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Gia Callari
evyssa vacations

Surprisingly, one thing I had not done was a Disney cruise. I think when the kids were younger we were always so focused on the excitement, rides and characters that go hand in hand with the Disney Parks, we felt that if we cruised we would somehow be missing out or feel that some of the magic was lacking. After our first family Disney cruise, I can tell you that I was wrong. The cruise had ALL of the magic we have come to expect from a Disney parks vacation, but none of the time crunch, miles of walking and pure exhaustion that are synonymous with the parks. I am here to say that I have been converted and can’t wait to get back onboard another Disney cruise.

We embarked on the Disney Magic out of the Port of Miami on April 11, 2022. It was a 5 night cruise featuring, not one, but TWO coveted stops, (also known as the double dip), at Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay, along with a stop in Nassau. I felt as if a 5-night itinerary was the perfect amount of time, since it was the very first cruise for my children ranging in age from 10 to 18 years old. It gave us enough time to enjoy all the activities and entertainment options the ship had to offer, but wasn’t too long in case anyone wasn’t enjoying being at sea or felt affected by motion sickness.

The Magic is considered one of Disney’s smaller ships as it is the original, it debuted back in 1998, but again we felt this was perfect for our first experience. It allowed us to become familiar with the ship's layout fairly quickly, so the kids felt confident navigating on their own, as well. Although this particular ship is almost 25 years old, it is meticulously maintained. I have been on newer and recently renovated ships on other cruise lines that did not look as good as the Disney Magic. Even during our time at sea, the crew is constantly cleaning, primping, priming, and painting, keeping up that perfect appearance.

Trip Report - Disney Magic

The Exceptional Disney Service

The other thing that immediately set this cruise apart from other cruises I have experienced on different lines, was the service. Not that the service was subpar on the other lines, I actually felt it was quite good at the time I experienced it. However, after sailing on Disney I was blown away by the service, it is truly in a league of its own. Disney has long been known for its impeccable customer service, which I have experienced in the parks. The flawless service is a large part of what keeps bringing our family back to Disney. The service on the ship was even more stellar than what I’ve experienced in the parks. I think what sets it apart is the personalized nature and attention to detail. Your room attendant and servers are the same throughout your cruise. Even though Disney offers rotational dining instead of a main dining room, your servers will be ready and waiting to take care of you in all the different restaurants at dinner. They get to know your likes and dislikes and can offer a unique, customized experience, in some cases almost anticipating your wants and needs. Each Cast Member we interacted with made us feel as if we were the only guests on the ship, with their attention to detail.

From early in the morning until midnight and beyond, there are plenty of activities and entertainment options while onboard. Family game shows, karaoke, trivia, bingo are all ways to win the highly sought-after winner medallions. We were lucky enough to win some - yay! Beyond these interactive experiences, there are also outstanding Broadway shows, like Tangled and Disney Dreams, as well as movies playing continuously in the theater and on the big Funnel Vision screen on the pool deck. Of course, this is all in addition to the pools, hot tubs, waterslides and splash pads. And let’s not forget about the characters! So many characters! Everytime I walked past the atrium there were always multiple characters ready to meet and take pics with their adoring fans. We saw Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Chip & Dale, Captain Hook, Smee, Captain Jack Sparrow, Tiana, Cinderella, Mulan, Belle, Ariel, Spider-Man, Captain Marvel and the White Rabbit. It was like character palooza! Also, there are special themed nights, like Pirate Night which is so much fun and followed by a beautiful display of Fireworks at Sea!

Disney Cruise Lines also offers kids clubs with supervised children’s activities. The kids have access to the Oceaneers Club and Oceaneers Lab (ages 3 -12), Edge (ages 11-14) and Vibe (ages 14-17).These areas are themed perfectly; Pixie Hollow, Marvel Avengers, and Toy Story are just a few of the themed sections. I know my youngest LOVED her time at the kids club and was constantly wanting to go back, which meant the parents could have some time to go check out some of the adults only sections.

Trip Report - Disney Magic

Did you know that Disney cruises have many areas that are adults only?

Well, they do and they’re fabulous! There is an adults only pool, hot tubs, plenty of deck chairs, a lounge and even the Cove Cafe featuring specialty coffees on the upper deck. Of course, there are plenty of bars and lounges throughout the ship too, from Irish pubs to piano bars, there’s definitely some place for everyone to go and unwind at night. There is even an adults only beach at Castaway Cay, called Serenity Bay.

The good news is, even if you’re traveling with kids, you can still enjoy Serenity Bay. Castaway Cay has a kids club right on the island, Scuttle’s Cove, where the kids can play the day away. Castaway Cay has so much to do and explore. There are a variety of port excursions available including; paddle boats, aqua trikes, stingray experience, snorkel, rent a tube and just float, go for a glass bottom boat ride, parasail, banana boats, bicycles to explore the island or simply just pull up a chaise and lounge the day away. We did the stingray adventure and it was such a unique experience. To be able to be in the water with the stingrays swirling at our feet and feed them, it felt like a vacuum taking the shellfish from our hands! Afterward, we floated on our tubes for a while, until we were fully relaxed and sun kissed.

Dining options on the Magic have you rotating through three main restaurants for dinner; Animator’s Palate, Lumiere’s and Rapunzel’s Royal Table, which features a really fun dinner show. In addition to these options, there is a buffet available for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as plenty of quick service dining around the pool deck such as Daisy’s De-Lites featuring wraps, fresh fruit, salads and bowls; Pinnochio’s Pizza, Duck In Diner featuring chicken strips, burgers, tacos and shawarma. Room service is also available and it’s complimentary!!! Just be sure to tip your delivery person. Mickey premium bars delivered right to your stateroom? Yes, please!

Adults have a bright spot for dining too

For an additional fee, adults can choose to dine at Palo, an upscale restaurant, featuring Northern Italian cuisine, paying homage to where the ship was built. They offer dinner and brunch on select days. We were lucky enough to get a brunch reservation to celebrate a birthday while we were onboard. I had heard a lot about Palo and definitely wanted to try it out for myself. Let me just say, it definitely lived up to all the rave reviews. The food was outstanding and the service impeccable. Our meal started out with a  mimosa followed by plates of antipasto, we had one traditional and one seafood. While they were both incredible, the meat sand cheeses on the traditional plate really shined. Next, we had an apple cinnamon Mickey waffle (can’t ever say no to the Mickey waffle!) and eggs benedict; both delicious. Then came the pizza with spicy sausage, baked to perfection in a special pizza oven, with a super thin crust and a calzone stuffed with prosciutto, basil, bell peppers and mozzarella cheese, we felt the pizza had a slight edge in this match up. Definitely the best pizza we have ever had and that says a lot since we are from New York! The food kept coming! Up next, Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breast with one of the most amazing red sauces I have ever tasted, of course I asked for more on the side. By the time dessert came around, we were beyond stuffed, but felt we had to at least try something, right? We sampled the tiramisu and a pistachio cake, both delicious, but unfortunately we were way too full to really be able to enjoy it. I definitely recommend trying Palo if you get the chance, I am so happy that we did.

Our time at Palo was actually while we were in port at Nassau, and it was a dreary day, so we decided to stay on the ship after brunch. It worked out well because we were able to take advantage of the low crowds on the ship. We did an animation class, went to the pool and the kids rode the waterslides as much as they wanted with absolutely no lines. It was the perfect last day onboard the beautiful Disney Magic.

We absolutely loved our first family Disney cruise. I’m already dreaming of our next voyage on the high seas and I’d love to help you plan yours too!

Trip Report - Disney Magic

Trip Report - Disney Magic

Trip Report - Disney Magic

Trip Report - Disney Magic

Trip Report - Disney Magic

Trip Report - Disney Magic

Trip Report - Disney Magic

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