Edward Owen -- September 1998 -- Walt Disney World (CBR) / Disney Cruise Trip
September 21-27, 1998
We just returned from the September 21-25 sailing of the Magic. Here is a bit of information about some of the things we had heard before we sailed. BTW, we were sailing on our DVC points.
BAD FOOD? No way, Jose. Food was excellent. In fact, the comment I heard upon returning to Orlando was from a clerk in a store who said she heard the food was too "gourmet". There was plenty of food and it was excellent.
NOT ENOUGH ENTERTAINMENT? If you can't keep yourself entertained on this ship during a cruise, blame someone besides Disney. There was a different show each night, two out of three were excellent (Hercules was pretty lame, though), four or five movies a day, and numerous entertainers in the various night clubs on board.
WERE THERE ANY PROBLEMS? Just a few...
PALO - There are only a couple of problems that we saw on the Magic. One involved the much promoted PALO, the luxury restaurant on the upper deck. Right after loading the ship on Monday, we went to make reservations for Wednesday night. We were told that they weren't sure that there were any reservations available, but they would call and let us know. On Wednesday, we hadn't heard from them, so I called guest services about noon. No one was in Palo, so they said that they would page someone and have them call me. They did......5 hours later. I was told by a gentleman with an accent that there was no room at Palo that night, and that if they didn't call you, that meant you didn't get in. I wouldn't have a problem with this if it were true. During the course of the cruise, we talked with people that ate at PALO every single night, and we received the same report from them all, that PALO was only half full every evening. One of our waiters said that it seemed that they were trying to keep the ambiance of "exclusivity" for this restaurant, and that they were keeping it for dignitaries and celebrities when they were on board. I talked with the ship's activities director, a nice British guy named Anthony and told him about this. He said that PALO was under different circumstances from the other restaurants, and that the maitre d' of PALO called all the shots. He said that even he had had trouble getting people into PALO for dinner. On our questionnaire as we left, I said that they shouldn't advertise this restaurant as heavily as they had, if they didn't want ship participants to use it.
DRINKS DURING SNACKTIME - This situation will amaze veteran cruise participants. Whenever you take advantage of any of the full service meals, including the restaurants or buffet, drinks are included. However, if you get pizza, hot dogs or hamburgers from one of the snack bars on board, there are no drinks available, and you are expected to purchase Cokes or alcohol from a nearby bar. If you happened to be in one of the lounges around 11:30 at night, waiters bring trays of snacks for any patrons of these areas. However, if you are there and partake in the food, you are expected to purchase coffee or soft drinks. The Disney Cruise Line is not an inexpensive cruise. You would think that they would not try to "put it to us" in this roundabout way.
ROOM SERVICE - Much has been made about the cruise line offering 24 hour room service. There wasn't any kind of room service menu in the room, and when I called for service, you would have thought I was asking them for something really off the wall. Needs work.
Am I negative about the cruise? ABSOLUTELY NOT! We had a great time, and for every single annoyance, there were a hundred great things we enjoyed. In fact, we can't wait to take our next cruise on the Disney Wonder sometime in late 1999 or early 2000.
The use of the Disney ID cards made this entire trip seamless, from the time we checked in at Port Canaveral, to the on shore excursions at Nassau, to Castaway Cay.
By the way, Castaway Cay is a wonderful experience. Plenty of room, plenty of activity and plenty of food and more!
For you DVCers, the use of the points is well worth it. Have at it!