Wednesday, 30 October 2013

More Disney Magic - Pt 3, Adults Only

Continuing our look at the "newly re-imagined" (that's heavily refurbished) Disney Magic of Disney Cruise Line...

Having looked at the extensive children's facilities aboard the 84,000 Disney Magic, fresh from its 5-week dry-dock process at the Navantia Shipyard in Cadiz, it is only fair to focus on all the wide-ranging alternatives for the grown-ups.

Just to start with, the former adults-only nightclub district of Beat Street has been converted to a slightly more sophisticated vibe as After Hours, with all three venues being given a complete makeover.

The live entertainment bar/lounge of Diversions has become O'Gills pub, imported directly
as a popular choice from the new Disney Fantasy, and offering a touch of Ireland as well as the obligatory sports bar.


Then the out-and-out nightclub of Rockin' Bar D has become the trendier and more atmospheric Fathoms, with a sea-going ambience that really comes to life at night.

And the piano lounge of Sessions has been given a polish and been converted to the even-more-glamorous Keys (below), with a fabulous bar and wonderful cocktails, all in a 1920s art deco style. This is now comfortably the most 'grown-up' space on board, and we can see this being the place for pre-dinner or late-night drinks, with great live music and a wonderful couples' romantic hang-out.

The Senses Spa has been given a bit of a facelift (ho, ho), and the adults-only restaurant, Palo, has all new furniture and few extra decor touches that underscore the elegant Italian theming.

Finally, the main restaurant choices - open to all the family - have all been freshened up or, in several cases, completely revamped.

As mentioned in Part One, the new Cabanas buffet restaurant (formerly Topsiders) has
undergone a total rebuild and is now much larger and more user-friendly than its previous cramped and badly laid-out incarnation. There is more space and the buffet lines are better ordered so people can actually get at them rather than get stuck in a big bottleneck.

 
Lumiere's, the most distinguished of the three 'rotational dining' system restaurants has new carpeting (as there is throughout) and furniture, while the Brazilian-style of Carioca's (part two of the rotation) replaces the former rather two-dimensional Parrot Cay.

The Latin theming is not overwhelming and is quite subtle, hence it may not be obvious to everyone who walks through the door, while the huge curtain that cordons off the breakfast buffet area looks rather odd instead of adding to the overall festival feeling. But the new-look menu here is quite superb and definitely one of the culinary highlights now.

The third part of the rotational dining is still provided by the spectacular Animator's Palate, which has long been one of Disney Cruise Line's true original gems. A wow when the ship first launched in 1998 as a black-and-white vista that turns into vivid colour during the course of the meal, Animator's has actually been rebuilt from the ground up.

What has happened is that a new ultra-high-tech package of lighting and LED screens has been built in, mostly behind the walls and in the ceiling, and it may not seem obvious at first
(although the extra sharpness of the look should be a giveaway). But, once the visuals begin on the series of screens right around the room, there is no doubt that this is now a major triumph of new technology.


There are two shows here (we only got to see the first, but the Animation Magic from the Disney Dream and Fantasy will be incorporated in all voyages of more than 3 days), and the one we saw, Drawn to Magic, was simply a feast for the eyes. This vibrant, heart-tugging extravaganza of Disney's greatest film hits is so utterly sharp and iconic it feels like 3-D even though it is only two-dimensional. It is aided by a dynamic lighting package throughout the room that is equally startling and it all adds up to a must-see experience aboard the new-look Disney Magic.

Tomorrow...even more Magic!

More info: Look up Disney Cruise line at http://disneycruise.disney.go.com/ or, in the UK, see Virgin Holidays Cruises on www.virginholidayscruises.co.uk, or 0844 573 4398.

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