The hours that immediately followed my not-so-triumphant finish of the Space Coast Marathon were emotional, to say the least. Sure, I was glad to be safe, and healthy, but missing my BQ time on my first serious effort (and best chance) was a bit of a heartbreaker. As I searched my mind for positivity, and braced myself for the 3 hour drive back home that drizzly, grey day, one little beacon of happiness entered my world with one simple email from the hubs that asked if I was interested in setting sail on the Disney Magic (the same ship we had sailed for our 2009 honeymoon) on Wednesday, December 18.
He didn’t have to ask twice!!
Soon after I returned home, we booked our itinerary, and my sad thoughts were all gone! That week, my family also came to visit for the holidays, and we had tons of fun in Sarasota and Orlando. By the time I had to drop my sister off at the airport on Monday, 12/16, it was time to pack our bags and head to Miami. Full steam ahead!! Or….not.
You see, a recap of our cruise vacation would not be complete without a little bit of drama. I, the ever-punctual planner, had planned on leaving the house at around 9 AM (the drive to Miami is just under 4 hours). Since boarding was 1-4. that would get us there with plenty of time. But, let’s just say…we left at 11 instead – which theoretically, would have still allowed us enough time…on a regular day. But this was no regular day.
Because: this. No joke, with I-75 S closed, two extra hours were added to our travel time, and if Disney Cruise Line customer service had not been so responsive and helpful (still working on my thank you letter) we would have MISSED THE BOAT. No, really. We arrived at the Port of Miami after 4:30 PM. We were the absolute last people on board. As in, they closed the gangplank behind us.
I don’t think we really could believe it for a full day. We were so grateful and excited that we were on board! First order of business, after hand-carrying our luggage to our stateroom?
Oh yes! Tropical drinks at Signals – with these in hand, we grabbed some comfy chairs in the Adult area and watched Miami disappear into the sunset…ahhh…felt so good that we were watching from the ship, and not the other way around, as I had feared!
We were a little too wired to sit down and watch the stage show that evening (it was “Twice Charmed” – a sort of twist on the Cinderella story) but instead, we walked around the ship and checked out some of the new merchandise.
So much cute stuff! As usual, I “oohed” and “aahed” over things but didn’t hand over my credit card once…pretty proud of myself for that one, especially with that dreamy D&B – which I told myself looked a little too much like my Marathon Dooney. Right?
Dinner our first night was at Animator’s Palate, which was one of my favorites from our previous voyages. Since the Magic had been re-imagined, I was curious If I would notice any of the changes.
The other thing we were curious about was our tables partners! Disney Cruise Line uses rotational dining, which means you rotate to each of the restaurants with the same company and servers. In previous cruises, we had had a mixed bags of dining partners, so we were glad to see that our table (a 6-seater) was comprised of three couples: us, a nice couple from Japan (Mai and Shinichiro) and another that had chose to dine at Palo that evening (so we’d meet them the next evening).
The dinner that evening was “American” Themed – and looking back, this was the only evening I forgot to take a picture of the menu! I had the filet, however, and hubs had snapper. My trio of desserts that evening was lovely, too!
After dinner, we headed over to the “nightclub and lounge” district, which had taken on quite a nice makeover as “After Hours.” Comprised of three distinct areas, Keys (a piano bar), O’Gills Pub (Irish pub) and Fathoms (dance club/lounge) we really enjoyed the new look! We spent most evenings in this area, either watching the entertainment programming, stopping by O’Gills for some yummy hors d’oeuvres, or just hanging out and enjoying a (surprisingly reasonably priced) drink!
Since we were planning to run the Castaway Cay 5K the next morning, we called it an early-ish night!
Day 2: Castaway Cay
Meeting time for the 5K was 8 AM, so right after we grabbed some snacks from Cabanas (Deck 9 buffet), it was time to run! It was just starting to warm up, so the 3.1 miles weren’t too bad at all. After the run, we walked back to the ship to shower and get our beach stuff, but not before stopping for a few photo ops:
Back at Serenity Bay (the adults-only beach) we found a nice spot that had both sun and shade, and we just lounged around. I brought my nook and knocked out a few chapters of Ghost Ship (I know, great choice to read aboard a cruise, right? LOL, but it’s good!) before taking a little siesta.
Before long, it was time for lunch, and we stopped in to Cookies too and had a great selection of burgers, hot dogs, grilled mahi mahi, and even ribeye to choose from at the grill, along with some yummy salads and fresh fruit. I had a greek salad, and steak – so good! After that, we took the tram back to the other side of the island, and walked around, taking in the sights, and eventually finding a nice hammock to relax in.
Castaway Cay is truly gorgeous, and we were so glad that we had such a lovely and sunny day to enjoy it! Everywhere you turn, it’s like a postcard from paradise.
We got back on board about an hour before “all aboard” time (after the debacle the day before, we never wanted to be last again!) and after showers/wardrobe change, headed over to O’Gills for apps (they had an amazing lamb slider with Irish cheddar) and drinks. Hubs ordered the Celtic Twilight and I had the Royal Velvet – loved my drink, but hubs said his was the strongest thing he had ever drank in his entire life! Haha! So, if you’re looking for a cheap way to load up on alcohol…might I suggest that drink?
After that, we headed to the Walt Disney Theater to see Frozen in 3D! I was pretty darn excited about this, even though I had already seen it twice Hubs said it was okay – I’ll take it!
For dinner, it was back to Animator’s Palette, but this time, for Pirate night.
The theme was maritime/kinda tropicalish, and I had the best appetizer ever – coconut coated banana with pineapple! Hubs had a seafood couscous dish, and for entrees, my pasta with shrimp and scallops could not be beat. For dessert, yummy sundae with rum raisin ice cream and pineapple for me, and a chocolate pirate dessert for hubs. Our servers told us that there would be another 200+ desserts served at the pirate party, too! Wowzas.
After we watched the fireworks at sea at the Pirates IN the Caribbean Deck Party, we headed back to After Hours for a while before calling it a night. Day 3 was to be an “At Sea” day, and the only real plans we had were brunch at Palo…of course, after I got in a morning run! We were already having a blast, so we couldn’t wait to see what the rest of the cruise had in store.