I've been only once on the beautiful ships of the Disney Cruise Line, and if i remember it well it was for the press event for the Disney Magic, so back at the end of the 90's. Which in fact happened before the Inaugural Cruise. Which means that, basically, i was on the very first cruise of the very first ship of Disney Cruise Line. I enjoyed it a lot and so far the Disney Magic is the most elegant cruise ship i've ever seen. I loved, literally, the art-deco style of the ship the multiple pools on the sun deck, the cabin, the beautiful Lumière and Animator Palette restaurants, the Walt Disney Theater, everything! Or almost, as we'll see in a few seconds.
But first, as i've found back some press material that Disney gave us at that time i let you have a look at the pics below, and don't hesitate to enlarge them as i've kept them in a dimension big enough so you'll be able to read the text.
A not-to-be-missed dinner is in the Lumière restaurant, a pure art-deco wonder with literally a ballet of waiters all around you, it'll make you feel you're back in the old era of last century's famous liners!
Now, for those of you who will choose the classical trip going from Florida to the Bahamas you'll arrive to Disney's private island Castaway Cay. The picture below is by the way really a "perfect shot" as it shows the ship, most of the island and specially Castaway Cay beaches all in one great aerial shot.
When you arrive at Castaway Cay everyone is of course going down the ship and i remember there was a little tram - the same kind of tram that takes you from the parking lots at WDW DHS to the entrance of the park - which basically transport the guests to the first beach 500 Meters away from the ship. It looked a bit strange to find a tram there when you're awaiting a Bahamas wild island but i understood the intention, and it save time to don't have to walk this short distance.
Anyway, so you arrive on the beach and Castaway Cay lagoon and although they've themed pretty well beach bars and restaurants there was something i didn't liked: that beach looked a bit too clean to me. When i say "clean", i was not missing anything dirty of course but things more natural on a beach, like little stones, shells, dead wood, etc... that kind of thing. What happened is that Disney had cleaned the beach AND inside the sea of everything that could be potentially dangerous for guests. As usual they want to avoid to have any problem that could lead guests to sue Disney if they were hurt and it can be understandable but in this case the beach lost all its natural "wild" aspect that one can find on this kind of island. And the other problem was that they've cleaned so much under water of any kind of stones that there was no fishes anymore! No kidding. May be it changed since 17 years ago but at that time it was frustrating. In two words, Castaway Cay didn't matched my idea of a "lost island" in the Bahamas archipelago. Don't get me wrong, if you're a family with children looking for a safe cruise with them, Disney's Castaway Cay beaches will be perfect as nothing bad will happen to your children. But if you're a couple looking for the feeling to be on a wild "pirate" island, then you won't find it there.
And then i had the good idea to rent a bicycle, something you could do at that time to "explore" the island - or at least to explore the part of the island that Disney is ready to let you explore. If you do this, which i recommend, you'll find easily a landing runway located behind the beach, and at the end you'll arrive to another "official" beach located on the island west coast. Now, there is a path on the right going all along the beach and if you take this path you'll arrive at a dead end as right after there is the sea. But right in front, at 20 - 30 meters the island continues and i remember thinking "that looks like what i'm looking for!". As i'm a quite good swimmer i decided to swim to the other side and, boy, there it was paradise! Nobody, a real natural beach as it exist normally before corporate lawyers decide to remove everything, nothing artificial, and fishes in the sea! You can walk even a bit more and find easily a place where you'll feel being alone in the world, far away from everything, exactly the feeling you should have on this kind of island. I've indicated for you the spot and how to reach it on the picture below.
However, you might find one problem to reach this part of the island. It's not the sea or the fact that you have to swim 20 meters, if the sea is calm the risks are none for a good swimmer. It's that generally you'll find some Disney guys at the dead end of the path, which are there to precisely avoid that you go "on the other side". If they're not here, it'll be fine. But if they're here the only way would be to swim from the "authorized beach" nearby and then after 20 meters, when you're a bit out of sight, to turn right and swim in direction of the spot i told you. It's feasible but you'll need to swim a longer distance and this can be exhausting if you're not a regular swimmer, so i don't really recommend it. But if you're a good swimmer and IF there is no Disney guys to stop you to go on the "other side" then the spot definitely worth the 30 meters of swimming that you'll have to do to reach it! It'll be at your own risk, of course, but if the sea is calm, the risk will be limited, and of course don't go there with children.
Pictures: copyright Disney