Are you mad at your kids? Why on Earth would you go on a Disney Cruise without your kids? Isn’t Disney for kids only?
You can imagine the reactions we got when we booked a Disney Cruise for just me and my husband. Truth be told, I’m a Disney fan girl at heart, and we’ve been on other cruise lines before. We’ve heard horror stories about some of the other cruise lines, so when the Disney Magic began sailing out of Galveston, TX, just an hour from our house, it was the obvious choice.
We showed up at the port early on Saturday morning; our check in time was 11:30am-12pm, and by the time we were done with check in (no waiting) we talked with a supervisor to get a cabin upgrade from a Deluxe Ocean View Stateroom (Category 9B) to a Deluxe Ocean View Stateroom with Verandah (Category 5A). The money we paid for the upgrade at the port was worth every penny!
From the moment we stepped on board we felt totally relaxed. We made our way to the lounge and made our Palo dinner reservations. We also confirmed our Palo brunch for the following day. While we waited for our cabin to be ready at 1:30pm we had a great lunch at the Parrot Cay restaurant. We wandered around the ship a little to explore and get a feel for the Magic. It’s a classic style beauty and it reminds me of what you see in the movies of the old time cruise lines—nothing flashy or cheesy like some of the other cruise lines—understated glamour and beauty is all around.
We spent a little time up on Deck 9 (the pool deck) and began our vacation with some grown up libations. Just after 1:30, the announcement was made that the staterooms were now open and available, so we took our time and wandered down to deck 7 and found our cabin.
I knew from reading reviews and other information that the staterooms on the Disney Magic are much larger than the industry standard, but I was pleasantly surprised at just how much space we had and how well planned and utilized it was. Since the weather was positively perfect, we spent the next few hours enjoying our private verandah as we waited to do the muster drill. After completing the muster drill (it took less than 20 minutes total), we prepared for sail away! We sent a few last minute text messages to our kids who were staying at home with grandma and grandpa (Thanks Mom and Dad!) and shut the phones off for the week! We knew that if someone from home really needed to get a hold of us, they could do so via the Magic’s phone system, and that we both needed the break from all the electronic “leashes” we carry around. We heard the party and fun going on up on deck 9 at the big Bon Voyage party, but we wanted to relax on this trip. Our verandah was just the place to do that, so we sat and watched Galveston slip away as the sun set.
Our luggage arrived around 5:30 pm; plenty of time to unpack everything, dress for dinner and be ready for the evening ahead. We went to the All Aboard Show in the Walt Disney Theater, followed by some time spent in the Sessions Piano Bar before dinner (an adult exclusive venue that became one of our favorite places on the ship). Our dining rotation began in Lumiere’s. We were seated at a table with three other couples and we hit it off immediately; we were all cruise veterans, but everyone was on their first Disney Cruise. I can assure you by the end of the trip, we’d all decided it wouldn’t be our last! We enjoyed a lovely, relaxed dinner, and our server and assistant server impressed us night after night.
On the first sea day, we woke up early and watched the sunrise from our verandah (after a quick trip up to grab coffee from Deck 9). While we waited for our noon brunch reservation at Palo (another adults only venue), we explored the ship a bit more. We browsed the gift shops, made reservations for the wine tasting events we wanted to attend and scheduled our port adventure for Costa Maya. At noon, we arrived at Palo for our brunch reservation. Talk about surprises—Palo has got to be in the top three restaurants that I’ve ever had the pleasure of dining in. The brunch offerings were incredible and unlimited (much to the delight of my husband). On top of everything being delicious, everything was superb-from the presentation of the dishes to the service (if you’re on the Disney Magic and dining at Palo, ask for David to be your server- he’s the best!). This was well worth every penny of the $20 per person surcharge. We left completely stuffed and excited to come back later in the week for dinner at Palo! We spent the afternoon splitting time between the Quiet Cove Adults only pool and the balcony of our stateroom. It was so nice to sit and watch the waves splash along the side of the ship as we let time slip by with no agenda until dinner.
After seeing Twice Charmed in the Walt Disney Theater (again with a little time at Sessions Piano Bar between the show and dinner), dinner on our first full day at sea was Formal Night at Animator’s Pallet. We took some pictures around the ship with the Shutters Photographers then headed to the Walt Disney Theater for an adults only show by one of the on board comedians. It was very funny and still very PG rated since it was a Disney cruise. We headed to bed after a long day of fun and great food.
Monday, our second full day at sea, began with a slight detour. Sometime during the previous evening one of the guests had a medical issue that was serious enough to require that he be evacuated from the ship. Thankfully, we were close to Cancun and able to quickly detour. The Mexican Coast Guard came up alongside the ship and transferred the guest and his traveling party to the coast guard boat to be taken to shore for more medical attention. We later learned that the gentleman had suffered a heart attack and needed an operation; the ship’s medical staff was able to treat and stabilize him until they could get him into the hands of the waiting medical staff in Cancun. It reminded me again why it’s important and worthwhile to purchase trip insurance while traveling abroad, the trip insurance that is offered by Disney covers not only cancellations and interruptions, but also provides medical coverage and emergency medical transportation coverage should the need arise. It’s also a good reminder of why it’s important to bring your passport along too- you never know when you might need it.
After we made the detour for the medical evac, we were back on our way to Grand Cayman! We had breakfast at Topsiders and spent some time at the Quiet Cove Adult Pool on Deck 9 prior to our wine tasting event at 12:30. The wine tasting was great. We tasted five different “New World” wines with one of the sommeliers on board.
I was able to research the various kids’ areas at different points during the two sea days during the open house times. We definitely want to bring our kids on the next trip, so we wanted to see what they had to offer and how the programs were run. Again, no surprise that the programs exceeded my expectations in all categories—from operating hours, to staff/child ratios, to security/check-in check-out procedures- I knew that my kids would enjoy these programs just as much as the other kids on board were enjoying them.
That evening, we had a family show with one of the comedians in the Walt Disney Theater, then we proceeded to a great dinner at Parrot Cay (we loved the conversation and time with the other couples at our table each night), followed by an 18+ show by a very funny comedian in Rockin’ Bar D at 10:30pm.
We were excited for the following day in Grand Cayman! We visited Grand Cayman before on our honeymoon cruise, so it had been a while since our last visit and we planned on spending the day exploring the port area and doing a little shopping!
Have you cruised without kids? What advice do you give to parents thinking about cruising without kids?
By Melissa Hancock Williams
Melissa is a Mice Chat Travel Consultant with Fairy Godmother Travel.
She is more than happy to help you book and plan your next Disney vacation. Feel free to email her at Melissa@fairygodmothertravel.com or call him at 281-750-0091.
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