Cruise Report from the 12/06/03 Disney Magic, Western Caribbean.

12/6 Day One
We awoke at 2 am and checked the computer for our flight status, a 6:40 Delta flight from T F Greene Airport in Rhode Island.  It had started snowing the day before and the entire eastern seaboard had been affected.  OUR FLIGHT WAS CANCELLED!  After trying to call the airlines and the airport unsuccessfully, we drove to the airport in the snow and found out that we were rebooked on an afternoon flight that would get us to the ship too late.  We requested standby on the only other Delta flight leaving that morning, at 8:20 and waited, and worried.  (It was a good reminder to me that I am not in charge of the universe and that I needed to relax and let go and enjoy whatever might come on this vacation)  We were called for the morning flight at the last moment and made it to Atlanta and then onto Orlando and Port Canaveral just in time to board the ship during the lifeboat drill.  I had booked the ROMANCE PACKAGE and so we had been able to make Palo reservations (the adult only restaurant) before leaving home, so we went to the Spa and booked our couple’s message.  The romance package included tea roses in the room, Romance basket with chocolates, champagne, and a photo album in the room, dinner at Palo for 2, a couples message, and a day in the rainforest for 2.  In addition, I was able to make my reservations over the phone from home for Dinner, Tea, and Brunch at Palo, as well as pick my dinner rotation rather than stand in line on the ship..
We had a problem with the safe in the room and called and had it fixed in 10 minutes and later that night we realized that the room was cold and called again and someone was there in 10 minutes and fixed that problem as well.
The sail away party up on deck 9 was great, the characters, the singers and dancers, etc.  I’m impressed that in all the sail away parties and other celebrations on board, such as the tree lightings and Mrs. Santa story readings, Disney uses not only the crew to sign and dance but also the singer/dancers from the nightly shows.  It was cool on deck, maybe 55-60, but no snow!
Dinner was in Animator’s Palate, the night of “the Show” (The room changes from black and white drawings to full colour.  Our servers were Jean from France and Maria from the United Kingdom and our tablemates were John and Chris from NJ who, like us, have one grandchild, also a newborn.  How does Disney know that?  Dinner was great, of course, as all the meals were this week.
Our cabin attendant was Peter, who took care of our every need.  He was very personable and was nice enough to tell us that as he worked in the hallway he overheard many comments about the picture of the beautiful newborn hanging on our door.
We enjoyed a great variety show this night with the comedy and music of Gary Delena and the comedy and magic of Rich Purpura and the Disney Dancers. Also this evening was a nice Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the atrium with singing and all the characters.
DAY 2 Key West
We had the Character Breakfast this morning; it’s great even without children. Many great pictures.  Michelle asked Jean for the little Mickey Mouse waffles and he told her, tongue in cheek, he would sneak them to her as they are on the children’s menu.  Throughout the cruise, Michelle would often not finish everything on her plate (who can?) and Jean would always make a little joke by thanking her for saving some leftovers for him and jokingly threaten to withhold dessert because she didn’t clean her plate.  You don’t get that personal feeling in your local restaurants. 
We took the Key West CONCH TRAIN and saw many, many sites.  I wasn’t overly impressed with Key West, but then again, I was tired that day and I’ve been to Providence town on Cape Cod and I think there are many similarities.  After the train we walked the streets, took pictures and window-shopped.  It was very busy there.  It was about 65-70 with a breeze. 
The show tonight was Who Wants to be a Musketeer and dinner was in Parrot Cay and was great again.  We enjoyed Rich Purpura’s show in Rocken D and Mrs Santa read The Night Before Christmas in the Atrium with the Disney singers.

Day 3 at sea
Thank God, a day at sea, maybe we can rest.  There is so much to do and I never want to miss anything.  Breakfast in our room this morning and then to the Spa for our COUPLES MESSAGE.  My message was from Jay, and she had magic hands!  It was the best message I’ve had, of the 4 or 5 in my life.  I was impressed in that after the message they did not push the selling of the oils, etc.  They recommended one and then simply stated that if we would like to purchase some we could ask at the desk any time during the week.  This was a big change since our first Disney cruise in 2000 when we got the hard sell.  Maybe enough people complained.  The last thing I want is a sales pitch after the most relaxing hour in a long time.  High marks to Disney and the spa people for the change.  We enjoyed HIGH TEA at Palo today.  Last cruise we couldn’t get reservations for this.  Michelle noticed on the Palo reservation book that next to our name it said VIP and all 3 times in Palo this week we had window seats.  I can only guess this had something to do with the ROMANCE PACKAGE since we are not VIPs and we had an inside cabin.  The scones were my favorite. 
We enjoyed getting some sun today; it’s about 30 degrees back in CT.
It was formal night and we had a Great meal at Lumiere’s. 
The show was Disney Dreams.  We had seen this show on our first cruise but I had forgotten how good the “Big” shows are.

Day 4 Grand Cayman
Tendered to Georgetown dock, a great chance to get pictures of the Magic.  Took the GRAND CAYMAN TOUR.  Went to the Turtle farm, a quick stop at the Seven-mile beach, and Stingray City observatory.  Very nice tour.  Enjoyed the turtle farm, got pictures holding the turtles and the observatory were real good.  Short boat ride to the tethered boat.  You go down into the bottom of the boat, which had glass sides and then they put a diver into the water and he feeds all the rays.  Great photo opportunity.
Shopping in Georgetown after the tour and then back to the Magic to relax in the hot tub before dinner.
The Castaway Club reception for the 800 returning cruisers was this evening, great food and a real nice and fancy buffet.  We ran into our tablemates there and sat with them.  The Capt spoke and answered questions.
Dinner was at Palo, Kristin was our excellent server.  Calamari (so tender), warm shrimp salad, margarita pizza, and the best, most tender fillet minion I’ve ever had.
Chris and John, our tablemates sat nearby and sent a drink to our table and Lor123 and her husband also were nearby and we got to chat with the.
  The show was Hercules the Muse-ical and was great.
80’S NIGHT AT Rocken D was a lot of fun but not before the comedy and juggling of the Hill’s Brothers.  The Disney dancers were once again part of the show at 80’s night.

Day 5 Cozumel
Sunny and warm!  We took a ferry to the main land (Cozumel t-shirts for $5) , met by Hugo on the dock, a short walk to the air-conditioned bus and then about a one-hour ride to the TULUM RUINS.  We made on rest stop along the way at a gift shop and Hugo entertained us for the entire ride to and from the ruins with his thoughts on Native American history, Mexican history, theories on Mayan origination, his philosophy,etc.  We enjoyed his much, very enthusiastic.  The rides pasted quickly.  The Ruins we great and beautiful.  Hugo led us and explained all the buildings, there purpose, etc.  Then we spent a short time on the beach just below the ruins, very beautiful and did some shopping in the shops.  A couple of notes, the bugs bite at Tulum but not on the beach, bring bug repellent.  The shopkeepers are very aggressive and they expect to negotiate on price, I don’t particularly enjoy that but some do.  It’s warm, bring a hat and sunscreen.  This was my favorite tour.  I enjoy history and culture and to stand where such a great civilization once stood was an honor. 
When we returned to the ship Michelle went to Bingo and I worked out a little before another wonderful dinner, tonight at Parrot Cay.
Mexicalifragilisticexpialidocious party as we sailed at 10 pm!

Day 6  at sea
Brunch at Polo today, excellent!  Milo, from Serbia, our server.  A surprise arrived in our room, 2 passes to the rainforest room at the spa as part of the ROMANCE PACKAGE. The rainforest room was great, the warm tile beds, the 3 steam rooms and the 3 different showers, very relaxing.  Michelle tried her luck at bingo again and came close to the big prize.
Semi formal night at Lumenier’s tonight, very good.  Jean wouldn’t let us pick our own dessert tonight, “You don’t trust me by now?”  Chocolate soufflé!  He can pick my dessert anytime! 
Tonight was the Magic debut of THE GOLDEN MICKEYS,  not to be missed!  A tribute to all the Disney movies.  You enter the theater on a red carpet with your photo being taken repeatedly as though your were arriving at the Oscars. 
After dinner we went to the Match Game hosted by the comedian, Rich Purpura, and 60’s night at Rocken D, great fun!

Day 7, Castaway Cay  Sunny and warm with afternoon clouds
The dock has a Christmas tree, snow people and snow!  Only Disney!  The entire island is decked out for the holidays and the music is a combination of traditional Christmas with an island beat.  We took the NATURE WALK AND KAYAK TOUR.  Ricky was our guide and pointed out things about the flora and fauna of the island as we went.  We walked form the adult beach for about 20-30 minutes and then an easy kayak to a seclude beach for a swim.  We had never kayaked and had no problem and we saw fish, starfish and rays in the shallow water.  Great tour, left us wanting to kayak again.  We walked back to the adult beach just in time for BBQ lunch at beach side.  We relaxed on the beach and later walked the family beach, took some pictures, did some shopping, and mailed our postcards.
There was a dockside tree lighting before we sailed and as we sailed away you could see the Christmas tree lights for quite awhile in the distance. 
The Farwell Variety show featured the Hill’s Brothers juggling/comendy, Rich Purpura’s magic/comedy and the Disney dancer/singers. Another great show.
It’s a Small World dinner at Animator’s Pallet, spoiled us again.
Bags packed and in the hall tonight.

Day 8  going home
We had an 11:30 flight and we had 2nd breakfast.  We could go Topsiders Buffet, but by now we are spoiled and want more than a continental breakfast, so last night we asked our head server if we could sneak into the first breakfast.  He said it was crowed but to stop by and he would see what he could do, stating that we might have to sit with another waiter team.  A few minutes later we spoke to Jean, our server, to tell him what we were going to try to do and he said the head server had already spoken to him and that not to worry he would take care of us.  When we arrived in the morning we found an extra table set right near our usual table, just for us.  We ate, said goodbye to our servers and walked to the atrium.  We waited 10-15 minutes and were allowed off the boat at about 7:40.  A porter was called for us and when we had a slight problem finding one of our bags, 2 Disney reps were called over by the porter and stayed with us until we found the bags.  I found it one row over from were it should have been.  Our porter walked us though customs, to the Delta desk near the bus were our bags were checked, we got our boarding passes and we boarded the bus to the airport.  We flew to Atlanta, changed planes and flew to Providence.

A note about Disembarkation:  We have sailed Disney twice and Royal Caribbean twice.  Don’t get me wrong, Royal Caribbean is great, but nobody makes disembarkation as easy as Disney.
When we arrived home it was 32 degrees and there has nobody to wait on us.

Thoughts on the cruise:  loved it! 
Impressed with the service, the food and mostly the shows. 

We are now saving to be able to take our entire family back with us in a few years when our grandson is 3 or 4 but I don’t know if I can wait that long.

Ship's Horn