Friday, March 12, 2010

Product Review: Disney Cruise Line

Note: This review of the Disney Cruise Line was originally written in 2000; my vacation was in 1998.

Let me start out with a few basics, so you know where this is coming from. This was my first cruise, I traveled alone, I was a Disney cast member at the time I traveled, and I am not a gambler. Having said that, I have to tell you that this was one of the best vacations in my life. Perhaps it was the sheer novelty of it, I couldn't say but I came back very relaxed and happy, and that's the whole point of the trip, right?

If I could change one thing about the Magic's itinerary, it would be Nassau. The city itself was dirty and repellent. However, Disney made Nassau its home port, so I guess it's stuck, right?

My cabin was a single with a king bed and verandah (God bless upgrades). I traveled in mid-December, and slept with the door open most nights. The weather was clear most of the time, and fortunately, I didn't get seasick--didn't even take those pill thingies!

The spa was undoubtedly my favorite "experience." I had a half-hour massage, plus time in the steam rooms. The price was high ($59 in 1998), but well worth it. I came out on a different level of consciousness.

Another neat place to go was "Sessions," which is a high-class bar with individual earphones you can plug in at the tables. I had myself a martini, played some "Rhapsody in Blue" from their list, and felt very, very mellow. Palo's, the high-tier restaurant, features very small portions of very well-presented Northern Italian food. I had to get in line very, very early to get a table. It is adult-only, and a good place for a romantic dinner.

The staff was unfailingly Disney-friendly. I made sure to commend my servers and housekeeper.

I did not go to any of the live entertainment (that'll wait until another trip), though I spent more than my fair share of time playing basketball on the upper deck. One of the shipboard TV channels features a "live" feed from the top deck, so some poor soul might have had the pleasure of watching me repeatedly miss freethrows. I also liked the multiple TVs in the ESPN bar in the forward "funnel." It was football season, after all, at the time of my cruise. Ladies, if you're looking for your husbands/boyfriends, that's probably where they'll be.

If anything could have used work, it was the food. I had heard remarkable things about the food on cruise lines, and the stuff I was served was not much better than what you could get in your average American restaurant. I'm not sure what I expected, but that wasn't it.

Not being a scubaist (and having been made mellow by my spa experience), I didn't get much out of Castaway Cay except a luxurious nap and an adult beverage in a conch-shaped plastic cup. To each his own moment.

I'd be interested in seeing other ports and some of the stuff I missed on my first cruise. All I know is, I want to go again.

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