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Old 07-01-2012, 04:36 PM   #1
kellym506
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More Magic: June 22 - 30, 2012

Back to the Magic for eight fun, fantastic days June 22 - 30, 2012!

Cruisers: Me (Kelly), on my third cruise (Magic and Dream previously). Love the Disney experience, customer service and memories (raised on Wonderful World of Disney every Sunday night as a kid).

Dad (Ed), 70-something on his first cruise, if you don’t count his trip to Germany via England on that other famous cruise line: the US Army.

Sister (Sue), brother-in-law (Bob) and nephew (Eddie), veteran Disney cruisers and Vacation Club members. It’s 11 cruises for Bob and Sue, six for Eddie (seven if you count one while in utero).

Sue and her family and I booked this cruise during our June, 2011 five day trip on the Dream. I invited Dad to join us after our mom, his wife of 52 years, died last November. We all needed something fun to look forward to. I thought a lot about her on the trip, especially while watching Brave and during the farewell show.

I learned so much from reading posts and trip reports from DisBoards I wanted to return the favor and provide some info or vicarious vacationing. Feel free to ask questions--I'll share whatever I can.

DAY 1:
We live in shoreline Connecticut, just around where the traffic starts to build in the morning commute. To avoid that we left at 7:00 am, passenger van packed with our luggage, bottled water and more. With Bob in the driver seat and Dad riding shotgun, we got to NYC around 8:15 am (I-95 to 9A south to cruise terminal). As Bob drove down the West Side Highway we could see the stacks in the distance, then more of the ship as we got closer. Yay, our waiting was finally over!

Because we were so early, we paid ($280 for eight nights) and stayed on a fairly vacant parking area one pier away from the Magic. Around 9:45 am the attendant told us we could move to the parking deck between the Magic and the Intrepid. We walked our wagon train of luggage to the huge pier elevator (third level). While we were waiting, I notice some people without luggage who were dressed a bit more formally than the rest of the cruisers. As we settled inside the elevator, one gentleman looked at our luggage (all nine pieces plus day bags) and asked “Are you on the two day cruise?”. He looked relieved when we told him we were sailing for eight days. I’m guessing he was a travel agent--there was an agent tour of the ship prior to our boarding.

The elevator took us to the second level, where friendly cast members with padded Mickey hands directed us to the curb area there to give our luggage to the porters. It felt kind of strange giving the suitcases to people outside the terminal, but it was fine. Back inside the terminal we found some chairs and waited for the security process. The terminal experience isn’t Port Canaveral but the Disney-fication is a good attempt to spruce up the place.

There were perhaps 150 or so people in the terminal Most were standing in an area to the left side of the queue line stanchions. We sat outside the restrooms on the right hand side. About 10:55 am, a cast member asked “Are you sailing today?” (Was “We’re sailing tomorrow” an option?) She opened the queue line right near us and we scurried through--we were the first five people in line for security!

A brief moment or two later--passport, travel document review and security scanning--we were on our way to registration. This part was easy: health documents completed, photos taken, Key to the World cards issued. Now on to more waiting. Sue registered Eddie for the kids’ program, Dad and I looked at the Intrepid (space shuttle is now covered by a plastic bubble with a plastic pom pom on top--booo!). Minnie arrived in her Lady Liberty costume. Eddie and I stood in line for a photo op…by the time we were first in line, Eddie only wanted to be the photographer, not the subject. Patriotic Mickey arrived soon after. The anticipation was building…we want to be on the ship NOW! We met Pamm from the Disney Vacation Club who gave Sue & Bob the details on the DVC welcome events. She and my dad hit it off--we ran into her all vacation long.

Finally around 11:45 am concierge and platinum (thanks Bob & Sue) were called to board the ship! We walked down the outside of the terminal, had our picture taken and walked the gangway onto the ship. The big moment: the annoucement, courtesy of Andy from cruise services. On board! The atrium lobby was smaller than I remembered (last cruise was on the Dream, maybe that’s why), but still amazing.

Lunch was next--a great thing since we’d been awake since 5 am. Parrot Cay was just what we needed. We met Mizar, a server that my sister knew from one of her previous cruises. The buffet was good, carved tenderloin was rare and tasty, Caesar salad was very good. Dad was amazed at the variety and amount of food. He ain’t seen nothing yet!

We took the aft elevators to the 6th floor to wait for our connected cabins: 6140 and 6142. (The connecting doors need to be propped open with a door stop, ask your cabin attendant for one.) After they dropped the blue ribbons, we found our rooms down the hall. They were far enough way from the elevators to have less hallway noise but still have an easy walk to them. We were on the port side (pier side at Castaway Cay and market side at Nassau), navigator’s verandah cabins. The porthole was round, with a solid white wall. Solid walls between verandahs, too, no way to fold them back to having connecting verandahs like on the Dream. I missed that. Also not a fan of the navigator’s verandah: you can’t see the ocean unless you’re standing at the porthole. The rest of the time--when you’re in the room or standing at the slider--you see the sky.

First things first--decorate the door! Magnets from the last cruise, plus new ones courtesy of Shadowryter here on DisBoards, and our fish extender. “Grampy’s First Cruise” for my dad, a UCONN “C” in a dark blue Mickey Mouse head for me, plus lots of others. Not to long after that we got our first Fish Extender group gift: Statue of Liberty Mickey “ears” to go above the cabin number on the door. We met Made, our cabin host, that afternoon. He was very gracious and kept us in towel animals and chocolates all week.

We went to the 9th deck for beverages and the farewell party. The pool area didn’t seem as crowded as I remembered from previous cruises. We heard the famous Disney horn and we were cruising! We watched the pier slip away, along with the George Washington Bridge and the midtown skyline. We stayed starboard to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island around 5:30 pm. Perfect timing to get back to the room to check on our luggage (all delivered!) and freshen up for dinner. We left the room just as we went under the Verrazano Narrows bridge.

Our dining rotation was PLAPLLAP--formal night in Lumiere’s, Pirate Night in Parrot Cay, semi-formal in Animator’s Palette, and character breakfast in Parrot Cay the morning after the last Animator’s Palette dinner. We got a great window-side table on the starboard side of the ship. We were behind the server’s station, unfortunately, which blocked our view for some of the server shows. We had a table for eight: the five of us plus a family of three who lived near Baltimore. They had a seven year old daughter, a great pairing for us. It was my first Disney cruise when we shared a table and I really liked it. It was nice to hear how others spent their day and learn more about them.

We quickly met our servers: Esther from Trinidad & Tobago and Avatar from India. Esther was a petite dynamo with a bright smile and her signature flower in her hair. Avatar was soft-spoken with an easy smile, always ready to help. Esther’s welcome and recommendations were a great beginning to our dinner. She and Avatar worked well together--it took us several days to know that it was Avatar’s first week as an assistant server on Disney. Over the course of the week they added so much to our whole cruise experience. Toward the end of the trip, I really looked forward to seeing them more than I did to the food itself (although the food was very good). We also met the Head Server, Boohla from South Africa. He spent time talking to my nephew. I’m not good at remembering the menus or what I had; most of the meals were very good. So good that Bob would get two or three different entrees!

The servers always amaze me. How do you learn and remember the names and preferences of the guests at three tables overnight? Avatar always got our drinks right and always went to my dad first with the pepper grinder (I think Dad used up a grinder-full of pepper during the cruise). He poured Mickey head-shaped ketchup for the kids at the table; Esther poured hook-shaped ketchup for Pirate night and Pluto’s paw print one night! They taught us how to fold napkins to make Peter Pan’s hat and shoe, among others. Anticipating Esther's magic tricks helped the kids get through the dinner service. She and Avatar made us feel very special and well taken care of.

After dinner we went to the first night’s show. Peter was the cruise director, man does he talk fast! He gave an overview of the cruise activities for the week, the shows and ports of call. We enjoyed the numbers performed by the Disney cast and couldn’t wait for the rest of the shows. John Charles was the additional entertainer for the beginning of the cruise. He sang some familiar tunes with Disney Cruise-inspired lyrics about cabin size, lines, crew, etc. I thought one song was in particularly poor taste when the lyric included that we probably wouldn’t understand what the cabin attendants were saying to us.

When we got back to the cabin, my sister got a call from Dining Services. They “apologized” that we didn't have a table just for our family. They offered to give us a table for five and a bottle of wine for our inconvenience. We liked the family we met and didn’t want to move. We delined the option (and the wine). We never found out why we were asked to move to a smaller table. We shared the story with our tablemates; they didn’t request the switch. Did someone want our window-side table? Who knows.

We settled in the room for the night. Dad had the bed, I took the couch. It’s really a glorified crib-width mattress, very firm. It was fine for the week, but I couldn’t have slept on it much longer. There was plenty of space for all of our clothes and toiletries, love the steamer chest. I never felt like we needed more space for our stuff. The surfboard shaped table is too big for the room and should be removed. The crescent moon shaped foot stool/desk chair was sufficient. I had to tuck the furniture under or next to the desk each night. The Wave phone charger plug overlaps one of the light buttons at the desk, so when you plug in the charger the light goes on or off. Also, with the Wave charger plugged in I couldn’t use the outlet next to it.

After a long day, we went to sleep with happy thoughts of embarkation day and visions of our first sea day in our dreams.

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Old 07-01-2012, 07:56 PM   #2
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Looking forward to your report! Your first day on board sounds great!
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Old 07-02-2012, 01:52 AM   #3
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Thanks for posting your report so soon!
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Old 07-02-2012, 08:01 PM   #4
kellym506
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Days 2 - 4, At Sea and Nassau

DAY 2: June 23, At Sea

Slipped out of the room while everyone was dressing or snoozing. Topsiders wasn’t very crowded, got through the line for scrambled eggs and some fruit. Bummer: no mango nectar in the juice machines on the Magic. They had it on the Dream, but you had to search for the right machine. It is soooo yummy. Only when I walked back to the room did I see the made-to-order omelet station. That was my go-to breakfast for the rest of the cruise. I like my scrambled eggs much firmer than they serve them on the cruise, so bye bye scrambles, hello omelets!

All of us went to the Disney Vacation Club welcome event at 9 am in Rockin’ Bar D. No mimosas for me at that hour. The presentation was a little l-o-n-g but the games were fun. For one game, the section that had the most Disney Visa credit cards would win. Where would you hand over your credit card to a perfect stranger? A Disney cruise, of course! I gave my card to our captain hoping no one had photographic memory. Our section collected three cards, the winners had four. So close! The DVC crew--Tommy, Pamm, James--were full of surprises.

Mickey pool time was next. The weather was beautiful, sunny in the 80s with a refreshing strong breeze. I sat on the edge of the pool while Eddie paddled, splashed and went on the slide. There were probably 15 - 20 kids in the pool. It seemed a bit crowded for me but the kids all found their space. It was so relaxing to sit and watch the kids, splash my feet in the pool and just chill.

Pluto’s Dog House for lunch. The hot dogs were pretty good, fries were good when they were hot, the tomato/onion salad was very tasty. We sat near the beverage station overlooking Splash Zone--it has bubblers and water jets, perfect for toddlers. The star of the Zone was a little girl in her pink board shorts and top, toddling between two of the jets. She sat on them, stepped on them, put her hands over them with delight. If she wasn’t waterlogged enough with all of her play, she eventually discovered that she could drink from the jets. At first her parents didn’t notice, then they tried to stop her. That started the game: she waited until her mom or dad was watching and then she would drink from the jet! My dad got such a kick out of watching her. He was convinced that when they hugged her she would become a fountain!

Sue and I left the boys on the pool deck and went to the shopping presentation in the Buena Vista Theater. There were probably 40 people or so there. With basically one port--Nassau--there wasn’t a lot to talk about. Summer is the shopping consultant on the Magic, another very fast talker like Peter. The majority of the session was about the various jewelry outlets in Nassua, with a few other shops sprinkled in. She threw small items into the audience, most from Cariloha (bamboo everything) and Del Sol (items that change color when exposed to the sun). No jewelry thrown into the audience…boo! Sue got Del Sol nail polish which turned from clear to coral in the sun. I got a Del Sol tote bag (which became Dad’s laundry bag).

Formal dinner in Lumiere’s. Another table by the window for us, really nice. Bob wore his tux, Dad and Eddie in their suits, Sue and me in dresses. It was nice to be dressed up and even nicer to be out of the formal clothes right after dinner. “Twice Charmed” was the evening’s show. Well done, great staging and singing. Off to the pool after that. The Goofy pool was empty so we enjoyed it and the funnel vision movie.

DAY 3 June 24, At Sea

Palo’s for brunch at 10:30 am. Maybe four or five other tables filled, that was all. More people arrived at 11:30 but it still wasn’t full. Jelena from Croatia was our server. She was wonderful. My father asked her if she understood any of the Slovenian he remembered from his childhood. Some things sounded similar, some were waaaay different. The food was amazing but, as a non-seafood eater, it wasn’t a huge wow for me. The flatbread pizza, pancakes with orange raisin compote and strawberry soup (really a smoothie) were my favorites. The pancakes were the best I had on the cruise (the mass produced ones in the other restaurants were horrible, dry and mealy).

Sue and I went to the jewelry info presentation in the afternoon. Summer was her usual speed-talking self. About 75% of the presentation was a repeat of the previous day’s session; the only addition was some info on selecting diamonds and other gems. I dozed for part of the presentation. Didn’t win the five karat sapphire raffle.

Steve Purcell, one of the writers and directors of Brave was the “Behind the Scenes” guest speaker. We saw part of his presentation but needed to leave to go to the jewelry presentation. His artwork was amazing--comic books, video games, movies, birthday cards and more.

Went to Villains Tonight show. This isn’t one of my favorite shows; the story is weak and they could have picked different villains. We delivered our fish extender gifts after the show. Went smoothly, no missing gifts or switched cabins. Fifteen cabins, lots of great fish extenders!

DAY 4: June 25, Nassau

Stood at the porthole to watch and feel the ship “back in” to the pier at Nassau. Our cabin was on the pier side, looking out at the straw market and the city. The straw market was fine. There seemed to be more people offering taxi or horse and carriage rides than when we were there last summer. We stopped at a few stores to look at jewelry. I bought a gift for myself (like the cruise wasn’t a big enough gift). I was paranoid for the rest of the cruise that I would lose my earrings. Also bought the bamboo sheets at Cariloha. They should be here any day now--shipped from Utah. Go figure.

Dad and I spent about an hour at the Cove adult pool. It was quiet and not crowded at all. One end of the pool was warmer than the other, due to the spillover from the hot tubs. On the way out we stopped by the Cove Café. The snacks in the display case are included as part of the cruise food. Try the cookies on a stick!
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Old 07-03-2012, 07:00 AM   #5
KellyFamily
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As someone new to cruising I hope you don't mind me asking, but what's up with the bottled water? Why do you bring it?
Can you not drink the water on the ship? Or is it just safer not to?
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Old 07-03-2012, 07:22 AM   #6
kellym506
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We brought bottled water because we got to the pier early and didn't want to pay NYC prices for it while we waited in 90 degree weather to go inside. The tap water on the ship wasn't bad, drink it with ice.
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Old 07-08-2012, 08:48 PM   #7
kellym506
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Finally found the photo op of the cruise. At dessert one night, my sister didn't find anything on the dessert menu that she liked. Esther, our amazing server, asked her what she wanted for dessert. Sue replied "nothing." When our desserts arrived, so did Sue's:

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Old 08-05-2012, 04:22 PM   #8
at227
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Was ariel on the ship?
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Old 08-05-2012, 07:22 PM   #9
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Really enjoying your trip report so far. So excited as we have just twelve days til we cruise!
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Old 08-06-2012, 03:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kellym506 View Post
Finally found the photo op of the cruise. At dessert one night, my sister didn't find anything on the dessert menu that she liked. Esther, our amazing server, asked her what she wanted for dessert. Sue replied "nothing." When our desserts arrived, so did Sue's:

That is classic!
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