The Disney Magic underwent a major overhaul earlier this year, which included new looks and new additions to a ship that, when it debuted in 1998, was hailed as revolutionizing family cruising. The changes include an updated atrium, Marvel's Avengers Academy for the kids, a new Brazilian-influenced restaurant and, for all ages, the AquaDunk waterslide. The 37-foot-tall thrill ride takes riders almost straight down and out over the water. The ship also features a family pool and an adults-only pool, Quiet Cove.
AOL Travel rode along for the Magic's two-night debut out of Miami in October. Here's a taste of what it's like to sail on the ship -- in timelapse.
The differences are in the scale and facilities of the ships, the pace of life, the proximity of towns to mooring places and what's included in your cruise fare. The size of river cruise ships in Europe, the world's most popular river-cruising location, is particularly constrained by the narrow waterways and locks they navigate and the low-slung bridges under which they squeeze. The glitzy casinos, spas, cinemas, shops and multiple restaurants found on today's ocean-faring giants simply don't fit.
As the world's biggest river cruise line, Viking River Cruises lays claim to the largest fleet, most extensive network of rivers and a wealth of experience navigating the world's waterways. In a nod to the company's Norwegian heritage, Viking River Cruise ships feature sleek, fairly minimalist Scandinavian-style interiors as well as pioneering hybrid diesel-electric engines, which reduce environmental impact as well as noise and vibration.
Ever since its acquisition in 1985 by passionate travelers and dedicated philanthropists Alan and Harriet Lewis, Grand Circle has placed great emphasis on immersive travel as a form of enrichment. As such, the company insists on using resident English-speaking hosts, guides and lecturers throughout the world, carefully selected for their credentials in history, geography and local culture and their ability to mesh well with American travelers. Thanks to these long-established relationships with locals, Grand Circle offers distinctive shore excursions, such as a coffee morning in the home of a German family or a visit to a local school.
With some of the newest, quietest and most spacious ships on Europe's rivers and an extremely loyal following, Avalon Waterways has made big waves in the river cruise industry since its launch in 2004.
Perhaps more than any other river and ship, the Mississippi and the American Queen steamboat evoke the grandeur and history of a bygone age. The world's largest paddlewheel steamboat, the American Queen is resplendent in her white wedding cake design with gingerbread trim, iron railings and bright red paddlewheel.
Since its launch in 2002, AmaWaterways has carved out a name for itself as one of the world's most luxurious river cruise lines. With a fleet of 15 custom-designed ships operating in Europe, Russia, Asia and Africa, AmaWaterways covers an impressive geographical range. It also has some of the most personalized service in the industry -- the family-operated company's owners regularly join cruises and make changes based on their experiences.
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