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Old 05-13-2007, 10:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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25 Days on the Disney Magic to Europe

Hi!

I haven't posted here much for a couple of resons. First, I'm a cast member at Walt Disney World, so I need to be careful what I say in public forums (I was nearly fired once for something I wrote elsewhere). Second, because I'm one of the advisory editors on the PassPorter Guidebook series, having worked on every edition since the 2000 WDW book. I figure I've had my say.

Jennifer felt differently, and when they learned I would be taking the Disney Magic on both the 14-day Trans-Atlantic *and* on the first 11-night Mediterranean cruise, she informed me that I *would* be posting a trip report, live en-route. So if you don't like this thread, blame her!

Saturday 12 May was departure day. Quicksilver Limo picked us up at our home (eight miles east of Spaceship Earth) promptly at 10:40am, and again at 12:30pm. Huh?

Well, we were so excited to be starting our longest, and eight Disney cruise, that both of us forgot to bring the computer! Naturally, we didn't notice until we were within sight of the ship. I was elected to go back and get it. (SWMBO points out it was my fault -- I don't understand why, but after 33 years of marriage I no longer ask why.)

Quicksilver, true to their name, quickly reorganized their schedule for the day, called in an extra driver, and got me *and* the computer back to Port Canaveral in plenty of time to make not only the ship, but lunch! (But I am going to pay for it all again when SWMBO sees the bill for not one, but *three* trips!)

The Disney Magic. What can I say? It's still the proud flagship of the fleet (for at least two more years). The cast welcomed us, our cabin was ready, and boy-howdy so were we!

We've recently taken on the job of running a non-profit historical society (not Disney-related, alas), and the task of getting things shipped cross-country, unpacked, and organized has been weighing heavily on us. We had informed the group that we would not *not* *NOT* be skipping this trip, but thanks to email, we won't exactly be off duty. In any event, we need a vacation!

We had been upgraded from a Cat. 7 Navigator's Veranda to a Cat. 6 veranda, marked down from Cat. 5 because of "partial view". This consisted of a diagonal panel that partly enclosed the veranda -- something we rather like, as we had chosen the Navigator's Veranda because the wind is kept back. We like!

Dinner the first night was ... interesting. We had requested to be seated with a friend, but she took first night seating at Palo. We were thus sat at a table for 8 with a family. Nice folks, but very Mormon, and I suspect more than a bit unhappy at our consumption of wine in their presence. Naturally, they had young kids, and with SWMBO's allergy to all children, she wasn't entirely thrilled either. It should be interesting to see how this works out.

Our server is Vlado from Croatia, his assistant Sara from Chile. Both seem competent and qualified. The previous couple of trips we were seated at tables with only cast member families, and they ran out teams of newbies on us -- with less than Disnical results. No such problems this trip, it seems.


I'll try to keep these reports daily, but we've been informed that there may not be satellite coverage in mid-Atlantic, so if I drop out for a few days, don't take it personally. I'll keep writing and get you and update as soon as I can get connected.

Happy planning!
Bruce "Zazu" Metcalf
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Old 05-13-2007, 10:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Day 2: Castaway Cay

Today we stopped at Castaway Cay. Feels odd being here at the start of a voyage instead of the end, but one does have to make do. We made do just fine!

SWMBO had a manicure/pedicure/massage appointment in the morning, so I trudged off by myself, bound and determined to see all the things we normally missed -- namely, everything but a beeline to Serenity Bay!

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Games pavilion wasn't electronic games as I had feared (okay, I did sorta hope there was a mechanical pinball or two, my weakness). Instead the games there were giant chess, giant checkers, some mini-basketball courts (the courts were tiny, not the ball), skeeball, pool, and the smallest mini-miniature golf course I've ever seen ... one hole!

My hike continued out to the runway and on to Serenity Bay. I was surprised to see that the runway was being repaved -- over it's entire width? Asking a cast member about it later, and wondering if the full width were being maintained so that emergency landings could still be had, she explained that there would be three separate lanes down the runway in future: for walkers, bicycles, and trams. It seems some guests can't handle complex directions like, "Keep to the left."

The tide was as low as I've seen it in my eight visits to the island. For the first 50 yards, it was perhaps no more than six inches deep! This made for great wading without wetting one's suit. It also made it easy to spot the few creatures swimming about.

Most noticeable this trip were the nudibrachs. Those are sea slugs for those who don't *do* Latin. If you've never seen one, they're an odd looking beast. (Nutz, they're odd even if you have!) About the size and shape of a sweet potato, and in a variety of colors and markings. They move and think about as well as you'd expect of something called a "slug".

Their activities today were mostly to slowly graze on the sea grasses that poked up above the sand. I spotted at least three varieties, one pale cream with black rings, one black/brown/cream rather like a calico cat, and one I thought was covered by sand until it moved and I saw it was speckled. Someone then poked it with a toe, and it promptly curled up to wait them out and stayed that way for at least 20 minutes.

And like anything so easy to catch, they are not good eating. Trust me on this one!

At dinner we were joined by our Palo friend, but the other family was MIA. Our server informed us they had moved to the first seating to be with another family they knew. So from 8 we're down to 3! Good thing we all talk a lot. Another family was supposed to have replaced them, so we may have a new group tomorrow. Ah well, more bread for us if not.

Our cabin attendant, Aldo, is quick. Not just on cleaning, but after once mentioning that we didn't appreciate the chocolates (SWMBO's diabetic) and wanted clean wine glasses for an evening nightcap, he got it right immediately. We like! Shows that skills in English help -- some trips we just stacked up the chocolates into a pyramid and the cabin attendant never did catch on.

As we relaxed in the cabin before the show and dinner, we passed an island to port. It was Greater Abaco, and marked the last land we will see for six days. As we rounded the point, we set a course that would take us all the way to the Canary Islands. Woof!

More tomorrow!
Zazu
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Old 05-13-2007, 11:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Bruce - So glad you're writing this TR! I'm booked on the 15 day Westboung PC Cruise next year. I'll be interested to hear about how you like an extended cruise on the Magic.
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Old 05-13-2007, 11:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm so looking forward to hearing about your trip and excited to read about the Magic! that ship!

Have a great time and more please!
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Old 05-14-2007, 12:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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How cool - two Disney cruises one straight after the other! We'll be joining you on 26 May, so I'll PM you and perhaps we can meet up!
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Old 05-14-2007, 01:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHH I think I'm going to like this thread. Thanks for taking the time to do this...Jennifer you were just soooooooooo right !!!
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Old 05-14-2007, 05:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Great start More please
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Old 05-14-2007, 10:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Oh, boy! I've been hoping we'd get a good TR from this repo...and a live one, too. And from Bruce! Thanks for talking him into it, Jennifer.
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Old 05-14-2007, 05:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I can not wait to read about your trip!! Esp. when you get to Europe!!!
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Old 05-14-2007, 06:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I for one am seethingly jealous of the fact that you are doing back to back cruises in two separate continents. Two! Different places! 25 days of napkins being placed in your laps! Massages! Serenity Bay! Clean bedrooms for 25 days! I think I have to lay down.

PS Loving the live updates.
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Old 05-14-2007, 08:22 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Boy I am so glad that you agreed to give us a daily trip report. We're going on the Westbound transatlantic in August. Nice to hear that you got an upgrade. Were there alot of empty cabins or did DCL manage to fill them ?
Keep up the the daily diary please, I'm so looking forward to reading them.
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Old 05-15-2007, 09:23 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Great so far! Wow 6 days at sea, 6 days of crowded pools, 6 days of people wanting to see land, 6 days of non-stop kids activities everywhere around the ship! ROFL! Well have a great cruise and I guess you are in the no sattelite zone now so update us when you are back with us! Wow 25 days with Disney, guess it is no biggy because I would think you work at WDW every day! Have Fun!!!
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Old 05-15-2007, 01:53 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Oh, this is going to be awesome! Thanks so much for posting. Enjoy your cruises!
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Old 05-15-2007, 06:01 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Looking forward to your reports

I hope the waves dont get to high going over
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Old 05-15-2007, 07:21 PM   #15 (permalink)
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This will be a great learning experience for all of us! Can't wait to read about the trip. (Uh, what does "SWMBO" stand for?)
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