as their favorite hero or princess, and participate in supervised activities throughout the day. The interactive Oceaneer Lab, for the same age group, is themed on characters from the Toy Story movies, and gives kids a chance to play on computers, do experiments at a science lab, learn how animation works, and more. Special lunches and dinners are served here too, giving parents a chance to get out on their own.

Down on deck 2, tweens age 11 through 13 have a space called Edge, where they can play video games, surf the web, watch TV, and participate in organized activities. Teens have a hangout space called Vibe, located inside a phony smokestack on the top deck and designed to look like a cross between a college dorm rec room and a college-town coffee shop. It’s open 24 hours a day; is stocked with computers, games, TVs, music stations and DVD players; and offers dance parties, karaoke and other organized activities.

For the youngest kids, ages 3 months to 3 years, the Flounder’s Reef Nursery is open at various times through the day, including 6pm to midnight, and charges $6 per hour for the first child and $5 an hour for the second. Stocked with toys and decorated with a Little Mermaid theme, the space has play areas, cribs and counselors who’ll change diapers. You don’t even have to bring your own on board, if you don’t want to. Instead, you can pre-order diapers, wipes, and other baby supplies and they’ll be delivered to your cabin on the first day of your cruise.

Disney Magic For Families & Adults
For families, there are live family shows at the grand Walt Disney Theater; movies at the Buena Vista Theatre; animated films and other family entertainment shown on a giant movie screen attached to the forward funnel out on deck; and game shows, karaoke and dancing at the Studio Sea lounge. The Disney characters are onboard for special meet and greet sessions, and for surprise appearances.

For adults, Magic offers the adults-only Beat Street district with three separate clubs: Sessions, a piano bar with an Art Deco theme; the Rockin’ Bar D, a roadhouse-themed club offering games by day and live music, dancing, and karaoke at night; and Diversions, a sports pub and lounge. Adults can also hunker down at the comfortable Cove Café, where they can get a gourmet coffee or cocktail, and read, watch TV or surf the web. The ship has one restaurant, pool, and some other areas reserved for adults only.

Evening entertainment includes live sit-down shows with well-known Disney themes, and Disney's famous pirate deck party.

Dining in Lumiere's on Disney MagicDining On Disney Magic
All told, Magic offers nine different restaurants and dining spots. The dining experience aboard Disney’s ships is different than at any other line, in that guests automatically rotate among several different restaurants, and bring their waiters with them. There’s the formal, Beauty and the Beast–inspired main restaurant, Lumiere’s, serving French-inspired continental cuisine at dinner. And there’s the tropical-themed Parrot Cay, a second main restaurant, serving Caribbean grilled specialties. Both also serve contemporary American cuisine at breakfast and lunch. A third dinner spot, Animator’s Palate, has a decor that starts out looking like a black-and-white pencil sketch, and gradually gets more colorful as the meal goes on.

For an adults-only getaway, Palo serves Northern Italian cuisine in a casual atmosphere.

There’s also a pool deck grill, a pizzeria, a buffet restaurant, and a couple of snack stands, including one near the kids’ pool.

Disney Veranda CabinStaterooms On Disney Magic
In terms of staterooms, Magic really shines. Like all the Disney ships, she offers extra-roomy standard cabins that can sleep at least three or four through fold-out couches and bunks that pull down from the ceiling.

The majority of staterooms come with two bathrooms — one with just a toilet and sink, the other with a bathtub and sink. There’s also a little fridge, lots of storage space, and subtle Disney themes worked into the classy decor.

One-bedroom suites can sleep four or five comfortably, and two-bedroom suites sleep seven. About half the outside cabins on board offer private verandas. Those that don’t have balconies feature wonderful oversized portholes instead — another cute nod to old ocean-liner days.

Ship Facts
Year Built 1998 ♦ Ship's Class: Magic Class ♦ Year Refurbished 2008 ♦ Country of Registry Bahamas ♦ Tonnage 83,000 ♦ Length 964 ft - 294 m ♦ Cruising Speed 24 knots ♦ Passenger Capacity (double occupancy) 1,754 ♦ Passenger Capacity (incl. upper beds) 2,700 ♦ Passenger Decks 10 ♦ Officers and Crew 950 ♦ Officer's Nationality International ♦ Crew and Hotel Staff Nationality International

Cabins
Total 877 ♦ Suites with Balcony 22 ♦ Oceanview with Balcony 362 ♦ Oceanview without Balcony 237 ♦ Inside 256 ♦ Accessible Cabins (all categories) 16 ♦ Disney Cruise Line's cabins are designed especially for families, including a split bath, with sinks and vanities in both, but with the toilet in one and the tub with shower in the other. Amenties in all cabins include luxury bedding, refrigerator (not a minibar), satellite TV programming, and complimentary room service.

Cabin Amenities
TV with music channels ♦ In-Cabin Movies ♦ In-Cabin Internet Access ♦ Private Safe ♦ Refrigerator ♦ Hair Dryer

Castaway Cay in the Bahamas is Disney Cruise Line's own private islandDining
Traditional 1st and 2nd Sitting Assigned Table Seating ♦ Disney Cruise Line's Main Dining features a rotation system, where you change between three differently themed restaurants each night ♦ Main Dining Rooms: Animator's Palate, Lumiere's, Parrot Cay ♦ Casual Dining options for breakfast and lunch include the buffet style Goofy's Galley and Topsider Buffet ♦ Pluto's Dog House serves hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch and dinner ♦ Pinocchio's Pizzeria serves pizza throughout the day ♦ Adult Exclusive Dining in Palo, a restaurant reserved exclusively for adults ♦ Specialty Coffee Bar ♦ 24 Hour Room Service Available

Public Rooms
Bars and Lounges ♦ Internet Center

Entertainment
Showlounge ♦ Disco/Nightclub ♦ Video Games Arcade ♦ Note that there is no casino on Disney Cruise Line

Sports and Activities
Outdoor Pools ♦ Sports Court ♦ Fitness Center ♦ Jogging Track ♦ Promenade Deck wraps around the ship ♦ Adult Only Pool

Spa and Wellness
Full Service Spa ♦ MedSpa Services ♦ Sauna or Steam Room ♦ Beauty Salon ♦ Yoga ♦ Pilates ♦ Fitness Assessment ♦ Health and Nutrition Evaluation

Children and Teens
Family Cabins ♦ Organized Age Specific Activities ♦ Children's Pool ♦ Several Children's Play Areas and Clubs ♦ Youth Staff ♦ Dedicated Teen Center ♦ Teen Programs ♦ Teen Staff ♦ Group Babysitting Services

Other Facilities and Services
Duty Free Shops and Boutiques ♦ Dry Cleaning and Laundry Service ♦ Business Center Services ♦ Medical Center

Disney Does Its Magic - Cruise Review

Pirate's deck party on Disney Cruise Lineby Ralph Grizzle. An award-winning travel writer, and recognized cruise ship expert.

Ship: Disney Magic

Itinerary: A special seven-night Western Caribbean with not one, but two stops at Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line’s private island in the Bahamas. The itinerary is offered only a few times each year. Check with your cruise seller for more information.

Our Stateroom: 7078, on the seventh deck between midship and aft. The balcony stateroom features a queen-sized bed, fold down sofa for sleeping one child and a single bunk that can be lowered from the ceiling for sleeping another child.

Disney’s ships feature a bath and a half. Both baths, adjacent to one another and separated by a wall, feature sinks and vanities. The toilet is in one bathroom, and a short-length tub and shower in the other.

Supplied amenities include shampoo, conditioner and body butter. Our stateroom included a refrigerator (not stocked), desk with two AC outlets, flat-screen LCD television, coffee table that could be raised and lowered for in-room dining, and plenty of storage, including a reproduction of a steamer case turned upright for storage. Our Filipino room steward, Alex, was attentive and ever-present when needed, and also made towel animals that the children enjoyed each night.

Disney Cruise Line's Castaway CayWhat’s New: The 2,700-passenger Disney Magic went into drydock September 2008 for some big enhancements, including upgrades at Quiet Cove, the serene pool retreat reserved for the enjoyment of adults.

Also, the Oceaneer Club, a Neverland-themed play space for 3-7 year olds, and the Oceaneer Lab, a whacky and interactive laboratory exclusively for 8-12 year olds, were enhanced with new registration areas that make the check-in process more efficient and hassle-free.

Also new: a toddler water playground inspired by Fantasia’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The 385-square-foot extension to the Mickey Pool on deck 9 features star- and moon-shaped interactive fountains, a soft play surface and whimsical splash zones; creating an inviting environment for children not yet toilet trained and in swim diapers.

Ah, Spa! Disney was the first to introduce ship-board spa villas. The villas feature treatment suites connected to a private outdoor veranda with personal hot tub, open air shower and a double-wide chaise lounge. Couples massages are available for those seeking a relaxing and romantic spa treatment.

Ocean Quest: A kids’ center on deck 2, Ocean Quest features a scaled replica of a ship’s bridge, complete with LCD screen “windows” that let children look out over the bridge via live video feed from the actual bridge. My children sat in the traditional captain’s chair and participated in a simulation game where they steered a cruise ship in and out of various ports of call. Ocean Quest also features computer and video games as well as arts and crafts, and is one of five dedicated venues for children — the others include Flounder’s Reef Nursery, Oceaneer Club, Oceaneer Lab and The Stack (for teens).

Disney Magic features a jumbo LED screen affixed to the forward funnelTop Deck Fun: Disney Magic features a jumbo LED screen affixed to the forward funnel on deck 9. At the Goofy Pool (family pool area), classic Disney animated or live-action movies air on the 24-by-14-foot screen, visible even during daylight.

On one night of our cruise, we enjoyed what may just be the cruising’s best top-deck party. Themed “Pirates In the Caribbean,” the event featured a stage show, dancing, barbecue and buffet as well as something we had never seen on a cruise ship: a fireworks display. The event ended with Mickey Mouse flying in on a zipline and, later, the airing of the movie, “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

We also enjoyed the poolside dining venue: Goofy’s Galley, featuring such light fare as grilled panini sandwiches, wraps, fruit and salads. Soft drinks are complimentary shipwide, with soda dispensers stationed in the pool area.

Disney Magic Tips: If you arrive to the terminal early, register your children in the kids program before boarding the ship (boarding begins at noon, and rooms are ready at 1:30). Snacks are available in the terminal and can be charged to your stateroom card.

Navigational Tip: Topsider Buffet was overly crowded, especially during lunch. Once, we had to lift our trays above our heads to get to our seats, because so many people were lined up. When Topsider Buffet is crowded, go to Parrot Cay dining room, which serves breakfast and lunch buffets as well.

The Bottom Line: It would be hard to imagine anyone disembarking either of Disney’s two ships having not had a great time. Even adults can find plenty of areas to retreat from children in the many adults-only areas.