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View Full Version : Taking the Magic back to Cozumel 4/8 -15 (long)


Vavasmon
04-17-2006, 06:43 PM
Trip Report: Western Caribbean Magic (4/8/06 – 4/15/06)

Background: This was our second cruise on DCL. The first was a 4 night on the Wonder Dec 29 – Jan 2. The cast is myself, DH, and my DD who is 10.

To try and make this TR useful to others I am dividing it into sections for: ports/excursions, dining, on-board activities, and miscellaneous information. Please feel free to post any questions you may have.

Ports/Excursions:
Key West – We opted not to do any of the DCL excursions. Instead I purchased tickets for the Key West Old Town Trolley and the Hemmingway house. The walk to the Trolley was very easy (about 1 block and the ticket stand was well marked). Our first Trolley guide was excellent. He told lots of Key West stories and Jokes. We rode the Trolley around to the stop for the Southern Most Point. We got off and took pictures there (the stop is about a 2 block walk). We also grabbed some ice cream at the southern most ice cream store (the Key Lime and Mango were both very good). We re-boarded the trolly what had to be the dullest driver ever. We rode to stop 9 and walked back the 2 blocks to the Hemmingway House. We opted for the guided tour – well worth the time. He told lots of stories and history. The cats were interesting and some were very social. DD and DH decided to pay and walk up the lighthouse across the street (I walked to CVS to pick-up some more sunscreen). We then re-boarded the trolley to complete the tour and had another fantastic guide who discussed architecture and horticulture. We were very glad we got off the second time. We also walked around a little and took pictures of Sloppy Joes and bought a few post cards. Overall we really enjoyed the day and the on/off of the Trolley.

Grand Cayman – I had arranged for the Island Tour and Sting Ray tour directly through Native Way water sports. We met the guide under the gazebo near the Carnival tender stop. He was easy to locate with his sign. There was another family of 5 (from the Carnival Glory) signed up for the tour. We left the dock area on a “bus” (more like oversized van) right after check-in at 9:45. We stopped at a local hotel and picked up another couple which made our group of 10 for the tour. We drove by the governor’s house, the oldest house on the island, stopped at the turtle farm (our guide was very knowledgeable about the farm and we were able to hold a turtle), the rum cake factory (tourist trap), and the Hell section of the island. At the stop in Hell you could purchase postcards to mail home and take pictures of both the rock formations and the cutouts. After the stop in Hell we should have proceeded directly to the boat dock but the boat had phoned the driver to let him know they were delayed about 30 minutes. We ended up driving around by some both very wealthy homes and some very poor homes. The guide knew a lot about the island and its history – he willingly answered questions all along the way.

We arrived at the dock about the same time as the boat. They had to clean-up the restroom area (I assume someone was sick) before we left. Our group grew by about 15 people who had the Rays and Reef tour booked. We went out to the Sting Ray Sand Bar (about a 20 minute boat ride). When we arrived we exited the boat along with a photographer. They had a Ray we each could hold/kiss. They took several pictures of each group with the stingray and we could feed the rays also. The pictures that were taken very good – the price was 30 for the first 2 and 10 dollars each additional – a CD is mailed to your house. At this time we were given the option of going back to the pier or continuing on to snorkel at the reef. The boat operator assured us that we would be back in plenty of time for our 4pm tender so we elected to stay on-board (the family from the Glory had to leave since their tender was a 2pm). DD and DH loved the snorkel at the reef. They saw numerous fish and had a very good time. We were back at the pier about 3:15.

Cozumel – We opted to do the Atlantis Submarine excursion through DCL. This met on the Pier at 12:15 – along with 3 or 4 other excursions. We arrived in the BVT after breakfast (about 9:30) and found the theatre full. People were very restless and the cruise staff was trying to make jokes/ask trivia/etc. A few minutes later 2 tenders arrived and we were on our way (good timing for us). Be aware that unlike Grand Cayman, the tender operators try to sell you stuff in Cozumel.

We walked around the shopping plaza and bought a few things. Mostly we marveled at the extent of the damage. You could see where concrete/rebar had been ripped away. The city has a long way to go before being repaired. The pier still has huge sections missing but the locals were very proud that the first RCCL ship had docked their earlier that week (the international pier has been repaired for 1 ship).

We were back at the dock around noon. It was confusing checking in for the excursions. The DCL people kept telling us to have a seat on the concrete steps but you could not hear their announcements over the bullhorns. A couple of local vendors were complaining about DCL taking their spots. We were sent with the Atlantis reps to take a cab to the Atlantis office about 10 minutes away. From there we took a tender boat to the submarine (about 15 minutes). You board the submarine by going down a ladder. It was not an issue for the kids but a few adults had to take it easy. The sub holds 48 people and we were full. There is 1 porthole for approx. every 2 people. We reached a depth of 110 feet. We saw human divers, tons of fish, a few stingrays, a lobster, and an eel. The view of the coral and the "the wall" - where the ocean floor drops from 110 ft to 3000 was excellent. It was also interesting to observe how you loose different parts of the light spectrum as you go deeper. We were underwater about 1 hour. We took taxis back to the pier and then re-tendered to the Magic.

Castaway Cay – We had planned on parasailing but that was cancelled due to wind conditions. Instead DH and DD snorkeled, played in the water, and we relaxed on the beach.


Dining

We received the LAPLAPL rotation with second seating which is the 8:30 seating each night. The dining time was not really an issue for us. We had an excellent server Fitz and wonderful assistant Dante. We were seated with another family of 3 – the DD was 12 also from the Washington area. We ate in Parrot Cay for both formal nights which was not as much of an issue as I expected. I will say the menu for formal night included chicken wings and Bar-B-Q ribs was a little challenging. Fitz overheard me commenting on how much I loved the wings but would not order them due to messy factor – He brought me an order and deboned them on the plate – no fingers required. Our head server Jeff was a looser in my opinion. We saw him for 30 seconds the first night and not again until the next to the last night (was he thinking tip???).

The food was good but not great. DD still loves the salmon in AP. In the 7 mornings on the ship I never once had a warm piece of toast. We tried both the buffet and Lumieres – always cold. They also ran out of skim milk one night and several wines on the wine list by the end of the cruise. The fruit in Goofy’s Galley was a nice healthy snack in the afternoon.

We had the opportunity to try Palo for both dinner and brunch. Alex was our server for dinner – he was fantastic. Our server for brunch was also very good but her name escapes me. The food in both cases was excellent and the quieter setting enjoyed. If I could only do 1 meal again I would select brunch for the variety of food served.

Personally, I think DCL should either eliminate their dress code or enforce it. I don’t want to start a battle in the thread – just my opinion.

On-Board Activities –

Unlike the 4 day cruise my DD loved the Oceaneer lab this time. She participated in several of their activities and parties. The Ocean Quest area was a big hit. She had check in/ check-out privileges so she enjoyed the club for a few hours the first night. We also saw the 12:01 premier of The Wild in the Walt Disney theatre.

We enjoyed the welcome aboard variety show, Disney Dreams, and Twice Charmed. As a family, we agree that the Golden Mickey’s are not our cup of tea. We also went to Who Wants to be a Mousekateer, karaoke, salsa dancing, and the 2 big deck parties (sail-a-way and Pirate Night). DH and I enjoyed the wine tasting and the appetizer class during the first sea day. It was great meeting up with disboarders at both the pre-sail meet and the wine tasting.

Miscellaneous –

We stayed the night before at the Radisson and were on the second 10am shuttle over to the port. We received boarding group 3. I had no trouble making a Palo brunch reservation. The Radisson was nice – I had booked online months ago with an internet special. We had a basic room with 2 double beds at the rear of the hotel. We had lunch at the Italian restaurant just past the Radisson’s parking lot and dinner at the family restaurant next door. Be aware that the Radisson no longer does a buffet on Friday nights. We did have the breakfast buffet in the am – it was good – the waffle/omelet cook was friendly and efficient.

Our bags arrived just before the safety drill at 4pm. Erwin was our stateroom host and he did a very good job. The pictures at Shutters were wonderful as always but too many are now 8x10 instead of 4x6. I was surprised at the number of children running wild all over the ship at different points. A group of teenagers almost knocked an elderly gentleman down the stairs. A group of younger children (5- 8 maybe) were having fun playing with elevator buttons. There were games of knocking on stateroom doors and running around the dining room.

We booked onboard for 12/22 - 29/2007

roysbrew
04-17-2006, 10:48 PM
Thanks for your report. Since you did the sub excursion through DCL in Cozumel were the taxis to and from the atlantis office included or did you have to pay out of pocket?
Also was it hard to get spots for the wine tasting and appetizer class? The whole art of entertaining series looks good to me.
Finally, we are booked into the raddison in July the night before. We are also on the 10 am shuttle. I was planning to do the buffet the night before, thanks for the info about it being gone. Do you remember the names of the italian ans family restaurants nearby?
Glad you had a good trip. :)

Vavasmon
04-17-2006, 11:17 PM
Thanks for your report. Since you did the sub excursion through DCL in Cozumel were the taxis to and from the atlantis office included or did you have to pay out of pocket?
Also was it hard to get spots for the wine tasting and appetizer class? The whole art of entertaining series looks good to me.
Finally, we are booked into the raddison in July the night before. We are also on the 10 am shuttle. I was planning to do the buffet the night before, thanks for the info about it being gone. Do you remember the names of the italian ans family restaurants nearby?
Glad you had a good trip. :)

- The Atlantis staff gave the driver vouchers - ther was no cost to us
- There were plenty of seats at the appitizer class. The wine tasting did sell out the night before but had about a 40% no show rate. The charge was $12 per person
- The family restaurant was named Zachary's (I think). The italian was something like Kelsey's Pizza

roysbrew
04-18-2006, 01:09 AM
Vavasmon,

Thanks for the info. We have decided to do atlantis through DCL. It's a little more but your right if we can't tender we won't lose our money. Plus if we do it on our own we will have to catch a taxi to the atlantis office on our own. We will sign up for the wine tasting early. Thanks for the names of the restaurants, pizza will work great for us. We can book excursions this sunday so this week is it for us to decide. you helped so much :)

WDWLVR
04-18-2006, 06:50 AM
Thanks for a great report. As someone headed to Cozumel it was great to read your report. Thanks for sharing with us.

Your visit to Key West sounds a lot like ours. We love the trolley and we've done the lighthouse a couple of times.

UMTerp
04-18-2006, 09:39 AM
Vavasmon - Great trip report! I share many of your thoughts!

It was great to meet you and your family! Your DD is lovely!

Hopefully we will run into each other sometime!

UMTerp

cinderella_mom
04-19-2006, 02:59 PM
Vavasmon - you said you booked the Native Way Island and Stingray, but ended up going to the reef as well. Did they charge you extra since it isn't in the description of that tour?

I would like to do the city tour and Stingray City so I was thinking of booking this tour. I'm not sure if I'd want to go on to snorkel at the reef or head back to one of the beaches.

Thanks for any info.

Vavasmon
04-19-2006, 04:54 PM
Vavasmon - you said you booked the Native Way Island and Stingray, but ended up going to the reef as well. Did they charge you extra since it isn't in the description of that tour?

I would like to do the city tour and Stingray City so I was thinking of booking this tour. I'm not sure if I'd want to go on to snorkel at the reef or head back to one of the beaches.

Thanks for any info.

We were not changed any extra - just what had been quoted to me. We had the option to stay or go back with the other family. The max amount of time for a beach stop is probably 1 or 1.5 hours if you did just the tour and stingrays (the 45 min reef stop plus the 30 min driving around). The last tender was 4pm and we caught a 3:15 is tender. If you really want the beach the Rays, Reef, and Rum Point excursion from NativeWay might be a better option - but miss out on the tour - the turtle farm was 45 min - 1 hour of our time.

gossipgirl
01-26-2008, 11:01 AM
Trip Report: Western Caribbean Magic (4/8/06 – 4/15/06)

Background: This was our second cruise on DCL. The first was a 4 night on the Wonder Dec 29 – Jan 2. The cast is myself, DH, and my DD who is 10.

To try and make this TR useful to others I am dividing it into sections for: ports/excursions, dining, on-board activities, and miscellaneous information. Please feel free to post any questions you may have.

Ports/Excursions:
Key West – We opted not to do any of the DCL excursions. Instead I purchased tickets for the Key West Old Town Trolley and the Hemmingway house. The walk to the Trolley was very easy (about 1 block and the ticket stand was well marked). Our first Trolley guide was excellent. He told lots of Key West stories and Jokes. We rode the Trolley around to the stop for the Southern Most Point. We got off and took pictures there (the stop is about a 2 block walk). We also grabbed some ice cream at the southern most ice cream store (the Key Lime and Mango were both very good). We re-boarded the trolly what had to be the dullest driver ever. We rode to stop 9 and walked back the 2 blocks to the Hemmingway House. We opted for the guided tour – well worth the time. He told lots of stories and history. The cats were interesting and some were very social. DD and DH decided to pay and walk up the lighthouse across the street (I walked to CVS to pick-up some more sunscreen). We then re-boarded the trolley to complete the tour and had another fantastic guide who discussed architecture and horticulture. We were very glad we got off the second time. We also walked around a little and took pictures of Sloppy Joes and bought a few post cards. Overall we really enjoyed the day and the on/off of the Trolley.

Grand Cayman – I had arranged for the Island Tour and Sting Ray tour directly through Native Way water sports. We met the guide under the gazebo near the Carnival tender stop. He was easy to locate with his sign. There was another family of 5 (from the Carnival Glory) signed up for the tour. We left the dock area on a “bus” (more like oversized van) right after check-in at 9:45. We stopped at a local hotel and picked up another couple which made our group of 10 for the tour. We drove by the governor’s house, the oldest house on the island, stopped at the turtle farm (our guide was very knowledgeable about the farm and we were able to hold a turtle), the rum cake factory (tourist trap), and the Hell section of the island. At the stop in Hell you could purchase postcards to mail home and take pictures of both the rock formations and the cutouts. After the stop in Hell we should have proceeded directly to the boat dock but the boat had phoned the driver to let him know they were delayed about 30 minutes. We ended up driving around by some both very wealthy homes and some very poor homes. The guide knew a lot about the island and its history – he willingly answered questions all along the way.

We arrived at the dock about the same time as the boat. They had to clean-up the restroom area (I assume someone was sick) before we left. Our group grew by about 15 people who had the Rays and Reef tour booked. We went out to the Sting Ray Sand Bar (about a 20 minute boat ride). When we arrived we exited the boat along with a photographer. They had a Ray we each could hold/kiss. They took several pictures of each group with the stingray and we could feed the rays also. The pictures that were taken very good – the price was 30 for the first 2 and 10 dollars each additional – a CD is mailed to your house. At this time we were given the option of going back to the pier or continuing on to snorkel at the reef. The boat operator assured us that we would be back in plenty of time for our 4pm tender so we elected to stay on-board (the family from the Glory had to leave since their tender was a 2pm). DD and DH loved the snorkel at the reef. They saw numerous fish and had a very good time. We were back at the pier about 3:15.

Cozumel – We opted to do the Atlantis Submarine excursion through DCL. This met on the Pier at 12:15 – along with 3 or 4 other excursions. We arrived in the BVT after breakfast (about 9:30) and found the theatre full. People were very restless and the cruise staff was trying to make jokes/ask trivia/etc. A few minutes later 2 tenders arrived and we were on our way (good timing for us). Be aware that unlike Grand Cayman, the tender operators try to sell you stuff in Cozumel.

We walked around the shopping plaza and bought a few things. Mostly we marveled at the extent of the damage. You could see where concrete/rebar had been ripped away. The city has a long way to go before being repaired. The pier still has huge sections missing but the locals were very proud that the first RCCL ship had docked their earlier that week (the international pier has been repaired for 1 ship).

We were back at the dock around noon. It was confusing checking in for the excursions. The DCL people kept telling us to have a seat on the concrete steps but you could not hear their announcements over the bullhorns. A couple of local vendors were complaining about DCL taking their spots. We were sent with the Atlantis reps to take a cab to the Atlantis office about 10 minutes away. From there we took a tender boat to the submarine (about 15 minutes). You board the submarine by going down a ladder. It was not an issue for the kids but a few adults had to take it easy. The sub holds 48 people and we were full. There is 1 porthole for approx. every 2 people. We reached a depth of 110 feet. We saw human divers, tons of fish, a few stingrays, a lobster, and an eel. The view of the coral and the "the wall" - where the ocean floor drops from 110 ft to 3000 was excellent. It was also interesting to observe how you loose different parts of the light spectrum as you go deeper. We were underwater about 1 hour. We took taxis back to the pier and then re-tendered to the Magic.

Castaway Cay – We had planned on parasailing but that was cancelled due to wind conditions. Instead DH and DD snorkeled, played in the water, and we relaxed on the beach.


Dining

We received the LAPLAPL rotation with second seating which is the 8:30 seating each night. The dining time was not really an issue for us. We had an excellent server Fitz and wonderful assistant Dante. We were seated with another family of 3 – the DD was 12 also from the Washington area. We ate in Parrot Cay for both formal nights which was not as much of an issue as I expected. I will say the menu for formal night included chicken wings and Bar-B-Q ribs was a little challenging. Fitz overheard me commenting on how much I loved the wings but would not order them due to messy factor – He brought me an order and deboned them on the plate – no fingers required. Our head server Jeff was a looser in my opinion. We saw him for 30 seconds the first night and not again until the next to the last night (was he thinking tip???).

The food was good but not great. DD still loves the salmon in AP. In the 7 mornings on the ship I never once had a warm piece of toast. We tried both the buffet and Lumieres – always cold. They also ran out of skim milk one night and several wines on the wine list by the end of the cruise. The fruit in Goofy’s Galley was a nice healthy snack in the afternoon.

We had the opportunity to try Palo for both dinner and brunch. Alex was our server for dinner – he was fantastic. Our server for brunch was also very good but her name escapes me. The food in both cases was excellent and the quieter setting enjoyed. If I could only do 1 meal again I would select brunch for the variety of food served.

Personally, I think DCL should either eliminate their dress code or enforce it. I don’t want to start a battle in the thread – just my opinion.

On-Board Activities –

Unlike the 4 day cruise my DD loved the Oceaneer lab this time. She participated in several of their activities and parties. The Ocean Quest area was a big hit. She had check in/ check-out privileges so she enjoyed the club for a few hours the first night. We also saw the 12:01 premier of The Wild in the Walt Disney theatre.

We enjoyed the welcome aboard variety show, Disney Dreams, and Twice Charmed. As a family, we agree that the Golden Mickey’s are not our cup of tea. We also went to Who Wants to be a Mousekateer, karaoke, salsa dancing, and the 2 big deck parties (sail-a-way and Pirate Night). DH and I enjoyed the wine tasting and the appetizer class during the first sea day. It was great meeting up with disboarders at both the pre-sail meet and the wine tasting.

Miscellaneous –

We stayed the night before at the Radisson and were on the second 10am shuttle over to the port. We received boarding group 3. I had no trouble making a Palo brunch reservation. The Radisson was nice – I had booked online months ago with an internet special. We had a basic room with 2 double beds at the rear of the hotel. We had lunch at the Italian restaurant just past the Radisson’s parking lot and dinner at the family restaurant next door. Be aware that the Radisson no longer does a buffet on Friday nights. We did have the breakfast buffet in the am – it was good – the waffle/omelet cook was friendly and efficient.

Our bags arrived just before the safety drill at 4pm. Erwin was our stateroom host and he did a very good job. The pictures at Shutters were wonderful as always but too many are now 8x10 instead of 4x6. I was surprised at the number of children running wild all over the ship at different points. A group of teenagers almost knocked an elderly gentleman down the stairs. A group of younger children (5- 8 maybe) were having fun playing with elevator buttons. There were games of knocking on stateroom doors and running around the dining room.

We booked onboard for 12/22 - 29/2007
do you happen to have any pictures of twice charmed.