A Disney Cruise from Port Canaveral to Barcelona
After our epic drive across America, our around the world without flying trip was more than half over. Now we just needed to get across the Atlantic Ocean back to Europe. We chose to do this on a Transatlantic Cruise on the Disney Magic. We cruised on the Disney Magic once before when the boys were younger and we were looking forward to being on board again. The weather forecast for the cruise was very good so, hopefully, we looked forward to spending a bit more time on deck than on the trans-Pacific cruise.
Firstly, we dropped our hire car at Orlando International Airport early morning. Then we travelled to Port Canaveral on the Disney Cruise Line transfer bus. Last time we hired a limo and arrived in style which the boys loved. But, in fact, I think I enjoyed riding the Disney bus more. It’s such a cool way to arrive at the Port for our TransAtlantic Disney Cruise.
The Disney Cruise bus has portholes for windows and a welcome video from Mickey and his pals! Since we’ve cruised with Disney before we’re silver Castaway members and they gave us silver lanyards to keep our ‘key to the world’ on. This is our card for getting on board as well as charging any purchases and accessing our cabin. Our cabin is on deck 6, which is very handy for everything so we decided to get through the whole cruise without using the elevators. All in all, there were times when we regretted starting that challenge but we stuck to it.
Disney Magic Cruise Itinerary
|Day 1||Sail from Port Canaveral|
|Day 2||Castaway Cay|
|Day 3 – 8||At Sea|
|Day 10||At Sea|
|Day 12||At Sea|
Our Transatlantic Cruise Cabin
The cabin was great, very spacious with a new flat screen tv with a huge choice of movies and Disney TV. We also had the fabulous Senses Spa toiletries. I’m not sure how I manage without the shampoo when I’m at home.
Dining onboard the Disney Magic Transatlantic Cruise
On a Disney Cruise, you change your dining room each night which is really cool. We started our dining rotation in Lumiere’s, the French restaurant based on Beauty and the Beast. We sat on a table of 7 with Americans, Joe and Jackie (and their lovely granddaughter, Maddie), and fellow Brits, Cindy and Paul. Next, was Animators Palate restaurant, which is set up to change colour during dinner. Finally, there is Carioca, a South American themed restaurant. They didn’t have that when we cruised with them before so it’s always good to find new things.
Of course, the food was been outstanding, and the servers just wonderful. We even had visits from Minnie Mouse and Beauty and the Beast during dinner. What other cruise lines can do that? There are characters everywhere, it seems, and far more accessible than in the parks.
We even sighted a mouse in the dining room. Only on a Disney Cruise could this possibly be a good thing but this particular rodent, dressed in sorcerer’s gown and hat, was allowed to wander around the tables, dancing and waving to everyone. It was, of course, the big cheese himself, Mickey Mouse.
Things to do on sea days during the TransAtlantic Cruise
We also saw some great shows, from fabulous Disney shows to magic acts and singers. We had a Beatles tribute band in the theatre, who also played on the open deck last night and they were very good.
The captain, Captain John that is, not Mickey (who we all know is really in charge), came up on deck to see them. He stood by us for a while, chatting to Paul. He is a very accessible captain, always about the ship. The senior officers did a hide and seek with the guests yesterday but that was the only time they could be accused of hiding. Unlike others cruise lines we’ve been on they are a very visible presence onboard and always happy to chat.
Fireworks and Pirates
Fireworks at sea! That’s a great way to end the fabulous Pirate evening. A lot of our fellow cruisers dressed up for the occasion but even if you’ve forgotten your pirate gear, Disney gives you a pirate bandana so everyone can join in. Most of the action takes place up on deck and it’s quite a party.
Before we headed out across the Atlantic we visited Disney’s very own island, Castaway Cay. This is just one of the real treats of being on a Disney Cruise. We spent some time relaxing on the main family beach which is a fabulous sweeping bay of sand. The water was lovely and warm and it was nice and calm. As you can see in the photo above, it was uncrowded when we were there and no worries about getting a sun lounger.
When the Disney Magic docks in Castaway Cay they take a huge food buffet ashore near to the main beach. So you can stay all day and get lunch all without needing to return to the ship. Soft drinks, tea, coffee and hot chocolate are included on a Disney Cruise and there are drinking stations all over the beach area. I think that’s a great part of cruising with Disney.
If you’re feeling active there are plenty of activities to keep you busy: snorkelling, boating, swimming, cycling and playgrounds for the children. We mainly relaxed and then took a walk around the island. There are other beaches, including an adults-only beach area which has its own food and drinks outlet.
After 7 fabulous days at sea on the Disney Magic, we arrived in Funchal, Madeira. If there was ever any doubt in our minds that Disney would do cruising better than everyone else that has now been totally dispelled. Everything from service to food to entertainment, in fact especially entertainment, has been excellent. The weather was also been pretty good with plenty of sunbathing on deck most days and when the temperature dips even slightly, Disney heat up the pools a bit warmer so we’ve been able to swim most days.
Today, we are exploring Funchal. Due to the good weather, we arrived early and so had the whole day here instead of just the afternoon. We spent the time exploring the port area. Firstly we climbed up to the castle for views across Funchal. It was a steep climb and I was pretty worn out at the top but it was worth it.
Afterwards, we explored the town which has some lovely buildings and structures. We met our tablemates outside one of the wine tasting stores so of course, we all went in.
Our final port before Barcelona was Malaga. We took the shuttle bus into the old town and then took a walk past the cathedral and then up to the castle. We initially set off up to the fort but ended up walking for ages up very steep paths and steps before coming out, very hot and tired, way higher than we’d anticipated. Great views of the city though. From there we walked down to the beach and then back along the port walkway to the ship.
In fact, it was the first time the Disney Magic had docked in Malaga and they gave us a great send-off when it was time to leave. Lots of locals came to wave goodbye as we moved slowly out of port and the pilot boats put on a bit of a water show.
On our way to Barcelona
On our final morning we had to be up early and out of our cabin by 8 am. We went up on deck to take a few last photos and then headed for our breakfast sitting at 8.15 am. Then it was off the ship for the last time and onto the shuttle bus into Barcelona. We were the only people on the shuttle bus which cost 2 Euros and took us right up to the Columbus monument, where we could get the metro to the station. In comparison, the taxi queue was very long and almost certainly much more expensive.
We managed to get our 2 rucksacks and a suitcase into one large locker at the station and headed out for a look around. We went up to the viewing area on top of the old bullfighting arena where you get great views over the Plaza and up to the museum of art.
Afterwards, we walked up the hill to the museum and on over to the Olympic Park. They have very thoughtfully put several escalators in which made it a lot easier.
Our transAtlantic Disney cruise an amazing experience and a fantastic end to our around the world without flying adventure. I’d love to do another Disney cruise one day as they really do make it special. From here it is just a short hop via Paris to get home so stay tuned for the final instalment, coming soon.