The Disney Magic is an excellent mixture of classic ocean liner beauty and Disney whimsy. She is an exceptional choice for family cruising, but provides enough space, entertainment, and activities to draw couples and adults traveling without kids.
Disney excels at organization and entertainment, and these two elements are key to a successful cruise experience. Throw in the characters and the small Disney touches such as the "When You Wish Upon a Star" chimes, Mickey's voice on the wake up call, and the hidden Mickey heads woven in to the decor, and it's a fun week for everyone.
Let's tour the Disney Magic.
The Disney Magic was launched in 1998 and has a classic ocean liner look on the outside, with a black hull, shining white top, and two red funnels, both adorned with Mickey heads. There's no doubt which cruise line this ship belongs to!
Most modern ships only have one funnel, and this one is no different--one of the funnels is a dummy and houses the teen center. Keeping with the Mickey theme, the life boats are yellow (rather than the standard orange), making the overall look very Disney--black, white, red, and yellow. A glance at the bow will make anyone smile. The bow has intricate gold scroll-work much like classic tall ships of long ago. Mixed in with this elegant detail is Goofy, dangling from a rope and touching up the paint.
Much of the interior of the Disney Magic is done in Art Deco style, and the ship artwork includes many special Disney theme pieces. Exploring the ship is like a treasure hunt, as you will find yourself looking for the Mickey logo, which is creatively woven into the decor.
My favorite common areas of the ship were the soaring three-story lobby and the large Walt Disney Theatre. The lobby is the hub of the ship and features a wonderful bronze statue of Mickey Mouse at the helm. Topping off the lobby is a huge, multi-colored chandelier designed by Dale Chihuly.
The theatre seats 977 and has the best shows I've seen at sea. Each production show tells a story and is like a short operetta, filled with singers, dancers, and (of course) characters.
Many of the activities on the Disney Magic are centered on the out of doors, starting with the high energy sailaway party and continuing each day around the swimming pools. The ship has three pools, one for adults, the second for families, and the third just for kids. Each pool has attractive features such as the mega-movie screen or the Mickey slide, making them the center of daily life onboard for many guests.
Evening events are also held on the pool deck, the highlight of which is the "Pirates In the Caribbean" party. This party starts with a pirate theme dinner and then moves outside for music, dancing, and fireworks. It's a spectacular ending to a fun-filled night onboard the Disney Magic.
The Disney Magic has three main dining rooms, and guests rotate amongst the three rooms during the cruise, always sitting at the same table number and with the same dinner companions. The wait staff also rotates, providing continuity to the dining experience. It's a great idea and works well.
Although these three dining rooms are good, the highlight of dining on the Disney Magic is a dinner or brunch at Palo's, the adults-only alternative restaurant. Palo's sits on the top deck and has wonderful views, exceptional service, and marvelous food. It even has a private room with a large dining table for adult parties.
For families looking for casual fare, the Disney Magic has a large buffet and several take-away food outlets near the pools.
The Disney Magic carries 2700 passengers in 875 cabins, many of which can sleep 4. Of the 720 outside cabins, 388 have private verandas, perfect for some quiet time to enjoy the warm Caribbean weather. The cabins are brightly colored, with plenty of storage space and practicality. I loved the shelves in a vertically-place steamer trunk used as a storage cabinet.
The bath is split into two rooms, one with a sink and toilet and the other with a sink and shower tub. Each bath is tiny, but it is nice to have two separate rooms and two sinks when traveling as a family group.
The room steward was efficient and friendly, and kept the cabin clean. He also left us chocolates and towel animal creations each evening to top off the entertainment.
Although a Disney Magic cruise is centered on families, the cruise line hasn't forgotten how important it is for adults to have private time when on vacation. This factor is very evident on the Disney Magic, with several adult lounges, three of which are grouped together in the Beat Street neighborhood on deck 3. My favorite was the quiet Sessions, with live piano music in the evenings and those marvelous large portholes for ocean viewing. Sports enthusiasts love watching ESPN in the Diversions sports bar, and the Rockin' Bar D provides adult entertainment in the late evenings.
These lounges are also used for adult-oriented activities, such as wine tastings, which were among the most well-run and interesting I've ever been to on any ship.
I cruised the Disney Magic to the eastern Caribbean from Port Canaveral on a seven-day itinerary that included two delightful sea days followed by two ports of call in the U.S. Virgin Islands -- St. Croix and St. Thomas. While on St. Thomas, I did a half-day shore excursion to the nearby island of St. John. We then had a final day at sea before spending the day at Disney's private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay. Although many cruise lines have private islands in the Caribbean, Castaway Cay is one of the best.
This cruise itinerary was a great mix of time at sea and time in port. With so many onboard activities for children, families, and adults, I'm glad we had three sea days to enjoy the Disney experience.
The Disney Magic is a delightful way for families or adults to see the western Mediterranean. The ship sails roundtrip from Barcelona in the summer months, stopping at well-known ports such as Rome and Naples and those that are not as common such as La Spezia and Ajaccio, Corsica.
This detailed travel log of a Disney Magic western Mediterranean cruise provides an overview of the ports of call along with some of the special Disney port adventures for families.
Disney Magic - Summary and Wrap-up
I'll be the first to admit that the Disney Magic far exceeded my expectations. I knew the ship was an excellent choice for families, but never dreamed it would be so much fun for adults traveling without kids. The highlights were the exceptional organization, the amazing Disney entertainment, dining at Palo's, and watching the faces of the children as they interacted with the Disney characters. Of course, we got our photo made with Mickey, too!
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary cruise accommodation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.