Disney Cruise / Adventures by Disney Day 1: Benvenito a bordo

Note: This is being posted while at sea. Internet limitations restrict that quality and quantity of images. I will attempt to update this post following the cruise.

Today we began our latest Disney Cruise adventure as we set sail aboard the beautiful reimagined Disney Magic on a Greek Isle cruise featuring the Adventures by Disney add-on package. We arrived a few days early to enjoy Venice, staying at the Westin just a short distance from Saint Marco Square. Disney Cruise Line had has meet at 1115 in the lobby as groups of 10 of us were taken by water taxi from the hotel to the port. Unlike most ports, the hotel is not accessible by road, so boat was the only option. Once we got to the port area, we took a short shuttle bus ride to the Disney Magic terminal. With 5 ships in the port today, it was quite a busy area, by the staff handled everything well.

We checked in at the port with relative ease, and were instructed to visit the Adventures by Disney desk to meet our Adventure Guides, Dusty and James. It was at this time that we were given our first pin of the day. As there will only be a few sailings out of Venice this year, they made sure that we knew how rare this pin was, and were told not to sell it on eBay. They also handed us a welcome bag and our first Adventure Navigator (think the Disney Cruise Line Personal Navigator, but for Adventures by Disney). We were also informed that a case of water would be delivered to our stateroom and that we will be receiving a CD of all of the photos taken by our Adventure Guides and also all of the ship photographers. They discussed normal Disney things like any special celebrations and food allergies and then we were positioned for our first family photo.

When we checked in we were given a #2 boarding group, but by the time we made it to the port, checked in, and met our Adventure Guides, they were boarding group #12. That being the case, we went to board the ship. Unlike many embarkations I have done, security was after check-in. This seemed to be a little challenging as it slowed down the boarding process as everyone went through metal detectors. However, we went through fairly quickly and were welcomed aboard the Disney Magic. The cruise staff introducing the families had special Venetian costumes, which was a nice touch.

We then headed to Carioca’s for lunch. This was the first time I had been into the new restaurant, and I was quite impressed with the redo. While you can tell it is the same venue, they have given the restaurant a crisp and bright look. Following lunch, it was time to check out our staterooms. While the bathroom seemed to be untouched, the room did feel refreshed with new beds and carpets. I was surprised that the artwork had not changed, but I did not mind as I like what adorns the room. One disappointment is that they did not transition the TV’s to on-demand programming. This seemed like a no-brainer. The new Castaway Club gifts are nice with a backpack, photo album, magnetic message board, and a Navi-lighter to highlight your Personal Navigator. One neat thing they do during European cruises is give you a book that gives the basics of each port including a brief history, language tips, tipping guidelines, transportation information, etc. They also give you a folding map of each port.

I did not have much time to rest, as I wanted to catch the first ship tour. We met in Preludes in front of the Walt Disney Theatre. I was amazed with what they had done to the retail space as they have really brightened it up and made them look much classier. This look continues into the new adult area, After Hours where our tour ended.

I then decided to check out the new Senses Spa. WOW, what a transformation. The new look makes you feel refreshed, just walking in. It was also nice to see a special Barber area open, as it was nice to be able to get a haircut without having to listen to typical “spa-talk”. I booked a haircut, which I desperately needed and got ready for the Life Boat Drill.

Following the drill, I went to the Adventures Away deck party. I am glad to see this had not changed, as I prefer it to the edition presented on the newer ships. We met our Cruise Director Brent who informed us that we might be leaving port a tad late. So with that, I went to my room to relax, unpack, and watch Company Clips.

They delayed the All Aboard show in the Walt Disney Theatre due to our late departure from Venice, as everyone would want to see the ship cruise through the Grand Canal of Venice. If you ever have a chance to do this, don’t miss it. It was neat to see all the folks on boats outside our ship take pictures of the “Mickey Boat.” The All Aboard show began at 700 instead of the scheduled 630. While there was not much to report here, they did tweak the show to match the new ship. The atrium in the show matches the new atrium of the ship, and the cast welcoming aboard the fictional families in the show wore the same Venetian costumes worn earlier in the day. They also had a “cultural ambassador” on board. It seems his role is to be a Cruise Director for those guests that don’t speak English. There were quite a few Spanish-speaking guests on-board so I am sure they appreciated this.

After my haircut, it was time for my first dinner in Carioca’s. The menu of the night was “All Aboard.” I enjoyed the Smoked Salmon Carpatdo, the Clam Chowder, Seared Halibut, and the Banana Caramel Bliss Sundae. Everything was quite good, especially the sundae. The salmon appetizer features capers, finely chopped shallots, pink peppercorns, and a dill honey mustard dressing which was a refreshing way to start the meal. The clam chowder had sourdough croutons but was perhaps the meal’s low-point. The halibut came with smashed green peas flavored with mint and a shredded potato cake. The sundae had mint chocolate chip ice cream with sliced bananas and rum caramel sauce. The only word to describe that dessert is yummy.

With that, my first day aboard the reimagined Disney Magic began. Tomorrow the Adventures by Disney component will begin with our Welcome Reception. I am looking forward to meeting everyone.