Disney Cruise with mom (Disney Magic out of Miami) – Part 1

Mom and I recently took a 4 night cruise on the Disney Magic out of Miami! She had always wanted to cruise Disney, especially the Magic, and decided to bite the bullet and just go. I was invited along for the ride and you don’t have to ask me twice!

We had both done cruises before but not Disney – I was excited to see how different it was (especially since their price point is much higher).

The Magic sails out of Miami right now and our cruise stopped at Castaway Cay (their private island) and Key West, FL. We both flew into Miami the night before and stayed at the Comfort Suites Airport North. They offered free airport shuttle, free port shuttle, and breakfast so it was a win-win.

Shortly after I arrived, we called a Lyft to take us to a well-known Cuban restaurant for dinner: Versailles. It was amazing! Great food, good service, interesting atmosphere. We ordered a sampler platter to split, and really don’t know all we ate but it was all delicious.

I had rice pudding for dessert and mom ordered key lime pie. All delish!

By lunch the next day, we were on the ship! I’ll spare you all the details of the port, checking in, luggage, blah blah.

They announced us as we came on board and, since our room wouldn’t be ready for another hour or so, we decided to have lunch. The buffet was open but I’m more of a waiter girl myself so we went to Caricoa’s for table service. In reality, they had a buffet, too, but with waiter service for drinks and such.

Anything you could think of was on the buffet but I was drawn to the crab claws and shrimp. 😉 After a fantastic lunch, we started to wander the ship and check it out. Before we knew it, it was time to see our cabin!

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Mom booked a verandah room midship on deck 6. The couch became a twin size bed for me and you could close the curtain to make 2 rooms. For a cruise ship, it was a generous size with lots of storage. One of the best things Disney did was split the bathroom – shower, sink, mirror in one and toilet, sink, mirror in the other. It was nice for us to each have a bathroom to get ready in and store our stuff. The shower is actually a small bathtub, which is nice!

On this first afternoon, you were welcome to wander everywhere so we took advantage of it and toured the spa (this is one of the massage rooms)

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The nursery, kids clubs, and youth clubs (didn’t get pics of all of them):

Y’all, the kids club is amazing! As if we had any doubt 😉

Lobby area:

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Adult only area – they had a piano bar, larger club with tables and a stage, and Irish pub.

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Deck area – this is one of the kid-centric areas’ I think I neglected to get pictures of the other kid friendly area and the adult area.

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One of the biggest selling points on Disney for mom was the shows – and they did not disappoint. The first night was “Twice Charmed”a twist on the Cinderella story. It was fantastic! Great music, talent, costumes, and special effects.

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After the show, we headed for Lumiere’s, our first restaurant to try. It has a subtle Beauty and the Beast theme with French cuisine. We also met our tablemates, two women who were both sailing solo.

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I think cruises are perfect for trying new foods – or foods you’d never make at home. Since there is no commitment, and you can order as much as you want, it’s no big deal if you taste it and order something else. So, I ordered escargot (love it but never make it at home) and duck confit (never tried it) to start. I skipped the soup/salad and ordered the roasted filet steak. I really wanted the lobster pasta and my waiter suggested I get a small portion on the side to try so I took his suggestion.

The food was all good – not amazing but good. I just wish the portions were smaller – I barely ate half of any of my food and it felt so wasteful.

For dessert, I ordered the Grand Marnier Souffle  – it was amazingly delicious.

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The next day was Castaway Cay! I woke earlier than mom so I skipped down for breakfast. Room service offers continental breakfast but I need bacon so I had two options: the buffet or Lumiere’s. Every morning, Lumiere’s offered a table service breakfast so this was no difficult decision.

I really stink at poaching eggs so I ordered Eggs Benedict. Other than the breakfast alcoholic beverages, anything on the menu is ‘free’ and tips are included in the automatic tipping at the end of the week. The food was good – not great but good.

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Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island and they dock directly there – no tendering needed. We took a tram from the ship straight over to the adult only beach: Serenity Bay.

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It was just lovely. Plenty of seating – both lounge chairs and hammocks. The weather was mid-70’s and sunny. No humidity!

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Lunch was served at several locations on the island, including right there by the adult beach.

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I tried the mahimahi and chicken.

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While people online had raved about this meal, I actually thought it was the weakest meal we had all week. Nothing was very flavorful but there were no lines and plenty of seating. I typically frown on eating outside but it was cool and comfortable with no bugs 🙂

The next few hours were spent just relaxing in the water – it was just amazing and I never wanted to leave. I’m waiting for Disney to build a resort right on the island so I can stay longer!

On the way back to the ship, we stopped at the family beach to check things out. They had a few shops, rental counters, and lots of space to spread out. We did not stop at the water park area.

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I wasn’t ready to leave the sun so once back on, I went straight to the adult only pool on deck and then back to the room to watch us leave Castaway Cay. Our room was port-side so we got a great view of the island. I even waved at the staff taking the boat back to the Bahamas (they contract with locals who travel to the island when a ship is in port).

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That night was Pirate Night. Which really just meant that people could dress up, the restaurant menu was all pirate themed, and there was a pirate party on deck (including fireworks).

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They had a dance party going on when we got there, then the characters came out. Mickey makes a great entrance and then the fireworks go off!

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It was fun and a cool thing only Disney does.

We scheduled our Palo dinner reservation that night so we’d still get to visit all 3 restaurants. Since there is an upcharge ($30/person) for Palo, we were a little hesitant but decided that this was our one chance on a Disney cruise so we should just go for it. Let’s just say… I considered never returning to the main dining rooms again.

It’s Italian cuisine and our waiter, Ugo, was from Italy and became one of my favorite people. This meal was an experience – and really one of the best meals I’ve ever had. The table across from us was telling the manager that he gave it a 7 out of 5. I concur.

Everything we tried was amazing. Truly, not a single disappointment (though again, I wish I could have gotten portions 75% smaller!).

This bread and antipasto platter is what they bring you WHILE YOU READ YOUR MENU. They make it tableside, placing whatever items you’d like on it, and it’s just gorgeous.

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First course was the Tomato Mozzarella Caprese – the best mozzarella you’ve ever tasted -and the Fritto di Calamari e Gamberi (fried calamari and shrimp). To date, Capital Grill had the best calamari I’d tasted but this outranked them.

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For the pasta course, mom ordered the Butternut Agnolotti (butternut squash ravioli)

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and I ordered the Pappardelle con Aragosta (pappardelle with lobster tarragon sauce and grilled lobster)

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Lemon sorbet between courses

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For the fish course, I could not resist ordering the Piquant Dover Sole, which is filleted table side (so fun to watch!)

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Mom ordered the sea scallops

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Not wanting to pass up a fantastic quality filet, we ordered the grilled beef tenderloin to split

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He brought both sauces for us to try – wine sauce and Gorgonzola.

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He also brought out a portobello mushroom over polenta dish for us to try and it was all sorts of awesome.

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As if that all wasn’t enough, it was time for dessert! They are famous for their Chocolate Souffle so clearly we were ordering that. He also brought out an off-menu Amaretto Souffle for us to try – yum!!

By this point, I was ready to book dinner here the rest of the trip and/or stay all night. And did I mention this was adult only?

And that ended day 2 – we were halfway through already! More on the next post…

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