I should have followed my gut instinct and booked our family’s first Disney cruise months in advance. I didn’t, however, and instead drew up a much different spring break jaunt. My reasoning mostly had to do with cost; Disney is not exactly renowned for their budget-friendly cruise fares. But even with our second-choice destination’s airfare purchased, hotel booked and a game plan in shape, I was having nagging regrets about not going with the cruise. We were two weeks out from spring break when – after much persistence – a deal popped up while I was online getting cruise quotes. There was no time to waffle; we pounced. (In truth, as it usually goes, I persuaded the tolerant TourDad to pounce along with me.)
Two weeks later, we were boarding the Disney Magic in Port Canaveral, Florida. I was especially excited to be cruising on the Magic because I’d done lots of research about the extensive refurb the ship underwent in 2013. “Re-imagined” was how much of the press put it. The dining rooms were re-themed, the children’s clubs were updated, and a thrilling drop waterslide had been added to the ship among many other changes. I won’t go into exhaustive detail; suffice to say that the Magic was incredible. We were captivated immediately.
The itinerary was short but sweet: we departed on a Friday afternoon (kicked off by a high-energy deck party), spent much of the weekend docked in the Bahamas (we opted to stay on the ship in Nassau, but debarked on Castaway Cay for the beach!), and were deposited back in Florida on Monday morning. It was a great “starter cruise” for a family with kids who were cruising for the first.
Speaking of the kids – obviously, they were a big reason I was so keen to cruise Disney in the first place – it was virtually all smooth sailing with them. They adjusted well to eating a late dinner (we were assigned second seating at 8:15pm) and, in our toddler Erin’s case, she didn’t mind at all being shipped off to the nursery during that meal. The older kids were eager to spend time in the kids’ clubs (included in cruise fare), the pools and waterslides, and they all sat rapt through the Broadway-style shows presented nightly in the theater.
Was the price of our cruise worth not only the money spent but the hassle and stress that came with changing our plans? Absolutely. I hate to “go there” and use this word, but the trip was totally magical. The level of service from the crew was top notch. I loved that we were assigned beautiful staterooms with a connecting door – though our quarters were snug, it was invaluable to have a space apart from the older children. I loved that our dining room staff rotated through the various restaurants with us, and our servers were so attentive and friendly to our kids through late dinners. And I especially adored spending a day on the white sand beaches of Castaway Cay, soaking up the sunshine and warmth that had been absent from our Minnesota home for months. (Castaway Cay, I should clarify, is an island in the Bahamas developed and used exclusively by Disney Cruise Line.)
You’ve hooked us, Disney Cruise Line. Until next time…