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View Full Version : Back to Reality (6/2-6/9/01)


ngraystark
06-10-2001, 06:41 PM
Here are the highlights of our 6/2-6/9 Magic cruise:

Embarkation - Drove to Port Canaveral via car. Stayed at the Radisson at the Port the night before. There is a mall (Dillard's, Burdine's and Penney's) and a 24 hr. Wal-Mart about 5-8 miles from the hotel in case you forget anything. Woke up on Saturday morning to see the Magic from our window. We left the hotel at about 11:45 and arrived at the terminal. Hubby dropped kids, myself and luggage off at the curb, while he parked the car. Parking was $49.00 and you paid up front. Check-in was smooth, we had all the paperwork completed prior and the only thing we had to fill out was a new Bahama form. Check in was smooth. We got in the boarding line - long - but moved quickly once boarding commenced at about 12:30. Kids watched cartoons - several TV's in the terminal while we waited in line. Rooms were not ready until 1:00pm so I sent hubby and kids to Topsiders for the buffet and I went to take care of ressies.

Ressies - first stop was Palos. I was about the 8 person in line. The Navigator said would open for ressies at 1:15, it was probably around 1:00 when we got in. Our dining rotation was PLAPLAP (Parrot Cay, Luminere's, Animator's). We requested brunch on Monday (10:45am) and dinner on Wednesday (8:00pm) (missed Luminere's). There was no problem with ressies - went smoothly. I was surprised when we went to brunch and dinner that the dining room was not full. Don't miss Palo's it was wonderful!!! Next on to the spa, there was no line - got facial and hair appointment for Sunday (dinner on Sunday was semi-formal). Also got Cabana massage for Friday at Castaway Cay. Again no problem - we were on a roll with ressies. We got the shore excursion form from the excursion desk, we already new which ones we wanted as we had previously been to both St. Maarten and St. Thomas. Filled out the form and waited for the box to be put out for the forms (2:15 and not a minute before). We got all our excursion requests without a problem.

Rooms - had a category 6 stateroom midship. Wioletta was our hostess. She was wonderful and so very courteous. Our every request was met. Room was nice - verandah was the best part - would never cruise without one. We had a king size bed, with a fold out couch and the upper berth came down out of the ceiling. Cooler worked well for drinks - size of a very small "dorm" size fridge. If you bring your own drinks would reccommend cans. We brought plastic bottles (I think they were the 20 oz size) and they didn't fit well.
The split bathroom was nice - more than one person could get ready for dinner at once. Plenty of storage space - most on any cruise line I have sailed on. Wioletta treated us to turtles, snakes, anchors etc. when we returned to our room each evening. The TV selection was poor. It was ESPN, Discovery, TNT, two movie channels (one for kids, other mixed) and Disney, Disney, Disney. The kids movies were Hercules, Lady and the Tramp 2, etc. The other movie channel had All the Pretty Horses, Wedding Planner, Antitrust, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. Not a very good TV selection as compared to other lines, but who came to watch TV anyway. Hallway chatter was easily discernible. They were also working on the lifeboat maintenance - directly under us, so afternoon naps were limied due to the noise. (A cosy deck chair - worked just as well though).

Meals - we had second seating. We have two children 8 and 13 and have done second seating for our last two cruises. I would not want to do the first seating again. The second seating avoids the rush from shore days, the pool area starts to clear out around 4:00pm and you can enjoy a much less crowded pool time until around 6:00pm. No problem with the kids for the second seating - they preferred this also. There were lots of other kids at the second seating. Our servers were Janet (Ireland) and ToTo. They were great. The meals were three courses. Good selection. Some of my favorites were: the Master Chef night - entree was pork tenderloin with polenta and cremini mushrooms; Palo's - ravioli with sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes,; Captain's dinner - lobster. Kids meals were the traditional hot dog, macaroni/cheese, pasta, pizza with a chef's selection nightly, appetizers were fruit cocktail and chicken noodle soup - same every night. The kids meals were served nightly with french fries and a veggie - thought that this could have been a little more nutritional. We lunched at Luminere's on most days. The service was quick and the food was good. Also did Pluto's for hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, bratwurst, tacos and fries. Breakfast was generally room service, but I have to complement Disney on the efficiency and organization of the buffets at Topsiders - they did this the best of any cruise line I have been on (Carnival, Princess and Norweigian). Food selection at Topsiders for breakfast was the same daily - eggs, bacon, sausage, fruits, breads, pastries, cereals, omelet station, mickey waffles and pancakes.

Excursions - we did the Golden Eagle catamaran on St. Maarten. This was the best!! We had a great time - sit in the front of the catamaran on the trampoline - and be prepared to get wet!!. The snorkeling on this trip was great. The beach was "french". (Why is it that those who should never go french are the ones that do!!! - my oh my!) On St. Thomas -we did the 5 Star Sail and Snorkel - we had previously done this excursion and nothing had changed. Snorkeling was great. On Castaway Key we got the Castaway getaway package that included floats, snorkeling equipment and bike rental ($30.00/person). My eight year old had not snorkeled before, he did great and loved the stingrays we saw and the schools of fish. Recommend that you get off the boat early at Castaway Cay - find a seat and make any purchases. We then snorkeled, biked and snorkeled again in the afternoon. Snorkel early, as the sand gets stirred up by all the snorkelers in the lagoon and the water is murky in the afternoon. I had to go out far to have any good viewing in the afternoon. (Also don't miss the konk cooler at Castaway Cay!!!)

Swimming - the pool with the slide was literally wall to wall kids. The adult pool was less crowded, but we could never get in to the whirlpool. There was no problem with finding a lounge. (they were not always where you wanted them, but there was always one available.) Bring sunscreen!! We did 30 sunscreen and still got some burn. (I saw a poor little boy, about 8-10, on the last day of the cruise who had 2nd degree burns over about 24 % of his body - the nurse in me about had a stroke that parents could have let this happen!!)

Entertainment - I was a little disappointed in this area. I expected fabulous entertainment from Disney. Quite frankly - Carnival and Princess have a better handle on this. The Disney Dreams show was good. Hercules was corny and boring. (Even my kids thought so). Was disappointed on the adult entertainment: we enjoyed the dueling pianos. We are not the dancing, bar set and the wine tasting/cooking demos were not up my alley. The movies that were showing were Pearl Harbor, Emperor's New Groove, Recess School's out, Just Visiting. Movies generally showed in the Buena Vista theater. Tip - I'm 5'6" and these were the most cramped seats I've ever sat in. Sit in the very front on on the end if you want to be able to move.

Shopping - I'm not much of a shopper, but we did enjoy Del Sol on St. Maarten - carries shirts, hats, nailpolish, etc. that change color in the sun. Also Last Mango in Paradise for the Parrotheads and Buffet fans in the crowd. We also brought home some Guavaberry rum and Absolut (great buy $4.95).

Disembarkation - this was the most organized and efficient disembarkation process I have ever had on any cruise line. Don't bother attending the disembarkation lecture, it runs on your TV all evening. The cabin hostess will leave the customs cards, luggage tags in your room on Friday night. Luggage must be out on Friday between 9pm - 11pm. On Saturday morning, you have to be out of your cabin by 8:00am. You have a choice for breakfast - Topsiders (continental only) or the dining room you ate at on Friday. For us this was Parrot Cay. Since we had second seating our breakfast was at 8:00 - another good reason for second seating, a later disembarkation time. After breakfast we disembarked, no waiting in the lounges required! We were met by a porter who picked up our bags and took bags and us through customs and directly to our car in the parking lot. Bags were arranged by stateroom number and color of tag (be sure to note color when the placing the tags on ).


Well here we are, back to reality, laundry piled high, pager already going off, messages on the machine from work - take me back!!!!

Will be happy to answer any specific questions anyone has. Here's a final toast to all you future cruisers - enjoy!!!!

JanMa
06-10-2001, 10:21 PM
Thanks for the highlights! I just changed
my dinner seating from early to late and
was still a little nervous. My boys are 9 and
13. So glad to hear that it worked out well
for you. Sounds like the whole trip was a
big success.
Thanks again, Jan:wave:

happylady
06-10-2001, 11:01 PM
ngraystark-Loved your report. Everytime I read one, I get alittle more excited.

My DS is 11 and we also chose the late dinner sitting, and we are deck 6 midship on the starboard side. What room did you stay in, and what was your rotation?

ngraystark
06-11-2001, 07:40 PM
happylady - we were in room 6568 on the starboard side. It was a good location, close to the elevator and laundry room, but not too close that the noise was troublesome. Our dining rotation was Parrot Cay, Luminere's and Animator's Palate.

happylady
06-11-2001, 10:40 PM
ngraystark - we will be in 6584 and am a little worried about being so close to the laundry room. Thinking about calling to see if we can get it moved a little more forward.