Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Vacation Recap & Review: All Aboard the Disney Magic!

Last month, Matthew and I set sail on the Disney Magic for five glorious days cruising in the Bahamas! We sailed on the Disney Dream last year for my surprise birthday trip and loved it so much that we booked this latest trip as soon as we got home from 2014's cruise.

The cruise we chose was a five night Bahamian itinerary that is actually only available once a year. It had the following schedule: Embarkation Day, Key West, Day at Sea, Nassau, Castaway Cay, Port Canaveral. Since we loved our three night cruise last year, we booked a longer cruise on a different ship for this year. The Dream is 40% larger than the Magic so we were a little bit worried that we would be bored or feel cramped on the smaller ship.

Our "smaller" ship. 

We totally didn't! This cruise ship was just the right size and honestly, I think I loved it more than the Dream. Because it was smaller, it took less time to get in between decks, to restaurants, to shows, etc. It wasn't a big deal if we had to run back to the room to grab something in the middle of the day because it only took a few short minutes to get around the ship.

And because this was a longer cruise, we had more time to explore the ship and do some other activities that we didn't get a chance to on the Dream- go to the movies, eat at the adult-only restaurant, spend more time in the spa, hang out in the bar/night club areas, take fitness classes at the gym, etc. The Magic was completely gutted and refurbished in 2013 so it was like being on a brand new ship with brand new places to explore!

This movie theater was AMAZING. We saw Big Hero 6 and Monkey Kingdom on the ship.

As a way to organize this recap- and so it's not infinitely long!- I figured I would share the highlights of our trip and all the things we would recommend for the Disney Magic cruise ship and the different ports we visited.

Key West: Having never been to Key West before, I wanted to see as much of the island as possible and also learn a bit about the history of Cayo Hueso (the original name of the island- it literally means "bone island"). So, we booked an excursion through Disney with Key Lime Bike Tours. For $40 each, we got to ride around the island on beach cruisers for three hours with an experienced tour guide who showed us all the favorite tourist spots and shared lots of information about Key West's history, geography, and more. And then we got to have an authentic piece of Key Lime pie at the end!  This tour was so much fun- we would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting the island of bones :-)

Key lime bikes and Key Lime pie!

Enjoying the Ship: This trip, we stayed on the ship for two full days- the "Day at Sea" and the "Nassau" day. We got off the ship last year in Nassau and with no planned excursions, there really wasn't much to do. So this year, we stayed on the ship and experienced all the fun things our "floating resort" had to offer like the gorgeous movie theater, swimming in the beautiful pools, the thrilling AquaDunk slide (that Matthew rode 17 times!), and taking advantage of the many tastings/classes the different bars offered. On the day the ship was docked in Nassau, we chose a class called "Mixology" where for $20 each, we made and then drank five (5!) cocktails in an hour- it was most definitely one of the highlights of the trip!

Enjoying a"cocomojito," making said "cocomojito," and my awesomely poured and layered B52 shot.

Couple's Choice Spa Treatment: A few months before the trip, Matthew and I booked a simple couple's massage for our "Day at Sea." We had hoped to book the ultra-indulgent "Couple's Choice" option, but it wasn't available for the time we wanted. However, when we got onto the ship and took a tour of the spa, they were able to upgrade us to the super-deluxe, two-and-a-half-hour, private-deck-and-hot-tub Couple's Choice. This spa treatment consisted of a foot exfoliation and massage, 30 minutes in a private hot tub on our private deck (within the spa), an hour and fifteen minute massage of our choice, followed by another 30 minutes relaxing on our private deck with hot tea and chocolate-covered fruit. It. Was. Amazing. Seriously, it was absolutely wonderful watching the ocean float by as we relaxed on our little deck. And our massage therapists were so talented- it was insanely relaxing. While expensive, it was a unique experience that I'm so glad we got to share together.

I think we could live on this deck with this view every day.

Castaway Cay 5k: Just like last year, we chose to start our day on Disney's private island by running a 5k. However this year, it was so much hotter and sunnier than last year! Seriously- it was one of the toughest 5ks I've ever run. Luckily, Matthew stayed right with me the whole time and we ended up running near some of our dinner table mates/new friends, Angela and Chris from Glasgow, Scotland. Side note, on this cruise, we were seated with three other couples (who we're now friends with on facebook) and had an absolute blast at dinner every night. So back to the race- after the incredibly hot run, we were rewarded with some beautifully redesigned medallions. They were colorful and even had the year printed on them- so much better than last year's generic "winner" key chain-looking medal.

New friends and new medals!

This cruise was so good that we actually booked our next one before we got off the ship. In 2016 we will set sail on the Disney Fantasy for our honeymoon! Oh yeah, we also got engaged on this cruise so that probably fed into some of the "magic" we experienced on the Magic :-)

In all seriousness, Disney cruises have become our most favorite way to experience Disney and we can't wait to try out ALL the ships!

The future Mr. and Mrs. Sparkly Runner :-)

Have you ever cruised with Disney before? Would you do it again?


  1. Looks like fun. I went to Key West years ago when my brother was stationed there in the Coast Guard. I remember it being hot and sticky. I've been on a cruise to the Greek Isles and a river cruise in France. While I loved the experiences and would do another cruise in a heartbeat, I'm not sure I'd do one through Disney. There are just so many options out there, Disney is a little too family-oriented for my taste. The mixology class seems like a lot of fun, though!

    1. We originally thought we would be overwhelmed with kid stuff at Disney but we were pleasantly surprised! And Key West was super hot- I don't know if I'd ever just want to stay there. It was fun to visit for a day though!

  2. My hubby and I just got back from or first cruise (Carnival). It was fun but I imagine a Disney cruise would be so much more magical because everything Disney does is so wonderful. Glad you had a blast!

    1. The customer service on the Disney ships is so unbelievable- I always hate leaving and going back to regular life! Glad you enjoyed your cruise!!

  3. This looks like such an incredible time! While I know I'll never get to cruise with my Hubby due to his seasickness, my girlfriends and I have a Disney Cruise on our bucket hopefully I'll get to enjoy one some time! haha
    Cheers again on your engagement - what a fantastic honeymoon you'll have! =D

    1. Thanks! Disney cruises are SO worth the money! :-)

  4. I'm hoping to book a Disney cruise for January post Mickey Marathon. Everyone loves the Disney cruises and while we mostly cruise on the lines for older people, this looks too good to pass up!

    1. You will love it! Think Disney customer service and magic X 1000! :-)