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Old 08-10-2011, 05:08 PM   #76
K8T
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Thanks for the great TR.

We are not long off the Med cruise this year and did two last year! However, it is great to get someone else's take on places that are pretty familiar to us.

I am really enjoying it.

Kate
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:09 PM   #77
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Hi, very happy you're back. Hope you had a great time in WDW. I have to say it again, love your pictures and writing styl. The clothing questions are hilarious I think I share the same opinion as your husband.....but very nice of people to notice everything.
Hope to read more soon.....
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Old 08-10-2011, 07:06 PM   #78
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The clothing questions are hilarious I think I share the same opinion as your husband.....but very nice of people to notice everything.
Hope to read more soon.....
Mimi
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:38 PM   #79
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June 26, 2011---Corsica

Up at 7:45 AM—I am getting a little tired! Not complaining but I can’t imagine having done the 10 night cruise without the day at sea in the middle!!! We scheduled a DCL excursion today—“Sweet Corsica”, the only one of our trip. Our meeting time and place was 8:15 AM in Promenade Lounge. We checked in by showing our KTTW cards and our passports. We were given a little #6 sticker to wear. At 8:30 we were walking to the gangway where we left the ship and walked to the bus. There was a huge line of buses just outside of the ship. Each one had a large DCL sign in the window with the name of the excursion on it. We followed our group to our bus where the guide took our tickets. We hopped on the bus and were under way by 8:45 AM. Our guide introduced herself—Bridgit, as well as the bus driver—Michel. Bridgit immediately started telling us about Corsica and the port area. We drove out of the town into the lovely countryside. It was nothing like the port area---the country side was just delightful and pristine! I am suspicious this is the way it was in Palermo, too. Perhaps if we would have wandered farther away from the town we would have had a different experience???

Bridgit explained that we would be stopping at three “craft” shops. By craft I believe she meant small, family owned businesses. Our first stop was about 20 minutes from the port. It was at a nouggat (candy) shop. Bridgit told us that Corsica does not have any factories. All manufacturing is done on the island in small shops like the ones we were visiting. The nouggat shop was a three generation shop… When we arrived they had a long display table set and ready for us. There were all kinds of supplies (mixers, molds, etc) laid out along with some of the finished product.





We found out quickly that the gentleman who was supposed to be giving the tour/demo was not there. Bridgit told us that his car had broken down on the side of the road but was on his way! The elderly owner of the shop was there along with two assistants, but none of them spoke English. It was obvious the owner was very worried about all of us as he broke out plate after plate of samples and had his staff pass those around! We sampled five different kinds of nougat while Bridgit tried to tell us some of the process of making the candy. She then got a call that the tour guide was delayed again as he had been pulled over by the police in his hurry to get to the shop!!





By the time he arrived it was almost time for us to go! He did do a quick demonstration of how they made the special “Bonaparte Secret” cookies. They are in the shape of Napolean’s cap and they had to get special permission from the Bonaparte family to make these! He also had us sample his home made version of Nutella!



After his brief presentation he led all of us to the shop where we could buy the nougat, cookies, bags of Hazelnuts and Nutella. You would think none of us had seen a shop before! People bought A LOT of stuff! I did get some hazelnuts for mom (E8) and a few jars of the Nutella (E5).



The next tour bus was already waiting so we boarded our bus and headed out quickly. We had about a 15 minute ride to our next stop—a family run vineyard and winery. Once again, Bridgit filled the trip with information about Corsica and the local economy. We arrived at a beautiful vineyard and drove through that before coming to a farmhouse/warehouse area.









We were introduced to the owner and she led us inside to production area. We saw the press, barrels and stainless steel tanks they use to make their wine. Then we moved to the bottling and boxing area and saw many boxes of wine ready to go. I thought it was very interesting to hear that the wine is only sold in Corsica. It is so expensive to export that they stopped that years ago! So everything this entire winery produces is sold just on this little island! The owner was very particular about making sure we knew that they only use Corsican grapes and that they have a strict policy on validating the grapes in order to get the Corsican seal on the wine.







We then moved into a little shop area where we were given a wine glass. They had three wines for us to sample---a white, a rose and a red. They also had bread and Corsican cheese to eat with our wine. All of the wines were very good but I particularly liked the while (which interestingly they only make limited bottles of as it isn’t as popular as the other). I picked up a bottle for E6 to bring back to the ship.





We stayed about 45 minutes total and really enjoyed the stop. We then boarded the bus again. Bridgit gave everyone cold bottles of water which was a nice touch. The next phase of the drive was longer and Bridgit used the time to tell us about the history of Corsica. It really was fascinating as the island tried to be independent but just couldn’t do it. We also learned quite a bit about Napoleon and his family. It was all very interesting!! Our next stop was a honey farm. When we arrived there was another group still there. We had to wait on the bus for about 10 minutes. Then Bridgit said that the group was still there but we could wander the farm while we waited. It was a beautiful, hilly farm area with stunning views all around. It was filled with flowers and bushes and was just a pretty stop all around!









We ended up waiting another 20 minutes before we got started but then the owner began a presentation about bees and the production of honey. We didn’t “tour” anything but rather stood on a porch and listened to him talk. While we did this we were able to sample 5 different honeys from the farm.



It was fascinating to learn that the different flavors of honey came from where the bees were pollinating---not from anything added to the honey afterwards! He said they actually move the bees to different locations each season in order to get different flavors of honey!! He also told us that “real” honey should be crystallized---not liquid! He laughed and said honey in the US was “fake”! We also sampled some honey liquor. I didn’t particularly care for any of the honey (or the liquor) but it was very interesting to learn! We had a little time to shop in the adorable shop. We wandered the farm a little while longer and stopped at the “sample” hive that was in a tent near the entrance to the farm. It gave us an idea of how the bees were kept.



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Old 08-10-2011, 08:40 PM   #80
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Corsica, continued....

Back to the bus we go…this time driving back to the port. Lots more information from Bridgit as well as a time to ask questions. We arrived back in the port area around 1:00 PM. I felt like it had been the perfect length! We saw a lot and learned a lot about the country! I was very happy with the excursion and thought that the $80 price tag was pretty reasonable (at least for the Med excursions)!!

We boarded right away and then had lunch at Topsiders. Once again they had a special station outside of the buffet area. This time they were making seafood stew…again, this was a first for me!! We both napped after lunch before going to sessions for our Bridge Tour at 3:30. This was the first time that a Bridge tour had been offered to us as a platinum option and we were very excited to take it! At 3:30 we met Chantel, Captain Marco’s assistant in the lounge. The tour was private and would be just the two of us!! Chantel walked us up to deck 8 where we entered the Bridge. The first officer (I think that was his title? He was second in command!) Jim, greeted us and then began to show us around. He talked to us about the equipment, staff and procedures.









He showed us the paper charts (that are stilled used) along with all of the high tech equipment.



There is a lounge type area as well as a small office. Overall it is quite large and very comfortable…especially the Captain’s chair which was large, padded and could rotate all the way around!! We were able to ask all kinds of questions and it was really fascinating! I saw the big button for the horn and REALLY wanted to push it---but I refrained!!








We were also shown the outdoor Bridge---didn’t even know that was there! The Captain can have full control of the ship from this satellite area. And from here he can see the entire length of the ship. We were there for about 40 minutes and then wrapped up our tour.










The whole thing was fascinating and I was really happy to have been able to do it!!!

Afterwards we went to Dr. Glen’s lecture on Villefranche. He was particularly entertaining today and we learned all kinds of interesting things about the area we are going to see tomorrow!!



We turned around and saw Becky and Brant behind us in the lecture! We decided to go back to the rooms for a pre dinner snack! We ordered cheese plates from room service and then took those and our Corsican wine up to the Cove area. It was a lovely little pre dinner get together!!

At 6:30 Kerm and I went to Disney Dreams. He laughs at me that I still want to go to the shows, but I can’t help it. I love it!!

Next, dinner in Lumiere’s again. I had the garlic shrimp appetizer, pork with panko entrée and the chocolate lava cake (my favorite dessert of the cruise!!). I’m not even hungry any more but that isn’t stopping me from eating!!!



We went right to the room after dinner---we are really tired! I can’t believe tomorrow is our last port day!!! The time is slipping by and I am trying to soak it all in!!!

Oh, one totally funny incident I have to record…. Becky and Brant have a stateroom right next to a staff hallway/entry area. All week they have been hearing a door slam. It got worse as the days went on and was particularly bad during the night. It would wake them up several times each night. I kept telling them to mention it to Guest Services or at least go and get ear plugs! So tonight they finally decided to go say something at GS. There was a long line when they got there so they weren’t really paying attention to the staff behind the desk. When it was their turn they walked up to the desk only to see Captain Marco standing there asking them “what may I do for you?”. Well, they were immediately a little sheepish and all of a sudden felt like their complaint was a little lame! Becky said she hemmed and hawed a little bit and said something like “well, we had a LITTLE complaint but I don’t think it is something you need to worry about!”. Captain Marco said he definitely wanted to know what their issue was. They proceeded to tell him about the slamming door all the time saying they were sure this wasn’t something he needed to deal with. Next Captain Marco asked where there room was. Becky and Brant told him and then he said “let’s go look at it”. Becky couldn’t believe it but off the three of them went to check it out! Becky showed him the hallway and he escorted them through the area and they started looking around for the door. Captain Marco tried several doors (while Becky started panicking that none of them would make any noise!!) and then came upon the culprit door! Captain Marco shut it and it was very, very loud. There was even a sign on the door that said “please do not slam this door” so it was obvious it had been a problem before. Becky said he was obviosuly unhappy and said this must be an ongoing problem! Next, the Captain took out his phone and took a bunch of pictures. He thanked Becky and Brant for pointing this out to him and said while he couldn’t guarantee the slamming would stop immediately it WOULD stop! They thanked him and parted ways! Becky came running to our stateroom right away as she had to tell me! The whole situation was somewhat surreal! But later tonight we passed that hallway and there were about 30 staff member standing in front of that door with an officer lecturing them!!!! It’s only been about 3 hours since Becky told the Captain but she says there hasn’t been so much as one slam!!! Too funny! And talk about a concerned an involved Captain!!! WOW!!

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Old 08-10-2011, 08:47 PM   #81
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Naples and Rome questions

Hi Lorna,

Your trip report is getting me so excited about our upcoming cruise! I have a couple more questions for you, if you don't mind the help.

I currently have a Naples tour booked to visit Sorrento (with pizza-making school for our 6 year old), Positano and hike at Mt Vesuvius. The adults in our group didn't think we had much desire to see Pompeii, but I've read so many things saying it's a "must do". Are you glad you did it? Was it worth the heat? I'm thinking that I should cancel the pizza school and Vesuvius hike and do Pompeii instead.

I've read that St Peters in Rome has a dress code of "no shorts" and other things say "knees must be covered". Did you notice if long shorts that stop just below the knee (when standing) were acceptable?

Thanks!

Jennifer
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:18 PM   #82
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Hi Lorna,

Your trip report is getting me so excited about our upcoming cruise! I have a couple more questions for you, if you don't mind the help.

I currently have a Naples tour booked to visit Sorrento (with pizza-making school for our 6 year old), Positano and hike at Mt Vesuvius. The adults in our group didn't think we had much desire to see Pompeii, but I've read so many things saying it's a "must do". Are you glad you did it? Was it worth the heat? I'm thinking that I should cancel the pizza school and Vesuvius hike and do Pompeii instead.

I've read that St Peters in Rome has a dress code of "no shorts" and other things say "knees must be covered". Did you notice if long shorts that stop just below the knee (when standing) were acceptable?

Thanks!

Jennifer
Hi, Jennifer! How fun to be planning your trip! I'm happy to try and answer your questions....or at least give you my opinion! Our Naples day has been the source of many discussions between the four of us. We loved Sorrento and Positano so much we have wondered if we should have skipped Pompeii. But in the end we feel that you just can't miss Pompeii. At least the first time you go...! If we had a second day or were returning for another trip we would definitely skip Pompeii and enjoy the towns! But given our day to do over again I just can't imagine skipping Pompeii. I think it just feels so significant!! Now, to be fair, we didn't have any kids with us! I have a 7 year old son and I think he would have been bored to tears on our Pompeii tour. So I think you have to weigh that into the decision as well. Even with a private tour guide we only spent 2 hours at Pompeii. Is there another excursion option for you that includes Pompeii but still keeps the pizza making? Or something like that???


As for Rome... I did not notice any issues with shorts. However, they were definitely particular about tops. The had some scarves that they were giving out to people who had tank tops or bare arms. I will say that very few people in general were wearing shorts. Perhaps they had heard of the rule? I was wearing a long (ish) skirt and Becky was wearing a dress that barely made it to her knees. She was worried about her dress and just packed a large scarf in case it was an issue. She was prepared to wrap the scarf around her waist if it was an issue---it wasn't. But in several location (churches) during the cruise we saw women with large scarves tied around their waist or shoulders. I think it is a great plan. That way you can still wear shorts or tank tops if you want to...and the scarf is light to carry!

Hope that helps a little??? And I hope you have a GREAT trip!!!
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Old 08-11-2011, 06:38 AM   #83
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We went right to the room after dinner---we are really tired! I can’t believe tomorrow is our last port day!!! The time is slipping by and I am trying to soak it all in!!!

[/SIZE][/FONT]
OK as long as we have already opened up "Fashion" as a part of this thread - I love this outfit!!!!!!!
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Old 08-11-2011, 07:42 AM   #84
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Thanks for the answers, Lorna!
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:00 AM   #85
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That was absolutely helpful! I am also an obsessive planner, as many of the people on here are. I've already price matched things for the March cruise, things for two people are actually cheaper to do with DCL than with locals when I factored in taxis and lunch. So I guess I'll just do that for everything, check and see which is better/cost effective. With six people I'm sure that adds up really quickly! But also, you definitely have a point with the boat having to wait for you when you're on a DCL excursion, I've heard a few horror stories where people are running but the boat is just pulling away.

I have no doubt I'll love it, I'm just sad it took me so long to discover DCL, all my attention has always been on WDW. I've already booked another, everybody says they have the DCL blues when their cruise is over, so I've nicked that in the butt and have another one all planned!

I also love that outfit! The Mickey necklace adds such a wonderful touch too!

Thank you so much for your input! I love that you got to go on the bridge, that is so cool! Did you have to pay anything? or when you're Platinum do you get these lovely perks free? I've also heard Platinum is given a Palo dinner. All the more reason to go on more cruises
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Old 08-11-2011, 01:32 PM   #86
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OK as long as we have already opened up "Fashion" as a part of this thread - I love this outfit!!!!!!!

Me too! Even the pink cutout top was gorgeous!


So go ahead and let Kerm know there are a lot of us crazies on here!
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Old 08-11-2011, 04:20 PM   #87
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Thank you so much for your input! I love that you got to go on the bridge, that is so cool! Did you have to pay anything? or when you're Platinum do you get these lovely perks free? I've also heard Platinum is given a Palo dinner. All the more reason to go on more cruises

You get a nice list of benefits for being a platinum cruiser:
  • boarding group #1
  • CC reception (for gold and platinum)
  • gift in your room
  • choice of additional gift (champagne, cheese platter, shrimp cocktail or fruit tray)
  • $25 onboard credit for each $100 you spend in the store (gold and platinum)
  • free dinner at Palo for all adults in your stateroom
  • platinum experience

The platinum experience is what the Bridge tour was. On the first night of the cruise we got a little form asking us which tour we would like. For this criuse they were offering the Bridge tour and an Engine room tour. We were really excited as we have not done either! In fact, we have never seen either offered! In the past we have done a stingray experience with a trainer on CC, a backstage theater experience and a galley tour. We did not have to pay anything for it and we really enjoyed it!

I think it is definitely worth becoming platinum! You should keep cruising!!!
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Old 08-11-2011, 04:22 PM   #88
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So go ahead and let Kerm know there are a lot of us crazies on here!


Oh, he is going to LOVE this!!!!
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:12 PM   #89
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Hi Lorna,
We were on the ship with you and agree it was the trip of a lifetime. Love your trip report! As JNS said, it's really fun reading the same trip through someone else's eyes. I couldn't figure out how to copy from multiple posts to respond so here are my out of order comments, LOL:
--I'm a twilight fan and used to watch 90120 religiously, so I recognized our celebs right away. Kind of fun having them on the trip. My daughter ended up being in the talent show with their daughter, which was kind of fun.
--We had a similar experience to you with the very SLOW dining experience. It seems to have been a common complaint.
--I also didn't anticipate how much I would fall in love with the Italian Riviera. We were able to do Capri and it was absolutely spectacular.
--We did a last minute excursion to the beach on Palermo and thought it was beautiful. From your report, I'm very glad we did!
--How funny is this: we planned to do the flat tire tour the same day you did and go to Montserrat the following day and ended up bailing on both. But great minds!
--I, too, noticed the clothes and thought how cute you guys looked. Love the pink ruffle dress your sister was wearing!
--Very jealous of your bridge tour!!!
--Love the Captain Marco story. We had a strange smell in our room for a few days--wish we'd run into him in the hall, LOL.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:30 PM   #90
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--I'm a twilight fan and used to watch 90120 religiously, so I recognized our celebs right away. Kind of fun having them on the trip. My daughter ended up being in the talent show with their daughter, which was kind of fun.
I HAVE to know...who were the celebs???
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