“I can see our boat!” We all followed our eldest daughters gaze and there in the distance was the Disney Magic cruise ship and our home for the next 7 nights. As we only live a few hours away from Barcelona we were fortunate enough to be able to drive there and so after the smoothest check-in I’ve ever experienced we were boarding.
First stop was the pool and we had it practically to ourselves due to our early start! The girls absolutely loved it as did we. Elise is 2 but fairly tall for her age and just made the minimum height for the twist n spout water slide which she then proceeded to spend most of the day on. There was a children’s pool, a splash pad, an area for babies, a family pool, the AquaDunk which is a water slide for those taller than 48 inches and an adult only pool. It was like having a private water park with the most amazing sea view.
Thinking the AquaDunk could get busy once everyone had boarded we left the girls with my mum and dad who were travelling with us and headed up. Given that I’m not much of a thrill seeker and don’t particularly like heights I’m not sure why I thought climbing to the ship’s heighest point then plunging 3 stories in a water slide that takes you over the side of the ship would be a good idea but once I was in the loading capsule with the clear lid firmly closed I realised there was no going back. The anticipation building countdown only served to heighten my fear before the floor beneath me fell away trap door style and I plummeted at high speed through 212 feet of twisting and turning translucent tubing. To say it was terrifying is putting it mildly however it is also exhilirating and I did brave it one last time on our final day at sea where I naively thought the second time might be less frightening. It wasn’t.
For lunch we had a choice of Cabanas which is a self-serve buffet, one of the main restaurants which is also buffet style but has drinks service or one of the fast food options. We went with the latter and enjoyed chicken tenders, burgers and fries poolside. The food on the Magic is incredible and there literally was not one meal I didn’t enjoy. In fact I still dream of the food onboard!
After lunch we headed to our stateroom which was on deck 6 for our littlest lady to have a nap and ended up all having a snooze. I think the amount of steps we’d climbed whilst repeatedly riding the water slides had worn us out.
Once we’d all come round and after the obligatory lifeboat drill we headed back up to the Adventures Away party which is the official countdown to celebrate the start of the cruise. It was the perfect way to leave port and the girls were amazed to see so many characters joining in the celebrations.
We then had a little wonder round the ship stopping at practically every porthole so the girls could gaze out! It became a bit of a ritual to have a wonder round the ship in the afternoons seeing what we could spot out of the windows or from the deck. On the first day we saw dolphins and even got a glimpse of a whale on our penultimate day which was incredible!
We’d booked the main dining slot which starts at 6pm so headed back to our room where the girls changed into their princess dresses for dinner. Elise is normally the type to choose dinosaurs over princesses but the fact her dress was blue and lit up won her over to the extent getting her to take it off was more of a problem.
Disney operates a rotational dining system so that guests can enjoy each of the three themed restaurants on board. Our cruise was 7 nights so we experienced each of the restaurants more than once but each time the theme and menu was different. Each guest has a Key To The World Card to use on board and it contains a series of letters to show your dining assignment. The information is also in your stateroom and it’s easy to follow. On our first night we were assigned Animator’s Palate which went on to become our favourite.
When you first enter everything is black and white with sketches of Disney characters and scenes adorning the walls but as dinner progresses the restaurant is transformed with vibrant colours and on the first night Mickey entered dressed as a sorcerer during desert and gave a little show. There was so much going on that both girls sat still for the duration of the meal and didn’t want to leave at the end! You are also assigned waiters that follow you to the different restaurants at dinner and both of ours were incredible and definitely enhanced our dining experience. They’d learnt our names, remembered what drinks we liked, entertained our girls and nothing was too much trouble. They’d even cut up our oldest daughters food for her and feed our littlest so we could enjoy our meals. The talent our assistant server had with a bottle of ketchup deserves a mention in its own right. Each night he’d give the girls ketchup on a side plate in the most elaborate designs from Mickey Mouse to Sebastian the crab to Cinderella. I didn’t take any photos but wish I had.
Elise developed a slight (major) obsession with Mickey bars!
The character interaction was phenomenal. Whereas in Disneyland we’d faced long queues to see characters and hardly ever saw any in the park I think the longest we waited on board was 15 minutes and most of the time it was less. We commonly bumped into characters who were more than happy to stop and talk to you or pose for a photo and particularly popular meet and greets such as princesses and frozen were ticketed which meant you reserved a time slot then simply turned up at that time and met them with no queuing at all. It was so well organised and perfect for little ones who have short attention spans.
There was time for a little more porthole viewing before we set off for the theatre for the nightly show. We all went to sleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow and with the slight rocking of the ship sending us into dreamland no one stirred until morning.