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Old 06-18-2007, 11:13 PM   #1
grizbuzz
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Cool 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!

PRE-CRUISE TRAVELS:
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:
http://picasaweb.google.com/Grinold/London

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:
http://picasaweb.google.com/Grinold/Paris

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

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...
http://picasaweb.google.com/Grinold/DisneyCruise
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Old 06-18-2007, 11:34 PM   #2
Jill72
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Good trippie so far - keep it coming!

PS - great looking family - your boys are so handsome! And in their tuxes.....forgetaboutit!
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Old 06-19-2007, 06:27 AM   #3
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Old 06-19-2007, 07:10 AM   #4
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Hi grizbuzz

What a lovely photos of boys. Looking like the boys had a fabulous times.

I was surprised to hear that no upgraded left.

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Old 06-21-2007, 03:12 PM   #5
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bump

Hi Jen - just bumping you back up the board as I want to see what you all got up to on 'our' cruise !!
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Old 06-21-2007, 03:32 PM   #6
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So glad you enjoyed your trip.
Can't wait for more
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Med cruise 2007 - details review & pictures of Barcelona and boarding the magic*
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Old 06-22-2007, 11:45 AM   #7
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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.
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Old 06-22-2007, 11:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waste,Please! View Post
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. 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...
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Old 06-22-2007, 04:28 PM   #9
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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.
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Old 06-22-2007, 06:16 PM   #10
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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.

SICILY
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...
http://picasaweb.google.com/Grinold/MondelloBeachSicily

NAPLES
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 . 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
http://picasaweb.google.com/Grinold/Capri

OLBIA
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
http://picasaweb.google.com/Grinold/...aCostaSmeralda

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

LA SPEZIA
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:
http://picasaweb.google.com/Grinold/...erreMonterosso

MARSEILLES
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.

For pics:
http://picasaweb.google.com/Grinold/Marseilles

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.

VILLEFRANCHE:
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...
http://picasaweb.google.com/Grinold/Villefranche

And Monte Carlo...
http://picasaweb.google.com/Grinold/MonteCarlo

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.
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Old 06-23-2007, 12:24 AM   #11
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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
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