May 2019 EBTA - Taking the Magic eastbound across the Atlantic (and bonus non-DCL Mediterranean cruise!) - Update 9/18


<font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
Jan 20, 2003
Thank you for following along - I honestly really appreciate it!

Day 6, also known as longest day ever in this TR

After chocolate and liquor tasting, we went to fetch the kids and then we attended Nautical Knot Tying in Fathoms, a random event that sounded interesting in the Navigator. And indeed it was! One of the ship's officers led the event and there were powerpoint slides for each knot they taught us:

Unfortunately I was a little too slow to capture pics of all the knots. They provided a length of rope for almost everyone, it was a very stiff and slippery rope though so not the easiest to tie anything. Knot tying is of course essential if you're at all into boating.... many of the folks attending seemed to already know a lot about knots!

My attempt at a "sheet bend":

Oldest DS and his bowline:

We then headed up to the pool deck to grab some afternoon food (why not! everyone loves chicken tenders) and the boys wanted to swim. Here is a picture showing that it was a tad cloudy. Also middle DS is drinking hot cocoa :)

I wish DCL would switch to reusable cups on the pool deck. I guess it means more dishes, which poses a problem when Cabanas isn't open, but honestly, it's so wasteful to use styrofoam or even paper cups, and here I am contributing to it :( I did make the kids share one cup though!

I watched some of Peter Pan on funnel vision. Boy, I never really realized how dated this movie is in terms of political incorrectness. Let's "kill the Injuns"? Okay! Sigh.

Forgot to mention that one event we missed this day, but really wanted to do, was Officer Hide and Seek! This is a cute event, the ship's officers go and hide about the ship dressed differently (e.g. as another worker) and you have to go and find them. Honestly I wouldn't have been successful anyway as I'm terrible with recognizing people if I have only seen them once. But, really neat event. Oh, and on this cruise (probably on every cruise, I haven't paid attention) there is also a daily Photo Challenge hunt that you can pick up from Guest Services - every day had a different theme of something you were to look for, e.g. artwork, characters, lighting, ship details. I heard from some folks that they won a goody bag for their efforts!

Next up: Pirate Night.


<font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
Jan 20, 2003
Day 6 - evening and onward

Okay first, I forgot to include this picture earlier. This is - I think - Mickey in his Greek outfit. I am leaving this even though I look particularly dorky in it, because I was so excited to see Mickey in this outfit! We had a little [one-sided] conversation about how great it was that he would get to go back to Greece next year and that I really hoped I'd be able to go too. He was thrilled :) Spoiler alert: Greece on DCL is waaaaay out of my budget. So I'll be waving at the Magic from an NCL ship instead!

After swimming, we went to get ready for Pirate Night. I got everyone dressed up and we went for some pictures before dinner, which was a good decision as the lines were a lot longer between main dining and second dining, I thought.

Dinner was at Rapunzel's, with the normal pirate menu. They opened up the curtains, though, which made it a little less dark than it usually is:

I had the chilled mango soup and crab cake:

For entrees, DS1 had the Jack's Treasure of the Seas:

I got the grouper (meh)

And DH made the logical, and best choice of going with the strip loin:

Poor middle DS, a casualty of the many hours lost coupled with a busy day, fell asleep before his dinner (from the kids menu) even came, so we secured an extra chair and let him rest.

Smallest DS had a Mickey Bar for dessert; his mouth was COVERED in chocolate so I teased him that I was going to take a picture and "post it on Facebook", so he quickly wiped, haha!

and I had Bounty Fruit Cobbler for dessert, not bad, none of the Pirates menu dessert items appeal to me much.

After dinner, we had some time to relax before the Pirate night show (a benefit of early dining, I'll admit) so DH took the younger boys down to have a rest, and I convinced my very tween-like DS1 to come with me to Fun Times with Junnk, which I have no pictures of, but which was quite fun. It was really neat to see the cool things Junnk can do with just their voices, and it was kind of an audience participation event. The cruise director Trent and assistant cruise director Lee even got to show off their 'skills' at playing on plastic bucket drums and such.

We skipped the evening show "Physical Comedy of Heath Hyche" and I don't really know why. I did want to meet Jack Sparrow but managed to forget about it. Whoops!

I went up with DS1 and DS3 to get a good spot for the Pirate party, I wanted to be on the starboard side on Deck 10 so we could see the fireworks without obstruction. They cordoned off an area on top of the pool for the kids to hang out:

and I didn't even see the Shutters people get this pic of DS1 and DS3:

It was really chilly on deck, so the kids got some hot cocoa and I managed to find a few blankets that we could use. I should have gotten hoodies for everyone, the party is at 10:15pm after all, but just wasn't thinking!

The party itself is different than the pirate night on the 2017 Fantasy cruise we were on, I think, but still delightfully Disney-ish and certainly better (to me) than the Frozen deck party.

So before the party began I was telling DH how I would try to take some pics of the fireworks and he was convinced that they would not turn out given that I didn't have a tripod. He wasn't exactly wrong, but I did get this one that I really liked:

By the way I think it's sort of funny that it's still called Pirates IN the Caribbean when we were nowhere near the Caribbean and were in fact mostly in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. But I suppose Pirates in the middle of the Atlantic doesn't have the same ring.

Off to bed and to prepare ourselves for Day 7, also known as the last sea day before our first port! Ahhh!!!
  • lilsonicfan

    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Jan 20, 2003
    Day 7 - Sea Day #6 - The Last Sea Day before Ports!

    Technically it wasn't the very last sea day as there was one more after Ponta Delgada, but it was the last of the 6 in a row going across the ocean.

    This morning, we got up and fed the kids, but DH and I didn't eat, because we had Palo Brunch booked for 11:30 AM. I admit that I wasn't 100% sold on Palo at $40pp upcharge, but I really enjoyed brunch last time we did it on the Fantasy and so I booked it again. I'll post my thoughts below.

    I mentioned this elsewhere, but there are so many platinums and golds on these long cruises that Palo Brunch was almost completely booked up in advance by the time the Silver window opened. And keep in mind we had 7 sea days, so that's a lot of brunches being pre-booked. I managed to get one, but I know other silvers who missed out, and first timers didn't get any. I don't know how much luck they had booking on board though as I didn't ask. Palo dinner had a lot more availability, of course.

    We were seated at a table for 2 by the window, which was just lovely. Here's our view:

    And now for the obligatory food porn shots:

    I love the pastries, and the almond croissants on the left are my favourite. I wish they made them in a mini version though, as they are massive!

    This is a bit of a sad picture but shows these were well loved - arancini (stuffed risotto balls with cheese)

    Everyone's fave, the warm sticky buns:

    If you were on a low carb diet, you might be tempted to waver with all of the pastries!

    Okay, now for the cheeses.

    Since we had just had some in the Chocolate and Liquor tasting - here's the big wheel of Parmigiano reggiano! ($700 cost to Disney!) I could seriously eat so much of this.

    So we were told by our server (David, I think) that they brought on special cheeses just for the Transatlantic sailing. So of course, I had to try all of them. This one is labelled Capra Verde but I think it is also referred to as Verde Capra, in any event, it is a blue cheese made from goat's milk. Not the biggest fan of blue cheese or goats milk, but it was worth a try to confirm that :)

    This is a red wine flavoured cheese; it seems to be flavoured on the outside - delicious.

    Another goat cheese, (Sant Gil d'Albio) I think from Spain. It was a tiny bit less "goaty". Not bad.

    This is Pecorino Toscano, a pretty firm cheese made from sheep's milk. I liked this one too.

    And here is my absolute favourite: a truffle infused cheese, Caciotta al tartufo. OMG so good. I love truffled stuff, if you know what I mean by that description. There are actually small bits of black truffle right in the cheese. I have purchased a very similar (maybe lesser quality - but still made in Italy) cheese at Trader Joe's and it's my fave for sure.

    To accompany the cheeses, you could scoop some fig jam or honeycomb. Highly recommend the honeycomb - so, so good.

    There is so much food and so much to look at and try that I didn't end up taking pictures of all of the spread - sorry! Here's our plates though - DH's first, you can see the caviar and toast point - so fancy. Also the seared tuna and little spoon holding a scallop. Yum!

    And mine:

    To be continued....


    Dec 11, 2008
    Well you answered my question as to whether or not all that delicious cheese was a new addition to the brunch.
    We were on the Panama Canal cruise in Feb. and I was excited by the cheese spread added. Now I know its for the longer cruises. 2 months until we board our Transatlantic and get to taste all that cheese again!!!


    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Jan 20, 2003
    Day 7 continued

    As most of you probably know the Palo brunch menu hasn't really changed much:

    This time we chose the Rollatini, which is a kind of like an eggplant lasagna. Super delicious. The eggplant is nicely breaded too so it reminds me of the chicken parmesan everyone loves.

    And the Pennette Pasta. This happens to be a half portion, which David brought as he thought we might be a bit full (so true) and would want room for dessert (even more true). Honestly, I loved this pasta so much. It was so simple and flavourful. The cream sauce wasn't too heavy.

    Onto the desserts, probably my favourite part of the whole experience. First up, champagne jello with fruits

    and chocolate covered strawberries:

    I like to call these dessert shots:

    I think half the appeal is in the miniature size of the desserts. BTW that middle dessert is exactly the same as the one that was served in the MDR (it wasn't great). The left one is a mango panna cotta, yum.

    And this is my absolute fave, tiramisu:

    So here's what I ended up with:

    So here are my thoughts on Palo brunch. First of all, delicious and amazing as I assume it always is (it certainly was both times for us). Is it "worth" the $40, to me (as I think this is a very personal question) - well, I would say both yes and no. No, because it is a pretty high price tag considering that the overall price of cruising with DCL is already high, and it is an upcharge, in that you've already paid for food that day. Yes, because it was just a beautiful way to spend a late morning with DH and sort of like a "date day" for us with the kids in the clubs. I think for that reason alone I would do it again, but I also acknowledge that we are fortunate that it isn't a huge deal to spend an extra $80 plus gratuity on vacation. Put it this way, I'd give up Bingo to eat at Palo instead. (and I did! No bingo at all this cruise.)

    I did end up cancelling Palo dinner though. While I do want to try it, vaguely, I didn't want to miss dinner with the kids. Brunch for me is perfect for that reason, kids can either eat before or after or at the clubs and it's no big deal.
  • Lesley Wake

    Bright Suns
    Mar 16, 2017
    That brunch looks sooo yummy! Whenever I see photos I really want to book it, but I don't know if I will get the chance for a while. I'm solo in March and then with the family in Alaska, but I don't think they will be as interested (we'll definitely do Palo dinner though).


    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Jan 20, 2003
    That brunch looks sooo yummy! Whenever I see photos I really want to book it, but I don't know if I will get the chance for a while. I'm solo in March and then with the family in Alaska, but I don't think they will be as interested (we'll definitely do Palo dinner though).
    It's something to consider, at least - maybe book, then decide if you want to keep it? :)


    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Jan 20, 2003
    Day 7 continued

    I basically rolled myself out of Palo, and then DH and I went for a walk around the outside of Deck 10. Love the view of the wake from behind the ship:

    We then picked up the kiddos who wanted to go up to the sports deck. I wanted to take an amazing picture of the kids in front of the funnel with the mickey head, but I don't think it works too well on the lens I have, I would have had to back up so far I'd be in the ocean lol. Oh well!

    A big question everyone asks when I mention sailing across the Atlantic is, what was the weather like? Well it was definitely not always blazing hot sun, but today even with some clouds, the sea was honestly glass-like. Barely a wave to be seen.

    Just so beautiful, and peaceful:

    Another guest saw me taking pictures and offered to take a family one for us, which was so nice of him.

    DH and DS1 decided to play some basketball. It wasn't crowded at all on this day, I'm not sure how it is regularly though.

    while my little guys wanted to play foosball:

    and smallest DS was supposed to work on his "side kick, spinning back kick" but I don't think this picture depicts either kick :D

    Then they tried to play some table tennis, quite challenging on a moving ship when you're not terribly good at it! But lots of fun. I took this pic from in front of the railing at the very front of the ship.

    Here's a view of the crew's pool and the ship's spare anchor

    Tonight was formal night (or possibly semi-formal night, I will check the navigator to be sure) so after some more time wandering the top decks, catching some Funnel Vision, we went to get slightly more dressed up for dinner. More pics to come.


    DIS Veteran
    Mar 13, 2015
    waving hi from Ireland, I'm just loving your trip report. I've booked my first cruise for September 2020 on the Magic, a 5 day European cruise. Your trip report and photos of your at sea days are just what I've been looking for, as my plan is to spend more time on the ship than in the ports. The liquor and chocolate tasting in particular is very helpful, hopefully I will be able to book it when my booking window opens. I'm hoping as I'm solo , that I may have some luck with availability of bookings even though my booking window is the last to open :( If not I'm defiantly heading to guest services the day I board
  • lilsonicfan

    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Jan 20, 2003
    waving hi from Ireland, I'm just loving your trip report. I've booked my first cruise for September 2020 on the Magic, a 5 day European cruise. Your trip report and photos of your at sea days are just what I've been looking for, as my plan is to spend more time on the ship than in the ports. The liquor and chocolate tasting in particular is very helpful, hopefully I will be able to book it when my booking window opens. I'm hoping as I'm solo , that I may have some luck with availability of bookings even though my booking window is the last to open :( If not I'm defiantly heading to guest services the day I board
    Most definitely do check when you are on board - though I would note that liquor tastings on the first day aren't often booked at guest services - for example ours was held in the Promenade Lounge, same place as dining changes/requests. Check the Navigator to be sure. But also, check back with guest services after the first day if you don't get what you want - people do often cancel :)


    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Jan 20, 2003
    Day 7 continued

    Okay, so it was neither formal night nor semi-formal night, but in any event I decided to get the family looking a little more tidy and put together, and we went to take some pics with the background setups. These occurred often, almost every day I think, where Shutters photographers would set up 3-4 backgrounds for more formal/posed shots. My family is really not big on the constant picture taking but I did pay for the photo package, after all, so we made sure to use it!

    Fake Disney Magic shot, but still pretty :)

    This one is a bit like the background in a standard school picture shot:

    Not super impressed with the lighting in this shot, but it's a bit of an awkward area (deck 4 next to D lounge, I think). Daisy in her ... German? Austrian? outfit.

    Tonight we were dining in Lumiere's for the third time. The menu tonight was "Transatlantic":

    Appies - here's the warm cheddar cheese and bacon tartlet, and the steamed crab "royal" and the cream of cauliflower soup. The tartlet was just okay but the other two were yummy.

    And entrees - we got the baked lobster tail, the prime rib, and the Palo's grilled salmon.

    First up, the lobster tail - this was delicious. I think that our head waiter may have come around to de-shell my lobster, but I'm not certain. I don't eat lobster often and when I do it's usually in a Chinese restaurant, so I always order it on a cruise.

    DH's prime rib (pretty sure he also ordered a lobster tail)

    And DS1's salmon, and super blurry pic of what he thought of it:

    This kid loves salmon, lol.

    I apologize for this terrible picture of the dessert menu, but here it is:

    I had the signature dessert, peanut butter mousse slice. Not the best dessert, I will admit.

    Another delectable dinner down the hatch (PS: you can never, ever go wrong with prime rib and lobster in terms of feeling luxurious!). Tonight was Tangled night, and so we went to the Snuggly Duckling family-friendly takeover of O'Gills. Got there early but nearly didn't get a seat! So many people. There is a late, adults-only version of this, but we didn't attend so I'm not sure of the differences.

    We played a fun game of Thug-O but did not win, oh well! Then there was a sing-a-long sort of thing. All good fun.

    Kids got to interact with one of the Thugs who demonstrated his hook hand

    Hook-hand can play piano! Not with the hook, lol.

    After the Snuggly Duckling takeover, we headed to watch Tangled, one of the only shows I insisted on everyone watching with me. I really enjoyed it! My kids liked it too. It's pretty much a condensed version of the movie, but done really well. The song that Rapunzel and Flynn sing in the canoe (Now I See The Light?) is one of my favourite Disney songs. Here's the only picture I took, promise!

    Well friends, that's the end of the long stretch of sea days as we crossed the Atlantic. One more sea day to go, but I felt like this was the end, sob! To be truthful, I was very much looking forward to the ports, this being our first trip to Europe. But this week of waking up and seeing nothing but ocean on all sides - it was just amazing. I really needed this time to do nothing and to decompress. Life at home is so busy and stressful; we both work full-time and I work generally longer and later hours... It was really great for all of us to do the things we liked, both together as a family and apart at times too. When I first posted about this trip, DCL transatlantic followed by MSC mediterranean, some commenters said that we were doing it in the "right" order, and I have to agree. I do not think I would do a transatlantic on another cruise line with kids (though, possibly with just DH I would consider it). Disney does the sea days right. I had a small worry of being bored, but that really did not happen. (Admittedly, DH having people to play poker with did help!)

    Edit: Day 7 Navigators!

    Next up: Ponta Delgada!
    Last edited:


    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Jan 20, 2003
    Day 8: Ponta Delgada, Azores

    The Azorean islands are often a stop on transatlantic cruises, and are clearly gaining in popularity as a result. The Azores are part of Portugal ... well - they are sort of autonomous, I think - I wasn't 100% sure of how the politics work out there! They are volcanic islands and still have many, many active volcanoes. They are also amazingly lush and beautiful with fairly mild temperatures despite being fairly far north. The volcanic activity must also contribute to their excellent agriculture; for example the only tea plantation in all of Europe is located in the Azores.

    Our first port, then, was Ponta Delgada, which is the largest city (town?) of Sao Miguel island, the most populous island of the Azores.

    I pause here to say that while I always browse ship-sponsored excursions on any cruise line, I rarely book them. For one thing, the prices are even more difficult to swallow with a family of 5 than if it were just DH and me on the trip. But I am also really not a fan of crowded buses.

    So when looking into this port, I checked out Tripadvisor and the CC boards for recommendations for tour operators. There are a few that are mentioned over and over; we went with Azorean Tours which offered a variety of shore excursions (as well as private tours if you are in the Azores for a longer period of time). Our choice was their Furnas Crater and Hot Springs tour which was 40 euros per adult and 20 euros per kid. A similar DCL excursion would have cost $96 per adult and $84 per kid. (DCL does offer some cheaper ones, but again, huge bus, no customization etc.)

    Our tour was really semi-private, and our tour operator let us know that there was a couple also on the Magic who wanted to join, and that was fine with us, they turned out to be a lovely younger couple also from Canada. Our tour guide, Marco, was waiting for us right off the ship promptly.

    We actually customized our tour quite a bit in that we let our guide, Marco, decide the timing and what specifically we would get to see. I had very little expectations and just wanted to sightsee. We all wanted to see the beauty of the island and to get to the actual hot springs thermal bath areas to take a dip. The other couple told us they had tried to find out from DCL whether any of their excursions actually went to the baths, but couldn't get any confirmation.

    Anyway, so basically we went where he took us, and the first stop was on the top of this somewhat hilly area overlooking the water. That white building on the right was a convent in the past.

    We tried for a family picture, but apparently my camera with its one focal length did not meet with Marco's approval so onward we went. Next stop was a gorgeous church called Shrine of Senhora de Paz (SORRY - edited to provide the correct name).

    This is how it looks from the ground where we parked. Each level of stairs had beautiful blue and white tile work commonly seen in Portugal.

    View from not quite the top:

    To the right of the church/hermitage, a bunch of cows were grazing. I think Marco said there are something like 4 cows per person on the Azores, so something like 200,000 cows on Sao Miguel island. Wowza!

    Truly, an amazing view for our first family pic in Europe:

    More beautiful tile work at the top of the shrine:

    Sorry for the fits and spurts of this trip report; I'd love to be able to write about an entire day in one post, but I have so much to say and so many pics to sort through that I'm finding it easier to write these shorter posts instead. Thank you so much for following along! More to come.
    Last edited:


    Chiefs fan living in Bronco country
    Jan 17, 2005
    Joining in! Your boys are cutie pies!

    I'm on the WBTA so interesting to see the itinerary going the other way! Sea days are the best!

    Jill in CO


    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Jan 20, 2003
    Day 8 - Ponta Delgada cont'd

    After we left the church, we continued our drive east on the island toward Lagoa. At some point we came across this scene:

    So we pulled over and our driver explained (and I later researched, b/c I forgot some of the details) that this was part of a religious festival held 5 Sundays after Easter where the people cover roads with flower rugs as part of a processional. He said that the flowers are to honour the sick; however, quite possibly I missed the fuller explanation. The internetz aren't giving me that explanation but in any event - religious festival, my Portuguese is obviously non-existent, but look at the efforts people make!

    We tried to avoid driving over these and had to make some different turns, but at one point our driver started yelling at a tourist (quite possibly a fellow cruiser) who had rented a car and was trying to drive the wrong way down a one-way street but I gathered that he was actually telling the tourist to ignore the people laying flowers and just keep going. I then saw this tourist drive over some of these flower rugs, much to the consternation of the locals. Hmm. Not quite sure why our driver didn't care, but perhaps he isn't religious, lol.

    Onward to a quick view of the caldeira, i.e. Furnas crater lake - a really beautiful and apparently warm lake (due to geothermal activity happening underground):

    Our next stop was the Poca de Dona Beija thermal baths. As mentioned this is where all of us wanted to go, but it wasn't clear which DCL excursion went here. Obviously at least one did because we spotted a few folks from DCL :) but I never did ask which one! Also, I don't think this is the only thermal bath place in the Azores.

    Some views of the thermal baths:

    This pic was taken from the changing rooms (tiny houses). There are lockers you can pay for to store your things. You can also rent a towel, which we did because we forgot to grab some from DCL on our way off the ship (too excited, didn't even notice them, to be honest!) Just beyond the bridge are the various pools you can enter.

    Although the water is clear, it's clearly very mineralized and does smell a bit sulfurous. Also if you lean on the rocks you will have some rust staining on your skin, but it washes off :) The water is mostly pretty warm in the pools, about 37 degrees celsius (98-100 F? I'm terrible at the conversions). The pools also vary in depth.

    Under a waterfall:

    Oh, looks like this one was 39 degrees celsius:

    My middle DS preferred this pool which was only 28 deg C and therefore substantially less warm. This random photobombing really cracks me up. The baths were full of local people possibly wondering where all these tourists came from (we were the only cruise ship in town)

    And finally, my attempt at some artistic waterfall photography sans tripod, lol:

    By the way, the entrance fee is 6 euros per adult and 4 euros per kid. Towel rental and locker rental were each 1 euro, I believe. You don't *have* to rent a locker, as you can simply place your belongings in a provided hand basket. We stayed for maybe an hour and we all felt that was certainly sufficient time. You can rinse off in a cold shower for free or in a hot shower for possibly also 1 euro, but I'm not sure as we didn't bother with that.

    After leaving, we told Marco that we wanted to try the cozidas, which is the "stew" cooked underground in the geothermal springs (I probably have that terminology wrong). Apparently there is only one place you can get this. Marco took us there, explained to the restaurant staff that we only had a short period of time, we ordered something like portions for 4 people plus a drink or two, and it was WAY too much food. Interesting to try, though.

    It's a mix of cabbage, potatoes, pork, blood sausage, some other sort of spicy sausage, more meat, carrots, and more meat. Very filling.

    For all of us (4 adults and 3 kids) I think we spent a total of about 70 euros, so I wouldn't say this was the cheapest meal ever but it was definitely worth trying. Here's an example of the geothermal energy at work:


    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Jan 20, 2003
    Wow! I love the hermitage! This was our second TA and our second time in Ponta Delgada. The first time we went to the baths on a DCL tour (our time in port was shorter then and with the time it takes to drive there, we wanted the security of a DCL excursion). This time we went whale watching (privately organised). I never saw that beautiful church! If we ever make it back, I'd like to go there!
    thank you for following! I made a mistake, it's actually the Shrine of Senhora de Paz (which, now that I type that, I remember Marco saying those words) not the Hermitage! Sorry!

    Whale watching was also on my list - it was a tough choice!!


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