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Old 01-17-2011, 09:19 PM   #1
coonatuna
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Just Returned - Magic Western Caribbean

If anyone has any questions we just got back on Saturday. Had a great time. I will be posting some pictures of our deluxe inside stateroom as well. It may be of some use to some of you who are wondering what to bring and what kind of storage the rooms have.
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Old 01-17-2011, 10:31 PM   #2
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I would love to hear all about the trip, we are planning a western for 2012, and very curious about any excursions you may have done and activities on board!!
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Old 01-17-2011, 11:32 PM   #3
coonatuna
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Trip Report

Here is a short summary. I can expand on it if you're interested.

The Weather
This was our first cruise so I can't speak to typical weather in the Caribbean in January. What I can tell you about our trip was that it was chilly! When we left Port Canaveral it was only in the mid-60's. That didn't stop the kids from going in the pool! It was windy as well. The entire trip the winds didn't drop below 15 mph.

Key West was nicer - low 70s. With the wind it made it a bit colder.

Monday at sea the sun was out and it was comfortable - mid 70s but with the breeze it was also chilly.

Tuesday - Cayman Islands were awesome! Low 80s - and even with the wind it wasn't bad at all. Sun was out - and that would be the last we saw of it!

Cozumel on Wed was terrible. If it was 70 I'd be surprised. Literally gale force winds, heavy rain and big seas. In fact by the time we left that night the cruise director came on and said that the winds from the NE the entire day had pushed the seas up to 14-18 feet and that we were in for a bumpy ride. We were indeed. You could see some of the faces of the "less-seaworthy" folk turn white.

Thu at sea was cold and windy. By Wed night they had closed the pools anyway because the seas were rocking the boat pretty good.

Fri at Castaway Cay was again chilly - with barely a glimpse of sun. One of the cast members told me when I asked him that this was about as cold as it got for the Bahamas (mid-60s). He joked that in fact the prior week it had been 88! I didn't laugh.

Excursions

Key West

We did the Old Town Trolley on our own. In fact we didn't do anything through Disney and we made out pretty good. The trolley was fun for the kids and imformative for the adults. The drivers are for the most part very engaging and good characters. You learn a lot about the interesting history of the island. The nice thing about the trolley is that you can get on and off all day if you want. If you book it through Disney you can't.

We stopped at the Hemingway House which was very interesting if you like that sort of thing. The kids LOVED the cats. They chased them all over the grounds and we looked for the 6-toed ones. They were all very friendly and tolerant. The grounds are beautiful as well. Picked up a copy of Old Man and the Sea - and when you buy it at the Hemingway House you get a special sticker on the book denoting that fact. I am sure I paid at least $7 for that sticker.

We also stopped at the Southernmost Point - as did a LOT of people. There is a very long line you must wait in to get the classic family photo at the marker.

After that we went to the Toy Factory - which is pretty incredible if you have kids - and even if you don't. Very neat place. They have a pirate ship inside and the place is amazing. The kids eyes were as big as saucers. Just know you're not getting out of there without buying something!

Last we went to Mallory Square for sunset. A MUST. There are tons of performers, artists, vendors, etc and they put on an incredible variety of entertainment. Last time I was there in my 20's I saw the "cat guy". He puts on a show with trained cats and they do various feats and tricks. The show was the same - but the cat guy was not. I think he must have lost his medications because he truly was more insane than ever!

One thing to note - if you have first seating for dinner as we did and you go to Mallory Square - plan to miss dinner. You won't make it.


Grand Cayman

There are many excursions available through Disney and local outfits. We wanted a relaxing beach day and I had heard you could get a day pass for the Westin which is what we did. It was $40/pp and well worth it. The Westin sits on one of the nicest sections of seven mile beach and you get a room for the day, use of the lounges, the very nice pool, towels, and facilities. We rented a waverunner while there as well and had a great time. We could see farther down the beach where most of the crowds had gone - and I heard from others that it was cramped and unpleasant. Our beach was not crowded at all and then in the afternoon we sat by the pool on some NICE lounge chairs, had some drinks and food and soaked in the sun. Awesome.

Our tablemates at dinner told us they did Stingray City and the Turtle Farm and loved it. I think next time we'll give that a go for some variety.


Cozumel

Well... I'll try and be nice. Um... the people of Cozumel are quite... zesty? We left the kids on the boat and walked into town - and into the face of 30 MPH+ winds and pouring rain. It was miserable. If you don't know it already, there is a lot of shopping in Cozumel - but I'm convinced it's one large store because they all sell the same exact crap. The shopkeepers are out in force in front of the stores practically begging you to come in and buy something. It's charming for the first 10 seconds. After that it's downright annoying.

This wasn't our plan however. We had booked reservations at Nachi Cocom which we had heard great things about. It's a beach resort where you can relax, drink, go in the pools, eat, etc - all for once price. They limit the amount of guests to 100 - so it's never crowded. Of course, we never saw it. There was no way we were going with the weather we were having. Here is where I get a little peaved. You have to give them 24 hours advance notice to get SOME of your money back if you cancel. Well, with no internet you have to rely on Disney to tell you the weather for the next stop (or pay crazy prices to surf the web). They said 74 and chance of thunderstorms with NE winds of 15 MPH. Sounds like you may be able to get some beach in right? WRONG. So we didn't even go - and I have a feeling I won't be seeing any refunds in my future. I did email them to ask, but alas.... no response. They responded quickly when it was time to pay upon booking though... hmmmm.


Castaway Cay

Again - cloudy, windy, mid-60s. What's to say? We tried to make the best of it. We rented bikes and did the bike path. That was fun and it was nice to get some exercise after 6 days of gluttony. There were some brave souls who actually went in the water. I can say one thing - there were no lines for the slides! I can say though - had the weather been nicer this would have been a super fun day. There is so much to do there - but it mostly involves getting wet. Could have been a really cool day. (oh it was).


So there you have it. I'd be happy to answer any more questions or go into more detail. Hope this helps!

Last edited by coonatuna; 01-17-2011 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 01-18-2011, 12:42 PM   #4
sdjen
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Thanks so much for posting! I am leaving for our western cruise in a little more than two weeks.

I am wondering the ages of your kids? I am planning on doing the trolley with my 5 year old and hitting the aquarium and butterfly place. But, she loves cats and would enjoy the Hemingway house, i think. Are there other things to do there that would entertain kids?

Also, what did you think of the food and the kids club?

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Old 01-18-2011, 04:38 PM   #5
luvmyprincess
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We leave in 31 days!!

I was thinking the same thing for Grand Cayman. Did this require an advance reservation, or did you just walk in? We will be traveling during Feb vacation,and not sure how crowds will be.

Also, could you post the port times... ashore/aboard times ?

TIA !!
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Old 01-19-2011, 08:05 PM   #6
coonatuna
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Trip Report

Our kids are aged 7 and 4. As far as the Hemingway House is concerned - aside from the cats and running around the grounds I wouldn't say there's a lot for kids to do - but you know how kids are - they make their own fun. From chasing the MANY cats around the grounds, to exploring, to checking out the house and hiding spaces and stairs and pool - they were entertained.

We almost did the Butterfly Conservatory but didn't have time. We walked by it and it looked pretty neat. I think though that there's not much to it - as in you could probably walk through there in less than 10 minutes.

I talked to a couple people who went to the beach in Key West. I have been there before and the public beaches aren't that great. There is no real sand in Key West due to the nature of the island and the reef offshore. There are no waves necessary to create sand. There are places who have it brought in such as the Reach Resort. I had a pass to this resort back in 1994 when I went to Key West for Spring Break - and the beach there was fantastic. I have no idea if they offer day passes - but you might call and ask.

As for our time in Grand Cayman - I'd imagine you might be able to get a day pass by walking in - but not sure. We did it through resortforaday.com. It was nice to book ahead and not worry about it.

The kids clubs on the Magic are phenomenal! We went to both the Oceaneers Club and Lab - and we had to pry our kids out of there when it was time to go - and my kids usually don't like being left alone in strange places. The people there are incredible - very friendly and helpful. They have all kinds of activities planned throughout the day for the kids to participate in - and characters come through their every once in a while. We saw Snow White and characters from Toy Story to name a couple. They will also serve lunch and dinner there if you happen to be there during that time. The best thing is - they are open until midnight! Next time we will take full advantage of this fact - but for this cruise our kids were passed out by 9:30 PM. I can't tell you how many times we heard, "Can we go to kids club??". They loved it!

I am convinced that the Disney Cast Members (as they call them) have to take some sort of Disney happy pills every morning - because you won't find a single person who isn't smiling, doesn't say hello, or doesn't ask you about your day. These are amazing people! They also keep the ship incredibly clean. You will see various people throughout the day following behind guests cleaning up after them. The bathrooms are spotless, the dining rooms and buffets are immaculate. If you drop a piece of food on the buffet line watch how long it takes for someone to come clean it up. You won't believe it. My daughter spilled her drink on the carpet in the atrium while there was no one around. They must have surveillance cameras because within 30 seconds there were two people there cleaning it up. Crazy!
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Old 02-01-2011, 05:10 PM   #7
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Can you tell me what movies were playing on your cruise? My DH wants to know.
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Old 02-02-2011, 12:14 AM   #8
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Tron, Tangled, Sorcerers Apprentice plus more....
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:43 AM   #9
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Thanks for the report! Ours is coming up & we are super excited! I will have to find out more about the Toy Factory. We will just be going to the aquarium & then getting key lime pie.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:59 AM   #10
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Oh boy, I hope we get better weather! I'm a Floridian and need a jacket if it's under 75. I don't swim unless the water is over 80. Which I don't mind skipping the water or wearing a jacket since we do live in 80s most of the time.. but I have a dolphin swim booked in Cozumel with my DD4. I'm literally going to freeze!! Brrrrr. We leave this Saturday 2/5.
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Old 02-03-2011, 12:15 AM   #11
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Grand Cayman Question

Thank you for sharing your experience!

I was hoping you could share a bit more about the Westin in Grand Cayman.
Were you able to pay for the day pass in advance?
Does the pass include a room to put your things in or just beach/resort access?
Does the rate for the pass vary?
Did you have to take a taxi to the Westin? If so, how much was the rate?

Thanks soooooo much for your help!!!
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:56 AM   #12
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70's would be beautiful to me, even 60's! Right now it's -10 degrees here in Chicago w/20 inches of snow.
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Old 02-10-2011, 08:45 AM   #13
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western cruise

Thank you for sharing we did this cruise 2007 but didnt have plans where to go we missed a lot we are hoping to go again next year will plan better .
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Old 02-10-2011, 08:31 PM   #14
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Thanks so much for your post. We are leaving next Saturday (the 19th), and now I'm nervous about the weather. We also went on the Disney cruise last year over presidents week (the eastern cruise). We actually didn't leave until Sunday, as the weather on Castaway cay Friday night was so bad, the ship was unable to leave and stayed until saturday. They put us up in a hotel for sat night...I pray that doesn't happen again. We didn't hit warm weather until the 3rd day. It was also very cool and cloudy when we went to castaway cay, but we also made the best of it. How is the new water park? I haven't booked my excursions yet, as I'm just so unsure as to what to book. I have boy/girl twin 9 yr olds, so I figured I'd go to the excursion desk for some advice on what might be best for their age. I will look into some of your suggestions. My kids lived in the club every day...so not sure they'll even want to do an excursion with us.
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Old 02-10-2011, 09:29 PM   #15
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Missyone - there is a thread for our cruise (western feb. 19th). Come join us.
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2295999
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