For a week we experienced the Disney Cruise magic!
They always talk about Disney World being the most magical place on earth. We can now confirm that the cruise is the most magical place in the ocean!
What did we do this week? What did the cruise offer? Which Characters were on board? Let me give you a little overview of what a Disney Cruise Line has to offer for whoever is considering this as a possible family vacation.
Which cruise did we go on?
First of all there are plenty of options available both for number or days as well as destinations.
We picked the 7-Night Western Caribbean Cruise from Port Canaveral and traveled to: Cozumel (Mexico), George Town (Grand Cayman), Falmouth (Jamaica) and Disney Castaway Cay (Bahamas). The last stop wasn’t possible due to Hurricane Dorian that caused too much damage and the dock needed to be secured. However the Captain was able to make a quick stop to Nassau (Bahamas) instead to give people the chance to stop somewhere in the Bahamas. Our cruise was on the Disney Magic ship. This was our first time on a cruise ship as a family so we really didn’t know what to expect and pleasantly surprised.
Our ship left from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Disney offers shuttles to and from the airport on the day of arrival and departure. We arrived a few days sooner. We rented a car and stayed in Cape Canaveral so we were close to the port. On the day of departure we didn’t realize how well organized everything was so we booked a 8 pm flight to make sure we didn’t miss it. That was not necessary, Disney will make sure you get at the airport on time with an early check out. I wish we had known!
Before telling more about all the amazing things we experienced this week on the cruise, I have to let you in on a great revelation……
Do you know who makes the magic possible? You might think: Mickey or Walt Disney for creating all this magical world. Very true. However all this wouldn’t be possible without the continuous effort of the whole crew and I mean every single individual on the ship and off. These people from over 70 nationalities work 10/12 house a day to make sure that this experience is truly magical for you!
Everyone is equally important to make it all run smoothly. From who loads and unloads the bags, to who checks you in. Who takes care of your cabin throughout the trip. Who welcomes you every evening at the restaurant. Everyone that entertains you with shows, characters, activities or simply while you are waiting in line to get off the ship. But lets not forget who we don’t see! Who cooks, washes linens, takes care of the safety of the boat and so much more that we probably don’t even imagine! This amazing experience is possible thanks to all these people!!!
I love that everyone has a name tag with their home country on it. We chatted with so many!!! We asked about their country, their lives there, their families, and as much as they were willing to share. You would be amazed how friendly most can be if you take the time to chat and what fascinating stories you can learn! Most have wives and kids at home, they work 5/6 months and then spend two months with their loved ones. So while we are enjoying our time on board, they are probably missing their loved ones but making sure we still get to have an amazing experience.
This is, for now, the youngest ship in Disney Cruise Line’s. This 2,500-passenger (4,000 max occupancy) ship debuted in March 2012 and has been sailing successfully since. During our trip there were about 3800 passengers and 1500 cremates members.
As you board, you walk into the marvelous three-deck atrium and each family is introduced and applauded by some of the crew members. Minnie Mouse’s bronze statue, a grand piano, marble floor, a curving staircase and the beautiful art nouveau decor all around you are all welcoming you in this new adventure.
What were we most curious about? The staterooms!!! We were worried our bags were not going to fit! We were very wrong, they are spacious and there is plenty of extra storage under the bad. There is also a sitting area, where the extra beds come out at night and split bathroom to allow more people to get ready at the same time.
The Disney Cruise Line offers so many forms of entertainment onboard that it is really hard to just sit around and do nothing!
One of the best ways to keep track of everything is downloading the Disney Cruise Line Navigator mobile App, which has deck plans, activity schedules, and even dinner menus. The app will remind you when your favorite activities are about to begin. There is also a chat function that lets you keep in touch with family members on board. However for who prefers a paper guide, you can pick up a Personal Navigator at Guest Services.
Send the kids to Disney’s Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab: these are themed clubs for kids ages 3 to 12 staffed by specially trained Disney counselors. There is an area for younger ones as well but I believe there is an extra charge for that. Our kids had lots of fun, there is always something going on and many activities to pick from!
Meet the Characters: bring your kids to meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and many more, get an autograph and take a picture with them, they are so friendly!!!
Enjoy the amazing shows: every evening you can enjoy shows from broadway-caliber musicals, to solo entertainers and also an entire night dedicated to “Pirates of the Caribbean,” with complimentary pirate bandanas for each guest, deck parties and fireworks at sea.
Go to the movies: go see the latest Disney movies and the movie theater. On our cruise they had: Toy Story 4, The Lion King, Aladdin, Avengers Endgame and more!
Enjoy a variety of dining options: instead of spending each night in a formal dining room, they offer a rotational dining, so the guests switch between three different restaurants and the menu is always different.
Adults can enjoy some exclusive areas: the ship offers plenty of tranquil adults-only areas. There are a set of pools reserved exclusively for adults, as well as bars and restaurants. The Senses Spa Rainforest Room has a selection of steam rooms and whirlpool spas.
Hang out at the pools: there is an assortment of pools and themed water play areas. You cannot miss going on the AquaDuck, a innertube water slide that circles above the pool deck!
Your kids will love to do some dress up at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and get the royal treatment!!! There is an extra charge for this. They also offer a dress up for Pirate Night, but all this gets booked before getting on the cruise otherwise it will be hard to find any availability!
Ports of Call
Traveling on a cruise, is a different way of visiting a new country. The Disney Cruise Line gives you a full day to explore! Usually you can spend about 8/9 hours on land, depending on the location.
If you are a very independent traveler and want to explore freely you can find a taxi or a tour directly at the port. However if you don’t really want to worry about figuring things out or trying to speak the language to get a good deal, you can simply use Disney’s Port Adventure. These shore excursions have been specially selected by Disney Cruise Line. There is something for everyone from sight-seeing to underwater fun. You can book before your cruise. However if you are a last minute planner, you can see what is still available on the cruise.
1. Cozumel – Mexico
Cozumel is an island in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The port area is full of shops, restaurants and cafes. You can easily explore it an hour unless you start shopping than it can take all day!
We arrived on a rainy day and the weather didn’t improve till the afternoon so we weren’t very inspired. However the island isn’t big. Our original plan was to get a taxi, tour the main sights and then go to a less touristy beach.
2. George Town – Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman is the largest of the three Cayman Islands. When we arrived the weather was fabulous! The adventure started as soon as we got ready to get off the ship! In fact Cruise ships dock off George Town, the capital of Cayman. The passengers are brought to the port with smaller boats due to the presence of coral reef in the area.
The day was very hot. We decided to do a quick tour and then spend some time at the famous Seven Mile Beach. We really wanted to jump in the beautiful crystal clear water and cool down! The only silly aspect of it was that every tour brought its guests in the same spot. So also if it was 7 mile long, the crowd was all in the same place!
One of the coolest stops on the tour was to Hell. This place is well known for its small patch of black limestone formations. They were created by salt and lime deposits over 24 million years. People usually send a postcard from “Hell”, we just took pictures in “hell”!!!
3. Falmouth – Jamaica
Our stop in Jamaica was very different from everyone else. We had friends to visit, so we got a very unique tour!!!
The ship docks right next to a little shop area created for the cruise ships. If you don’t plan on going around Falmouth you can simply go shopping and get back on very easily!
In our case, our friends Bruce and Christine brought us to Ruby Goat Dairy, where they make amazing goat milk products. We got the chance to meet and feed the goats. We also learned about the process milking them.
After all the “goat” fun, we spent some time at a lovely beach house and enjoyed a part of the beach all to ourselves. Finally we went to lunch at the Far Out Fish Hut, a little shack on the water with an amazing seafood meal (it was so spicy!!!!). It was such a lovely day and we learned so much about Jamaica, we need to go back!
4. Disney Castaway Cay (Bahamas)
Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island in the Bahamas which serves as an exclusive port for the Disney Cruise Line ships. It is located near Great Abaco Island.
During our cruise Hurricane Dorian hit in a devastating way part of the Bahamas. Due to this we were unable to get off the ship. However we were able to stop close to the island. We dropped off food for the people working on Castaway as well as Abaco.
Would we do it again?
We are not fans of crowded places. Without any doubt the Disney Cruise is popular enough that you will never be on an empty ship! However it offers such a variety of activities in many different areas of the ship that it is easy to loose some of that crowd.
We would do another cruise because we now Disney. We trust how their cruises are organized. We loved everything it had to offer both for the kids as well as for us. We loved to have a chance to spend some quality time as a couple with the confidence of knowing that our kids were close by and having a great time as well. We loved having the chance of connecting with so many people from all over the world.
We loved having a feel for some new countries that we had not visited yet. A day isn’t enough but it is a first step!
We loved looking forward to a show every night. We would find a seat and for 45 minutes just be blown away from what was happening on stage.
We looked forward to dinner every evening because we loved Milton and Kade who were taking care of us and were always ready to surprise us with a magic show. We loved walking in and out of our stateroom and finding Made always ready for a little chat.
This was very different from everything we have experienced in the past year. There is nothing wrong in doing things differently every now and then. A magical week on the ocean was a beautiful new experience……..
Photo Credit: the image photo group