Eastern Magic 2/4 -- some random thoughts/comments

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by Disney Planner Mama, Feb 12, 2006.

  1. Disney Planner Mama

    Disney Planner Mama DIS Veteran

    Mar 27, 2005
    Just back from the 2/4 eastern. We were first time cruisers, my husband, myself, my parents and dd3 and dd8. We had an absolutely amazing time.

    Some random thoughts about it:

    I was amazed at the elegance of the ship. We had resigned ourselves to a certain amount of disney kitsch and slight tackiness, and didn't find it anywhere!

    The over the door shoe hanger saved us from having a perpetually cluttered stateroom. Thank you to whoever first recommended this.

    The food was better than I thought it would be. I would say it ranged from good to very good, with Palo's being amazingly good. The other restaurants were better than the chains (Olive Garden, TGI Fridays, etc.) not quite up to gourmet restaurant standards.

    We realized early on to listen to our server's recommendations -- Gede (from Indonesia) never steered us wrong. He was fantastic, great with the kids, as was Paula (from Jamaica) our assitant server. DD3's comment as we woke her up for the last breakfast "I want to go see Paula". A great team.

    Deck 7 was a great location -- two floors up to pools and topsiders and Cove Cafe, two decks down to the kids clubs.

    Bobby Hamilton at the piano bar at Sessions is absolutely wonderful. We went to hear him almost every night.

    That's all I can think of right now (having flown back to dc in the blizzard yesterday. If anyone has any questions just ask, and I'll do my best to answer.
  2. nycgal

    nycgal Earning My Ears

    Aug 19, 2004
    welcome back! :Pinkbounc did you get do any of the excursions?
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  4. Disney Planner Mama

    Disney Planner Mama DIS Veteran

    Mar 27, 2005
    We did the coral world and St. Thomas bus tour excursion. The bus tour was I thought cursory at best (and somewhat hair raising with lots of hair pin turns and steep hills -- basically taking the long way to get to Coral World, and making occasional comments about things we passed. Our bus driver, Antonio Smith was very personable, however, and we got a lot more information about the island chatting with him at various stops. We also got some great pictures of the ship at the pier and the harbor/Charlotte Amalie, and of the british virgin island from the other side.

    We had been planning to rent a car in St. Maarten but dd3 got sick at dinner (formal night) and so we borrowed a stroller from DCL, and took the water taxi into Phillipsburg and just wandered around front street and the boardwalk, stopped at Taloula Mangos for lunch (caribbean food, pretty good, not great and somewhat pricey), there is a beautiful beach right in front of the boardwalk and you can rent beach chairs at various locations -- we probably would have done that if it hadn't started to pouring.
  5. Disney Planner Mama

    Disney Planner Mama DIS Veteran

    Mar 27, 2005
    Forgot to mention -- Coral World the kids absolutely loved -- lots of sea life, iguanas in the trees, the sea garden is beautiful. Some previous posters had said they didn't think there was enough time there (an hour and a half), we thought it was plenty. The nice thing about the excursion is that it only takes about 3.5 hourse so you still have time for shopping.
  6. Disney Planner Mama

    Disney Planner Mama DIS Veteran

    Mar 27, 2005
    Thought I'd add some more details of the trip:

    We spent Friday night at the Radisson and took the 10:30 shuttle over to the terminal. I was pleased to discover that the luggage is offloaded from the shuttle and given directly to the disney folks -- you don't have to deal with getting it all together. Since it was pouring rain it was nice to be able to go straight into the terminal. We went over, thru security screening and were given our numbers at the bottom of the escalator. We got a 6! I was somewhat surprised since I thought we were there pretty early. DH stood on line for checking in, I stood online w/DD3 & DD8 to get pictures taken with Pluto. We then checked the girls into the club and got the pager and their ID bracelets. As we were waiting we started talking with one of the castmembers who works at the terminal. He asked us what number we had and when he heard we had 6 reached into his pocket and pulled out a 3 card and gave it to us. Our first bit of Disney Magic. We were on the ship by about noon.

    We went on, went to lunch at Parrot Cay. It was a buffet lunch -- just okay, not great. Someone came around explaining about the wine package. I was somewhat reticent about purchasing it, but DH and my parents who were traveling with us thought it was worth it, and I must say we did drink all 7 bottles (we got the premium package which was $249). We then explored a bit, checked out the kids clubs, which were having "family time", meaning you couldn't drop off the kids. By now our stateroom were ready and we checked them out. We had a catagory 5 (deluxe w/verandah). It was gorgeous. My parents had a catagory 8, and had been worrying they would miss the verandah, but were very pleased with it. The window is huge. Both rooms were on deck 7 forward, about 12 rooms apart, so we could go back and forth to each others rooms easily.

    The life boat drill went very quickly, and was painless. Some of our bags were already in front of the stateroom when we got back. We went up to the sailaway party, where we encountered more disney magic -- DD8 was chosen by Travis to push the button to "start" the party/cruise. She was absolutely thrilled. What a great start to the cruise. DD3 was less impressed. She actually fell asleep at the beginning of the party, slept thru the entire thing, including the ships horn. As we started pulling out the sun came out.

    Got to wake the kids up for school, I'll add more later.
  7. Haley'smom

    Haley'smom Mouseketeer

    Mar 12, 2005
    Glad to hear that you had a great trip. We will be on the 2/18 Eastern for our first cruise with DH and DD7. I am now happy that I bought the over the door shoe holder :rotfl:
  8. Disney Planner Mama

    Disney Planner Mama DIS Veteran

    Mar 27, 2005
    I know!! After reading some of the comments before I left I was feeling silly for having bought it but I put it up, and filled it with anything that was lying around -- jewelry, hair paraphenalia, toiletries, loose change, water bottles, first aid supplies, medicine, shoes even (what a novel idea)! I also discovered that it was great if you put it on the inside of the bathroom door where the shower was -- instead of constantly knocking over the shampoo etc into the tub you can just reach out and take it out of the over the door shoe holder (there is an advantage to a small bathroom).
  9. msaseifert

    msaseifert Hooked on Disney

    Dec 28, 2005
    Can you believe it, last week at this time we were at a rocking Pirate Party - well most everyone was. My DS ended up with a major head cold that knocked him out at 3pm last Tuesday and he never got out of bed again that day. My DD who is 6, I thought she would be thrilled at all the excitement but all she wanted to do was go to bed too. I could not leave both my kids together in the room alone (someone would surely end up overboard) so my hubby was there with them. I felt so bad, I could not go see the fireworks without him so we all ended up in bed for an early bedtime!

    Some notes on our trip as this was our first cruise as well:

    WE MISSED PALO-which really makes me sad, I've heard so much about it. My ds (10) was just not feeling well and I didn't feel it was right for me to send him to the clubs when I knew he was not feeling well and could possibly spread germs.

    THE SHIP DOCTOR - was great. Even though i think he could have swabbed my sons throat (my son is prone to strep throat and I was sure this was part of his problem only the doc didn't believe so). He gave us some cough and cold meds (the whole visit cost $117 - YIKES, cost more thean the exotic rasual at Vista Spa :confused3 ). My son basically lived on Ibuprofen the rest of the week. Took him to our pediatrician on Monday and sure enough - STREP THROAT! Now he has missed two more days of school than we originally planned so we have had a lot of make-up work to cover - almost finished with it now and he goes back to school TOMORROW!

    THE SAIL AWAY - was awesome, kids and I loved the ships horn and I have had some really cool dreams and can hear it - it was such a "Magical" sound!

    CASTAWAY CAY - AWESOME and awesome and awesome - what more can I say? We had great sunny weather, water was a little chilly. I would not reserve the Castaway Cay getaway package again, we did not even use the float rental or the bike rental - we really used our snorkeling equip though. My kids went crazy over the fish and it took us awhile but we did find the sunken mickey!

    ROOM SERVICE - Order every morning, even if its just a snack to hold you over til breakfast. Oh heck order it at night too, we did!

    TOPSIDERS - Awesome buffets but make sure you look at the middle buffet for some made to order items that are phenomenal.

    DINNER SEATING - We had late, 8:15. I have to say that this was really hard for us. My kids are early riser no matter what time they go to bed. They were usually up by 7am, we would eat breakfast at around 8 or 8:30am and then lunch at around 12:30 or 1:00. Around 5:30, we would be ready for food again so we would get a snack by the pool. When it came time for dinner we were all exhausted and already full from our snack earlier. So dinner for us wasn't really much enjoyed. We LOVED our servers though, they managed to get my DS a grilled cheese most every night even though it was not on the menu.

    CAST MEMBERS - Get to know them, they have interesting lives and stories to tell. They love to talk and have conversations with guests. Our server was Oliver from the Phillipines, that man was the hardest worker I have ever seen but he always made time to come over and have a some conversation with us, he did magic tricks and would help my daughter cut up her food. When it came time for dessert, we would ask for just one dessert to share and he would bring three for us to share. He was awesome and yes, We tipped him graciously for his wonderful service!

    PACK LIGHTLY - I packed so many clothes, we had a whole suitcase of clothes that came home never even touched. The over the door hanger came in quite handy and so did our illuminated alarm clock.

    PILLOWCASES - Make sure you take them and have characters sign them. Its a great souvineir and my kids were so surprised when they got them after we got home. It helped the magic last just a little longer.

    BOOK WHILE ON THE SHIP - We went ahead and booked another cruise for January 07, it makes the depressing feeling of vacation on the Magic really being over and little easier to deal with. The thought that you will be returning makes it and teeny weeny bit easier to get off the ship.

    DOLPHINS - we seen dolphins in port canaveral before we sailed. :wizard: we were on port side and they were swimming right up to the ship and jumping and playing, there were at least 4. Watching them from our verandah was incredible. They also greeted us when we returned but they didn't hang around too long.

    Okay, i did not mean for this post to get this long, I am sorry.........
  10. nuke

    nuke Life is Good

    Nov 18, 2001
    We were on the 2/4/06 Magic as well. I'm so bummed I didn't see the dolphins! I was looking for them too. :guilty:

    My observations:

    Weather was okay for me. I am not an island person so I didn't care that it rained in St. Maarten. We took the water taxi and walked about two blocks down the shopping area. Jewelry store after jewelry store doesn't thrill me so we went back to a mostly empty ship and enjoyed ourselves. We had a blast watching people come back to the ship in the pouring rain. They were obviously coming from the beach and were worried about getting wet. :confused3 :teeth:

    in St. Thomas we walked over to the Paradise Tram and took it up the mountain. Great view from the top! We spent about an hour up there. Got a drink and talked to the lady running the pirate shop. pirate: Then went back to the empty ship again. :cloud9:

    Sea days were great. Lots of Mickey Pool and Bingo time. My son loved the lab and the only way to get him out of there was to promise the pool and water slide.

    Palo was fabulous! I can't describe how great the food was and the service was superb! Our waiter ordered soufle for everyone but only 3 of us actually wanted it so we each got TWO! I could only eat one because I was so stuffed.

    Food in the dining room ran the gamut from really good to so-so. I had a seafood pasta one night and the scallops were completely flavorless. :p
    We enjoyed breakfast in Lumieres almost every morning and ate lunch there most days. I'm not a buffet person so we only ate at Topsiders for breakfast once and it was better than I expected. We also ate there for their seafood buffet lunch and it was okay. I had a veggie and a seafood cesaer wrap from Goofy's galley along with salad and fruit and it was really good.

    Castaway Cay was PERFECT! :sunny: :cloud9: I love that place and wished the ship were go there 3 times instead of any other island. :) The weather was cool in the morning but as soon as you got in the sun it was warm. I don't know how people were swimming. I thought the water was freezing! My FIL snorkeled and said once you got used to it it's not so bad. We did the scavenger hunt first thing and it was pretty fun. It took us about an hour. The food at Cookies was pretty good.

    Only complaint:
    The Character breakfast. They either need to do away with it or slow down and do it right. Two seconds with the character at your table is a waste of time and nothing more than an opportunity to sell more pics at Shutters. We felt so rushed and it just was not enjoyable. On our last cruise this wasn't the case so much.

    Extra Kudos:

    My SIL,FIL and DH went on the Doubloon snorkle tour in St. THomas and absolutely loved it. They snorkled at an area with sea turtles and said it was fabulous.

    Guest Services were wonderful. My parents had to move cabins because there was a leak in their ceiling and it was handled wonderfully.

    Secret Porthole Room 5020. Love this cabin!! It's was my second time in it and I like it as much as our balcony cabin on our first cruise. I wouldn't hesitate to stay there again.

    Bingo CM's! They are so entertaining. Rooster Boy Phil is a riot. I wonder if his and Karen's romance is still going on. :crazy:

    Entertainment staff in general is great. We enjoyed all the shows.
  11. arica480

    arica480 Mouseketeer

    Feb 12, 2006
    There is a thread started for Rooster boy and Karen. I talked to Phil a little bit at Pub Night about them. They really are cute! Can't wait to see her ring!
  12. ckb_nc

    ckb_nc Mouseketeer

    Feb 26, 2001
    Gede is the man; great server and really made the trip for us.

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