Disney cruises for young and young at heart

The Disney Magic is a great cruise for all ages.

The Disney Magic is a great cruise for all ages.

ABOARD THE DISNEY MAGIC – When I told someone that I was taking my grandson on a Disney cruise, he smiled and said, “How sweet. Your little boy will love it.”

My “little boy” is 22 years old. And the thought did cross my mind that my grandson Logan might be bored stiff on a cruise with a bunch of kids.

I needn’t have worried. Logan loves the Disney Magic cruise and he is happy to share some of the reasons why and to urge other adults to enjoy Disney – with or without little ones.

First off, the travel group in my Disney cabin consists of my sister Elaine, daughter Kelly, Logan and me. I’ve been on other Disney cruises so I know the cabins are spacious, especially the balcony ones, and so far we haven’t gotten in each other’s way.

Since he is the youngest, Logan got the top bunk pull-down bed. At almost 6 foot tall, he is also the tallest in our group. “The bed was comfortable,” Logan says. “I slept just fine.”

Logan Peters dresses up for the Captain's Gala aboard the Disney Magic.

Logan Peters dresses up for the Captain’s Gala aboard the Disney Magic.

Launched in July 1998, the Magic is the first ship in the Disney Cruise Line. It was followed by the Disney Wonder in 1999, the Disney Dream in 2011 and the Disney Fantasy in 2012.

“I thought there would be a bunch of kids and they would be running all over the place,” Logan says. “I thought there might not be much for me to do but there is.”

The 11-deck Magic has plenty of adults-only spaces. Take a tour of the ship and those secluded spots are easy to find – peaceful Vista Spa, entertaining Beat Street and relaxing Promenade Lounge. The Quiet Cove Pool is for adults only, as is the Cove Café and Signals.

Live musical productions in the Walt Disney Theater have a Disney theme, of course, but are fun for all ages. “The cast is very talented and seem to really enjoy what they are doing. You get that vibe from them,” Logan says. “The special effects are extraordinary.”

The Magic also has performers who tailor their shows to children and later to adults at the late-night cabaret and adult bars. For example, Buckets N Boards from Branson gave a taste of their wacky humor in the Walt Disney Theater and then presented a full-on adult show at 10:30 that night with precise percussion, nutty songs and high-energy tap dancing. Sounds bizarre and it is – but hilarious upbeat entertainment.

Then there’s Mike Price. I usually don’t like jugglers or magicians. But Mike is a way-out juggler. Known as the “rock-star juggler,” he makes juggling cool  not only with his juggling skills but also with his running patter. After that sample in the family theater, I planned to catch the juggler’s performance in the adult cabaret but I couldn’t stay up that late. Logan went and said it was fantastic.

The Buena Vista Theatre was a hit with my whole family. “I was surprised to see new movies in there,” Logan says. “They show movies that are just coming out in theaters.”

Adults-only spaces such as this Quiet Cove Pool are plentiful aboard the Disney Magic.

Adults-only spaces such as this Quiet Cove Pool are plentiful aboard the Disney Magic.

In the big screen movie theatre, we saw the Oscar-nominated “Lincoln.” Other choices were “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Brave,” “The Avengers,” “Chimpanzee,” “Tangled,” “Frankenweenie,” and “Finding Nemo.” Logan and Kelly had planned to see “Wreck-It Ralph” – movies have several showing times – but there were just too many other activities to do.

Kelly tried bingo and games. There are also adults’ seminars on wine tasting, art and health. Elaine, Logan and I bought passes for the Vista Spa’s Rainforest Thermal Suite. At $70 each for unlimited visits during our week-long cruise, this was a wonderful adults-only treat. We went every day – sometimes twice a day – for the  two steam rooms (mild and aromatic), dry sauna, heated mosaic tile chairs and invigorating showers. I was a bit surprised that Logan liked it so much.

“It was very relaxing and peaceful, one of the things I liked best about the whole cruise,” Logan says. “It was never crowded and it was very clean.”

The ship also has a complimentary fitness center with treadmills, stair-clumbers, exercise bikes, rowing machines and free weights with a fantastic ocean view. For an additional fee, fitness classes such as Pilates and yoga are also offered. I always intend to work out when I board a cruise ship. But I haven’t yet.

The Rainforest Thermal Suite with its heated mosaic tile lounges was popular with my travel family.

The Rainforest Thermal Suite with its heated mosaic tile lounges was popular with my travel family.

Logan has never been a picky eater so I doubted he would find things he liked on the Disney Magic. Food is so delicious and so plentiful, plus the Magic has that fantastic adults-only Palo restaurant. Logan’s favorite restaurant, as was mine, was the lovely Lumiere’s. His favorite entrée? Lobster, of course. Mine, too.

I read somewhere that a third of all guests aboard Disney ships are adults traveling without children. Magic Cruise Director Darren McBurney says that the Disney ships are a popular place for weddings and honeymoons. Some of the newlyweds, he says, met on family cruises when they were younger.

“We’ve had romances on here that started in our teen club,” he says.

The Magic also schedules “Singles Mingle” and other events for single people. “We have about six single cruisers on this cruise,” he says.

One of the most popular events for all ages is the Pirates in the Caribbean Deck Party where crew and passengers turn out in their pirate finery to feast and shake their bones. The buccaneer bash always ends with a big fireworks show.

“We are the only cruise line that has fireworks on our ship,” Darren says. “All four of our ships have fireworks at certain times in certain itineraries.”

Seeing the night sky night light up with all the magical colors did make it seem as though a bit of pixie dust was sparkling through the dark. A Disney Magic cruise is certainly a memory maker – for the young and the young at heart.

Photos by Jackie Sheckler Finch

 

 

About Jackie

Jackie Sheckler Finch fell in love with cruising 35 years ago when she rode the magnificent Mississippi Queen riverboat in its inaugural 1976 voyage. A newspaper reporter, photographer and travel writer, Jackie has cruised on large and small vessels on numerous rivers and oceans. Read more...

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