Disney Magic and the Big Easy


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
My family sailed on the Magic for a 4-night cruise, which departed from New Orleans on January 31. I don't have a traditional trip report, because I didn't take detailed notes. But I'll highlight a few things that we liked and a few that we didn't and then I'll share pics. Our group was my wife Kathryn, my daughter Molly, my daughter-in-law Mariah, and me.

We wanted some time to spend in New Orleans, so we flew in a day before the cruise and flew home the day after the cruise ended. So we had about a day and a half on each end of our stay. We stayed in the French Quarter for both parts of our visit. Before the cruise, we stayed at the Hotel Provincial, which we all liked very much. After the cruise, we stayed at the Inn on St. Peter's, and this was a mixed bag. They'd done some recent renovations, and not everything was completed. Our room was TINY, with no hot water in the bathroom sink and a thermostat that I couldn't figure out. Molly and Mariah's room was huge and beautiful, with a balcony overlooking the streets. So it was pretty hit-or-miss there.

We did a lot of the touristy things in New Orleans. We did a walking food tour through the French Quarter, which we all enjoyed. The guide was pretty good and gave us a lot of history, and some insight into the difference between Cajun and Creole cuisines. We also walked through the French Market (one block from the Provincial), ate beignets at multiple places (Cafe du Monde was SO much better than Cafe Beignet), drove out to the Garden District and walked through those neighborhoods. We also walked to Louis Armstrong Park and Jackson Square. It was fun to walk through both of these public parks. St. Louis Cathedral is right across the street from Jackson Square and we went in and looked around. We walked through a ton of shops and art galleries, and ate at a few nice local restaurants.

Mardi Gras parades are in full swing and we saw two different ones, while we were wandering. The first one was in the Garden District and it was probably exactly what you picture with a Mardi Gras parade. There were floats with costumed people, throwing beads and small "prizes" to the onlookers, there were marching bands, etc. The other parade we saw was the Barkus parade, which is basically a parade of dogs. This year's theme was Barbie and Ken, so a lot of the dogs were wearing pink or riding in remote-control cars. It was absolutely adorable.

That was a very brief rundown of our time in New Orleans. So let's get to the cruise because as I mentioned already, there were a lot of things that we liked, but there were a lot of unmagical moments. And the unmagical bits started before the cruise even started. This was DCL's first sailing of the season out of New Orleans. The ship had come from Galveston with no passengers, but it arrived in port late in the day, so that the first Port Arrival Time wasn't until 3:00pm. This had a ripple effect for all kinds of things.

First, some people with early dinner seating didn't get a PAT until after 5pm, making them rush to dinner and a lot of people stressed out over this. As it turned out, the crew accommodated everyone (of course), even if they arrived too late for their seating. But it made for a stressful embarkation for a lot of guests.

Second, because so many people didn't get on the ship until after 5 or 6 pm, the mandatory muster drill didn't happen until 8:00. This was between the first and second seating for dinner. So unfortunately, folks in first seating were rushed like crazy to get everybody out of the restaurants in time to start the muster drill. We could see crew members literally running from the restaurants to get their muster stations in time. Not a great start.

Third, no sail-away party. Fourth, no Welcome Aboard show (Muster drill instead.) Pretty tough first day.

The next unmagical thing was the MagicBand+. This is what I wrote in another thread recently: My band did not light up one time during the cruise (I wore it the whole time and charged it). My wife's did light up a lot, but mine was a complete dud. Plus, at the start of our cruise, the bands worked for unlocking the door, etc, but our key cards did not. Went to Guest Services and was told that we chose to use the bands, so the cards wouldn't do anything. That didn't seem right to me, so I asked her to double-check, which she did and then told me the bands needed to be re-"synced" (my word, not hers) to get them both to work. So she did something, but it didn't actually change anything. So we went back a second time and that person was able to get them both to work for us.

I would not recommend spending $45 on a Magic Band.

Another unmagical thing, believe it or not, was the service from our dining and bar staff. We had several meals where our order was delivered incorrectly. On that first night, Molly was served a meal that she didn't order. On other nights, dishes got mixed up between members of our party (I'd be given Kathryn's meal or vice versa, for example). Even in Palo, our server mixed up our entrees. And at least once per night, somebody in the dining room dropped an entire tray of dishes. Outside the restaurants, I witnessed a bar crewman drop an entire tray of drinks onto a guest sitting in Quiet Cove. It was surprising, to say the least.

Another thing that bothered me was the available merchandise. There was NO merchandise to commemorate sailing from New Orleans. There was no Princess and the Frog merchandise. There were shirts that I liked, but were only available in XXL sizes. The pin selection was honestly terrible. The re-usable shopping bags were all from the parks, they had no DCL bags.

Parts of the Oceanear's Club were closed off and not available for kids to use. I think this was due to construction or refurbishment, but we didn't have any kids with us, so I didn't get the full story. Also, Tiana didn't attend the Princess Gathering. Can't blame anyone if she was sick or something, but it was disappointing for some people.

The last unmagical experience that I'll talk about was clearing Customs when we returned to New Orleans. But before we get to that, I have to tell you that we left the Port of Progreso early because a heavy storm was moving in. Our family never got off the ship, but all Shore Excursions were cancelled, and that bummed out a lot of people. So we left Progreso early and then got back to New Orleans around 5pm on our last full day instead of arriving early the next morning. But arriving to port early meant that we had to clear Customs upon our early arrival. That meant that everybody had to leave the ship and show citizenship documentation and then get back on the ship. We were all assigned a time to report, but the line got VERY long. Some people waited an hour and a half and missed their early seating for dinner. By the time it was our turn at 8:40pm, it took us only 35 or 40 minutes. (Thankfully, the evening show was performed at a 1pm matinee so that we didn't miss Dreams.)

That's it for all the stuff that we didn't enjoy. I'll post the good stuff tomorrow.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
So was the whole cruise just a horrible experience??? NO! :) Not at all. My family all had a great time. There were so many things that I loved about this trip. I love the Soul Cat Lounge (which used to be the Promenade Lounge). The new theming based on the Pixar movie "Soul" is very fun. I loved Rapunzel's Royal Table and its cute show. I really liked the Tangled stage show. The caveat here is that the songs they wrote for the new show are nowhere near as good as the songs from the movie. The opening song to set up the story is really not that good at all. But the lead actress who played Rapunzel and the second actress who played Mother Gothel were both absolutely fantastic. Rapunzel sounded freakishly similar to Mandy Moore. And Mother Gothel was very strong in "Mother Knows Best". The way they staged the scene where Rapunzel and Eugene are trapped in the cave as it fills with water was SO creative and well-done; and "At Last I've Seen the Light" was fantastic with lanterns filling the theater. (I won't spoil how they did that!)

My girls love "Twice Charmed", but it's never been one of my favorites. They all enjoyed it very much on this ship, and told me that some changes had been made to the story, but it was still very good. The other live show was "Dreams". I was torn because the new Disney movie "Wish" was playing in the Buena Vista Theater at the same time. I really wanted to see both, but the movie won out, since I've seen "Dreams" many times already. The girls said Dreams was excellent and that Ann Marie did a great job. They changed some of the choreography in the Circle of Life segment, which makes me sad, but overall the show was very good. So all of our live shows got very positive reviews!

The music in the lounges was great for the whole four nights. We split our time pretty evenly between Keys and Soul Cat Lounge. The pianist in Keys was very good. He was terrific, really. But the one thing I didn't love was that when he was singing, he would try to get everybody to join in. I guess that's fun, but I don't go to a quiet piano bar to hear everybody in the place belting out the classics. But that's just me, because I'm anti-social.

I felt the food was very good, but I probably wouldn't go to excellent. I was disappointed with my entree in Rapunzel's Royal Table. It was a dish with pork served a couple different ways. I didn't think it all that good. And there was also a Sea Bass entree on that menu, which was ok, but nothing special. But those were the only things that were less than "very good". Our Palo brunch was awesome. I got the lasagna because I always love it, but Kathryn got the veal and it was amazing! I wish I'd gotten that instead. We had a great time in Palo. I'll share all the food pictures eventually.

Our weather was kind of all over the place. It was pretty chilly when we boarded, only about 50 degrees. Then we had a slightly warmer day. Then our day in Progreso was perfect, hot and sunny. And then our last day was the heavy storm and it was cold, windy, and pouring rain. So we had one decent day and one great day, in terms of weather.

The onboard activities were pretty good. We didn't do a lot of them, to be honest. We spent our time either on deck when the weather was nice, or in the lounges when we wanted to be inside. But they did the typical "Match Your Mate" game, and a Family Feud type of game, lots of karaoke, and of course Bingo. There were lots of trivia options, but we only did a couple of them.

Totally random, sorry. In talking about food, I forgot to mention that the Magic offers shwarma as one of its quick-service options. I was really looking forward to trying it, as I'm a big shwarma fan. (We make a variation at home from a Middle Eastern cookbook that I love.) It was (again) good, but not great. I did enjoy it and I'm glad I tried it, but to be honest, I still enjoyed the chicken fingers more :)

I think that's most of what I wanted to tell everybody. If you have questions, I'll be happy to answer them. And if I think of anything else, I'll just post it later.

And now. . . pictures!


Well-Known Member
Original Poster



Park nostalgist
Premium Member
I'm here for all of this! We sail on the Magic this fall, and it will complete our DCL ship checklist. Very excited to sail on her, and it looks like we're going to have a great time! (No desire to sail on the Wish again, or the Treasure, or the Adventure, or whatever they call the other Triton class mistake built under Chapek's design guidance)

Register on WDWMAGIC. This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.

Top Bottom