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Old 01-28-2012, 02:43 PM   #151
makaylee
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Hello all! We booked wednesday morning, but if the prices do not drop we will probably cancel. In the meantime Disney can keep our deposit and I will keep my fingers crossed. I just can't justify the 8K for an inside stateroom when I have done the same sailing for half and less than half before. Well, close enough to the same sailing anyway.
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Old 01-28-2012, 05:11 PM   #152
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We are booked! This will be our first cruise outside of the US. We are looking forward it. I am looking forward to getting some ideas of tours that you experienced cruisers recommend. This will be a girls only trip for us (DD14 and DD11).
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Old 01-28-2012, 08:52 PM   #153
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Originally Posted by nzdisneymom View Post
Happy Saturday!

While we were at Costco last night, I found Rick Steves' Mediterranean Cruise Ports of Call book. I think the only port that wasn't included was Malta! Check it out if you're interested in that sort of thing. You can find it at the major online bookstores, too.
Thanks for the info. It also comes in ibook and kindle.
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Old 01-28-2012, 09:02 PM   #154
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We are there! (DH, DW, DD13, DD10)

We are so excited! I have already started looking into private shore excursions for Mykonos and Kusadasi.

A friend of mine who grew up in Turkey and moved to California 10 years ago said that it is very beautiful in Kusadasi especially Mykonos.

She recommended to start finding 100% cotton and linen clothing, because she said that it would be hot and sticky.

She also recommended to get portable light-weight umbrellas just in case it rains in Turkey.

Yes! We are almost there!
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Old 01-28-2012, 09:06 PM   #155
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We are booked! This will be our first cruise outside of the US. We are looking forward it. I am looking forward to getting some ideas of tours that you experienced cruisers recommend. This will be a girls only trip for us (DD14 and DD11).
You will love the cruise!! We did the DCL 11 night Med cruise in May 2010. For most of our shore excursion we booked private tours. we did not book through Disney because it was cheaper.

We were a group of 4 and we meet up with family of 3 (we meet them on a the Dis board) and split the cost of the tours. Private tours can normally accommodate 6 to 7 people and the cost is a flat fee for the car. For example, 10 hour tour of Rome cost 500 euros divided by 7 people cost 71 euros per person. Also, having a private tour we got to skips some line at the Colosseum and other places.

Maybe this group will share private tours. Some people did the there own tours of the ports and other went in groups (joined with others on the Dis board) for safety in numbers.

Keep in mind the port and the location can be hour(s) away. For example, it takes about 1 - 1.5 hours from the port to get to Rome and about an hour to get to Florence.
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Old 01-28-2012, 09:59 PM   #156
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You will love the cruise!! We did the DCL 11 night Med cruise in May 2010. For most of our shore excursion we booked private tours. we did not book through Disney because it was cheaper.

We were a group of 4 and we meet up with family of 3 (we meet them on a the Dis board) and split the cost of the tours. Private tours can normally accommodate 6 to 7 people and the cost is a flat fee for the car. For example, 10 hour tour of Rome cost 500 euros divided by 7 people cost 71 euros per person. Also, having a private tour we got to skips some line at the Colosseum and other places.

Maybe this group will share private tours. Some people did the there own tours of the ports and other went in groups (joined with others on the Dis board) for safety in numbers.

Keep in mind the port and the location can be hour(s) away. For example, it takes about 1 - 1.5 hours from the port to get to Rome and about an hour to get to Florence.
We also did a private tour for the Vatican and Colosseum for $200 for 5 people. It was so nice! There was a long line for the Vatican. We purchased the tickets ahead of time (recommended) and our tour guide took us right in front of the line. Everyone knew who she was and was great!

She took us then to the Colosseum and showed us the best place to eat where the locals eat.

As for taking the train into Rome, it was great! We had one unfortunate incident when the gypsies were noisy and going from car to car and tried to touch my DD who was 6 at that time. She was sleeping. The Italian men including my DH all stood up and were coming to my defense.

Other than that, it was great! There's a pass to purchase at the train station for 55 Euros round trip. You can also use it for the bus. We only used the bus in Rome to get to the Trevi fountain.

I would share a private tour if anyone on our 12-night Med cruise is interested.
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Old 01-29-2012, 02:27 PM   #157
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With all the travelers here who have experience making the trip to the Med with Disney, I thought it would be nice to share tips on what works and doesn’t work—pitfalls and traps – tricks and hints that will help everyone avoid unnecessary hassles (and the boards are slowing down a little).
Recognizing that most of what I have to say is opinion, (and others may strongly disagree), I’ll just let you know what we have experienced and “learned”, by task or port, and hopefully others can give their own perspectives on how to do things better.
I guess the place to start is air travel.
After checking the prices, we have never elected to use the Disney air option, and never paid anywhere near what they were asking. I’m not sure what the benefits are to using it, so maybe someone who does can chime in and let us know.
We book our flights to leave at least 2 days before the ship sails (Thursday in this case). Flights to Europe generally leave in the evening, so with the time change, you lose the first day in the air (arriving mid to late morning Friday). The biggest reason we want the extra day is that everyone is pretty miserable when we arrive (my family very unfairly accuses me of traveling poorly by air). As soon as we arrive, we all take a 2 or 3 hour nap in the hotel. I’d hate to transfer directly to the ship, check in, and then blow a good portion of the first day adjusting. I guess the other reason to allow the extra day is to provide a buffer for problems or cancellations with the flight.
We will start checking the prices on flights in late June and target around $1,000 on pretty much any airline. As the departure date gets closer we may move that number up to as much as $1,200-$1,300. I prefer making a connection in US, rather than in Heathrow, Zurich, etc… As much as I hate the flight, getting on another plane after the long leg is tough. If they have a choice everyone here seems to like Swiss Air. Usually we end up on American/British Air. The British Air food is nasty, but the individual movie/games screens on the back of the seats are a life-saver.
Our departure airport is Chicago-Ohare (or you may connect through Ohare). Due to the length of the cruise, parking may cost you as much as another airline ticket. In the past we have gotten dropped off by relatives or rented a car for one way between Milwaukee and Chicago. There are hotels that will allow you to leave a car there for a lower fee if you stay the night before in their rooms (just catch their shuttle). Note that Terminal 5 in Ohare (the international terminal) has no “real” food beyond the security checkpoint. Just candy and who knows how old sandwiches in plastic containers. There have been some huge lines getting through the checkpoint so don’t try to leave and reenter if you are pressed for time.
Barcelona airport is decent (plan on arriving in Terminal 1), and not difficult to understand. However, after collecting your bags you may not be “selected” for an interview with a Customs Agent and breeze right through. For those of us used to a lot of red tape that was a little disconcerting. The one time we used Disney Transfers, we did have a little trouble locating the Disney personnel.
To make your flight home, it’s really easy to catch a cab out of the port (right outside the terminal building) and takes about 30 minutes to drive. The line to catch a cab moves fairly fast but plan on a 15-20 min wait there as well. You can easily make an 11:00 am departure. If you connect through Heathrow, a 2 ½ hour layover is NOT enough. In 2007, after being held in a holding pattern, we had to move through a couple more layers of security, catch the bus between terminals, and then ended up running to catch our flight. Also, be aware when/if the airline makes changes to your itinerary. American changed our return flight in 2011 so that we had to connect in New York (JFK to LaGuardia), but we had to make our way between the airports. American customer service was great about fixing the issue (they rerouted us thru London with no additional layovers).
Ok, your turn…
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:03 PM   #158
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abayaflowers View Post
We are so excited! I have already started looking into private shore excursions for Mykonos and Kusadasi.

A friend of mine who grew up in Turkey and moved to California 10 years ago said that it is very beautiful in Kusadasi especially Mykonos.

She recommended to start finding 100% cotton and linen clothing, because she said that it would be hot and sticky.

She also recommended to get portable light-weight umbrellas just in case it rains in Turkey.

Yes! We are almost there!
I looked through some other cruise lines' excursion pages and one of them said that for the Turkey excursions they didn't even schedule the all-day excursions after July 15 because it was too hot. Not sure what that will mean for the July 13 cruise.

Having done Rome and Florence in 2007 I will be looking for the "on your own" excursions where you just book the transportation.
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:34 PM   #159
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Wow.... Lots of familiar names.... I booked on Wednesday and paid my deposit last night. We did the Baltics 7/6/10 and the Mediterranean on 7/7/7. It will be me, dh, dd15 and dd12. I would love to join others in private tours. I'm excited for my 12 year old because she'll definitely remember this trip.
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:48 PM   #160
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Are we ok with first seating for dinner? Or, will we not have enough time on shore for tours?

Do you think it is safe for a single mom to book tours on my own? Wouldn't we be safer with a Disney tour? Thanks.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:44 PM   #161
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NAG View Post
With all the travelers here who have experience making the trip to the Med with Disney, I thought it would be nice to share tips on what works and doesn’t work—pitfalls and traps – tricks and hints that will help everyone avoid unnecessary hassles (and the boards are slowing down a little).
We do not book air or hotel through Disney they are over priced (IMO). We
normally spend at least one night in Barcelona to just to the time difference. On our first med cruise we spent 3 night to be able to see Barcelona. We will be fighting out Thursday night because light you flights are normally in the evening.

Our flight in May 2010 was with Iberia cost $633 per person from Boston and we had to change plane Madrid.

I like to stay at Eurostars Grand Marina in Barcelona. It is right on the port and you can walk to a number of places. Last time a lots of us were staying in the Hotel and we meet up shared cabs and went to see the fountains. We also meet up with others from the Dis board as well.

I will buy some Euros before I leave. I use my Disney visa reward dollars to pay for things on the cruise (i.e. stateroom tips, Palo, etc)


Quote:
Originally Posted by abayaflowers View Post
We also did a private tour for the Vatican and Colosseum for $200 for 5 people. It was so nice! There was a long line for the Vatican. We purchased the tickets ahead of time (recommended) and our tour guide took us right in front of the line. Everyone knew who she was and was great!

She took us then to the Colosseum and showed us the best place to eat where the locals eat.

As for taking the train into Rome, it was great! We had one unfortunate incident when the gypsies were noisy and going from car to car and tried to touch my DD who was 6 at that time. She was sleeping. The Italian men including my DH all stood up and were coming to my defense.

Other than that, it was great! There's a pass to purchase at the train station for 55 Euros round trip. You can also use it for the bus. We only used the bus in Rome to get to the Trevi fountain.

I would share a private tour if anyone on our 12-night Med cruise is interested.
We would enjoy sharing private tours. I noticed you wrote you took the train to Roma then took the tour from there? We had the car pick us up at the port and drop as off as part of the private tours. Also, because we booked all 3 Italy ports with them they discounted the tours savings $150 Euros.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OurDogCisco View Post
Wow.... Lots of familiar names.... I booked on Wednesday and paid my deposit last night. We did the Baltics 7/6/10 and the Mediterranean on 7/7/7. It will be me, dh, dd15 and dd12. I would love to join others in private tours. I'm excited for my 12 year old because she'll definitely remember this trip.
If there are a number of people interested in sharing private tours we should start a list and see what people are interested in seeing. This way people with similar interest can be group together. Also, from my experience with the private tours the money is paid in cash or travelers checks at the end of the tour. I did have one company in Barcelona require 10% to hold the tour.

Did anyone have a different experience when dealing with private tours?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasMouseFan View Post
Are we ok with first seating for dinner? Or, will we not have enough time on shore for tours?

Do you think it is safe for a single mom to book tours on my own? Wouldn't we be safer with a Disney tour? Thanks.
I like first seating because I do not like to eat at 8:00 PM - 8:30 PM. We (any many others) were late a few nights and DCL let everyone go to dinner late. There is always the other dinning options if you miss you seating.

It is up to you about booking through Disney or not. You should do what you are comfortable with. On our last DCL Med cruise each couple saved over $2,000 on excursions and did not have bus full of 40 people. When booking private tours all I can say is research...research...research and contacting the company to get a feel for them. There were a couple of companies I did not get a good feel for when doing my research.
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Old 01-29-2012, 07:03 PM   #162
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I am also booked on this cruise, I went on the one in 2011, I didn't join the meet thread and I don't quite know why.

I am hoping to add the ABD Barcelona pre cruise trip to this when it becomes available.
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Old 01-29-2012, 07:50 PM   #163
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Are we ok with first seating for dinner? Or, will we not have enough time on shore for tours?

Do you think it is safe for a single mom to book tours on my own? Wouldn't we be safer with a Disney tour? Thanks.
We prefer the early seating. The older kids like to mix with friends early, and we prefer to go to the later show, and then right into the "Beat Street" entertainment area or hit Cove Cafe. Our servers have told us that we could show up pretty late in the first seating and still be served. We've also been told that if we come back late from a tour to see the head server who would find a place for us in second seating.

I think the answer to the second question is you are safer on Disney (regardless if you're a single mom or not) for a number of reasons. Note that pickpockets will get you anywhere.

That said, we do almost all excursions on our own. We have looked down an out of the way street and said, "you know what, I think we'll take the long way around" (Even with me and 2 boys in their late teens). Naples had a bad reputation with some of the cruisers as there was a rumor of a passenger being robbed. But I think if you make a wrong turn anywhere you may find yourself in a less safe area (including the US). We considered renting motorcycles in Corsica last year, but internet info indicated they were having a problem with poor driving by locals and thefts of vehicles. Disney excursions can be expensive (especially if you are a larger group), so I wouldn't want to talk you out of "on your own". However, they require extra up front work and a little extra vigilance when you are out and about.
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Old 01-29-2012, 07:54 PM   #164
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I am also booked on this cruise, I went on the one in 2011, I didn't join the meet thread and I don't quite know why.

I am hoping to add the ABD Barcelona pre cruise trip to this when it becomes available.
I have heard the the ADB does all ports excursions as one package deal and that the information will be out in March 2012. I know someone who did this on the last med cruise and liked it.

Are you only doing ADB in Barcelona?
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:18 PM   #165
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Originally Posted by TexasMouseFan View Post
Are we ok with first seating for dinner? Or, will we not have enough time on shore for tours?

Do you think it is safe for a single mom to book tours on my own? Wouldn't we be safer with a Disney tour? Thanks.
We prefer 2nd seating for a couple of reasons. We did the med in mid-late August last time, and after being gone all day, DH usually wanted to go in the pool, and we wanted a shower to get the sweat, sunscreen and grime off us before dinner. Also, there was always the ability to grab a snack if hungry.

As far as doing it on your own, it would kind of depend on the ages of your kids and how assertive you are as a female. I'd feel fine just about anywhere, but that said, I wouldn't do Turkey on my own. I was in the Med in 2010 and went on a DCL excursion in Tunisia. The guide was great....but I wouldn't (even if present-day conflict hadn't happened) have done it by myself. We had left DD on the ship (not because we were afraid to bring her with us, but that she hadn't tolerated the heat the day before well, and it was going to be even hotter), and there were 2 separate occurrences that DH and I were uncomfortable. That said, DH had a great interaction with some locals. You never know what you're going to see!

We ended up meeting people on these boards with whom we ended up doing tours with. IMO, as time goes by, you'll get a feel for people's personalities here, and get an idea who you'd like to partner up with.
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