Sunday, April 19, 2009

Magic at Sea - Day 3

Gulf of Mexico - This is day three of a seven day cruise on the Disney Magic.

As the sun comes up we skirt the coast of Northwest Cuba on the Disney Magic. The ship glides through the still deep blue water on the way to the Cayman Islands at 21.5 knots, or roughly 25 miles per hour. We have all day for shipboard activities since we won't reach the island, on the Southern side of Cuba, until morning.

After enjoying the ocean view we checked the informative Personal Navigator to make our plans for the day. I started with a workout in the Vista Spa Fitness Center located just above the ship's bridge. There were a number of people on treadmills and elliptical trainers with an excellent view over the bow of the ship at the Gulf of Mexico. After about an hour workout I joined the family for a late breakfast topside.

This was a good day to explore the ship and learn some interesting facts. One unique feature of the Disney Cruise Line is that there is no gambling on board, except for the jackpot bingo games. This frees up a lot of space for family activities and kid areas. Most ships the size of the Magic, 964 feet in length, have only one funnel on deck, while the Magic has two. The twin stacks give the Magic an elegant look reminiscent of the 1920's and 30's cruise ships. Only one of the stacks is functional for the emissions. The forward stack is designed for the teen area and is their hangout, no parents. It is called the Stack or deck eleven.

There are four pools, one for children that includes a slide, a family pool, an adult pool and a crew pool on the fore deck. Activities for the day included a number of seminar type demonstrations for making "dazzling desserts", volleyball, scrapbook making, plenty of photo opportunities with the Captain and crew, and of course the Disney characters that made appearances at various times throughout the ship.

In the afternoon I enjoyed an Art at Sea auction with Art historian and auctioneer Gordon Wilson of West End Gallery Inc. He was extremely knowledgeable of artists and their work. The artwork on display ranged from early Disney animation cels, Miro and Dali prints and an original Duaiv valued at $40,000. The auction lasted about an hour and covered a number of artists. I was surprised at the number of pieces sold. Gordon has a seminar on Thursday entitled "Cave Art to Pop Art" which sounds very interesting.

My wife tried the Vista Spa for a facial and gave the experience a 4 star rating (out of 4). In the early evening we ventured back to the Walt Disney Theater for the red carpet "Golden Mickey's". This stage performance celebrates the music of Disney and had incredible special effects, as good as most Broadway plays. The songs were from Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Pocahontas, Lion King and other classics. The only downside was the volume of the sound was excruciatingly high. My daughter put rolled up napkins in here ears. With the quality of everything else in the theater they must have had someone new running the audio. Even with the loudness the performances were very good.

We had the second seating for an excellent dinner with a number of choices for the appetizer, soup, salad, main course and a desserts. Following dinner we tried the Buena Vista Theater, located mid ship to watch Bolt in 3D. The showing of Bolt was the first ever 3D movie on a cruise ship. Seeing the movie in the 270-seat Buena Vista Cinema was a great way to end the evening and get ready for a big day at Grand Cayman, British West Indies. Until tomorrow...

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