Trip Log Day 1: Disney Magic – San Juan Embarkation

Trip log, day one. Embarkation day in San Juan.
7-Night Southern Caribbean Cruise on Disney Magic – Itinerary A from San Juan, Puerto Rico
October 11, 2014

Today, our Southern Caribbean adventure really begins. Rain cut into our afternoon sightseeing plans yesterday, as we planned to walk around Old San Juan and eat a local restaurant. However, we ended up ducking into Señor Frogs which was just next to the Sheraton Old San Juan as it started to storm (and boy did it storm!). There was a break in the rain, so we walked over to the fort that we didn’t get to see last time – San Cristobal.

Castillo San CristobalThe rain dissipated, but the sun was setting so we decided to pick up some last minute items at CVS and Marshalls. That’s right, if you are in San Juan on the Fantasy and forgot something at home, you can restock at CVS. There is some truth to the rumor that I needed a haircut and went to Marshalls for hair clippers last night.

Back to this morning; we had a light breakfast at the hotel and checked out the wonderful views of the harbor from the rooftop pool. Seeing the Disney Magic in port was a great way to start the day!

Disney Magic Sheraton Old San Juan

Around 10:40am, we began our journey to the port. The taxi ride was no more than a 10 minute ride from the Sheraton in Old San Juan to the Pan American Pier.

Disney Magic San Juan TaxiWe handed our luggage off at the curb and entered the check in line.

Pan American DCL TerminalThe arrival experience was one of the best we have experienced with essentially no waiting in line for security, check in and a stop at Youth Activities for our daughter to get her 2014 Oceaneer Band.

2014 DCL Youth Activities Oceaneer BandWe still had some time till boarding began which gave us some time to look over the Day 1 – Personal Navigator. Unlike at Port Canaveral, guests enter the atrium via deck 4 at the San Juan terminal.

DCL KTTW Cards And Boarding Group Card

As we were announced near the D-Lounge, we enjoyed an arial view of Reap, the Disney Magic’s pumpkin tree.

Disney Magic Pumpkin Tree Reap

Our first order of business was lunch with José at Carioca’s. We much prefer to eat at Carioca’s or Parrot Cay when sailing the classic ships on embarkation day. You do not need to search for a table as you will be seated by a host and will be treated to a full sit down serving experience with buffet-style eating. Additionally, there is more room for your carry-on luggage.

Cariocas Embarkation Seafood BuffetAfter a relaxing lunch, we decided to check the beverage seminar schedule for the cruise. Here is a great tip – the Personal Navigators tell you which seminars are offered on the sailing, but at the bar where you sign up for them is a printed out schedule. No champagne tasting – one day we will get to do this.

DCL Southern Beverage Seminar Schedule

It would not be a Sanders’ cruise without heading to the gift shops on embarkation day to do some window shopping. We must wait until tomorrow to pick up some of the Halloween on the High Seas merchandise, as we are in San Juan late today and as a result the shops will not be open until tomorrow.

Halloween On The High Seas MerchandiseWe hung out at the tables near the Walt Disney Theatre as we still had some time before our stateroom was available. At about 1:30 PM, we made our way to the stateroom. We were greated by our stateroom host and noticed a revised Castaway Club tote bag. This new design should hold up much better with canvas straps and not fall apart like the previous rope and grommet design.

Castaway Club Tote Bag With Game BoxOur luggage began arriving and we started to unpack only to discover that between the hotel and the port one of our sunscreens had leaked in the suitcase. Although we had the sunscreen in a zip lock bag, whatever happened created a tear in the bag. Good news is that the laundry room is just down the hall and all machines were available. The clothes were washed and dried before the 4:30 PM muster drill!

Our final suitcase (which held all of our evening attire) arrived just in time to get ready for dinner at Lumiere’s.

Lumiere's Menu CoverAfter a lovely dinner, Isabelle went to the Oceaneer Club while we decided to head back into the terminal to check out the duty free store. However, it was closed. Keep this in mind – although all aboard time is 9:30 PM, the store closes much earlier. Pick up those last second provisions while you can.

Day 1 Disney Magic San Juan 20141011Captain John announced earlier that we would be on our way at 10:30 PM. Sunday we will be spending the day at sea on our way to our first port of call, Antigua.

Complete Trip Log Index

First Leg – 7-night Southern Caribbean Cruise

Second Leg – 3-Night San Juan to Port Canaveral Cruise

21 Replies to “Trip Log Day 1: Disney Magic – San Juan Embarkation”

  1. Todd

    We just got off of this ship yesterday, and had a pretty good experience overall. Our vehicle did break down inside the Harrison Cave excursion – 100 feet below the surface. We found that the St. Kitts stop didn’t leave much time beyond our Essential St. Kitts excursion, as the boat was docked at 11am and on-board was 5pm. Thanks for the blog – it will let me extend my vacation by a week! :-).

  2. Maggi

    We had to cancel our trip to the Southern Caribbean on the Magic a few months ago, which would have been last week because I got my dream job! Your blog of your voyage is awesome! Thank you!

  3. Frank Hoffmann

    Great to hear the embarkation process was so smooth. We were on the first SC cruise and it was a nightmare. It was not DCL’s fault (the port did not provide the support requested), but boarding resembled the Fall of Saigon. Thanks for blogging this trip.

  4. Cathy H

    can’t wait to read all about your cruise. You sure have a busy itinerary. Interested in all of the ports. We are on the Magic in November, the first time since the reimagination. Looking forward to reading about the ship as well. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Janet

    Thanks for sharing! Only eight and half months until we will be on the Magic. I’ll listen to your adventures to tide me over.

  6. Sarah

    Thank You for posting a picture of the tasting prices. We are going on the Fantasy in 82 days and I was trying to budget for it but couldn’t find a good price list. Thank you for your blog and posting detailed experiences of your days. My family enjoys visiting your site everyday for new Cruise updates.

  7. Marion

    Thank you for sharing! We just got off the Dream one week ago; the Halloween on the High Seas shirts sold out the first night on the ship. I hope you get yours! (we got the Tervis tumblers and a pin though.) thanks to you and your family for the blog.

  8. Rachel

    I Looked for you all week!!! My husband saw you when I was getting a paradise punch, he reconized the Orange photo bag. Did you guys have fun?!? We loved it!!

  9. FellowCollector

    So glad to see the new handles on the Castaway bags and glad the DCL “bananagrams” is still in the gift; we were wondering if we needed to pack these or not for our upcoming trip, but are glad to have the space for something else in the suitcase (smile). Thanks for the informative picture!

  10. Jessica

    I’ve never cruised out of San Juan and understand there are multiple ports. Do you know if DCL always cruises out of the Pan American port? I’m looking at early 2016 southern Caribbean and (yes, already) wondering about where to book a hotel. Looking forward to reading the rest of your report! Thanks

    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      As far as I know they will still be using Pan American for the Southern Caribbean embarkation. We are sailing on one of the cruises and this is the information available.

      Pan American Pier Terminal
      Isla Grande
      San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901

  11. Lucy

    Which hotel did you stay at prior to the cruise? Looking to book something for 1-2 nights prior to our Southern in January.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.