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Old 04-23-2013, 12:00 PM   #1
texasgirl29
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Planning a HOT time in the Mediterranean August 2013

I admit I've never heard of a entire category dedicated to pre-trip reports but seems like a good idea... a journal of sorts, if you will. So, here's mine:

We are booked on the Disney Magic, sailing from Barcelona on August 10, 2013.

We are:
JoAnn -- me!
Paul -- husband who just says, "uh huh," to my planning (which is why I'm here with all of you).
Stephanie -- 16 year old daughter, will be distressed to hear she cannot take two outfits for each day
Rachel -- 13 year old daughter, looking forward to going to the Edge again

Dave -- father in law, very experienced cruiser, generously treating everyone to the cruise
Norene -- mother in law, also experience cruiser, happy to go along with whatever anyone else wants to do
Brian -- brother in law with some cognitive and mobility issues but loves to eat and swim and enjoys the characters.

The four of us will leave Texas on August 6 for the red-eye to Barcelona, staying at the TRYO Apolo Hotel http://www.tryphotels.com/en/tryp-ap...ona-spain.html for three nights prior to the cruise. The inlaws are coming from California -- it is a second DCL Med cruise for Dave and Norene.

Here's what I'm doing: Reading up on Barcelona. Must sees: Sagrada Familia, La Rambla, Guell Park (http://www.parkguell.es/en/portada) -- and a lot of "want to see" on the list. Not sure if Montserrat is a "must see" or a "want to see" http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.c...rat-spain.html

Watching youtube videos, reading Rick Steves' Barcelona guide book and Fodor's illustrated Barcelona guide book. Checking out documentaries on Amazon Prime.


The trip report has begun! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3161128
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Star Princess April 1997 - Eastern Caribbean
Disney Magic August 2005 - Mexican Riviera
Island Princess December 2009 - Panama Canal
Island Princess July 2011 - Alaska
Disney Fantasy June 2012 - Eastern Caribbean
Disney Magic August 2013 - Mediterranean

Magic in the Mediterranean trip report http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3161128

Last edited by texasgirl29; 08-21-2013 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:23 PM   #2
texasgirl29
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Villefranche August 12

We are planning to meet Ingrid, who came highly recommended on the cruisecritic board:

Here's her description in an email to me:

We will start the tour with a panoramic drive along the beautiful lower coastal road along the coast in the direction of Nice where we will visit the beautiful Old Town with its wonderful flower, fruit, vegetable and speciality market. We will take a walk together through the picturesque old town streets and you will also have the possibility to try some of the local specialities.

From Nice, we will drive to St Paul in the back-country of the Riviera. St Paul is one of the most beautiful villages in France. It is a center of art and artists, the village is not only gorgeous but also interesting for its wonderful handcraft.

From St Paul, we will drive to the opposite side of the French Riviera where we will visit the gorgeous hill-village of Eze. You will certainly enjoy the walk through the steep and charming alleys of this extraordinary medieval village that overlooks the entire coast.

On our way back to Villefranche, we will drive on the middle and lower coastal road and do some breathtaking photo-stops along the way.

For such a tour of approx. 7-8 hours my rate for 7 passengers is 500 €. This rate includes my driving and guiding services plus all parking and toll fees. As a licensed guide, I am not only driving you around and dropping you off, but will come with you in order to show and explain you all places.
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Star Princess April 1997 - Eastern Caribbean
Disney Magic August 2005 - Mexican Riviera
Island Princess December 2009 - Panama Canal
Island Princess July 2011 - Alaska
Disney Fantasy June 2012 - Eastern Caribbean
Disney Magic August 2013 - Mediterranean

Magic in the Mediterranean trip report http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3161128
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Old 04-23-2013, 04:17 PM   #3
texasgirl29
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La Spezia August 13

I've read over and over that Pisa is no big deal and we would be better served to go to Florence.

But we're headed for the famous Leaning Tower.

Why? You ask. Well, I'd love to see Florence, but heck, it's the LEANING TOWER OF PISA! It's like going to NYC and not seeing the Empire State Building, or Parish and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. Or Waco and not seeing the Dr Pepper Museum...

Besides, I think our girls will have plenty of opportunity to see churches and statues and artwork in Rome. I know they will be excited to send back those iPhone photos of themselves holding up the tower.

I downloaded the Livorno & La Spezia (Florence/Pisa) Port Guide from www.tomsportguides.com. We will take the train on our own. I need to do a lot more research to see what else is available in Pisa but I can find some yummy pizza and gelato.
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Star Princess April 1997 - Eastern Caribbean
Disney Magic August 2005 - Mexican Riviera
Island Princess December 2009 - Panama Canal
Island Princess July 2011 - Alaska
Disney Fantasy June 2012 - Eastern Caribbean
Disney Magic August 2013 - Mediterranean

Magic in the Mediterranean trip report http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3161128
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:07 PM   #4
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Tours booked with CantBeMissedTours.com for Rome/Vatican and Naples/Pompeii/Amalfi Coast.
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Star Princess April 1997 - Eastern Caribbean
Disney Magic August 2005 - Mexican Riviera
Island Princess December 2009 - Panama Canal
Island Princess July 2011 - Alaska
Disney Fantasy June 2012 - Eastern Caribbean
Disney Magic August 2013 - Mediterranean

Magic in the Mediterranean trip report http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3161128
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:18 AM   #5
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My new Keens Whisper sandals came in on Monday. I've been walking around in them in the house to decide if I like them or not and need to return them to zappos. I'm obsessing over comfortable walking shoes for touring in the Med this summer.

Not sure I'm in love with them, but I'm not really a shoe person....
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Star Princess April 1997 - Eastern Caribbean
Disney Magic August 2005 - Mexican Riviera
Island Princess December 2009 - Panama Canal
Island Princess July 2011 - Alaska
Disney Fantasy June 2012 - Eastern Caribbean
Disney Magic August 2013 - Mediterranean

Magic in the Mediterranean trip report http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3161128
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:07 AM   #6
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After wearing my new Keens for two days, they are not going on the trip. Hate the fact I spent so much on them and now I'm back to square one.

Today our booking window opened and I booked brunch at Palo for Dh and me on the second sea day. We have had dinner there twice but never brunch.

An app for sagrada familia in Barcelona presented itself on my iPhone. Yes, just showed up and suggested I download it. Glad I did, absolutely gorgeous virtual tour of the interior.
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Star Princess April 1997 - Eastern Caribbean
Disney Magic August 2005 - Mexican Riviera
Island Princess December 2009 - Panama Canal
Island Princess July 2011 - Alaska
Disney Fantasy June 2012 - Eastern Caribbean
Disney Magic August 2013 - Mediterranean

Magic in the Mediterranean trip report http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3161128
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Old 05-13-2013, 06:11 PM   #7
jennorthernireland
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Hi! I'm enjoying reading about your planning for your trip! My family will be on the Magic the week after you and I am really starting to try and plan everything, so it is great to get another perspective about what to consider.
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Old 05-15-2013, 04:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennorthernireland View Post
Hi! I'm enjoying reading about your planning for your trip! My family will be on the Magic the week after you and I am really starting to try and plan everything, so it is great to get another perspective about what to consider.
Thanks, Jenny! Since I'm driving my family crazy with my planning, I only have this forum to talk to!

On the shoe front, bought a pair of Nike running shoes. Not that I plan on running, but if they are good for running, they ought to be good for walking, right? I was really hoping to love the Keens I bought but they hurt my feet after two days of wearing them, so it's back to sneakers.

I asked for a new carry-on suitcase for Mother's Day and am now the proud owner of an LL Bean suitcase:


And since I'm obsessed with packing light, I spent some time today looking at youtube videos about packing. I decided to buy some packing cubes to go with my nice new red suitcase.


I'm planning to take capri pants, a variety of colorful t-shirts, two pair of shoes, a bathing suit, underwear and minimal toiletries.

Since we'll be in Barcelona three days before and two days afterwards, I plan to wash at least once. Actually, you meet some fun people in the laundry room!

Packing tips, anyone?

JoAnn
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Star Princess April 1997 - Eastern Caribbean
Disney Magic August 2005 - Mexican Riviera
Island Princess December 2009 - Panama Canal
Island Princess July 2011 - Alaska
Disney Fantasy June 2012 - Eastern Caribbean
Disney Magic August 2013 - Mediterranean

Magic in the Mediterranean trip report http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3161128
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Old 05-20-2013, 03:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texasgirl29 View Post
Thanks, Jenny! Since I'm driving my family crazy with my planning, I only have this forum to talk to!

On the shoe front, bought a pair of Nike running shoes. Not that I plan on running, but if they are good for running, they ought to be good for walking, right? I was really hoping to love the Keens I bought but they hurt my feet after two days of wearing them, so it's back to sneakers.

I asked for a new carry-on suitcase for Mother's Day and am now the proud owner of an LL Bean suitcase:


And since I'm obsessed with packing light, I spent some time today looking at youtube videos about packing. I decided to buy some packing cubes to go with my nice new red suitcase.


I'm planning to take capri pants, a variety of colorful t-shirts, two pair of shoes, a bathing suit, underwear and minimal toiletries.

Since we'll be in Barcelona three days before and two days afterwards, I plan to wash at least once. Actually, you meet some fun people in the laundry room!

Packing tips, anyone?

JoAnn
I am currently obsessed with what shoes I will bring with me - sad, I know! I don't want my suitcases to be heavy, but I like to have a few choices. My Converse sneakers are the most comfortable shoes I own, so I know they would be the best choice if I don't want to limp my way around Barcelona, but I'm not sure they are the prettiest! I have been on the lookout for a pair of slightly more lady like comfy shoes to bring too and I'm not having the best of luck. They all seem to be too Granny-like or not supportive enough. I'm sure I will find something!

I'm definitely going with the idea of doing laundry at least once in the trip. Over-packing is a bad habit of mine and my husband would be delighted if he didn't have to lug around massive suitcases for a change. I'm going to google packing cubes - I have never used them before - thanks for the tip!
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Old 05-20-2013, 03:50 PM   #10
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PS -love your new suitcase!
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Old 05-20-2013, 04:03 PM   #11
texasgirl29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennorthernireland View Post
I'm going to google packing cubes - I have never used them before - thanks for the tip!
The packing cubes arrived on Saturday -- they were from ebags.com ($20 and change for a variety pack of one large, one med and one small). Rick Steves has some, too, as well as LLBean and all the usual suspects. I liked the fancy paisley print from ebags. Free shipping, too.

I think I even impressed my husband and he's getting some.

Try searching on youtube and you'll see lots of packing tips with and without packing cubes.

Shoes? Well, there seems to be no perfect answer. Looks like Nikes for walking around the cities, sandals/flip flops for sea days. I'm on the hunt for an inexpensive pair of flats for dress up -- preferably ones that fold.

Next will be the quest for a new formal-ish outfit. Really, this is the only occasion I have to wear anything formal, so I'm looking to go very cheap... I'll be checking thrift stores and discount stores for something that's not too bulky. I have a black long knit but I've worn it on the last two cruises... need to find something different.
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Star Princess April 1997 - Eastern Caribbean
Disney Magic August 2005 - Mexican Riviera
Island Princess December 2009 - Panama Canal
Island Princess July 2011 - Alaska
Disney Fantasy June 2012 - Eastern Caribbean
Disney Magic August 2013 - Mediterranean

Magic in the Mediterranean trip report http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3161128
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Old 05-27-2013, 04:43 PM   #12
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I looked at the runner bean tour site as well as the reviews in trip advisor as you suggested and they look great. Truly and honestly, though, I would have no idea what to tip. I think I'd like to do one of these.
JoAnn
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Star Princess April 1997 - Eastern Caribbean
Disney Magic August 2005 - Mexican Riviera
Island Princess December 2009 - Panama Canal
Island Princess July 2011 - Alaska
Disney Fantasy June 2012 - Eastern Caribbean
Disney Magic August 2013 - Mediterranean

Magic in the Mediterranean trip report http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3161128
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Old 05-31-2013, 06:33 PM   #13
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I read a thread on cruise critic.com today about pickpockets in Barcelona and that got me thinking about a purse. I was unaware -- until today -- of the entire safe travel accessory industry. Pacsafe was a brand that was mentioned. I am normally a minimum purse kind of person but I would like to have a pocket for a water bottle, steel cable embedded straps, and anti-theft RFIL shield for credit cards.
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Star Princess April 1997 - Eastern Caribbean
Disney Magic August 2005 - Mexican Riviera
Island Princess December 2009 - Panama Canal
Island Princess July 2011 - Alaska
Disney Fantasy June 2012 - Eastern Caribbean
Disney Magic August 2013 - Mediterranean

Magic in the Mediterranean trip report http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3161128
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Old 06-09-2013, 05:07 PM   #14
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After a week or so of reading up on the various brands of anti-theft bags, checking out the reviews and watching the videos on YouTube, we went to REI to check out the pacsafe metrosafe shoulder bag. http://pacsafe.com/metrosafe-200-ant...t-shoulder-bag

I was debating with myself if I even needed to buy an anti-theft bag -- why do I need something that screams out "Hey, I'm not from around here. I probably have something you might want." (Although, really, I won't -- just my point and shoot camera, a bottle of water, sunscreen, a few euros...) but on the other hand, I want my image to be, Savvy Tourist -- don't even think about trying anything, Buster.

I guess I could have bought it online in something more exciting than the basic black, but it was there and I was there, so I bought it. I was a little trepidatious about spending $70 on a purse but dh Paul was making his way through the aisles picking up little travel gizmos and he almost spent twice as much as me.

So, here we are, just a bit closer to Barcelona and the Magic.
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Star Princess April 1997 - Eastern Caribbean
Disney Magic August 2005 - Mexican Riviera
Island Princess December 2009 - Panama Canal
Island Princess July 2011 - Alaska
Disney Fantasy June 2012 - Eastern Caribbean
Disney Magic August 2013 - Mediterranean

Magic in the Mediterranean trip report http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3161128
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Old 07-14-2013, 07:57 PM   #15
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I did not buy an anti-theft bag...don't know if I'll be sorry or not. I'm not planning on carrying anything except I was thinking about folding up a copy of my passport with my ID and a little cash and carrying that in a lanyard tucked under my clothes. Any thoughts? I spent my money instead on a new camera! On sale at Target. Nikon cool pics 3500...very tiny and unobtrusive (I hope).
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