A friend of mine and her family are avid Disney cruise goers, but I had always struggled to join in on her enthusiasm. I just couldn’t see the fascination of a Disney cruise, when for the same amount of money, you could go to Disneyland. That is, until she recounted her holiday over dinner one night, then I wanted to go and not just because the kids would love it, but I knew I would too.
The Froggatt family are like boomerangs; before they’ve returned to terra firma, their next Disney cruise is booked. What is it that keeps them wanting more? I began to wonder if magical, MSG circulates through the air conditioning on board, or whether there are subliminal messages woven into the words of Snow White’s Hi Ho.
But as she explained the whole experience to me, I was sold. Disney has perfected the fairy tale. Random, magical moments occur over the duration of the cruise and, if you’re lucky enough to catch them, they will become treasured memories.
A Disney cruise isn’t a gimmick; it’s a floating wonderland where a crew of attentive and very talented people turn dreams into a reality.
So, if like me, you’ve been wondering what Disney Cruises are all about, here’s a summary of a cruise on Disney Magic:
Cruise Liner: Disney Magic
Itinerary: Barcelona -> Cruising -> Seville (Cadiz) -> Lisbon -> Cruising -> Ponta Delgada -> Cruising -> Cruising -> Antigua -> Cruising -> Cruising -> New York (Manhattan)
The Navigator App
Prior to departure, guests can download The Navigator app. This enables guests to view up-to-date holiday information, pre-book activities, view entertainment schedules, restaurant menus and destination details. It can even be used to send messages to other members travelling in the same party.
Approaching the ship, it’s hard not to be impressed by the sheer scale of it; with 11 public decks, Disney Magic can accommodate 2,700 passengers.
On arrival at the port, it’s only a matter of seconds before guests’ bags are whisked away, not to be seen again until they enter their stateroom.
Check in is smooth and on occasions where there is a slight wait, children are way too distracted by the appearance of their favourite Disney characters, to care.
With guests organised into groups, they wait for their group to be called to embark. But even this usually, standard event has a touch of magic added. Families are announced on board by a crew member, much like a master of ceremonies welcoming royalty to a stately event. Crew members form a walkway along which guests walk to rapturous applause. What an entrance.
Room Booked: Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Veranda
Large enough for five people, this stateroom offers a queen bed, single sleeper sofa and two cleverly disguised, wall pull-down beds. The toilet is conveniently separated from the bathroom and there is ample under-bed storage space.
Disney uses ‘rotation dining’ where guests rotate between the restaurants on board. There are two seating times available – early and late. Each night guests are seated with the same table guests and a dedicated server rotates with these guests for the duration of the cruise.
Servers are experts at reading people and constantly strive to understand the preferences of the guests they are serving. Each dining experience is enhanced by the server who takes guests on a culinary journey, describing the origin of the ingredients and recommending complimenting wines.
Main Dining Restaurants
Animator’s Palate: As well as American cuisine, this restaurant serves up a spectacular Disney show while you eat.
Lumiere’s: The most refined of the three main restaurants with Art Deco styling and a French inspired menu, guests can enjoy a touch of Beauty and the Beast while they dine.
Carioca’s: Inspired by Disney’s, The Three Caballeros, this restaurant offers a fiesta of flavours in its South American inspired dishes.
Cabanas: At lunchtime, Cabanas offers buffet dining including steak and seafood. During the evening, guests can dine under the stars or indoors, watching the ocean sweep past. The evening menu provides four courses of Brazilian specials.
Pete’s Boiler Bites: Grab one of Pete’s Boiler Bites – a selection of Burgers, tacos and hot dogs.
Pinocchio’s Pizza: A delicious feast of pizzas.
There’s also 24-hour in-room dining available for in between meal snacking.
Palo Restaurant: Adult-exclusive
For those wishing to indulge, guests can treat themselves to the delights of Palo restaurant, specialising in Northern Italian cuisine with a twist.
With West End-style nightly shows, deck parties, fireworks and character greetings, entertainment on a Disney Magic cruise never ends.
During the day time, there are plenty of fun activities for everyone, including karaoke, game shows and bingo.
Safety is paramount in the Disney Magic Kids’ Clubs. On entering, each child is given a wrist band which means the exact location of a child can be pinpointed at any given moment. Children can roam freely between the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab using a secure, secret passageway.
Disney’s Oceaneer Club – 3 – 12 years old
A feast for little imaginations, Pixie Hollow, Andy’s Room, Mickey Mouse club Room and MARVEL’s Avengers Academy offer secure environments for children to explore. In these rooms, there’s plenty to keep them busy including, dress up, crafts computer games and Disney movies.
Oceaneer’s Lab: 3 – 12 years old
A pirate-themed area designed with exploration in mind. Here, children can visit the Animator’s studio and create their own animated drawings, play games or perform crazy experiments. Oceaneer’s Lab also offers children a space to relax, watch movies or read a book.
Quite simply, Disney truly know how to turn children’s dreams into a reality and it seems there’s a little bit of magic on board for adults too – so really, who wouldn’t want that?