Disney Magic 3 Night Bahamas Cruise September 4, 1998
We drove our own car to the cruise terminal. After driving for about an hour and a half, we finally saw the ship. This is an experience that is very hard to explain: once you're on top of the bridge you get your first glance of this HUGE and glorious ocean liner. She is HUGE. The ship dwarfs anything you have seen before (she is the third largest cruise ship afloat).
Everything about her just seems to fit. Nothing is out of place on the looks of this ship. The life boats are a totally different color than other cruise ship life boats. Under maritime law, life boats are painted an orange color. The Disney Cruise line got a waiver from this rule and painted them a safety yellow so that they match the color scheme of the ship. It's this attention to detail on the ship that makes this ship by far the most elegant ship afloat.
We arrived around noon at the terminal that Port Canaveral built for the ship. Let me just say that this is just the beginning of what is in store for you when you walk across the gangplank. You walk in the entrance to the building and take an escalator up three stories to the Terminal's main room. After spending about 10 minutes for setting up our onboard charge accounts and getting our "keys to the world," we were ready to board the ship. We took a couple of pictures of us with Captain Mickey.
It took about six minutes to board the ship. As you walk on and off the ship you hand your "key to the world" to the ship personnel and they swipe it in a card reader. This allows them to have a total list of everyone aboard. Anyone going on to the ship must have a key or ID that gets swiped.
As we walked on board, a crew member met us and showed us where to go. You walk in to the ship's atrium. This is probably the most elegant and stunning atrium afloat. It has a sweeping marble staircase and four glass elevators. The entire 4-story atrium is done in marble, polished chrome, different types of imported polished wood, and hand woven carpeting. This room sets the mood for the rest of the ship, a mood of elegance and attention to details.
When we arrived in our cabin we found our luggage inside waiting for us already. We did not want to spend a great deal of money on the cabin, so we opted for the second cheapest cabin class (category 10, the deluxe inside cabins on the Deck 2). This cabin was so nice. And we could not believe the size . . . it was huge. It had a king size bed, a twin bed hidden in the ceiling, and a sofa bed. During the day we had a sofa that was larger than a love seat and a king size bed.
We had two bathrooms. Each of them had a sink and shelf space. One of the bathrooms had lots of shelf space to store all your toiletries. Each bathroom had a huge mirror and was done up in beautiful tile. The bathroom had a tub in it. (This tub was large enough for two people to shower at once! I know -- we did! We decided to help the environment and conserve water!)
The living area had a refrigerator and makeup table. The coffee table in the middle of the room raised and lowered to make for a dining table if you wanted to eat in your room. The art in the room was very nice, yet not overstated.
We traveled with five very large suitcases and a hang-up bag. They all fit very comfortably under the king size bed for storage. This was very nice just having them out of the way for the entire cruise.
The welcome aboard lunch was in the Topsiders buffet at the stern of the ship. There were lots of shrimp and cheeses, and about five different hot items, along with freshly cooked vegetables. My only complaint with Topsiders was the size of the drinking glasses. They were very small and I constantly had to get refills. Lucky they had lots of staff that would make sure your glass did not stay empty for very long.
This is one of the few times that we ran into a lot of kids. As a group of three adults, we were rather concerned about all the little rug rats that could be on board. But the welcome aboard lunch was very good and we enjoyed it. This was the first of only two times that we ate in the Topsiders cafe.
We then went back to the cabin and picked up our personal navigator. This is a two-sided sheet of paper they leave in your cabin to let you know what is offered as far as activities for the day. At two o'clock the Vista Spa starts running a series of tours for the spa. If you would like to reserve the massage cabanas on the beach at Castaway Cay, you must be at the door at 2pm. To be honest, I'm not really sure why anyone would want to be massaged in a hot humid environment like a beach. But hey, we all have our opinions, likes and dislikes. I would much rather get a good massage in a nice relaxing, air-conditioned, zero humidity, massage room.
After signing up for a couple's spa treatment (more on that later) we then proceeded to go to Palo's for reservations for the adults only restaurant (they take reservations from 3pm to 5pm). I HIGHLY recommend making these reservations. The seating is every 30 minutes from 5pm on.
We made a reservation for the night on which we would have eaten in the restaurant called Parrot Cay. On the Magic you eat in a different restaurant every night of the cruise. Your wait staff travels with you to each new restaurant. Unlike most cruises, we never shared a table with any other people. Looking around the restaurants, it seemed that this was the case with most people. It appeared that the only time you shared a table was when there were just two people in a party.
At the Guest Services desk on Deck 4, we purchased tickets to the wine tasting and made arrangements for our bridge tour. If you pay for your cruise with an American Express card, you get to go on a tour of the bridge to see all the neat knobs and buttons.
The wine tasting was a fun time. It was led by the Cellar Master of the ship. It was geared to the very basic wine person. My knowledge of wine is very advanced and so I was the person answering most of the questions. If you have a good knowledge of wine I would recommend skipping this tasting. Otherwise, it was very enjoyable.
First Night show
We had the 6:15pm show seating. The Magic has a different show every night of the trip and to say the least, they are AWESOME! Leave it to Disney to bring TRUE Broadway-quality shows to the high seas. The talent was truly amazing. The shows have everything from a stage that rises and lowers to lasers and fireworks. You must see the shows -- they are not to be missed. The only time we ever had problems with kids came about from the fact that some parents have not learned how to keep their kids silent during a show. I'm not talking about the babies that do no know any better. Parents really should be able to keep a 5- and 8-year old quiet. If not, they should leave the play. Enough said on that point.
We had the 8:30 seating (second seating) for the trip. The first night was at Animator's Palate. This is the signature restaurant for Disney Cruise Lines. When you walk into the restaurant, it is totally black and white with no hints of any color. And as the night progresses the room begins to fill with colors and lights. This is one of those things that you have to see to experience.
Our head waiter was a gentleman named Ansel and our assistant server was Kim. Kim was the greatest: she was helpful and bent over backwards to make us happy. She earned every cent of her tip and we felt very good giving her double the suggested amount.
Late Night Entertainment
After dinner, we changed clothes and went to the adult nighttime entertainment district called Beat Street. This place was wild. We had a great time. The bathroom has got to be the nicest bathroom I have ever seen. You will just have to see it to believe it.
We decided to sit in the Comedy Club and take in a show. If you have ever been to the Comedy Warehouse at Pleasure Island in Walt Disney World you will feel right at home. They do standup comedy and they do comedy troupe style shows. My other half was pulled from the audience to participate. This area was a blast.
Sessions is the piano/relaxation area of the ship. They have a pianist playing a grand piano in this lounge along with personal listening stations for couples. In this room, there are huge portholes that are about 5 feet across, so you can relax while watching the world sail by. This is a very romantic spot on the ship for couples (NO KIDS ALLOWED).
Next Morning Breakfast
We woke up early to see the ship arrive in port at Nassau. The ship is a truly amazing ship: it is designed so that it does not use any tugboats at all. The ship is able to dock totally under its own power. The ship can even turn itself around 360 degrees. The ship pulled itself in backwards into the dock at Nassau. We were docked with the Sovereign of The Seas and the Big Red Boat. The Magic made both of these ship look so much smaller.
We had breakfast in the formal French restaurant called Lumière's. This and Palo are the two restaurants where gentlemen should wear jackets for dinner. It is really a shame that some people felt it was okay to come to dinner in a bathing suit or in jeans and a T-shirt. Seems like a thing of the times, though. Breakfast was very good: probably the best waffles I had ever had. The service was fantastic. They always seemed to know what I wanted and when.
We disembarked the ship from Nassau around 9am. When you leave the ship you hand your "key to the world" to the crew member and they swipe the card. This again identifies who you are; you will do this again when you come back aboard the ship.
I have to say this about Nassau ... you can tell they are trying to change things. BUT, I would rather have just stayed on the boat instead of going ashore. We were off the ship for not more than 10 steps when we had been approached for a taxi ride. We were constantly asked to buy this and to buy that. But I have to say in the Straw Market it was nice: everyone was polite and very friendly about it. Once you said no, thank you, they left you alone.
Next time we go on the cruise we will not even bother to leave the ship in this city.
We went back to the ship for Lunch. We ate in the one restaurant we did not have dinner in (Topsiders is closed for dinner unless you are a kid signed up in the kids program), called Parrot Cay. Parrot Cay is a Caribbean-themed restaurant. That day we had an all-you-could-stand-to-eat buffet. I have to admit that everything (especially the beef tenderloin) was just fantastic. (To give you an idea of the way I like my food, I am what you basically would consider a food snob: I really enjoy eating at fine restaurants and being waited on hand and foot). Lunch was enjoyable.
We went back to the cabin and took a nap until 3pm; at 3:30 we had reservations for the wine tasting at Palo on Deck 9. After the wine tasting, which ended around 4:45, we had a tour of the bridge from 5 until 5:30. The bridge and ship can be only summed up in three words: state of the art. I highly recommend paying with your American Express so that you can tour the bridge.
Second Night Entertainment
The show for the second night was a play about Hercules. Again it was full of special effects. You will just have to see it.
This night was the night we were to have rotated to the Parrot Cay restaurant. We chose instead to have dinner at Palo's . This restaurant is just superb. The food was great, the view was even better. The open kitchen design and the overlook to the restaurant make this the greatest on board. The food is Northern Italian with a hint of fusion thrown in for added excitement.
We decided to go with some friends into Nassau for so nighttime entertainment. We went to a local bar called Drop Off. This is evidently where all of the different cruise ship staffs go to blow off steam. I would say that 95% of everyone there worked for the Magic, Sovereign or the Big Red Boat. We had a blast and drank WAY to much.
The ship sailed from Nassau around 3 am.
The cruise ship arrived around 7am at Castaway Cay. This is by far the greatest island in all of the Bahamas. Disney really showed their style and grace with this island; the ship pulls right up to the dock. You do not need to take a tender to go ashore. We brought our own snorkeling gear, so we would not have to rent it on the island. The water was PERFECT, that is the only way to describe it. You could have not have asked for the water to be any clearer. The tropical fish were everywhere.
They provide a barbecue lunch on the island. We had had barbecue the at Disney World and decided against it. Plus, we wanted to enjoy the air-conditioning aboard the ship. We went back to Parrot Cay and had a nice sitdown 5-course lunch. Again, this is a great lunch restaurant. I highly recommend having lunch in it.
We had made reservations for a couples spa treatment at the Vista Spa for 4:15 in the afternoon. We went back to the room after lunch and fell fast asleep. We woke up when our roommate came into the cabin and told us it was 4:30. We were getting dressed when we got a call from the spa wondering where we were. We raced up to the spa and signed in. They took us to the changing areas where we were told to get butt naked and put on the cotton terry cloth robes they provided us.
They escorted us to the room and explained how to apply the mud and the sea salts. They then left us to play in the mud. The way it works is that you bathe each other with the spa bath products that they give you (two types of body washes, mint and lavender, then hair shampoo and conditioner). Once completed, you rub the mud all over your other half and they do the same to you. You have three different types of mud (one for face, torso and legs and arms). After rubbing the mud all over yourself, you go to the steam room and allow the mud and steam to react with each other.
You then go back into the main room and wash off all the mud. You then rub essential oils that they give you all over each other. After the oils are applied you then go back into the steam bath and let them soak in. After about 50 minutes of all this you do a final shower and are escorted back to the changing room. This is a great experience and very romantic. I highly recommend that all couples try this one. It costs 60 dollars for one hour.
The last show of our cruise was the Tale of the Ghost Ship. Again Disney has created an AWESOME new show. This show in an original production; it is not based on any Disney animation feature or Disney movie. You will absolutely love this show. Parents please remember to keep your kids silent. If they cannot be, take them back to the cabin and get a baby sitter. Disney provides baby-sitters for a very inexpensive fee. USE THEM!!!
The third and final dinner on the ship was at Lumière's. You reach this restaurant on the fourth deck in the atrium. This is the most elegant of all the ship's restaurants. Please make sure you dress up to show the respect that the restaurant deserves. The food was great and was a full five course dinner.
Luggage & Disembarkation
You have to have your luggage outside your state room at 10 PM on ther last night; they start at the top of the ship and work down, removing the luggage. On Deck 2 they had not removed our luggage by 11pm. Disembarkation went very smooth -- there is no reason to be worried about it in the least bit. There was one guy at Guest Services who was demanding to know every little detail about disembarkation. I had to look at him and say, "Sir, there are 2,500 people getting off the ship at that time don't you think they would make it simple and easy?" He finally agreed and went on his way.
The new Disney Magic is by far the greatest ship afloat today. The beauty and majesty are just awe-inspiring. I highly recommend it to everyone. We are already planning our second trip. But this time it will be the 5-day, 4-night trip. I did not want to leave this floating palace.
Trey Clark lives in Tampa where he works for a cellular company. While Trey has taken many vacations all over the world, including over 200 trips to Disney World and many "day" cruises, this was his first real cruise. He is currently planning a group cruise aboard the Disney Magic for October 1999. Trey can be reached for questions or comment at: email@example.com.
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