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Friday, February 6, 2015

Disney Cruise Line Letter

From: Mia Hess
Cruise Ship: Magic
Cruise dates: Jan. 25 - Feb. 1, 2015

Dear Disney Cruise Folks,

This was my very FIRST cruise and I had a GREAT time!  I am 60 years old and came with adult friends, no kids.

Some shout-outs and hoorays:

*Clara Oman, the pianist in Keys. 
What a talent, what a nice, lovely, generous, sweet lady she is.  She plays and sings with sensitivity, grace, and has nice takes on anything she turns her hand to.  I’m a professional singer and coach so I’m VERY critical of other singers. You have a real gem there in her!  Love her!

*Natalie, the cruise director. 
She is a delight.  I got a chance to talk to her a couple of times about non-cruising things and she is super; helpful, funny.  She makes a really hard job seem easy and fun.  Kudos! 

*Also Carly, one of the other “white uniforms” was really nice!  Lovely gal!  I met one of the gentlemen as well but I can’t remember his name; he was English.

*Our room steward Calvin. 
Our room was always wonderful; homey and clean.  And he is the Towel Creation Master!!  He DOES have a black belt in towel making!  I know that being a room steward is a really hard job too.  I needed scissors and he found me some quickly, for which I was very grateful.  He was great!  “Have a magical day!”  I loved the turn-down he’d do for our room at night.  My girlfriend (younger than me) slept on the sofa and he always made it look like a comfy bed.  She said it was comfortable!

*Our waiters, Luis and Marcos.
They were really competent, caring and funny.  Sometimes it was hard to understand Luis (he talked so fast), but that’s ok!  His 17 years experience on the cruise showed --- in the best way possible. Marcos was awesome! I loved him; he was charming and never made me like he was too busy; he gave exceptional service. The dining experiences with them were always great.  I know how busy they are but I never felt rushed.  The service was impressive!

The food was anywhere from pretty good to excellent.  I know how hard it is to cook for over 2,000 people so getting beef the right temperature (rare, medium, etc.) is very challenging.  I think the food in Lumiere’s was my least favorite; the food in Animator’s Palate was my favorite, all in all.  One of the nights there was parmesan crusted chicken over pasta with way, way too much pepper on it, not good.  I’m glad I didn’t get that!  

*The coffee everywhere was great and I’m a real coffee snob.  It never tasted burnt, bitter or too strong!  I rarely had to put sugar in it.

*We ate one dinner (Jan. 25th) and one brunch (Jan. 30th) at Palo’s.  Our server was great, Vlado! The mushroom risotto was out of this world.  I had the beef tenderloin, which was pretty good. At brunch, the strawberry soup was delicious and the gorgonzola pizza (which I should have gotten) was wonderful.  I had a frittata; it was pretty good too.  The plain croissant was to die for!!  Perfection!  Like one you’d get in Paris!

*The chefs in the kitchen and the whole kitchen staff! 
One of our party is highly allergic to anything with cow’s milk in it and as each day progressed her desserts got better and better.  Luis made sure she had the menu for the next day so she could plan on what to order or ask questions.  Impressive! 

*Bar waiter Robie from India on Deck 9 adult pool is a super guy, very nice!

*Trivia Jo was awesome!  Funny, quick-witted, a real delight!  Loved, loved her!  She called our group of six “the crazy ones.” 

*Everywhere I went the ship was lovely and clean!  Bravo to the staff who has to do all that!  I personally made sure to thank anyone I saw.  I figured they don’t get that too often.

*I really loved that there were places for adults ONLY!  Thank you!  I really didn’t know that there were 1,100 kids on the ship.  Well done!!

*All the staff I met, even in passing, were nice and cheerful.  I got a picture with Bernie from the Philippines and a pretty blonde girl from Europe.  I think her name was Sonja, but I’m not sure.  I never felt as though I was taking up their time, which I know is extremely valuable.  
I asked a few crew members for directions and instead of telling me, they usually took me where I needed to go.  Which was very nice, as I have a vision challenge thing going on.  My husband worked for WDW from 1976-1977 so I know that’s a Disney thing (cheerfulness, helpfulness) but everyone I met seemed genuine.
I do love that you have folks from all over the world and that you can see where they are from on their name tags. I met very few American crew members. They must all be in the show or being princesses!

*I really enjoyed the Drink Of The Day idea!  I also like that you can bring alcohol aboard.  Thank you!

*Fireworks were great!  Super cool!  Part of our group is a Disney Platinum cruiser and he knew the perfect place to stand!

*Even though you had shops on board ship, I never felt (unlike the parks) that it was one huge Buy-Buy-Buy Our Stuff!  That’s very disillusioning at the parks.

*The fellow that played Jack Sparrow looked really good!  He could have laid on the charm even more with us “more seasoned” pirate wenches, but he did do a really good job!

*I heard tons of people (with kids) saying that Peter Pan and his interactivity were fabulous, by the way!

*The shows were really good.  I’ve been in theater for 45 years (pro, semi-pro and community) so I think I’m pretty knowledgeable. 
My favorites were “Villains Tonight” and the Cinderella retake.  The ladies who played the Stepmother and the step-sisters were wonderful!  Loved them!
The tech and pyro were brilliant; extremely well done.  Those backstage folks need to REALLY take a bow. 
The costumers must work day and night to keep those costumes up!  I’ve worked wardrobe on big musicals before and I shuttered at the thought of how hard those folks must work.
The sound and lighting guys did a super job. Bravo! 
I only knew one person in the shows, Hannah.  I did a show with her about 10 years ago.  I wish I knew more cast members’ names so I could give them a shout out.

*The woman who sang Ursula and the song from Lion King (“Circle of Life”) was phenomenal!  Wow!

*The girls who were the princesses for meet and greet are lovely, graceful and gracious. I hope their knees hold up from beautifully sinking to their knees, up and down!  I hope they ice those suckers!

*I was glad to see Tianna!  The girl that played her was stunning!  I didn’t meet her, but she was simply gorgeous!

*The photographers were all really nice!  I talked to one girl from Ukraine, she was so nice!

*I chatted briefly with Captain John, what a charming man.  What a hard job he has!!

*Thank you for having a dedicated smoking area on Deck 9 that has tables and ashtrays.  I met the NICEST folks there! We called ourselves “The Deck Niners!”  Very relaxing place to be!  Having a dedicated smoking area is the only way I’m EVER getting my husband on a Disney cruise!  It’s the only way I got him to WDW in Sept. 2013.
Some Suggestions:

*If there are 2 people in a cabin (2 adults) there should be 2 surveys for each of us to fill out.  Also there should be a place on the forms to make suggestions.

*There need to be more princess/character meet and greets. 
Where was Aurora, Snow White and maybe Pocahontas? 
A lot of us baby boomers were little kids when SLEEPING BEAUTY came out so Aurora is “our” princess.
I think you should have had another time with Elsa and Anna too.  That’s a very popular movie and one meet-and-greet for them isn’t enough.
 Please understand…..The meet-and-greets are just not a “kid” thing either.  I’m 60 and I got all teary meeting Mickey Mouse and wept openly when I met Cinderella.  (Stupid, I know.)
The lady in line behind me to meet Belle was from Egypt and she was so excited to meet Belle I thought she’d jump out of her veil.

*There is almost no mention of CARS or the characters except one picture of Mater on the way to Animator’s Palate.  It was a big hit for Disney and it’s my husband’s favorite movie (not just a Disney movie but his all-time favorite MOVIE). It was also that way at WDW too; very little CARS stuff. 
I’m not sure how you’d do it but those Imagineers could figure out some interactive way to have time with Lightning or Mater. Places have talking snowmen and trees at Christmas time; I bet the same thing could happen with those characters.  Think auto-animatronics. Both on the ships and at the parks. “Kaaaa-chow!!”

*My criticism of the shows was sometimes romantic music felt rushed. For example: “So This Is Love” from Cinderella. The female singers were very good but the tendency to over-sing was evident.  It’s a trend in modern musicals, where everything is “big” or overdone.  It gets shrill after a while.  Even the guys, for the most part, sounded “pushed.” It doesn’t always have to be big and loud!  
Also, since FROZEN was such a big money-maker for The Mouse, you need to revamp some of those shows to include something from it.  I don’t think that movie is all that and a bag of chips, but it’s really popular.

*On Decks 10 and 4, where there is one ashtray, can you maybe put two?  They fill up fast.

*You need more trash cans.  Those suckers were hard to find. I think some of us smokers would have emptied the ashtrays ourselves to help keep things tidy if we’d seen a trash can. I just didn’t want to leave a paper cup on the table.  How rude would that be?  I heard quite a few people asking where in the heck was one?

*The folks at Port Adventures were great, very courteous.
I know it’s asking a lot but I think they really need to know what you need to take or wear for certain things.  I went on the Chukka Horse ride and swim and it would have been helpful to have known what the drill was going to be.  I had looked it up so I knew but some people were clueless.  Also I’d love to have been able to ask them for suggestions as to beaches on (for example) Grand Cayman that were nice.  I found out that information out from other experienced cruisers.
I think the Port Adventure folks need to be “in the know” for off-shore things that aren’t part of a package. 

*I think the spa is a bit pricey but then it IS a spa aboard a ship.  I did do the steam rooms once; they were lovely.

*The restaurants (with the exception of Palo) are very noisy.  I think it’s because the ceilings are high.  Have you all thought about putting sound baffling in them?

In conclusion, I’d go on another Disney cruise in a heartbeat and I am NOT a Disney freak by any stretch of the imagination.  I hope my budget will allow me to do so --- soon!  I actually think my husband would enjoy it; he could laze around in the sun and do absolutely nothing if he wanted to.
The crew members and service I got were just the best!


Mia Hess

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