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-   -   Questions for past Med cruisers.... (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2868499)

ruadisneyfan2 01-26-2012 10:42 PM

Questions for past Med cruisers....
 
We just booked our 1st Med cruise and have so many questions/concerns.


1. Where is a good hotel to stay pre cruise? Is it better to be near the port or near the airport? Unfortunately, due to time constraints with work we won't have time to arrive extra early to tour Barcelona if that matters.

2. I'm checking out flight times on USAirways for the same week (but in 2012) to get an idea of fares & flight times. (We have ff miles we can use with them.) They have non stop red eye flights that arrive at BCN 8:25 am their time, so roughly 2:30am our time. If we flew out Thurs evening from Philly, arrive Fri am in BCN, should we get a hotel for Thurs night too? It will feel like the middle of the night when we arrive but of course our room may not be ready if we only book a Fri night hotel stay.

How did you handle that? I don't want to be sleeping in the lobby waiting for our room to be ready. If we book a Thurs night stay also, will they think we "no-showed" since we'd be checking in at 9am? I don't mind having to pay for another night of the room but I want a smooth check in and be able to go right to sleep. We wouldn't sail until the next day.

3. The latest flight going home post cruise is at 10:45am. In the past I've heard that it's doable but how early do they let you off the ship and how long of a drive is it between port & airport? Did you have to spend another night in Barcelona? With the Labor Day holiday, it would be doable if we had to but would prefer to fly right home & adjust to EDT before school starts Tuesday.

Thanks for any tips!! :grouphug:

kcashner 01-26-2012 11:16 PM

OK, what I have done in the past is to book DCL air now, knowing that I can cancel it up to 120 days ahead if I find better (read cheaper) flights on my own. In 2010, I found flights for about 1/2 of DCL's rate. In 2011, DCL was $350 per person less.

3. (yeah, I'm starting at the end). DCL booked us on a flight at like 10:30 or something. They had a special disembarkation both years for people with flights before 10:00. The ride to the airport is about 30 minutes. Delta had reps at the cruise terminal so you could check in luggage there if that was your airline--the line was a million miles long, and for once I was glad that my luggage had to go on the bus. The waiting line for the taxis was also a million miles long. In 2010, it took about an hour (no kidding) to get a taxi. In 2011, we were on the DCL bus--much faster.

1. Where to stay depends largely on what you want to do. We stayed near the airport--my intent was to sleep and get my body clock reset so that I'd be good for the cruise. I used a hotel that had free transportation to/from the airport, so just rode their bus back and caught the DCL shuttle to the cruise terminal. Both hotels I used had good access to public transportation and one offered limited shuttle service to downtown free. If you want to sightsee, I'd stay in town. That's also closer to the terminal.

I'd avoid the cabs if at all possible. They add fees to everything--extra fee if they go to airport or cruise terminal or both. Extra fee if it is Saturday or Sunday or before a certain time in the morning. You get the picture.

woody73 01-26-2012 11:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kcashner (Post 43859992)

I'd avoid the cabs if at all possible. They add fees to everything--extra fee if they go to airport or cruise terminal or both. Extra fee if it is Saturday or Sunday or before a certain time in the morning.

In many ports of Europe, if you have your hotel call for a taxi, the meter begins as soon as they get the call -- not when you and your luggage are in the cab.

Woody

thinkoflaura 01-26-2012 11:57 PM

i would book the room for both nights... just email the hotel the day or two before to let them know your arrival time...

this is where we stayed pre-cruise. we arrived around 7pm the night before our cruise so had no time/intention to go into Barcelona.

http://www.marriott.com/hotels/trave...-airport-hotel

we liked it because you can get a pkg with shuttle service from the airport to the hotel and then the next day from the hotel to the port!!!

i'm not sure if their airport shuttle is 24 hours. you may want to ask.

MDTerp 01-27-2012 06:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thinkoflaura (Post 43860158)
i would book the room for both nights... just email the hotel the day or two before to let them know your arrival time...

this is where we stayed pre-cruise. we arrived around 7pm the night before our cruise so had no time/intention to go into Barcelona.

http://www.marriott.com/hotels/trave...-airport-hotel

we liked it because you can get a pkg with shuttle service from the airport to the hotel and then the next day from the hotel to the port!!!

i'm not sure if their airport shuttle is 24 hours. you may want to ask.

This is also where we stayed pre and post cruise. They even offered a shuttle to downtown (if your plans change and allow time to see dowtown Barcelona).

tinkerbelltwins 01-27-2012 06:20 AM

I've got another question if you all don't mind my jumping in here. Tell me about the seating times for dinner. I usually book first seating because of the kids (they will be nine at sail time) but I'm wondering if we'd be missing lots of meals or at least getting to dinner late because of the port excursions. Should I switch to second seating?

wen-tom 01-27-2012 06:36 AM

last year, many of the port excursions were half days so I guess it depends on what you would be doing.
In most cases, there was no rush getting back from excursions for main seating.
Late seating went on sometimes until almost 10pm and so It would also depend on how your girls would be at that time of night.

tinkerbelltwins 01-27-2012 07:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wen-tom (Post 43860864)
last year, many of the port excursions were half days so I guess it depends on what you would be doing.
In most cases, there was no rush getting back from excursions for main seating.
Late seating went on sometimes until almost 10pm and so It would also depend on how your girls would be at that time of night.

Thanks for the advice -- looks like we will stick with first seating as we are early birds! There's no way our children can keep their eyes open that late at the dinner table.:cloud9:

Cousin Orville 01-27-2012 07:29 AM

We had early dining in the med, and it was not a problem. Most excursions or private tours you might do are done mid afternoon. On days with all day tours they are very accommodating for you to switch to late dining that night as needed. I remember this happening a couple of yrs ago on the Baltic in Berlin and it might have been the case for those who went all the way into Florence on the Med. With most ports it's not an issue.

nzdisneymom 01-27-2012 07:45 AM

We'll be looking for a hotel in BCN that will accommodate the four of us in a single room. When we went in 2007, we booked the air/hotel portion through DCL late and all of their available accommodations for 4 in a room were long gone - so our price doubled for hotel. But if we end up having to do two rooms, well, I guess that's what we'll do.

As for the dining question, we had main seating in 2007 and found that on the days that the ship was in port later, they adjusted the seating time... so instead of seating at 6 p.m., they moved it to 6:30. We found the same thing on the Baltic - or if the time didn't change, they would still seat you later than seating time (it's like they knew what excursions you were booked on and that you'd be late getting back). We also found that on both the Med and Baltic that dress was a lot more casual - they were absolutely happy to seat and feed you in the dining room even if you literally got on the ship, washed your hands, and came on in straight from your excursion. It was a completely different vibe than on the Caribbean cruises we've done. We also found that being a longer cruise, dining seemed so much more relaxed.

gotomu212 01-27-2012 09:46 AM

Here's my advice on #2 and not getting a hotel for the first morning. I've had to travel to Europe numerous times and the fastest way to get regulated to the new time is not to sleep (no, I'm serious) at least not right away.

Chances are you will catch a few hours of sleep on the plane- (not great quality sleep but a few hours and anyone who's had a baby in the house or late night term paper knows that it is feasible to survive for a little while on a few hours).

By the time you get your luggage and get through customs on those 8 am arrivals it's at least 10. Drop the luggage at the hotel so they know you are in town and would love for your room to be ready early if possible.

Then keep moving (think like a shark). If you can stay awake until 3 or 4 in the afternoon, you will be golden. The key for my family is to walk so we do our own little walkabouts in the historical section of whatever town we're in. You aren't looking to experience the museums, just get some fresh air, work out those cramped muscles, and experience some of the city through osmosis.

Then around 3:30 we eat a little and back to the hotel for our nap- only the nap turns into a full nights sleep since we had such limited sleep on the plane. When we wake up, we see the sunrise, and get an early morning city experience that few tourist see, PLUS BONUS jet lag is completely gone and we aren't tired at all the rest of the trip.

European hotels are expensive and we can't justify the cost just to have our room ready 4 hours before we would otherwise get it.

thinkoflaura 01-27-2012 10:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gotomu212 (Post 43862234)
By the time you get your luggage and get through customs on those 8 am arrivals it's at least 10. Drop the luggage at the hotel so they know you are in town and would love for your room to be ready early if possible.

omg - i misread the OP and thought your flight gets in AT 2:30am local time. if you get in at 8:30am local time, then i absolutely do NOT recommend you get the room an extra day.

if you can stay up and moving til night time, great! otherwise, perhaps you can get to the hotel, have brunch, check in, take a nap (2 hours MAX - set a wake up call!) and then try to stay up til your typical bedtime.

bottom line- as soon as you land, you have to totally erase the "x:xx MY TIME" thoughts from your head and act as if their time is your time.

Candy Apple 01-27-2012 10:22 AM

On the 2010 WTBA, our flight arrived around 8:30AM Barcelona time. This is 2:30AM our time, but we stayed awake the whole day. This really helped us adjust to the new time. It was hard when we got to our stateroom after lunch to dump our carryons and bring in the luggage. DS13 (12 at the time) laid down on the bed to try to go to sleep. We literally dragged him out of the stateroom and up on deck. Nothing like fresh air to keep you awake. Then, we had muster drill and sail away party. Sail away party is a great energy booster! We had early dining and then went to bed. The next day we were adjusted to the new time, although a bit tired due to very poor sleep on the plane.

I had been planning on a bit more sleep time on the plane than we got. Our flight left Altanta around 6PM, so I was thinking we'd eat dinner around 7 and try to sleep by 8/9. The kids normal bedtime was 8:30. Well, dinner service didn't begin until after 8! Something to keep in mind if you have little ones. So, here I was eating dinner at 8:30 at night (we usually eat at 6), and thinking it was already 2:30 in the morning Barcelona time! We finally were ready for "bed" around 10PM (4AM Barcelona time) by the time dinner service was over. Then, they woke us up at 7AM for breakfast, in anticipation of our 8:30 AM arrival.

We will do things the same way for our Med with Greece cruise, but at least I know to expect very little sleep time on the plane.

sayhello 01-27-2012 10:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gotomu212 (Post 43862234)
Here's my advice on #2 and not getting a hotel for the first morning. I've had to travel to Europe numerous times and the fastest way to get regulated to the new time is not to sleep (no, I'm serious) at least not right away.

Chances are you will catch a few hours of sleep on the plane- (not great quality sleep but a few hours and anyone who's had a baby in the house or late night term paper knows that it is feasible to survive for a little while on a few hours).

By the time you get your luggage and get through customs on those 8 am arrivals it's at least 10. Drop the luggage at the hotel so they know you are in town and would love for your room to be ready early if possible.

Then keep moving (think like a shark). If you can stay awake until 3 or 4 in the afternoon, you will be golden. The key for my family is to walk so we do our own little walkabouts in the historical section of whatever town we're in. You aren't looking to experience the museums, just get some fresh air, work out those cramped muscles, and experience some of the city through osmosis.

Then around 3:30 we eat a little and back to the hotel for our nap- only the nap turns into a full nights sleep since we had such limited sleep on the plane. When we wake up, we see the sunrise, and get an early morning city experience that few tourist see, PLUS BONUS jet lag is completely gone and we aren't tired at all the rest of the trip.

European hotels are expensive and we can't justify the cost just to have our room ready 4 hours before we would otherwise get it.

I totally agree with this. This is how I did it in 2010 in Barcelona, and it worked really well. I faded mid-afternoon, took a bit of a nap, then went back out & ate and went to see the Magic Fountain. I was able to stay awake until late evening, slept well that night, and woke up in plenty of time to eat, get ready, and head over to the ship. Helped tremendously to get over the jet lag.

Sayhello

DisneyDee27 01-27-2012 10:48 AM

Thanks for the advice....
Dee pirate:


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