Monday, November 16, 2009

7 nights of "Magic" on Disney Cruise LIne

We just returned from our first ever Disney cruise aboard Disney’s Magic, what a magical week we had. It all started back in March when we booked, at that time I was researching everything I could, then the summer was busy with other travels and what-not so the cruise got put on the back burner. About 2 months before we were to set sail I went in to planning mode overload, which I always do before a big trip, with a family of 5 and 3 of them 5 or under you must plan well!!! I started packing lists, eyeing over message boards and all that normal stuff, then the week we were scheduled to leave for the drive down was upon us. Where did the time go? We stayed close to the port the night before we were to leave because I had plans of getting upgraded, so the morning of Halloween we all got up, dressed in our matching shirts and headed to the port, I was amazed at how many people were already there at 10am, but luckily I was able to get my upgrade to a 1 bedroom suite w/ concierge (Cat 3), of course we had to pay for it but it was worth every penny!! We were traveling with my parents and they upgraded too to a veranda on deck 6. Even though my parents were not in a suite the Cast Members were very nice to let them be with us and board first and go to the welcome reception and all that fun stuff! The best thing I believe about the whole cruise was right when you step on board, they asked what our family name was, and I told them and then to my surprise they announced us by name and everyone clapped, that was such a special treat to us, we felt like royalty.

The ship was beautiful and pretty easy to figure out where to go , of course they were never short of Cast Members who are more than happy to assist you. While at our welcome reception we were able to sign the kids up for the kids clubs, make spa/salon appointments and meet with our concierge, Lynda. Lynda was able to book Palos for us since we missed out doing that before we left, she also took note of special requests and any questions we had.

After ,we headed up to deck 9 to check out the food, and boy was there plenty of it, so we filled our bellies and hung out for a little while. It was almost 1:30, the time when you are able to go to your staterooms so we headed to deck 8 midship to check it out. We were thrilled, it was huge, a large living room, a large bedroom a huge veranda ,2 bathrooms, lots of closet and storage space, it was a dream come true, it even had a door bell!

4 o’clock, life boat drill, was very quick and orderly! After putting the life jackets away it was time for the sail-a-way party on the pool deck, how fun was it to be sailing away with Mickey and the gang! As soon as the characters came out I got all teary eyed, this is what it was all about!!!! It was a great party, very lively and energetic, as was everything on board.

Since it was Halloween we went back to our cabin to get in our costumes and go to the Welcome Aboard Show and then Trick or Treating! Dinner was after that, we chose late seating at 8:15, that night, after the long day and no naps my almost 4 year old feel asleep at dinner and my 5 year old probably could have too. Our wait staff was great, they made a bed for him so he would be comfortable, needless to say, after dinner we all went to bed to get a good sleep for our day in Key West.

The ports were fine, we had been on many cruises in the past so they were all familiar to us and we just did our own thing for the most part. In Key West we walked all the way to the Southern Most Point and went to the Butterfly Conservatory which was amazing. In Grand Cayman we did the Island Tour with stops in Hell and the Turtle Farm. Cozumel was our only bad weather day, rained most of the morning, let up for a little while so we ventured out to get some good food at Pancho’s Backyard then back to the ship. Then it rained most of the day after that. The cruise director and staff wasted no time in putting together dance parties , extra trivia’s, games and other events for those who stayed on the ship instead of venturing out in the rain.
Our last port of Castaway Cay, their private island was wonderful, beautiful beach and good food, too bad the water was pretty cold for my liking. We had two days at sea which were wonderful, both days we dined at Palos for brunch, it was sooo good the first time we had to go back. We hung out by the Mickey pool a bit which the kids loved and it was the perfect size for them.
We also fit in naps every evening before the shows so the kids could make it all night. We also put our littlest one who is almost 2 in the Flounders Nursery and he loved it, they were soooo good with him in there.
Our Cruise Director, Clayton was the best I had ever had, such personality and love for his job. The shows were amazing, having seen many Broadway plays, I rank them right up there with them, Disney really knows how to do it. The Cruise Staff was superb, they hosted many dance parties and trivia’s which we tried to attend, my personal favorites were the High School Musical Dance Party and the Disney Tunes Trivia! There was a Tea with Alice which I knew about before sailing and was excited to get in to that, my daughter wore her Alice dress and enjoyed “tea” (which was actually apple juice) and cookies with Alice.
Pirate Night was a hit, it was great seeing so many guests dressed in pirate costumes, and of course our family was some of them! Unfortunately the weather was not on our side that night so they could not do the fireworks and deck party, however they did do them the next night and it was fabulous. Disney is the only cruise line that does fireworks from their ships. Our dining staff was wonderful, especially our waitress, Jessyca, she was so good with our little one, when he got bored, she would just walk him around the dining room and he loved it! Doing the dining rotation was different but we liked it, Lumiere's was my favorite, though my daughter liked Animators Palate the best because the colors changed, Parrot Cay was festive and colorful.

Being in concierge really had a big impact on our trip, having the extra space and the personal service was really really nice, we now know we can not doing anything else. So I suggest, if you can swing it, do it, you won’t regret it, I would be happy to elaborate more on the benefits, just message me! Another exciting thing we did for the first time was the art auction, so now we have started our Disney art collection and are anxiously waiting for our two new pieces to arrive!
I could go on and on about our cruise, but to sum it up in one word, MAGICAL!
Remember Disney is offering many new destinations, along with a brand new ship debuting in 2011, contact WDWTravels for details and we will be happy to get you started on your magical vacation! Thanks for reading

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