Five Things to Know About Disney Cruise Line's Magic Cruise Ship
World's Best 2016 Award Rank: #8 Mega Cruise Ship
Best for: Families and Disney-philes
Sails: The Caribbean, New England and Canada, the Mediterranean, Northern Europe
At a Glance: A Travel + Leisure World’s Best 2016 Winner, placing eighth in the Mega Cruise Ship Category. Disney’s first cruise ship, the 1,754-passenger Disney Magic caters to children and parents alike with a splashy waterslides, adults-only areas, and lots of Disney-level entertainment.
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There’s Plenty to Keep Kids Happy
Saying this ship is family-focused is an understatement. As on any Disney vessel, the kid-centric activities are almost too many to count: There’s Pirate’s Night, when kids head to costume shop and salon Bippity Boppity Boutique to dress up like buccaneers for a pool-deck party featuring a fireworks and a pirate show. There’s the Oceaneer Club, where kids 3-12 get to train in S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters at the Marvel Avengers Academy. There’s also a Small World Nursery for infants, Edge lounge for tweens 11 to 14, and Vibe for teens. Bonus: even the inside staterooms have pullout couches and sleep up to four, and most cabins have an extra half bathroom, so you can shower while the kids brush their teeth.
When parents need a night alone, they head to Palo, the ship’s upscale adults-only Italian restaurant. After a dinner of butternut agnolotti and seared sea scallops, their next stop is After Hours, the adults-only district, home to O’Gills Pub, Keys piano bar, and Fathoms, an ocean-themed nightclub with a cocktail menu that include drinks like the Anenome and the Black Pearl.
Restaurants Are More Than a Meal
Most ships have one main dining room. The Disney Magic has three, which passengers rotate through during the voyage. (You’ll have the same tablemates and waiter every night.) At Animator’s Palate, shows are projected on screens and art turns from black and white to color on the walls; at the Three Caballeros-themed Carioca’s, passengers order Latin-inspired dishes like rum-marinated swordfish and black bean soup; and at upscale Lumiere’s, the menu is filled with French dishes named after Beauty and the Beast characters (“Mrs. Potts” French onion soup; “Gaston’s” escargots gratins). Or check out the buffet at Cabana’s, which has clamshell tables, Adirondack chairs, and a Finding Nemo mosaic on the wall.
There Are Waterslides
AquaDuck is no ordinary slide. After entering a chute behind the red smokestack, you’ll plunge through 212 feet of drops and curves, including a see-through stretch that extends over the side of the ship. After a few turns, kids can head to AquaLab to try the more sedate Twist ‘n’ Spout slide, splash in the Huey, Dewy, and Louie-themed pool, and play amid the water geysers and pouring paint cans. Goofy’s Family Pool is the main pool area, and Disney movies are broadcast on a 24-foot-wide screen there all day long. And when parents need a break from the clamor, they can retreat to the adults-only pool, Quiet Cove, which is flanked by two hot tubs, a bar, and a coffeehouse.
The Shows Are Spectacular
Disney knows how to put on a Broadway-caliber production. Choose between Twice Charmed: An Original Twist on the Cinderella Story and Disney Dreams, which features cameos from Peter Pan, Pinocchio, and Aladdin. Both happen at the huge Walt Disney Theater; the on-stage screen is also used for 3D movie showings.