Cruise ship review: Disney Magic

Charlotte Cullinan
Magic at sea - Disney Cruise Line
Magic at sea - Disney Cruise Line

Overall rating 9/10

Having made her maiden voyage in 1998, Disney Magic is the oldest of Disney Cruise Line’s four vessels but significant renovations means it feels fresh. It has a wide appeal thanks to an abundance of children’s activities and adult-only enclaves.  

Style & character 10/10

Forget the technicolour of Disney’s theme parks, as Magic is all about sparkling chandeliers and immaculate, elegant decor, with dashes of Disney whimsy. Sharp-eyed fans will be able to spot the hidden Mickey Mouse logos woven into the interior design.

The ship stands out in ports with its sleek Mickey-coloured black, white and yellow paintwork, and bright red funnels. Don’t miss Goofy dangling off the stern, adding the finishing touches with his paintbrush.

Cabins 8/10 

There are 262 inside staterooms, with 613 outside, including 22 suites. The interiors are simple but my deluxe ocean view stateroom with verandah was a generous 268sq ft, including the large outdoor space. There’s ample storage for families and plenty of clever touches, including a useful floor-to-ceiling curtain, which sections off the adults’ and children’s sleeping areas. The bathroom is split over two rooms, including two sinks and a compact bath, which is fantastic for families.

Food & drink 9/10 

Passengers are assigned one of the three main themed restaurants each evening, rotating with the same serving team and neighbouring tables. The quality of food is high and all offer children’s menus, with themed shows in two restaurants.

Dining on Disney Magic - Credit: Disney Cruise Line
Channel your inner child Credit: Disney Cruise Line

Soft drinks are included and while there’s no alcoholic beverage packages, drinks are reasonably priced – expect to pay around US$8 for a glass of wine or cocktail.  

There are numerous adults-only bars and cafes and the Italian restaurant Palo, which serves serene champagne brunches and dinners.  

Breakfast includes excellent buffet and waiter service options. Lunch is a buffet, and like breakfast it can be very busy.

Service 10/10 

Service is truly exceptional, and every single member of staff I met, was incredibly friendly and helpful. With 960 crew on-board there always seems to be someone nearby to ask for assistance and everyone delights in chatting to children. 

Cabin on-board Disney Magic - Credit: Disney Cruise Line
Cabins are simply but tastefully furnished Credit: Disney Cruise Line

All crew wear badges displaying their name and home country, which sparked numerous conversations.

Facilities 9/10

There are four fantastic free kids clubs for different ages with an impressive array of rooms and activities. A nursery caters for those under three, and costs US$9 an hour.

There is a sprawling family pool area which includes a water playground, the fast AquaDunk slide and a splash zone for youngsters still in nappies.

Children can also receive a prince or princess makeover in the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Around 40 per cent of passengers sail without children and they can relax in an adults-only pool and the Senses Spa & Salon.

Entertainment & excursions 10/10

Outstanding entertainment is Disney’s forte, so expect numerous live shows, packed with popular characters and songs, and a cinema. Disney stars host regular 15 minute meet-and-greet sessions, with fast-moving queues.

Each cruise includes various character events, including a deck party, with a Frozen-themed bash on Northern Europe and Alaska itineraries, and a pirates and fireworks event on all others. These are immense fun for children and adults.

On my Norwegian Fjords sailing the majority of Port Adventures focused on museums, guided tours and short fjord cruises. While prices can be steep, they are well organised and the local guides are excellent.

Value for money 9/10

Cruises include 24-hour room service and unlimited soft drinks, but Wi-Fi packages incur a charge, starting at US$19 for 100MB. The useful Disney Cruise Line Navigator app offers free messaging with fellow passengers, and doesn’t require a wireless package.

AquaDunk slide - Credit: Disney Cruise Line
Take a ride on the AquaDunk slide Credit: Disney Cruise Line