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Old 06-10-2010, 12:40 PM   #1
Disneyfalcon
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First Med Cruise - Our excellent adventure!

11 nights in the Mediterranean!! With the Mouse!!

I got a last minute special too great to pass up! Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love Disney cruises. This was my fifth. 4 of which have been in the last 15 months. When this deal came out, I was scrambling to make it work.

Dh couldn’t get off work for two weeks, but he was beyond sweet and told me to go ahead! I knew the kids would love it too, but there was no way Ds15 could miss two weeks of high school. Dd12 however, no problem! I talked to Ds who insisted he could go at first. After a week passed, I decided to talk to him again.

The conversation went like this –

“So, about this cruise…” – Me
“Mmhmm” – Him
“You know there’s no way you can miss two weeks of school, don’t you?” –Me
“Yeah, I know.” – Him
“So you won’t be bitter if I go?” – Me, sounding hopeful
“No, I guess not.” – Him
“Would you be bitter if I took your sister?” – Me
After an eternal silence – “No, but you’re going to have to buy me off.” – Him (obviously my child)

Now, who else to bring? My parents were tempted, but Mom felt like it was someone else’s turn since she took advantage of the last travel agent special cruise with me. I started talking to friends, and one, Debbie, didn’t hesitate, she was in! She didn’t mind taking her dd14 out of school for this kind of opportunity. And bonus, she has a ds17 who could commiserate with my ds15 while we were gone. We talked to the girl’s teachers and got the green light. Woo hoo!

My parents were still toying around with going. I checked the military specials and there was a great one. They got a category 5, verandah, for an 11 night cruise for $2300. Total. For two people. Pretty amazing!
I realized my in-laws wouldn’t want to pass that up either, so they booked a verandah too.

Here we all are. These photos are your teasers for different parts of the trip!

Dd and I:


Debbie and her dd:


My parents:


My inlaws:



The scene was set, we were ready to plan! And we only had about 6 weeks to do it!

About three weeks before the cruise, we got our room assignment. A verandah!! I couldn’t believe it! With all of my cruises, we’d never splurged for one before. We’ve always been happy enough with our portholes. I was crazy excited to try a verandah, though. What a perfect cruise to have one on!

About a week before we left, the Icelandic volcano started to erupt, shutting down European airspace for days. We were flying directly into Barcelona, which thankfully wasn’t immediately shut down. I was pretty worried we weren’t going to make it, and incredibly thankful we purchased trip insurance. I DID NOT want to use it, but it sure provided some piece of mind.

I have to tell you, of all the reasons I thought we might have to use our trip insurance, illness, flight delays, etc., a volcano in Iceland never crossed my mind!

I had also devised about 13 alternate plans to get there, including – flying into Madrid if it was still open, flying anywhere in Europe we could get to, flying into Morocco and taking the train/ferry/train to Barcelona, and meeting the cruise at any port we could get to.

Well, thankfully, about two days before we left, everything started to open again. Woo hoo, indeed!

After several days spent researching ports and excursions, little bit of shopping, and lots of packing, the big day had finally arrived!
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Old 06-10-2010, 12:48 PM   #2
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Thursday, April 22nd, Day 1 – Crazy long travel day to Barcelona

Our flight left at 6 am, so we left the house at 4. We were excited so it wasn’t too hard to wake up. We flew from Colorado Springs to Dallas, to JFK, then finally to Barcelona. Our Barcelona flight was delayed about an hour. It was an 8 hour flight, and to adjust to the time change, we really needed to sleep.

For some reasons I don’t understand, dinner wasn’t served until we’d been in the air about 2 ½ hours. It was 9:15! 9:15? Not Barcelona time, NYC time. That seriously cut in to our sleeping time. There were some movies to watch, but they seemed like really odd choices. Star Trek? Now, I loved that movie as much as the next person, I’ve seen it 3 times and I’ll admit, I watched it again. But that movie has been on DVD for months! What happened to new movies on flights?

I managed to get about 4 hours of sleep, off and on.
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Old 06-10-2010, 12:50 PM   #3
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Friday, April 23rd, Day 2 – Barcelona!

Well, we made it! We were in Spain. After we breezed through customs, we went to wait for our bags. We waited and waited. Our bags took an hour and a half! Mercy! I wasn’t too stressed though. I was just relieved we were there.

We didn’t take Disney transfers, but it was sure exciting to see them waving those Mickey gloves in the airport for the people that did!

We had a shuttle reserved and it was waiting for us. On the ride to the hotel, we saw the Magic in port, and we all cheered. I love that ship. It just makes me happy.

Our first night there we were staying in a brand new hotel that had only been open a few weeks. It had a great rate, and was one of the few hotels we found that would sleep 4 people in a room. It was called Hotel Novotel Barcelona City. It was very modern and nice.

Here's the lobby:



We dropped off our bags in our rooms, and headed out for the day. We didn’t want to stay in the room too long, in case the beds seduced us.:lol:

We walked across the street to a mall for an early lunch. The girls and I ended up eating at a Subway. How very American of us.



After that we walked to the nearest metro stop and rode to Sagrada Famalia. Barcelona’s metro was great. Easy to use, clean and inexpensive.
Sagrada Famalia was crazy. When we got up to street level, we turned around and whoa! There she was. Ginormous! Still under construction. Has been for years and years, will be for 50+ more. It was beautiful, nonetheless.





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Old 06-10-2010, 12:51 PM   #4
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Next we rode to the closest stop to Park Guell. Park Guell was quite a hike from the metro stop. Mostly uphill. Here's mom and mil taking a break:



But everyone made it, and we were rewarded with some gorgeous city views and a fascinating park.















After this we had planned on going to the Magic Fountains, but we were exhausted from the lack of sleep and amount of walking we had done. We went back to the hotel, stopping at Burger King on the way for dinner () in our room.

Everyone in my room started drifting off around 6:00. I tried to stay up until 7:30, but I was gone by 6:45.

Tomorrow we board the Magic!
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Old 06-10-2010, 01:40 PM   #5
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Great pictures and report!
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Old 06-10-2010, 03:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redeemed&Loved View Post
Great pictures and report!
Thanks for reading!
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Old 06-21-2010, 06:46 PM   #7
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:06 PM   #8
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Can we convince you to do an Alaskan cruise report? This was great
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Old 03-30-2013, 07:34 AM   #9
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Can we convince you to do an Alaskan cruise report? This was great
Thanks, Meajuly! I wrote one on another board. If you're interested, PM me and I'll send it to you.
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Old 04-11-2013, 11:03 AM   #10
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We're taking the Med cruise in August 2013. We were going to just swallow hard and pay for the DCL excursions, but your excellent report has given me the courage to go DIY. I'm combing through all the trip reports and info I can. Thanks!
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Old 04-11-2013, 12:44 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texasgirl29 View Post
We're taking the Med cruise in August 2013. We were going to just swallow hard and pay for the DCL excursions, but your excellent report has given me the courage to go DIY. I'm combing through all the trip reports and info I can. Thanks!
JoAnn
I'm glad I could help, JoAnn! We are mostly going it on our own again in June this year!
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Old 04-12-2013, 06:59 AM   #12
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texasgirl29 - It's a lot more work but I encourage you to either do private shore excursions or plan things on your own. We went in Aug 2011 and did 1 day on our own, 2 days with Romeinlimo and 1 excursion through Disney. Disney's was fine but it was by far the least favorite day for us. I highly recommend romeinlimo. For our family of 4, it was about $100 more in total than doing a Disney excursion and both days were amazing! Cruisecritic.com also has a lot of good planning info on their message boards under "Ports of Call".
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Old 04-13-2013, 07:00 AM   #13
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I've just been reading this a second time as we head off to the Med again this summer. I hope your going to another report on this years trip, so I can get lots more tips for my next adventure in July.
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Old 04-13-2013, 08:00 AM   #14
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I've just been reading this a second time as we head off to the Med again this summer. I hope your going to another report on this years trip, so I can get lots more tips for my next adventure in July.
Thank you for reading heatherbelle! I will definitely write one. Most of my trip reports are on another board but someone from this cruise had asked me to cut and paste it over here to, so I did. I'm not a big fan of people who cut and paste the exact same trip report on multiple forums, but if it will help people with planning I will try to remember to do it this time too!
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Old 06-10-2013, 10:31 AM   #15
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Over 3 yrs later and all I can say is thank you for this report! What a fabulous trip! I was trying to decide on the Alaska 9 nighter or a Med trip for next year (Alaska won out with my 4yo DS vote) but the Med is sooooo on my radar as well, though likely not until 2015 I sure hope your next trip will have a report that I can find. I've just not wanted to work today, Monday, and decided to randomly read trip reports and found yours! YEAH! I hope you will post here when you get your next one up

On that note I will pm you these questions as well in case you can't post the info here. But I see you rented your lens. I would LOVE to do that for our Alaska trip. Where did you do this? Some place local or do you know of somewhere online who does the same thing? Also, I'd love to see your TR of Alaska, could I please have the link!!!

Thanks. Can't wait to see the next trip!
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