Sunday, 18 August 2013
DISNEY MAGIC Part 2
Tuesday 9th July 2013
It's the Magic Day today, so I started it after breakfast by walking to the harbour for another little harbour tour. Three friends suddenly appeared unexpectedly and so I had good company.
The stern of DISNEY MAGIC had the figure of Goofy hanging over it, looking as if he was helping to paint the name of Disney Cruise Line’s first ship.
Then it was time to collect my luggage and get the port bus to the cruise terminal. Checking in was fairly quick and we were soon admiring the last check-in desks before boarding the ship.
I arrived in the Deck 1 Atrium on board, handed my cabin card to the welcoming member of staff and suddenly saw her put a microphone to her mouth and announce my name and that I was now on board - and that was when two other members of staff started smiling and clapping, just for me! Gosh, that was different!
I had a moment to admire the beautiful Dale Chihuly chandelier hanging in the Atrium, before going to find my cabin. There is another of his beautiful creations hanging in the entrance hall of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and I always have to stop and admire that.
I had a standard inside stateroom/cabin which was a very spacious 184 square feet, on Deck 2 of 11 passenger decks.
DISNEY MAGIC was planned 'to pay homage to the legendary transatlantic ocean liner, but transformed the hallmarks of classicism into preconditions for the future', according to John Heminway’s book “Disney Magic – The Launching of a Dream”.
The Walt Disney Company first decided to build their own cruise ship in 1992, having already considered a partnership with a distinguished cruise line but discarding the idea in favour of creating their own cruise line. Architects including Robert Tillberg were asked to provide plans for such a ship, and naval architect Njal Eide was finally chosen to do the work. His design included two funnels. Dr. Hartmut Esslinger of frogdesign was later called in to advise on modifications and soon the model was approved by Disney Cruise Line’s Michael Eisner.
In early 1995 various shipbuilding companies were considered, and the contract was awarded to Fincantieri (Cantieri Navali Italiani S.p.A.). As the interior designs progressed, it was decided to include an alternative restaurant with three rotating dining experiences. Robert Tillberg of Tillberg Design AB of Sweden co-ordinated the design of every stateroom and suite on board the ship. On 21st October 1996 the keel of the ship was laid, and because of the yard capacity and tight schedule, construction began on the bow in Fincantieri’s Ancona shipyard and on the stern in Marghera, just north of Venice.
By April 1997 the bow was ready to be taken to Marghera, accompanied by tugs, and the float-together and completion of the hull took place by 18th April. The funnels were craned into position, the final work completed and the dock flooded, so that on 13th May 1997 the President of Disney Cruise Line Mr Art Rodney could send DISNEY MAGIC on her way. Later the interior work continued with world-wide specialists joining the Disney Imagineers to complete the modern classic; so this was the ship we were joining now in July 2013.
Some of us met up for lunch in the buffet, which was very crowded but meant we could look out at the port at the same time. The choice of food was good and was constantly replenished by cheerful staff.
A tour of the decks meant we could see some of the Disney characters - and oh my, I saw Mickey Mouse, for the first time in years. He hasn't changed a bit. Minnie wasn't wearing her red glittery high heels, but maybe she will another day. All the activities on the outdoor stage were being shown on the huge screen above it, so everyone watching from several decks around the Pool could see what was happening. I am very impressed so far. Then we discovered the Adults only part of the ship, which included the air-conditioned Cove Cafe, so life was looking pretty good. All age groups, from tinies to teenagers, to adults, had their own space on several decks so everyone appeared to be happy, which takes some doing.
Lifeboat drill was conducted in the Theatre, without the need to take life jackets, and then it was time for sailing from Barcelona.
The Disney Show in the Walt Disney Theatre at 6.30 p.m. was called "Villains" which I enjoyed very much, although I didn't recognise many of the characters. We located an adults-only bar for pre-dinner drinks. Our party had been allocated two big tables for dinner in the Lumiere’s Restaurant, just off the Atrium. The menu was excellent and offered a wide choice, and the wait staff soon knew each of us by name. We were on second seating at 8.30 p.m. so didn't feel rushed.
Ships seen: Disney Magic, Jolly Quarzo from Linea Messina, Legend of the Seas, Costa Favolosa, Mehtap Bayraktar which was built in 1991 for the Turkish Bayraktar Group – I saw another of their vessels in Marseilles last month, Azamara going past Barcelona port, a harbour tour again on Encarnacion
To be continued...