Granted, I’ve only ever sailed on one cruise line besides Disney, yet Disney is probably the line I would always choose to sail with if I had the chance. I’ve now been on three Disney cruises-in 2002 on the Wonder, 2011 on the Dream, and most recently, the Magic and each has been a great experience.
|It’s hard to tell with the sun glare but that’s Goofy hanging by a rope as he attempts to add the finishing touches to the Magic logo on the bow of the ship.|
Although the rate for our three night cruise in the heart of winter was significantly more than longer cruises on other lines, with Disney you pay for the name and it’s a name that is worth the extra money. Just as I did with my posts on the Disney Dream, I’m going to be breaking them up into multiple categories.
(Note: Since the dreaded Norovirus has been making the news a lot as of late, I plan on talking about that in its own post.)
The ship: The Magic is one of Disney’s two oldest ships and dates from 1998 (there are four in all). However, last fall it underwent a major refurbishment which is what originally piqued my interest in wanting to sail on the Magic. Some of the biggest changes that occurred were redoing one of its three rotational restaurants and its casual buffet style eatery, and adding the AquaDunk (more on this below in the recreation category). And of course there was also a significant amount of polishing and elbow grease involved as well. The Magic is much smaller than Disney’s two newest ships (it holds about half the number of passengers the Dream and Fantasy carry) but in many ways this is a good thing, namely that it is easier to find your way around the ship. Deck 9, which houses numerous food options and all of the pools, was always mobbed during the height of the day with scampering children, waiters rushing to and fro, and other passengers meandering along. But even on a smaller ship, there were still plenty of areas one could go to be alone. I preferred the Dream to the Magic, yet considering it’s 16 years old, the Magic still looks pretty good. (For reference, the Magic was in dry dock for a month during the refurbishment period.)
The stateroom: Unlike while traveling during the height of the hurricane season here in the Western Hemisphere when there are major bargains to be had, travel in February when everyone in a cold weather location wants to escape to somewhere warm means higher costs. So in the interest of wanting to save some money, I opted for an interior stateroom this time (my first ever). I won’t lie, there is something to be said about having your own personal balcony. However, while you’re on a cruise ship, the “fun” definitely lies outside your stateroom. The only negative to an interior stateroom is that it’s dark all the time so in the morning it’s impossible to know if it’s the middle of the night or right before the sun is coming up. Our room was tiny, but no tinier than a Parisian hotel room (in fact I think our interior stateroom was probably larger than the hotel we stayed at the last time we visited Paris). It featured a queen size bed, a sofa bed (this did sound a bit worn as you heard the coils anytime you sat down on the one cushion), a desk with a stool, and a heavy curtain separating the living area from the bed area. (This was a benefit while sleeping since it completely blocked out the light that streamed in under the door from the hallway, as lights remain illuminated 24/7.) An LCD flat screen TV had a wide array of channels including a slew that played Disney movies throughout the day (i.e. a channel would be devoted to playing The Little Mermaid, Wreck it Ralph, etc). When needing to come back to the room for some r & r it was great being able to put on a beloved Disney classic to play in the background. The only thing I didn’t really care for about our room was the bathroom which was closet size. While larger staterooms do feature the bathroom “broken up” (the toilet is separate from the shower), ours was altogether. The bathroom could have stood to be refurbished but I doubt during only a one month period there was time to cover all of the hundreds of staterooms on board. A couple of times the toilet didn’t flush immediately after pushing the button but after 10 seconds, it would go. I know this probably happens on countless cruise ships though.
I also want to mention that for the first time ever, I actually did “research” when it came to picking our stateroom. As opposed to just selecting a stateroom that was on a deck “above” water, I made sure to pick a deck that was neither above nor below theaters, dance clubs, or restaurants. On our last Disney cruise we stayed on a deck that was below one of the main restaurants and at breakfast and dinner time all we heard was the pushing and scraping of chairs. This time we were “sandwiched” between two decks with nothing but staterooms above and below us so it was a lot better.
Recreational pursuits: Although D and I didn’t partake, the ship did feature a gym along with a jogging track that is located on deck nine. There are a total of four pool/water areas on the ship. AquaLab features a children’s splash zone including pop jets, geysers, a freshwater pool, and a water slide.
Goofy’s is the ship’s main family pool and is home to a 4-foot deep main pool along with two whirlpool spas. This was always the busiest area of the ship between the pool and the 24 x 14 foot LED screen that shows Disney movies throughout the day. It was also an area I liked the least due to the mobs of people and children running and racing around with parents not “parenting.” The Nephews’ Splash Zone is for children three and under and features what looked like a fun interactive water deck for the littlest travelers. I actually preferred the adults only pool on the Magic to the Dream; it’s located in the Quiet Cove, the adults section of the ship. The pool was adequately sized and there was no swim up bar which meant there was more pool. There were two hot tubs although in one there were no bubbles. While the second one had bubbles, the water temperature was not “hot tub” hot so that was a slight disappointment.
However, what I liked most about the Quiet Cove was that you would never know there were screaming and racing children on the other side (they’re both located on deck 9). Part of the refurbishment of the Magic included the addition of the AquaDunk, a 3-story body slide that propels you through a 212-foot-long translucent tube which curves 20 feet out over the side of the ship to an ultimate splashdown.
At a height of nearly 37 feet above the ocean it’s quite unique. It was a bit “too” much for me so I declined. Unfortunately D’s neck was bothering him that weekend and he didn’t think it would be a good idea to risk going on it and making it worse. If you’ve tired of swimming, there’s also Foosball, table tennis, and a basketball court. I was disappointed that there was no miniature golf. The Dream had this as an activity but we abstained since traveling to the Caribbean in summer means it is much too hot to willingly spend time out on deck under the fierce sun.
What’s up next? Entertainment!
More in this series!
First Travels of 2014
Disney Cruise Review-Magic (Part 2)
Disney Cruise Review-Magic (Part 3)
Attraction Review-Stingray Adventure at Castaway Cay
Disney Cruise Review-Magic (Part 4)
Disney Cruise Review-Magic (Part 5)