View Full Version : 8/4 Magic--Day 1--Embarkation

08-21-2001, 05:47 PM
I was the first one awake, as usual, and first thing I did was look out the window. WOW! We did indeed have a great view of the port, and there was the Magic! Since we’d driven out to the terminal the night before, I knew how big that building was and the Magic dwarfed it. It was awesome, and I couldn’t wait until everyone else woke up so they could see. One by one they regained consciousness, and we began getting ready for the big adventure.
Predictably, with 5 people and 1 bathroom, we were running behind schedule. We decided that Michael would drop the kids and I and the luggage off at the terminal, then return the van and take the shuttle back. I called the front desk and changed our shuttle reservation to 1 person at 12:00. It was actually around 12:00 by the time he dropped us off, and I watched the line to board grow until I couldn’t imagine where it would end up if it got any bigger. We looked at the model of the ship, and Alex took pictures with Goofy and Alice. Just when the entire room was full of snaking queue, boarding began. Michael got back to the terminal at 12:40 (he’d made a pit stop at a liquor store), and we checked in and got in the by now much-reduced boarding line. Finally, we were onboard! Robyn from Austrailia, the CM at the entrance, asked our name and hometown and was excited to find that we share a surname. She’s also visited and loves our town—Venice, CA. She announced us and we had our photo taken.
Since it was after 1:00 p.m., we were anxious to see our suite so we meandered down Beat St. to the forward elevators, up to deck 8 and into suite 8516, which is just adjacent to the elevators—very handy. Wow! The suite was very impressive! We wondered from room to room, taking it all in. The suite is paneled throughout in dark, high-gloss burled wood except for the 2nd bedroom, which is done in light burled wood. In the entrance hall is a mirror with a shelf below on which we found a variety of current magazines. There’s a closet in the hall, next to the ˝ bath. In the living room is a queen size sofa bed, end tables, an armchair and coffee table. On the coffee table was a basket filled with kids' alphabet blocks, which our kids used during the cruise to spell out messages about their whereabouts. There are built-in cabinets and stocked bookshelves along one wall, next to the wet bar which is stocked with glassware. The TV, VCR and CD changer/player are housed in these cabinets, as well as empty storage space. On the other side of the room, opposite the couch, is the dining table with 6 upholstered chairs. The wall along the huge verandah is floor to ceiling, wall to wall glass with 2 sliding doors leading out from this room. The verandah has 3 chairs, 2 tables and one lounge chair.
In the master suite is a king size bed, 2 night tables and lots more built-in cabinets and bookshelves, and a TV. Again, one wall is all glass with a slider out to the verandah. There’s a makeup table built into an alcove, with a chair, big mirror and more drawer space. Right behind it is the big walk-in closet where there are more drawers and shelves, full-length mirror, the safe, and of course hanging space. Two plush robes and two pairs of slippers were waiting. There’s plenty of room in the closet for luggage.
In the first room of the master bath is a large vanity with double sinks and again, plenty of drawer space, wall to wall mirror and a big Jacuzzi tub. Next to that is the room with the toilet and big shower, and more shelves. The master bath is all marble.
The 2nd bedroom was set up with two twin beds and two night tables. There’s a walk-in closet, a small TV and built-in cabinets. The adjoining bath is divided into the sink/vanity area and the tub/toilet area. It’s done in white ceramic tile, as is the ˝ bath off of the living room.
The suite is decorated throughout in art deco style. It was easy to imagine being aboard an old, gracious ocean liner. We were dazzled :) We were also thrilled to find goodies awaiting us—Beci, our TA, had sent a Castaway Crate containing a variety of snacks, sodas and wine; a DCL photo album and another nice bottle of wine which was already chilled in a silver ice bucket, with two glasses and an opener awaiting. We popped the cork and toasted ourselves out on the verandah. It doesn’t get any better than this! Our concierge, Ruth, also had a silver tray of fruit waiting on the dining table, with a welcome note.
Our luggage began arriving at the same time we did. We met our hostess, Eulanda from Jamaica, who was very friendly and urged us to let her know if there was anything she could do for us. The boys, who were to share the 2nd bedroom, had decided that Mikey wanted to sleep in the pull-down bunk and Andrew wanted the two twin beds made into one big bed, and Eulanda was happy to oblige. Ruth called and invited us to meet with her and the concierge staff in Sessions lounge, where they would make any Palo or shore excursion reservations for us, and a spa representative would be available to book spa appointments. I told her I wasn’t sure we needed any rezzies, and she told me to simply press the concierge button on any of the many (I think there were at least 4 or 5) phones in our suite and she’d be happy to assist us with anything at any time.
Next we were off to brunch at Parrot Cay. I guess we were among the last to eat, as the place was fairly empty. The buffet was fully stocked, though. Michael and Alex, the family seafood lovers, were happy with the shrimp. I thought the rest of the selections were mediocre, but the desserts were good! I’m a perpetual dieter, but I’d decided ahead of time that I was going to enjoy eating whatever I wanted on this cruise. I’d been extra diligent with my diet and exercise prior to the trip and was at my lowest weight in many years, so I didn’t feel I could do too much damage in just a week. Ha.
After lunch I stopped in at the concierge meeting in Sessions and met Ruth. We weren’t interested in Palo reservations, since for us our one annual family vacation is a rare opportunity to spend mealtimes together and besides, we could have anything from the Palo menu delivered to our suite. I’d decided that we would get to Trunk Bay on St. John on our own, so we’d have more time there than the Disney excursion allows, so the only thing I booked were floats for all of us on Castaway Cay, and parasailing for Alex and I—something we’ve always wanted to do. I also wanted to book a spa treatment or two, but Ruth couldn’t do that—spa appointments have to be handled through the spa, and there was a representative there to take care of that. Unfortunately, she was tied up with two women who seemed to be part of a large group and were booking all sorts of combinations of treatments for a variety of people. Ruth could see that I was becoming impatient, so she tactfully asked the spa rep., Phillipa, if she could possibly assist me while the other ladies conferred over dates and times. I’d read much about a relaxation therapy that consists of a foot and ankle massage along with an alpha capsule treatment, and I’d been looking forward to trying that. But Phillipa informed me that this combination treatment was no longer offered, nor was just a foot and ankle massage itself. Bummer. Well, I asked, can you tell me exactly what you do offer? (I thought it might have been a good idea for her to either give me a list of some sort or at least describe alternatives without me having to prompt her.) She handed me a list, and after scanning it I thought I might enjoy a spa sampler, which if I remember correctly is something like a half massage and mini facial, on one of the at-sea days. Sorry, Phillipa said, there’s nothing available. Nothing, I questioned? No spa samplers on either Sunday, Monday or Thursday? Already? How can that be? Well, she said, we’re only given a very limited number of openings to book for concierge guests—the rest of the time slots are open to everyone and have been booked by other passengers. But, she said, I can get you a cabana massage on Castaway Cay! No thanks, I replied…a cabana massage on CC doesn’t quite fill in for a treatment on an at-sea day. I was quite disappointed with how these spa appointments are handled. This one poor gal had to keep calling up to the spa to find out what, if any, openings were available for various treatments—very inefficient and time consuming. I left with no spa rezzies :(
I rejoined the rest of the gang back in the room, and we donned our lifevests for the safety drill. It wasn’t too bad, but they had been painting on deck 4 and the fumes combined with the heat was starting to get to Michael. Afterwards Alex and I went up to deck 9 for the sailaway party. I’m not sure what the guys were doing at this time—exploring, probably. We watched the dancing and festivities for awhile, then we went up to 10 to watch us pull out. While we were waiting, it started to drizzle…which then turned to rain…which then turned into a fairly decent all-out storm. As soon as the last line was untied and we started moving, Alex and I returned to the room to enjoy watching the land go by from our verandah. It was all so new and exciting, looking down at the wake, spotting flying fish and dolphins, waving to the poor folks onshore :)
Next Alex and I went to Oceaneers Lab to get her registered. The gal we spoke with was very friendly. I filled out a form, opted to allow Alex to sign herself in and out, and passed on the pager. Alex stayed in the Lab to look around awhile, with plans to meet me back at the room shortly before the 6:30 Welcome Aboard variety show.
Somewhere along the way here I’m sure the boys did their first of many, many room service orders. I think it got to the point where Andrew would press the room service button on the phone, and the CMs would answer with “How many orders of chicken fingers would you like this time, and when would you like your next installment?” Mikey also spent some time playing basketball up on deck 10.
The guys weren’t interested in the show, so we girls went alone and enjoyed it although the theater was pretty cold. In fact, this was an ongoing theme for the first few days of the cruise—our suite was cold, the theaters were cold and the dining rooms were cold. Even when we turned all three thermostats in our suite to the warmest setting, it was still too cold. Alex and I each had brought only one sweater, so we sort of had to be creative about making them go with all of our outfits.
After the show we returned to the room where we all got ready for dinner at Parrot Cay. The guys were already grumbling about having to wear long pants. We met our server, Aleksander from Serbia (or was it Croatia?); assistant server, Antonia from Croatia (or was it Serbia?); and head server, Sandra from France. Of these three, we liked Antonia the best. Michael didn’t hit it off with Aleksander right from the start for several reasons: one, Michael has a hearing problem and that coupled with Aleksander’s accent made it difficult for him to understand; two, Aleksander let us know that he was trained to be a chef and acted as if this waiter gig was beneath him; three, Michael watches the Cooking Channel and therefore thinks that he knows more about food than any professional chef; and finally, while Aleksander talked the talk about not being happy unless and until we were happy, he didn’t quite walk the walk when we actually made specific requests. For example, beginning that first night we learned that many of the dishes are accompanied by curried rice, and Michael absolutely hates curry and told Aleksander this. There was much good-natured joking about how he didn’t want to see any curry on his plate all week, please don’t bring anything with curry, etc. yet almost every evening Michael was served curry. And almost every evening Michael sent his food back. And Aleksander, who was far from bubbly to begin with, became more and more morose. Antonia was much friendlier and we felt she would have done better as a server rather than an assistant. Sandra was…French. I’m sorry, that’s the best I can describe her. She gave us our ticket for the character breakfast, Thursday at 9:45. I won’t go into great detail of what each of us ate, but can summarize by saying we all thought the food was just OK. I enjoyed the coconut prawns as a starter.
We arrived back at the room to see our first towel animal—a crab, I believe. Alex went to the Lab and Mikey went “out.” I went to the 10:30 showing of Someone Like You in the meat locker, ah, I mean Buena Vista Theater. Oy, was it cold in there! I returned at midnight to an empty room. Michael, Andrew and Alex came in shortly—they’d discovered “late night snacks,” which include Andrew’s favorite pizza of the cruise—better than room service and Pinocchio’s, according to the connoisseur, and are served along Beat St. and outside the Promenade Lounge from 11:00-12:00 most nights. I was a bit concerned that no one had seen Mikey or knew where he was, so Andrew and I took a walk to see if we could find him. We walked past Common Grounds, and then Andrew spotted him right away up on deck 10. He was with another boy, and they were just hanging out which was fine with me; in fact I was glad to see him mingling since he didn’t seem very interested in CG, although he later reported that he did watch a movie, Dumb and Dumber, there. And Andrew was even less interested—he’d just turned 13 a month before and still feels intimidated by anything with the word “teen” in it. The one exception he was looking forward to was a mini basketball tournament on Thursday. When Mikey returned to the room later I think they may have ordered room service yet again.
So ended the first day of our first cruise, and nary a sign of seasickness :)

08-22-2001, 06:27 PM
Great report. Looks like the room was huge. We are going to be in the Roy suite in October. How was the storage in your room. We will be filling ours up to the Max of 7 people. I would think that the 2 bedroom and the Roy and Walt suites would be close to the same for storage anyway. Also did you have room service much. I thought it would be great for breakfast. Would love to have a full breakfast in the dining room in the morning.
Thanks for any info.

08-22-2001, 06:45 PM
Hi Scott...I don't think you'll have any storage problems in the Roy suite. There're 5 of us, we didn't pack light, and we had extra shelves and drawers that we didn't even use in the cat. 2 suite, and the cat. 1 of course is even bigger. There's plenty of space in the walk-in closets in both bedrooms to store luggage.
The kids ordered room service at least 3-4 times per day, mostly chicken fingers, cookies or pizza. Michael and I don't normally eat breakfast, so I only ordered it a couple times for the kids. You can only order from the restaurants during the hours they're open, which means breakfast ends at 10:00--that's 7:00 a.m. to us, and my kids weren't up that early! But when you order full meals in your suite, the service is very nice--they set your table up just like in the restaurants. Enjoy!

08-23-2001, 01:37 PM
Thanks for the info, we are early risers so we should be able to
get the breakfast in time, my son will be happy to hear about the chicken fingers that about all he eats. Can't wait to see the room.


08-23-2001, 08:03 PM
ssgan---we stayed in the walt suite and with 7 of us and all my overpacking we still had a ton of room. Most of our suitcases fit under the bed and the very large ones went in the closets. You'll adore the suites.
The way the do reservations isn't fair if there are only so many available. You might have a better chance standing in line. We got ours, but we went to sessions around 1:30--not many people there yet.