The other day, I received an email from Tim who shared his thoughts following a recent Disney Magic at Sea UK Staycation cruise from Liverpool. The following are Tim’s thoughts on the sailing.
Yes the Disney Magic is still magical and worth the extra money compared to a regular cruise with another cruise line. For first time cruisers the experience should have been overwhelmingly positive with quality food, many craft & drawing activities for children, character appearances, quiz times, Disney films and one Broadway show (Disney Dreams) in the main theatre as well as repeated freezing the night away shows on deck.
For those who have cruised with Disney before you will notice many suitable differences. For example just one showing of Disney Dreams, even on a four night staycation cruise. Families with children needed to book the appropriate kids clubs via the app for slotted times meaning less time for children in the clubs. It’s a small world nursery was closed for babies and toddlers on this cruise.
The nephews’ splash zone and Goofy’s family pool area had limited 15 minute slots which resulted in guest waiting on the side to ensure that numbers in the water was limited for health & safety reasons. The quiet cove adult pool on the other hand was always available.
The Disney App replaced the Personal Navigators as well as the menus in the restaurants. Rotational Dining remained the same although with slightly less table time spent by the waiters. We did notice that the normal magic tricks and crayons puzzles did not take place. In Cabanas the buffet still took place however it was divided into about 6 sections rather than the two sides. As you entered a cast member greeted and allocated you an area of the buffet area to go to each time you wanted food. This was served by a cast member. As a result of this new approach there appeared to be less choice than normal although the food was still of a high quality. You could still sit anywhere you wanted in Cabanas, even outside on the deck.
The complimentary drinks station on deck 9 are no longer is self-serve. Instead a cast member will get the drink for you. This however, resulted in a long line of people waiting to be served throughout the whole of the cruise.
The gym and fitness area was in use although they suggested booking a slot through the App. However the changing rooms, showers and sauna were not in use. Gym users had to go back and shower in their own staterooms. The shuffleboard equipment was removed and therefore not in use and the table tennis tables and football tables were also removed. These were replaced by seating. The World Wide sport area was also not in use with the basketball nets removed.
Guest services requested that bookings and reservations were made via the App although we did see that walk up visits could still take place. However this mainly only ever had one cast member at a time working and they were behind a Perspex screen as well as wearing a face covering. The future vacation planning desk was closed for the whole cruise and only placeholder bookings could be made but this was through the App.
Nightly turn down service still took place each night however they did not leave a chocolate for the passengers.
Sadly during this cruise there was no Sail Away deck party (Strange as they managed several freezing the night away shows), Fireworks at sea were also missing on this cruise as was the See Ya Real Soon show at the end of the cruise. However the meet & greet character slots were replaced by appear and wave slots. This meant that you got to see a lot more characters in the atrium and walking around the deck. Socially distanced selfies could still take place and in my opinion the characters’ interactions were much better this way allowing many more passengers to see characters without the need to line up.
Finally, Tim shared a video highlighting the character appearances around the ship on the Jaunt with US YouTube channel. I was told there would be more videos on the way.
I would like to thank Tim for taking the time to share his thoughts on his UK Staycation cruise aboard the Disney Magic.
Cant understand the logic to not leaving a wrapped chocolate at turndown? Hopefully it will be back before my Magic cruise in a few weeks.
This was great!
sorry, not getting money worth of a cruise fare
It does seem strange not to leave a chocolate on the pillow… we usually save them up to enjoy once we are back home. In the turndown service, I hope you still get a towel origami. So it seems that there is no pirate night which means we can leave our fancy pirate costumes at home? We like to keep the daily Navigators as we mark the activities we want to do or did to remind us. These protocols may change for cruises based out of the CONUS by next year when our cruises are booked for.
What a great synopsis of the changes! Unfortunately, seems to me like a lot of the “magic” is missing from experiences. Willing to wait to make it worth the premium prices.
Brett: Even before Covid, DCL had stopped providing Navigators in staterooms every day. If you wanted a paper copy, you had to request it at the Guest Services desk.
We pay a premium for DCL. These new protocols are changing the service and amenities in such a way that these cruises are no different than any other cruise line. The two big ones for me are masks and having to make an appt. for so many things, especially the kids club. If these protocols aren’t changed before my final payment is due in Dec. I don’t think I will be able to justify the expense. I am really hoping that these things change. I’m booked on the Hawaii cruise next year and those cruises only come along every few years. I am keeping my fingers crossed.
I completely understand and support the need for distanced character experiences, but my kids would be so disappointed not to be able to get an autograph and a hug from their favorites. I hope when things return to normal, both on DCL and in parks, that these distanced experiences don’t replace traditional meets completely. A mix of both would be nice.
I know, Laura. The characters so near and yet so far. My child said that they look like the queen of England just giving a wave to the people———–out of the mouth of babes. To me the 15 minutes in the pool is pitiful amount of time for the children. I can’t imagine having to say OK you have to get out now. I am not saying that DCL is not trying their best. I am saying it does not sound like a vacation I would want to go on, especially, at that price.
Agreed. I don’t pay thousands extra for “character waves.”
Thank you for the overview, great review. Most of the changes have been communicated in advance; it still seemed magical. Looking forward to the resumption of sailing and new magical experiences in a couple of weeks on the Dream.
I have to agree with you. Most of the new policies do not make sense