First Cruise-Wish or Magic?

lynzi2004

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 3, 2016
So we are planning our first family cruise (my DD and I have been on a girls trip with Carnival). DH, myself, and DD11, DS9, and DS5. We've got it narrowed down to a week in May. We have 2 options available to us and I'm not sure which to pick.

4 nights on the Wish out of PC...standard itinerary (Nassau/Castaway Cay). This was my first choice, the rooms look beautiful!
But then I got to digging around and I found this...
4 nights on the Magic as it relocates from San Juan to Miami...this goes to both St. Thomas and Castaway Cay. Its cheaper but after seeing the pics online of the Wish, the Magic looks dated.

I've read online reviews and the Wish seems to get a lot of negative feedback. But from what I can tell that's from repeat Disney cruisers, not first timers. What would you all suggest?!?
 

MrMarcus

Earning My Ears
Joined
Mar 9, 2022
For relative similar costs and duration, I would take starting off in San Juan and going to St. Thomas over being on the current standard milk run on the Wish. If it is cheaper that is even better.

Full disclosure... my next cruise on on the Magic out of New Orleans in the spring, as I have not been to NOLA for a while and want to cruise the ~100 miles to the mouth of the Mississippi. Itinerary is more important to me than the ship. We also previously did the Wonder out of San Juan.
 
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lynzi2004

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 3, 2016
For relative similar costs and duration, I would take starting off in San Juan and going to St. Thomas over being on the current standard milk run on the Wish. If it is cheaper that is even better.

Full disclosure... my next cruise on on the Magic out of New Orleans in the spring, as I have not been to NOLA for a while and want to cruise the ~100 miles to the mouth of the Mississippi. Itinerary is more important to me than the ship. We also previously did the Wonder out of San Juan.
Funny that you mention NOLA, bc I would really like to cruise out of there! I've even looked at the iternaries out of NOLA this spring. I just wish they did cruises out of there during the summer...it would be my first pick. We live in Missouri and NOLA is the quickest port to get to from us. My sister is an avid cruiser and she loves going out of NOLA.

I'm really considering switching the Magic. Its about $1000 cheaper for a balcony room over the Oceanview port hold on the Wish. I will have to wait and see what the price of airfare to San Juan is when Southwest releases their flights in a couple of weeks. Thanks!
 

Karin1984

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 5, 2012
I would do the Magic, because it's smaller and less overwhelming. The Wish has so many bells and whistles you won't know where to look. It's your first cruise, ease in to it.

A beautiful room is only worth something if you plan to spend a lot of time in it. On a 4 night, you are very likely to be out and about constantly and only need your room to sleep and to shower.
With a family of 5 I would definitely add the balcony to have a bit more space in the morning.

Use the money to do a nice excursion in St. Thomas or have a dinner at Palo (provided your kids like the clubs ;-) )
 

DCLCruiseFan09

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
So we are planning our first family cruise (my DD and I have been on a girls trip with Carnival). DH, myself, and DD11, DS9, and DS5. We've got it narrowed down to a week in May. We have 2 options available to us and I'm not sure which to pick.

4 nights on the Wish out of PC...standard itinerary (Nassau/Castaway Cay). This was my first choice, the rooms look beautiful!
But then I got to digging around and I found this...
4 nights on the Magic as it relocates from San Juan to Miami...this goes to both St. Thomas and Castaway Cay. Its cheaper but after seeing the pics online of the Wish, the Magic looks dated.

I've read online reviews and the Wish seems to get a lot of negative feedback. But from what I can tell that's from repeat Disney cruisers, not first timers. What would you all suggest?!?
Having Sailed out of San Juan twice, I would tell you to book the Wish first. Sailing out of Canaveral is part of the experience for us and its something I'm looking forward to this November. Sailing out of other home ports always presents with challenges as Canaveral is the only one actually run by Disney. The port of San Juan is convenient but plagued with issues and honestly, I encourage people to sail out of Canaveral first as it tends to be a much more organized process.

When we sailed on the Magic again (San Juan to Miami 2019) the terminal went down completely. We arrived at the port at 11:45 and didn't get on the ship in boarding group 2 until 2:45 PM. A whopping 3 hours in the terminal.

Also, with that route, the Magic tends to go out and around the outside of the Bahamian islands which can have additional ship motion. No matter which DCL ship you sail on, the concerns of age are put to bed by the tip top condition that even the classic ships are in. I couldn't help feeling on our last Sailing this august that the rooms are in need of a refresh, but the common areas were in great shape!

Whatever you choose, enjoy your vacation!
 

anricat

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 20, 2014
The Magic itinerary HANDS DOWN. Like, it would not even be a close contest for me.

We love sailing out of San Juan. I will say flights are going to be a little more expensive though, so you're going to want to price those out, but going to Puerto Rico is fantastic if you've never been. We've been twice and we love it. There's so much to do there and especially with that age of kids. PR is amazing.

And I'll take St. Thomas over Nassau a million times over. We absolutely loved St. Thomas and I can't wait to go back there. Nassau is another story. Not even sure we'll get off the ship next time we're there, to be honest.

I'm gong to have to disagree with another commenter that sailing out of Port Canaveral is part of the experience. We've embarked from many different ports and honestly, Port Canaveral is not really any better than any other port. You spent 1.2 seconds walking through a door shaped like Mickey ears. It isn't going to make your trip any more special than going through security and showing your documentation at any other port.

Now, full disclosure, we haven't been on the Wish (yet) but we generally sail by itinerary FIRST and ship second. We are planning to sail on the Wish with it's less awesome itinerary just to experience it since we've been on all the other ships on a variety of itineraries, but for your first cruise with DCL, I would say that you should focus more on the itinerary and where you want to go rather than ship. You can start comparing them later. The Magic is my favorite ship (so far) and nothing about it is dated or any less awesome in any way. In fact, I'll be honest, after reading some of the Wish reviews thus far, I'm a little uncertain about how much I'm going to like it.
 

Cajohnson

Earning My Ears
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Our family got off the Wish in August (we had previously sailed several times on the Dream). We had a cruise booked in August ‘23 for the Magic and also the immediately cancelled it and booked the Wish again because we enjoyed the boat so much. Looking at photos, for us, we would enjoyed the pools and Aquamouse more on the Wish than the pools and Aquadunk on the Magic. With kids your age, who would all be able to access the kids club (truly next level on the wish - mine are older), I would recommend the Wish.
 

NAB

<font color=green>That first page just got too hea
Joined
May 31, 2006
For the kids I would definitely do the Wish just got off on Sunday. The kids clubs are cool ! They will love the slide in the Grand Hall. Hands down beats the Magic.

The Wish is beautiful too. I was scared about all the negative reviews that came out but really I would go on it again but 4 nights is too short.

I love all the pools that are scattered around too never saw any totally full but the adult one .

I agree about Port Canaveral is great terminal and has the buses to the airport and or resorts at WDW.
 

DCLCruiseFan09

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
Thank you all! So much to consider...you've made it clear as mud! lol

So with the ports in mind, that is actually part of the dilemma for us. I've always wanted to see the Virgin Islands, but my DH's thinking is to do the Wish and as a previous poster mentioned, STAY on the ship at Nassau and really get our money's worth. Where as with St. Thomas, I will definitely want to go and explore. So in some ways we are thinking backwards of others...I'm semi going on the cruise to experience the "ship" vs "ports of call." And that might be the wrong way to look at it, I'm not sure. But when choosing Disney over the other cruise lines, we want the Disney experience so that's why I'm looking to book it for our first cruise. If my DH actually likes cruising, then I could see us touring the other islands on maybe a cheaper cruise line, but spending more money to get off and explore the islands. But who am I kidding, if the Disney cruise experience is anything like our overall Disney Parks experiences have been, we will be DCL cruisers for life! haha
One other BIG thing to Keep in mind looking up this Itinerary, its not a Full day in St Thomas like you get on the fantasy. The ashore times are 7 Am to 3 PM for this sailing compared to regular (8ish - 4:45/5PM) so you would be limited in your options based on time for the island. If the destination is really somewhere you want to spend time, this may not be enough. Also, the Castaway Day is a shorter day too. 10 AM to 5:15.

Both of the San Juan to Miami sailings we did were St Kitts for a Full day and then Tortola for a half day (left at 1:30 PM) so that we could make it to castaway on time after the sea day. Those ones were 5 Days. Honestly don't think I would consider sailing from San Juan for anything less than 5 days based on the flight costs but again, thats personal opinion. OP have you looked at flight pricing at all?

To the person above who disagrees with my opinions, Kudos to you! Glad you haven't had issues in the past with others. San Juan will always stand out in my mind as an "Adventure" to sail out of. Not in a bad way, just more unpredictable.
 
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MrMarcus

Earning My Ears
Joined
Mar 9, 2022
We experienced San Juan in January of 2020 for Southern Caribbean. It was a bit slow boarding, but that may have been from the ship having just repositioned so the local staff needing a refresher on processes. In general our San Juan experiences were much better than we had on a debarkation in Galveston after an eastbound Panama Canal.

We stayed a few extra days in San Juan so maybe that helped offset any challenges. In the end, one would likely be happy just being on one of the ships.

Clearly mileage may vary for any given embarkation / debarkation experience.
 

anricat

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 20, 2014
To the person above who disagrees with my opinions, Kudos to you! Glad you haven't had issues in the past with others. San Juan will always stand out in my mind as an "Adventure" to sail out of. Not in a bad way, just more unpredictable.
It seems that I offended you, which wasn't my intention at all. Please accept my apologies.

All I was saying that I wouldn't make a decision about a days long cruise based on the embarkation experience as, comparatively speaking, it's a really small portion of the vacation, that's all. I mean, if we're talking about a 5 day cruise and 1 hour of embarkation, that's 1/120th of the vacation. Literally .8% of the trip, that's just so small as to hardly be relevant. We've embarked out of San Juan twice and it maybe wasn't quite as smooth a PC, but Miami was actually way worse and I still wouldn't tell people to steer clear of the Dream right now because of it. And honestly, we spent a bunch of time waiting at PC in July. They boarded late and there were huge gaps between some of the boarding groups so PC isn't always the smoothest either.
 

DCLCruiseFan09

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
It seems that I offended you, which wasn't my intention at all. Please accept my apologies.

All I was saying that I wouldn't make a decision about a days long cruise based on the embarkation experience as, comparatively speaking, it's a really small portion of the vacation, that's all. I mean, if we're talking about a 5 day cruise and 1 hour of embarkation, that's 1/120th of the vacation. Literally .8% of the trip, that's just so small as to hardly be relevant. We've embarked out of San Juan twice and it maybe wasn't quite as smooth a PC, but Miami was actually way worse and I still wouldn't tell people to steer clear of the Dream right now because of it. And honestly, we spent a bunch of time waiting at PC in July. They boarded late and there were huge gaps between some of the boarding groups so PC isn't always the smoothest either.
Oh no! I didn't mean for you to take it that way either! San Juan can be confusing for some travelers. (It also doesn't help they have to rebuild their infrastructure every few years when its wiped out by a hurricane but thats a different conversation...) Taking into account that they are first time cruisers with DCL, I find that it is far more simple and convenient to sail out of Canaveral. I was simply trying to look through the eyes of a first timer to make things as simple for them as possible.

I love to call out to differing opinions on these boards because there are always different options for everything and different perspectives. The collective experience can be used for the benefit of everyone.

My Spouse and I sailed out of San Juan in Nov 2018 (his first ever DCL cruise) and then the next sailing we did was the Fantasy out of Canaveral in April 2019. He wouldn't stop commenting about how much easier and organized everything was at Canaveral, going out of the way to mention it.

I'm hoping things will get a bit better with more ships and more sailings out of San Juan in the next year or so! They'll definitely have more practice on turn days.
 

MamaMermaid

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 22, 2021
Unless you plan on never sailing on the Magic or Wonder, I'd start with those. "Downgrading" classes of ship is hard. The Magic is wonderful, even if it is a little dated.
 

anricat

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 20, 2014
Unless you plan on never sailing on the Magic or Wonder, I'd start with those. "Downgrading" classes of ship is hard. The Magic is wonderful, even if it is a little dated.
Just out of curiosity, what do you find dated about the Magic? I don't really find it a downgrade. I can't compare to the Wish, but I definitely prefer it to the Dream and Fantasy and don't consider it downgrading classes in any way.
 

MamaMermaid

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 22, 2021
Just out of curiosity, what do you find dated about the Magic? I don't really find it a downgrade. I can't compare to the Wish, but I definitely prefer it to the Dream and Fantasy and don't consider it downgrading classes in any way.
I think that it’s just smaller! I love the Magic though!
 



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