It’s finally arrived, the day of our Med Disney cruise. Having booked it 18 months ago the trip has taken a long time to come round but we’ve finally made it!
Having woken in our hotel we quickly packed everything away, signed our cruise waivers and attached our cruise luggage tags before heading down to the reception for a taxi to the port. Our port arrival time should have been scheduled for 11.30-12.00 but as we were already awake and raring to go we jumped in a taxi at 10.05 and made our way there. As we stayed on the outskirts of Barcelona it took around 20 minutes to reach the port at a cost of just under 20 Euros and as soon as we arrived it became apparent that there were several other people who had the same idea. Checking didn’t begin until 10.30 so a queue had built up outside. It was quiet clear from those in line that many of the early risers were pretty big Disney fans as we lined up adorned in our Disney retro t-shirts, character themed baggage and DVC apparel. By this point, our suitcases had been taken by a porter and we would see them at our room later that day. Despite the queue, we didn’t need to wait long and the standby line for Silver Castaway Club members was very short. Having arrived out our check in desks we did enquire about upgrades but were informed the ship was full and were swiftly handed our lanyards, room keys and Personal Navigator for the day.
Cast members were on hand to usher us to the large hangar that would be our waiting area for the next hour or so. It became clear that your port arrival time was not necessarily to do with getting on the ship earlier as we were still assigned boarding group 6 which did seem to coincide with the time we would have arrived without having time to take in some of the activities. Arriving earlier meant we were able to register Harry for the Youth activities without a queue. He now wears a Mickey band which looks more like a prisoner tag than a children’s registration device but our little criminal was now ready to go. Hopefully, with the development of RFID technology these may change in the upgrades coming to the Magic this year.
The port was pretty empty which meant finding a seat was easy. From previous experience, the characters appeared on the back wall of the hangar and we positioned ourselves on the chairs closest so as soon as they arrived we could be at the front of the queue. Low and behold, 5 minutes later, Mickey came out in his full captain outfit and we were the first to say hello.
Mickey was pretty pleased to see us and particularly enjoyed his Disney Store Cast Member outfit on Harry’s cuddly toy version.
Please as punch, we took our seat and waited to board. That was until Minnie swapped with Mickey and took over meet and greet duties. Queue, joining a bigger queue so Harry could meet Minnie!
By now, boarding had commenced and after another 20 minutes or so we were called to board. Next came the obligatory boarding photos and walk to the ship. Upon arriving at the ships doors you notice the ship’s Disney touches begin to shine. Where else would your family be welcomed aboard over a large tannoy? As it was lunchtime, we made our way up to Topsiders for some food (although table service restaurants are available). I’ve already mentioned the little touches that make this Disney but it does bring a smile to your face when the Cast Members see your lanyard and greet you with a “welcome back”
Buffet lunch was a mixture of hot and cold food for a huge buffet. As per usual you must try everything and I began to get as much on a plate as possible before heading outside. Our rooms wouldn’t be ready for another hour or so which made navigating the buffet with two bags, a host of cuddly toys and a tray difficult but a Cast Member was on hand to help carry my tray outside. With lunch over we headed to the Oceaneer’s Club and Lab open house so Harry could check out what was on offer.
Around 1.40, rooms were ready for us. We are located on deck 5 aft, close to the kid’s clubs, a stones throw from the cinema and a few levels down from the drinks station. We couldn’t have been given a better location. Our room, a category 11B was an upgrade from an 11C guaranteed we booked. Having stayed in an inside before we knew what were getting and are more than happy with it. The only downside is that the bathroom is a little cramped compared to the split bathroom of a category 10 but for the occasional bashing your knee when on the toilet, I think I’ll cope!
Swimming was next. A very crowded, chaotic Mickey pool and a long queue formed for the Mickey slide (maximum age 14, damn!) This was followed by the mandatory lifeboat drill and that left enough time to take a wander around the ships lower decks and teach a 6 year old to play Shuffleboard!
Our final two items of luggage arrived just before 5.30 which gave us just enough time to unpack, shower and head to the Walt Disney Theatre for the 6.30 show “All Aboard”. It’s a mix between a cabaret show and a chance to share all the information about the entertainment on board. Tonight we first heard the group “Junk” who herald from Liverpool and have appeared in Britain’s Got Talent and are regular entertainers at Simon Cowell’s parties.
After the show, we had another hour and a bit before dinner so we nipped in to the shops before heading back to the room to change. A word of advice to all parents, don’t buy a battery operated toy from the store if you haven’t brought any batteries,they don’t sell them. That’s something to find in Monaco tomorrow! Oh yeah, and the toy we bought was screwed in to the box, no screwdriver either!
After a quick shower and change we headed to dinner, an 8.30 seating at Lumiere’s. One of our Table had a birthday so we celebrated with a cake but other than our drinks waitress Katalina dropping a load of empty plates, it was uneventful. At 9.30 the Youth team collected the children from dinner and took them to the club while we enjoyed the rest of our dinner. After a long day, bed beckoned ready for our first port of call tomorrow, Villefrance, France and a trip to Monaco.