Launched in 1998, the Disney Magic was the first of the Disney fleet of cruise ships. We joined the ship on its penultimate journey before being whisked off to be ‘reimagined’ offering guests brand new experiences. Disney Cruises are incredibly well organised. Guests can pre-book a wide range activities online before embarking: great if you are travelling with the family as you can all decide (and budget for) what to do for the week. Don’t feel pressured to fill up your week with excursions (it’s also quite nice having the ship to yourself on port days!). Once on board you are given a ‘key to the world’ card. Take this card everywhere with you and any little extras that you pick up can be automatically charged to your room. Watch out as these charges can add up, so keep an eye on your tab.
Like the Disney Parks, the Disney Cruise fleet is all about the magic. Loads of little touches make it feel Disney, from character ‘meet and greets’ to the fantastic Pirates of the Caribbean party. Disney go the extra mile on fine detail too: think towels shaped into animals during turn-down service, pre meal canapés in your room. The boat’s horn also played ‘when you wish upon a star’ when coming into dock – an unexpected surprise! Top tip: Don’t miss the Adventures Away party – starts the holiday off beautifully!
- The service on board the Disney Magic was impeccable. The crew are passionate about the ship and Disney. Their relaxed nature and friendly attitude made you feel like part of the Disney family without it feeling forced. Attention to detail is obviously high on the agenda: Disney and the crew are on hand 24 hours a day to make sure that your every need is taken care of.
- One of the best surprises about the Disney Magic was the size of the staterooms. Light and airy, they can easily accommodate a family of four with ample storage for luggage. Should you wish to have an early night with the kids, there is an Entertainment system with TV shows and movies. The in-room fridge is also very handy for some late afternoon in-room drinks. Top Tip: It’s definitely worth splashing out on a room with a verandah, perfect for spending the afternoon reading a book in privacy.
- Young or old, there are plenty of places to put your feet up on the ship. There are three themed pools in total, one for kids, one for adults and one for families. We spent most of the time in the ‘Quiet Cove’ pool (over 18s, chilling in the spa baths whilst listening to some of the ship’s great performers (we loved the acoustic guitar sessions). Goofy’s pool was also great as adults can kick bag and watch a movie as the kids splash around in the pool. Top tip: On "Port Adventure" days the ship empties out so if you don’t fancy getting off the ship, enjoy the peace and quiet!
Of course, Disney takes children’s cruise entertainment extremely seriously. We were particularly impressed with the plans for the re-imagined Oceaneer Club for 3-12 year olds. Kids can choose whether they want to enrol in the Marvel Avenger’s Academy, hang out in Andy’s room (straight out of Toy Story) or enter the enchanted land of Tinker Bell’s Pixie Hollow.
- Disney also does pampering very well and a voyage aboard the Disney Magic isn’t complete without a visit to the fab Senses Spa and Salon. Treatments are fairly reasonably priced and all use Elemis Therapy Products (the Swedish Massage is not to be missed!). There are also roman baths, steam rooms, a hair salon and even a teeth-whitening service!
- On the Disney Magic you do not go hungry. Yes, as food is available 24-7, so you can gorge yourself on breakfast and lunch buffets during the day, then enjoy a more formal rotational dining experience in the evening. If you really want to splash out you can pay an additional supplement and go to the ship’s wonderful Palo restaurant for either brunch (pictured) or dinner. There are also a number of deck snack bars offering lighter bites, and you can order whatever you want, whenever you want from your room at no extra charge. Top tip: Don’t miss the Animator’s Palate – it’s a dining experience to remember.
The Disney Magic takes in some of the best sites on the Med. From visiting the palaces of Monaco to wandering the streets of Rome, there are literally hundreds of experiences to choose from. Our personal favourite was sailing around the beautiful villages of Cinque Terre – truly breathtaking (pictured). Of course, you can always go off piste and arrange your own trips – just make sure that you get back to the boat on time! Top Tip: Trips get booked up FAST, so avoid disappointment by booking all Port Adventures before you set sail (this is also great for budgeting).
The options for onboard entertainment are endless and there is fun to be found for all of the family. Each day you get a timetable outlining the day’s on-board activities. These include everything from dance lessons to wine tasting, cooking classes, quizzes and acupuncture (to name but a few). You can also catch all of the latest Disney blockbuster movies in the huge on-board cinema. Each night, the Walt Disney Theatre puts on a lavish broadway style show. The production values in the shows are amazing - don’t miss the Disney Dreams show (pictured) – there won’t be a dry eye in the house! For night bunnies there are clubs and bars to take you into the small hours.