Med Cruisers...Let's Discuss Planning!(Updated Tour Info, Links & BCN Info on Page 1)
The 2013 Med cruises are almost over :sad: Since there is so much amazing information in this thread and in the TRs, I compiled links to the info below. Feel free to let me know if I'm missing anything. This first page is a work in progress.
Barcelona Pre-cruise Hotel Thread/Recommendations
Helpful Discussion on Med Ports for Mobility Challenged Folks
Interesting Discussion re ABD v Private Med Excursions
Recommended/Referenced Barcelona Transfer Companies
Barcelona Day Tours
Barcelona Airport Transfers
AeroBus BCN (only 5.9E one way ticket)
Sagrada Familia tickets online
Bus Turistic HOHO (Blue Bus)
Grayline HOHO (Red Bus)
Barcelona Cathedral (free in mornings, small charge in the afternoon)
Parc Guell (free prior to Oct 25, 2013, fee for admission after Oct 25, 2013)
Fat Tire Bike Tours
Runner Bean *Free* Walking Tours Barcelona (Tips Accepted)
Discover Walks *Free* Walking Tours Barcelona (Tips Accepted)
Ingrid from Kultours
***Please PM me if you have recommendations or more info***
La Spezia (Florence/Pisa)
Art Viva (link to Rick Steve's discount page)
Florence Cooking Classes
Your Tour In Italy
Rome in Limo
Website to Purchase Pisa Tower tickets
Informational Website on Cinque Terre
Website for Ferry Company w/Service to Cinque Terre
Status of Cinque Terre Trails
Lucca (Wiki Travel)
Lucca With Kids" (A Great Read)
Lucca, Beautifully Preserved (Rick Steves Short Clip)
Recommended touring/transfer/guide companies
Rome in Limo
Rudy's Touring Service
Walks of Italy**
Your Tour In Italy
Can't Be Missed Tours
**Rick Steves discounts available
Website to Purchase Colosseum tickets (and tickets to Underground Tour)
Website to Purchase Vatican tickets
Rome Gladiator School for Kids
Blog Description of Gladiator School
Rome ToolKit's detailed summary of the cruise port
Heatherbelle's Explanation for Rome On Your Own (with itinerary)
Tom's Port Guide Rome
Your Tour In Italy
Rome in Limo
Walks of Italy**
Can't Be Missed Tours
Tom's Port Guide Naples/Sorrento
Tom's Port Guide to Venice (PDF)
Palazzo Ducale's Link to Secret Itineraries Tour
Doge's Palace website link to different tickets & museum passes
Walks of Italy's Secret Itineraries Tour
Tom's Port Guide to Mykonos
Thndrmatt's summary of DIY at all ports
Celestine's Recap of DIY at all ports
7-Night Med Trip Reports
Disney Helen's TR
Disney Mam's TR
Lilpooh108's Bathroom roundup for 7 night Med
Abayaflowers' TR (mostly DIY)
Kikids' TR (mostly DIY)
RuaDisneyfan2's Summary (used Rome in Limo for all 3 Italian Ports)
Debsters41's Summary recap
12-Night Med Trip Reports
Deb in IA's TR
Gotomu212's EBTA TR
OK, ok. I know lot of people have pre-trip reports, planning reports, etc. I can't go through them all :laughing:! So I'm looking for a few quick tips for summer 2013 Med cruisers like me!
We are on the June 1, 2013 cruise and so I've got to finalize our plans very very soon. Where are you guys all in the process? We all have recommendations of tour guides to use, but what about tour companies to AVOID?
I ask because I've been communicating with a certain company and they asked me to post a tripadvisor review before I've even taken the tour, you know, about our "booking process." Uh, no thanks. I figure tips like these will help us avoid pitfalls, etc.
Here are my questions.
1) Got all your flights booked? Inter-Europe flights booked? Where do you plan on storing your stuff before/after the cruise? We have a late flight out of BCN to CDG. What do we do w/luggage? How is EasyJet at BCN? Crowded, well managed, etc?
2) My family has an odd number of 9 people. We can't save money by booking a minivan with a private tour company, and every company I've contacted wants to put us on a minibus (thereby eliminating any savings).
What to do? Just book through Disney? Does Disney waste alot of time? I hate waiting around on the ship for people to disembark w/the Disney Excursion. Precious time wasted. Will it be bad to just book through Disney?
3) Any family friendly restaurant recommendations in any of our Med port cities, or for London, Barcelona and Paris? We have 7 adults, 1 infant, 1 toddler. We've done Europe as adults, but never with kids. We will be a hassle to seat, I'm guessing. My days of "get up and go" are over :lmao:
4) Any typical tourist things to watch out for w/kids? Touring w/kids is very different than touring with adults. Any places that surprisingly don't allow strollers? Any weird things I should know about before I get there (to do with kids)?
5) How do I manage a 12 month old and a 4 YO? Double stroller (prob not)? 1 stroller and 1 baby carrier? Ask DH to wear a hiking carrier and let 4YO walk? I'm considering jet lag, and might just bring 2 $15 umbrella strollers and throwing 1 away if it gets to burdensome.
6) How much should the cab fare be from Barcelona central to the port?
What do you plan on doing? Help! Thanks everyone! I'm hoping to get a good discussion going.
P.S. I have been checking Cruise Critic, but I love my DIS'ers. It's a familiar place here. Let's chat.
Traveling with kids is easy once you decide to chuck a traditional schedule out the window, go with the flow, and let them nap in the stroller. I would also suggest identifying a few big things you'd like to see, and be comfortable with the idea of not seeing everything. You are right, traveling with kids is different, but you can still "get up and go" at a different pace. Some things can be planned with children's activity in mind. For example, there is a lovely little park a block away from Sagrada Familia where your oldest can play, the little one can nap, you or someone else can be with them while others tour the Cathedral. If you go towards the end of the day when lines are shortest, perhaps you can tag team--someone else tours while you relax in the park with the kids, then they take over for you. I would probably save museums for another trip and focus on things that keep you outside (very easy to do in all the cities you mentioned!).
I think your idea of one throw away stroller is great. That and a baby carrier will get you through with minimal hassle. Double strollers are a huge pain in the neck, to travel with and to use in highly trafficked tourist areas.
I'll think of some more and post later. I'm excited too, but my kids are older now and I'm in a different mode as far as planning is concerned. It's going to be great, whatever you do, don't worry. You'll have so much fun!!!
Hi :wave2: I know we're on the same cruise meet but thought I'd contribute anyways! Are you on the fb page? I know there's been some discussion there.
I always over budget for everything so have put in 50 euros for our airport taxi BCN to our hotel. I'm sure I'd read someone paying around 40 euros but could be wrong.
I'd avoid taking a double stroller if you can, it will be a hassle particularly for visiting busy cities.
It's our first cruise so I'm not much help with those tips and we're from the UK so not the same travel issues but if you want any advice around Paris I'd be happy to help as we've been a few times :goodvibes
Do you have any restaurant recs for London? My DD has allergies, and I've checked out all the menus already for London for our itinerary. Our intent is to go to pretty boring restaurants---Pizza Express, Prezzo, Wagamama since I can peruse menus ahead of time. I've eaten at these places before and its not terribly exciting. Any family friendly recommendations? Thanks.
Hi there .. Another from the UK here and we've done 2 Med cruises with DCL already and are going again this year.
We used a company in Rome called www.yourtourinitaly.com. They were recommended by some DVC staff we spoke to after their Med cruise in 2010. We had 7 seat mini vans, but I know they have a variety of vehicles at their disposal. They were absolutely fantastic ... We ended up with 42 people on our tour (all from the Dibb, the UK version of the Dis).
Can't help with child friendly places as I don't have any, but I can tell you that I was soooooo pleased I booked a private tour of Rome with that company as opposed to going with DCL. Our company had smaller vehicles so could get right into the city limits .. The DCL people were on buses and had to walk an awful lot in 100 degree heat as their vehicles were not allowed into the city. We were dropped off at the door to the attractions ... Brilliant.
Ps .. I don't have a FB account either!!! Gave it up about 3 months ago and love not being on it!!
I'm subbing to this! We're on your cruise and I think we've done next to no planning :rotfl2:
Our girls are going to be almost nine when we sail. We're coming over on the EBTA and then doing the first Med. A few of our family are meeting us in Barcelona for the Med portion.
For flights we're doing Disney Air. They'll fly us to Galveston and then home from Barcelona, so I don't know anything about doing the air on one's own.
I think we might just do Disney excursions. That's assuming they are still available when our booking window opens.
Some of our family members (aunt, uncle, mom and dad) are going to do excursions on their own and are thinking of using www.romeinlimo.com. They want to see it all and go, go, go. While that sounds fun, I don't think it would be a fun way to do it with two nine year olds.
We're going to come at this as a fun family vacation in a lovely local.
Ohhhhhh I wanna do the EBTA sooooooo bad bu we've already committed to doing London and Barcelona prior to the cruise.
Did u get the same cabin and everything?
If you look at my siggie, there is a link to my PTR. In post #1 there are links to a bunch of threads for planning. HTH.
The only thing you have to be wary of is pickpockets. They are in every major tourist city of course, but because you tend to relax on the train and put your bags down, it seems a little more common here.
Saying that, none of our friends (nearly 50 of them) were troubled by anyone or anything in Pompeii. They were careful with their bags and ensured all of their belongings were in sight at all times.
My niece and nephew climbed Mt Vesuvius ... Not sure you want to do that with the littlies though!!!
I would opt for the private tour every day. As I said in my previous post ... The DCL buses were not allowed inside the city walls so everyone got dropped off outside and had to walk in. Each stop was about a 10 min walk apparently .. Walking in 100 degrees with children ..no thanks!
The smaller vehicles were able to go right to the doors which was Godsend ... They were all air conditioned and it was a relief to get back inside them believe me! Our drivers had bottles of bottles of water for us all and we stopped for lunch in one of their local pizzerias .. Great food, great service and it was where the local Police had their lunch so we knew we'd be ok!
One thing our tour company did was pre-purchase tickets to some of the attractions .. For the Colosseum, we had to queue for 10 mins to get the tickets, then we were straight in .. We'd all paid a little extra for a guide as there were so many of us, he was excellent. We also pre-purchased tickets for the Vatican .. Our driver took me to a little tiny ticket shop that you'd never find as a tourist ... Paid the money, got our tickets and on our way again. No queuing for the Vatican.
I'll be back with the Pompeii details, hold fire.
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