To the Mediterranean and Beyond! June 6 Med Cruise with 2 young boys
Well we're back in California after our fabulous Mediterranean cruise. I was a little worried about traveling with a 2 and 4 year old and had planned on waiting for our first Disney cruise until the little one was at least 3, but I couldn't pass up on the Mediterranean. And I'm so glad that I didn't! :goodvibes
We decided to take a few days before the cruise to enjoy London and Paris. We flew from SFO direct to Heathrow and then stayed at the Marriott County Hall for a couple of days. Took the Heathrow Express from airport into town which was very convenient. Weather was nice and sunny (can you believe it?) in London. And we discovered when we got to our hotel that there was a Star Wars exhibit in County Hall, with Jedi Training and everything, which thrilled my 4 year old!
For London pics:
After a couple of days in London, we took the Eurostar to Paris. Hardest part of that trip was getting through the Waterloo train station -- it was more like an airport than a train station, with passport control, security and the whole bit. But the train ride was nice and wasn't long before we were in Paris, where we stayed in an apartment hotel Citadine in St. Germaine. Super convenient 1 bedroom apartment with kitchenette, close to Latin Quarter and Notre Dame. Mostly toured around our hotel with one excursion to Eiffle Tower. Really enjoyed Paris, even with little ones.
For Paris pics:
TRAVEL TO BARCELONA
Then we took an overnight train from Paris to Barcelona. We had two connecting rooms with two beds in each room. It was nice enough, though not as nice as the pictures on web site made it seem. And private bathroom ended up being a small sink and a pot to pee in (literally, or at least I think that was what that pot was for...didn't use it). Kids slept great, I slept ok and husband didn't sleep much at all. We got into Barcelona at around 8:30am and took a taxi straight to the train terminal. We arrived probably a little after 9am and terminal was packed with those departing to the airports. We had to wait about an hour and a half and then were one of the very first in the terminal, all in our lime green shirts :rotfl:
We had kind of been hoping to upgrade, but when we got to the terminal they said that the cruise was sold out and no upgrades were possible. Turned out to be fine for us...we were very happy with the inside cabin 6543 -- great location for those with kids going to Oceaneers Club or Lab.
There was entertainment in the terminal - dancing, coloring for kids, photos. And we met some other DISboard people who found us in our bright green shirts!
BOARDING THE MAGIC
We were so tired though from our travels and were happy when we finally could board. Although I had read on DISboards to bring bathing suits along for kids, I didn't, but sure wish I did as the little ones wanted to swim! Shortly after getting on ship, I went to Palos and got reservations for dinner and waitlisted for brunch and high tea. Got off waitlist for brunch, but not for high tea. My husband got more time at Flounders. They told us that they would try to give people as much time as they wanted. So it was not a problem to get extra hours (although Nico couldn't stand it there and we ended up canceling some of the time we originally scheduled. Not that there were any problems with Flounders, just not Nico's cup of tea).
Well...will try to write more soon with details on our excursions and such...meanwhile, here are some photos from the Magic...
popcorn:: Good trippie so far - keep it coming!
PS - great looking family - your boys are so handsome! And in their tuxes.....forgetaboutit!
TFS :goodvibes :goodvibes
What a lovely photos of boys. Looking like the boys had a fabulous times.
I was surprised to hear that no upgraded left.
Hi Jen - just bumping you back up the board as I want to see what you all got up to on 'our' cruise !! :thumbsup2
So glad you enjoyed your trip.
Can't wait for more :goodvibes
Ok...back to my trip report...since I've been bumped and all...
Now where was I? :confused:
We boarded the ship and while I was trying to enjoy the sunshine, sangria and Disney Magic, I couldn't help but to wish that time would speed up a little bit so I get into my cabin already. Keeping my boys out of the pool while my husband sorted out Flounders' reservations proved more difficult than I could handle -- and we were all ready for a shower and a rest.
Our cabins finally opened up and while we didn't have luggage, we had a little space of our own. And I must say, inside cabins surpassed my expectations. I had only been on one other cruise (Alaskan cruise on NCL, in case you are wondering), and while we had an ocean view, that NCL room was far inferior to the Disney inside room. The Disney room's size was great, layout nice, my son loved the bed that folded down from the wall and the whole room got nice and dark for naps. I, fortunately, was prepared for the darkness with a nite light and digital alarm clock (thanks to DISboards tips). So we had a rest, got cleaned up and then went through the safety drill. Max got to Oceaneer's Club as soon as he could, which he made his home for the remainder of the cruise. We missed dinner, but did make it to the Sail Away party -- which was quite late for the 2 year old. But I just didn't want to miss it and it was good fun.
DAY AT SEA
I didn't remember much liking days at sea from my last cruise. In fact, I remember agreeing with my husband that we wouldn't cruise again until we learned to play bridge. But our days at sea on Disney were so different. First thing in the morning, Max (my 4 year old) tells me to turn off the tv, "TV turns your brain to oatmeal" he shouts and then begs to go to the Oceaneer's Club. We managed to get a few bites of food in him at Topsiders and then we checked him at Oceaner's 'til evening. We also dropped Nico off at Flounders and then headed for our brunch at Palos. About a half an hour into our lunch we got a page that they just wanted to "let us know that Nicholas is a little bit upset." We figured if he was just a little bit upset, we still had time to finish our lovely brunch. We later learned that "a little upset" meant crying hysterically, but no worries, he survived his nursery time.
I then went to DISboard meet 'n greet while John picked up Nico at Flounders. It was great to meet everyone...some proud with big green Mickey ears tags, others with teeny tiny ears hidden on their hats, and some like me with none at all (but since my whole family wore lime green shirts yesterday, I figured I was good without the ears), and everyone seemingly glad to meet each other. Since I was without the kids, it was the one time I actually got to talk to people. Seems everytime I saw fellow DISboarders later in the cruise, I managed a few words and then moved on to chasing my kids who were running up stairs or into elevators.
That evening, we pulled Max out of Oceaneer's Club to get dressed up for formal night. I bought a couple of tuxedos on eBay and the boys were actually excited to put them on, as their favorite sewer rat in Flushed Away wears a tuxedo. Unfortunately, they weren't as excited to keep the tuxedos on (not to mention take photos with tuxedos on), but we did manage to get some pics for the memory book to make Mom happy.
Well, I think I'm probably going into a bit too much detail here...apologies...I promise to make the excursion part of this report shorter (if anyone's still interested...)
Please don't make it short - we love the details. Can't wait to read about the excursions.
Keep it coming... I can't wait to hear the rest. Oh, and details... I love it!
So much in common!
Wow, we've been allocated the same cabin 6543 for the 7/7 Med Cruise! We're taking our 4yo and 2yo daughters so everything you say is totally relevant and so appreciated! Looking forward to reading more.
We really liked the location -- close to kid's clubs, easy access to 6th floor laundry -- and our cabin host Maurice was the best. :thumbsup2 We didn't mind not having the split bath, as my boys took very little bathroom real estate (2 spiderman toothbrushes). Worked great for us and I hope you like it too! More on excursions coming soon...
I'm enjoying your trip report and would love to read about your excursions! We're heading out in just a couple of weeks. Thanks for the reminder to be sure to have the boys' swimsuits with us so they can swim after we board but before we can get to our cabin.
On to excursions…
Our approach to excursions on this cruise was “less is more.” My boys are active and it’s challenging to keep them focused and in one place for long. And if they’re miserable, it’s hard for anyone to have fun.
I was planning on doing most of the excursions on my own to save money and avoid those buses (I am not a fan of traveling in packs on buses), but I did sign up for Mondello Beach as I wasn't able to find info on transportation in Palermo. And it did prove to be a great excursion for us. We did the 8:15am tour, which was a little early, but turned out great -- less crowds, great weather, peaceful. The kids had a fabulous time playing in the sand and swimming and loved their gelato!
For Mondello Beach pics...
We slept in this morning and then went on our own to Capri. It was just a short walk from the ship to the hydrofoil and then about a forty minute ride to Capri. Easy and pleasant -- we had nice weather, so no problem with the ride over. BTW...I must say that we seemed to get nice weather almost everyday, which was so very lovely :hippie: . There was a beautiful little beach right where the hydrofoil came in (by the ticket office for the funicular) that we enjoyed for some time. Then we took the funicular up the hill for some spectacular views and a little sightseeing. No shopping--as the boys wouldn't have it. Finally, we had some pizza since we were in/near Napoli (which wasn't that great, so I won't recommend the place) and then headed back to the ship. Grownups had a great time and kids had enough fun, but Max complained the whole day, asking when he could get back to Oceaneer's Club. What they give those kids there, I don’t know, but Max was addicted.
For pictures of Capri
Today we took the Disney train to Gallura tour. The Sardinian countryside is gorgeous and we got to see so much on this tour -- the rolling hills, Costa Smeralda, a little village with granite buildings. It was very pleasant when I wasn't chasing after kids or stuggling to hold them still in the bus and train. My favorite part of the tour was a brief stop at a beach (sorry I don't know the name) on Costa Smeralda. Actually, I liked it so much, I wished we had just done another relaxing beach day to fully enjoy.
For pictures of Olbia
ROME, well almost...
So we had planned on going to Rome on a private train. I bought tickets beforehand online with reserved seats from Tren Italia and we were going to go in for half a day. But in the end, we decided to just enjoy a quiet day on ship (and it was very quiet...as everyone was busy excursioning). A lovely day, though and we enjoyed the downtime. Plus, I got a full refund from Tren Italia ;)
We left Max in Oceaneer's Club this day and headed to Cinque Terre. We left the ship rather late (around 11am, I think), so tendering was pleasant...no lines or passes required. We found a taxi right at port and went to the train station where we bought a ticket to Monterosso. We decided to just go to one town, rather than visit several and we didn't do any of the hikes between towns. And we LOVED Monterosso...it was so beautiful and the food was delicious (best seafood we had all trip) and there was even a little playground that Nicholas got to play in for some time. For those who are tired after their Rome trip, I definitely recommend a more laid back Cinque Terre excursion.
For pictures of Monterosso:
Can't say much about Marseilles. We took the free shuttle right into Old Port and just walked around. Found a merry go round, had some lunch and then headed back to the ship. I think I should have done a little more research on what to do here, as the Old Port was rather busy and probably our least favorite port.
And of course we did enjoy pirates night this night. Kids had great fun dressing up! And we snuck in a relaxing spa trip for the parents (poor Nico had to endure Flounders for a little bit more) in the afternoon.
My favorite port, I think. It was so beautiful and relaxing and easy to navigate on your own. We tendered and then walked an easy walk to the train station (mind you there is quite a lot of stairs to get to the train station, if you're carrying a stroller) where we took a train to Monte Carlo. We walked around and had lunch and then returned to Villefranche where we enjoyed the beach. Not sandy like Mondello Beach, but small rocks -- which I rather liked (less messy than sand). We swam and then went to one of the little cafes and had some crepes for dinner. A great last port.
For pictures of Villefranche...
And Monte Carlo...
LAST DAY AT SEA
Disney did a fabulous job with the kids on this last day. Max did a talent show (with a real expensive microphone, he kept reminding me) and had his graduation ceremony. What a special day for him! Max was so sad when he checked out of Oceaneer's Club for the last time...he cried when he got back to the cabin. But it was time to get ready to go.
All and all, this Disney cruise exceeded my expectations – which is quite a task since reading DISboards could lead one to expect quite a lot! My kids had the time of their lives. We didn’t have quite as much grown-up time as we would have liked, since Nicholas wouldn’t do Flounders, but we had more than we have at home. The weather was wonderful. The ports were fabulous. I’m afraid to try another Disney cruise, because I don’t know how it could live up to this one. But I’m sure that we will go again…and hopefully it will be just as magical.
Thank you for your wonderful trip report. It has been very helpful. Do you think doing Mondello beach on our own is possible? I figure we could get there by taxi, but I was worried about it being difficult to get a taxi back to the ship. Do you remember seeing an taxis at the beach? Thanks for your help. Kathleen
I would like to saying many thanks for your story and beautiful photos. I know that feeling about your son was crying. Same with my son was crying when we left the Cruise last year. I am not looking forward that.
My family and I are going next month and I do that your story might help us.
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