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Old 08-06-2013, 11:49 PM   #16
goingsouth
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We were originally booked on this cruise and had to cancel. I get to pretend I was there via your report...thanks!!
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Old 08-07-2013, 06:22 AM   #17
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Wow, I'm really enjoying your trip report! It's like you are taking me there with you all!
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Old 08-07-2013, 06:44 AM   #18
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Day 6 - Jumping Back into Eternal Rome Part I

Day 6- Civitavecchia


Today we were Jumping Back Into Eternal Rome and we had to get up darn early to do so as we had to be in the Walt Disney Theatre by 7:50 pm. At breakfast at Topsiders DD suddenly asked if we had our passports. Say what? Apparently at the show the previous night (which DH and I missed due to taking photos of the sunset , Peter the Cruise Director had mentioned that we needed to bring our passports with us to Rome. Luckily we had enough time built in to our morning that running back to the cabin was not an issue. We made our timings and were herded off the ship efficiently and onto a bus where we met our first guide for the day, Clara. Clara then took care of all of the basic administration that good tour guides do, and got us onto our train car very efficiently.

The train car itself was very nice, with comfortable seats, lots of space, access to a toilet and the ability to move around if we needed to. Plus, the train trip to the train station near St Peters was relatively short at around 60 minutes. At that point Clara lead us through to the station from the train and we met up with Anna, our official Rome tour guide for the day and we boarded a bus to take us to the Coliseum.

Anna was native to Rome, very knowledgeable about all things Roman and very passionate about them as well. Anna described what we were seeing through the windows of our bus, from the site where Julius Caesar was actually killed to the 'wedding cake' building, to Trajans Column etc, in such a way that the ride to the Coliseum seemed to be very short.

The bus let us out very near the Coliseum but not before Anna briefed us not to buy anything from the hawkers who would approach us as soon as we stepped off the bus. We all politely ignored them, but they were very much a presence and followed us until another tour group came into their line of sight. Clara and Anna worked efficiently together to get us across busy streets and then Clara headed in first to pick up the tickets while Anna used the time to describe what we were seeing to us.

Once inside the Coliseum we rapidly passed by an unbelievably long line up of people waiting to get tickets and were soon climbing up inside the stadium and through one of the many archways.


Prior to the cruise my DD and I had watched a video by an engineering professor about the structural engineering behind many of the greatest structures throughout history. The professor was very passionate about his subject, and in one video he discussed the Roman arch and the properties that made it so stable. At one point he stated: and if one arch is good, then 64 arches must be better! (While talking about a specific Roman bridge). Honestly, at that point my DD and I got the giggles that the professor could be so excited about arches. During Anna 's description of the Coliseum, when she stated that there are 80 arches around the base of the Coliseum, DD and I once again got the giggles, since 80 arches must definitely be better in this case .


I will also admit to having a 'moment' while walking through the Coliseum. After all of the planning and research I have done over the last year and a half, it hit me that here I was, actually in the Coliseum in Rome, with my family! And then I had two simultaneous thoughts, first, I hoped that my kids remember more about this trip than I do about my first Med cruise, and secondly, that I needed to take even more pictures to document what we were doing in order to help my kids remember more about our Med trip! Ok, so I admit to being a little over the top when it comes to wanting to preserve the memories, but my family seems to be surviving me anyway .

Realistically however, the Coliseum was swarming with people, actually Rome was swarming with people, and capturing the memories through pictures was a challenge if you didn't want a crowd of strangers in your pictures. Managing expectations is essential. Patience and a plan are key. And yes, we did have to work to get our 'postcard' family pictures.


And then serendipitously, as we left the coliseum and headed towards the bus past the arch of Constantine, we spotted a Disney photographer who was just about to leave for her bus, and were able to grab a quick photo op. For Percy Jackson fans, we also got photos of the SPQR manhole covers on the streets of Rome .


We headed next to the Trevi Fountain, and if we thought the Coliseum was crowded, it was nothing compared to the mass of humanity around the Trevi fountain. Anna and Clara told us not only that tossing a coin in means that you will return to Rome, but that tossing two coins means you will find the love of your life, or if you already have, then you will make that love stronger, and that 3 coins means you will get divorced!! They recommended that we not toss in three coins. We had about 15 mins of free time here, for photo ops and a bathroom break.


Next, we walked towards the Pantheon. The walk through the backstreets and alleys of Rome was truly enjoyable. Yes it was hot, but our guides made sure we were in shaded areas as much as possible, and they pointed out archaeological excavations ongoing in the streets of Rome, and ancient buildings that have now been incorporated into modern day buildings. It was just a bunch of neat moments.


And speaking of neat moments, at one point on our walk, a man came up to Anna, and at first she spoke to him very strongly in Italian, in a very no nonsense manner, and even without any knowledge of the language we knew she was suggesting that he go away . It was only after he explained that he had been hired by Disney to cut out silhouettes for us that Anna allowed him to approach us. Honestly, it was amazing to watch him walk along next to us, or more specifically next to the kids, and using just black paper and scissors, cut out the silhouette of their heads as he walked along. The silhouettes of my kids are a very special souvenir for us .


And then we rounded a corner, and there we were at the Pantheon where we could just walk right in.


Yes, there were lots of people there, but the Pantheon is more a place where people stay only briefly, marvelling at the dome and the amazing art in the niches for a short period before moving on.

Another short walk and we arrived at the Piazza Navona.


After a short talk, Anna gave us about 75 - 90 minutes of free time for lunch and/or shopping. Logically, we decided to get lunch first, and we were lucky that at one of the recommended restaurants they were able to feed us gluten free pasta.

DH, the "evil wheat-eater" got to eat pizza.

But, woo hoo, we Celiacs got to eat pasta in Italy. This was a big deal for us, it was almost like we were real people! And the cafe itself was an outdoor cafe, where the tables were under awnings and they had mist machines and fans to circulate the mist and keep everyone cool. Granted, DD's hair got even curlier (who knew that was possible), but it was overall a very pleasant lunch. Even if the diet coke was about 5¬ each! Our total bill for four meals with pop was roughly 57¬.


After lunch we headed to a store where as we arrived I had seen a couple of adorable little creche (manger) scenes and I wanted to purchase one as a Christmas decoration from our trip. I had spotted them but not purchased any as I had wanted DH's opinion and he had been busy finding us a restaurant and ordering us yummy food. Unfortunately all of the stores in the square closed from 1:30 - 2:30 pm, and we had to leave at 2 pm. At this point DD pipes up with: oh yeah, Peter mentioned that last night too, that all the stores close at that time for lunch. Honestly, what else did we miss by not attending that show?? So, no manger scene or Christmas decoration for me.

I did not however have anytime to feel sorry for myself as we found a shop open that sold delicious gelato, and nearby was a souvenir stand where I found my cheesy touristic ceramic picture frame. I guess open market stands didn't get the message about closing during lunchtime when tourists want to spend money .

Last edited by Scraptographer; 08-29-2013 at 09:00 PM.
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Old 08-07-2013, 06:46 AM   #19
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Day 6 Jumping Back into Eternal Rome - Part II

We soon climbed on board our bus and headed to St Peters, and this time our guides informed us to not leave anything on the bus as we were not going to get on it again, but instead would be walking to the train station from here when we were done. Anna and Clara took us an around about path to enter St Pete's, where we had to open our bags for visual inspection by some Vatican personnel, but we did not have to pass through an X-ray machine this time. We also had a couple of moments to snag pictures with/of the Vatican guards since this was an out of the way gate and we had to wait a little for a couple of people to buy scarves.


Clothing requirements were interesting. DD and I brought sun dresses that we simply pulled on up over shorts and with our t shirts, it looked like we were wearing skirts all of a sudden. DS was able to low ride his shorts, which were long to begin with - I noticed that the other boys in our group basically did the same thing. DH simply zipped the 'legs' of his pants back on - we had bought these pants for him at Costco back in the Spring, and they worked very well. Several of the ladies had to find or purchase scarves from street vendors to cover their shoulders. One guy was simply out of luck as he had chosen to wear shorter styled shorts and a tank top for his day of sight seeing in Rome, and he just wasn't allowed in. Clara showed him where to meet up with us and probably gave him a timing as well.


Although we are not big into touring through churches, St Peters was fairly impressive. The area around the Pieta was crowded, but otherwise as long as you avoided the large tour groups that were moving en masse, it was easy to see most things un obstructed.


I must admit, that the remains of the deceased pope that are on display was a little disturbing to me, and as soon as I realized what we were in line to look at, we backed away rapidly. Anna had done a great job guiding us all day long, but she was particularly passionate about St Pete's, probably because she had been baptized there.

I think I took more pictures in St Peters than almost anywhere else, since everywhere I looked it was a feast for the eyes. And we were allowed to take photographs because there are no paintings in St Peters, only mosaics that are so amazing that they look like paintings!


As we left St Peter's and headed out through the square, Clara in response to a question I had asked earlier, made sure that I saw the 'wind carvings' that are on the stones in the courtyard, that were shown in the movie Angels and Demons. We also saw the Vatican guards again, but these guys were pretty busy with the big crowd around them.


Our final stop of the day was at a gift store just outside the Vatican. Really, there was nothing there we were interested in, and there were not very many other shops in the area selling souvenirs, so if I had not already found my cheesy picture frame at this point I would have been out of luck. Other members of our group were definitely a little put out that there had been no real shopping time built into the tour, however I can see from the guides point of view that this Vatican gift shop was convenient for the bathroom facility aspect.

The walk back to the train station was not a long walk, but it was definitely a hot one. I was way too happy to get on the train, and I was very glad that the train ride and subsequent bus ride went smoothly. Clara handed out water bottles and wafer cookies at this juncture. Luckily I had some dried apricots and nuts for us to eat since we couldn't eat the cookies. We were also lucky to be one of the first buses to return from our train, as the queue to get back on the ship only grew longer and longer at that point of the day.

As we were already late for dinner we headed straight to the dining room and our servers were quick to serve us. Happily we had pre-ordered spaghetti and meatballs the night before even though we had questioned whether we would even be dining in the main dining room this night. And oh my goodness, our supper was delicious. The chef had managed to make our meal so delicious, that we even questioned whether it was actually gluten-free! So, on our day in Rome, we Celiacs managed to have pasta twice. I believe that is some kind of a record for us.

Characters collected this evening included: Italian Goofy, Daisy and Donald (gondolier?)


Last Thoughts on Jumping Back Into Eternal Rome excursion - we truly enjoyed this excursion. We felt we really lucked out with Anna and Clara as our tour guides, and walking through Rome and eating lunch at the Piazza Navona were just the icing on the (gluten free) cake for us . One change that we would make would be to add in a little souvenir shopping time while wandering through the neat streets between the Trevi Fountain and the Piazza Navona, and to drop the Vatican gift shop. Overall, this was DS's favourite excursion, and probably tied for top spot for the rest of us .

If there is a next visit to Rome, ideally we would find an excursion that let us explore the Roman Forum, the Spanish Steps and the Roman aqueduct park. And we enjoyed the Piazza Navona so much, we would probably want to spend time there again. Realistically this means that next time we will have to do Rome on our own.

Last edited by Scraptographer; 08-08-2013 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 08-07-2013, 02:53 PM   #20
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Awesome job so far!!! I can't wait to read the rest!!
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Old 08-07-2013, 07:22 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by figment52 View Post
I am enjoying your report. Thanks for writing.

You have me curious - I want to see photos of the picture frames :-)
About the picture frames, I was hoping someone would ask . I will do my best to take and post photos of them in the near future, however tonight I am in the 'Disboard photo doghouse' it would seem as I apparently have posted too many photos today (25 appears to be a limit of some sort).

Thank you so much for commenting.
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Old 08-07-2013, 07:28 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by goingsouth View Post
We were originally booked on this cruise and had to cancel. I get to pretend I was there via your report...thanks!!
Thank you so much for commenting and for reading along. I am so sad for you that you had to miss this cruise, hopefully you will get to enjoy a Med cruise in the near future. And if I am reading your signature line right, you have a cruise to Alaska in the works? I hope that you love it!

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Old 08-07-2013, 07:34 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by PizzieDuster View Post
Wow, I'm really enjoying your trip report! It's like you are taking me there with you all!
Thanks so much for commenting. I am happy that you are enjoying our trip report and I am happy to share
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Old 08-07-2013, 07:42 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by cforsythe View Post
Awesome job so far!!! I can't wait to read the rest!!
Many thanks for your kind comments, and thanks for reading along.
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:58 PM   #25
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Oooh, gluten free pasta in Rome. Where's the "I'm hungry too" smiley face We were on the Dream in June, and I had two really good pasta dishes on the ship. They were great with gluten free for me, and I am very sensitive to cross contamination. Looking forward to the rest of the trip...
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:20 AM   #26
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Trip Related Points/Clarifications

I have realized that there are a few points that I have not addressed in my TR so far that may help with your perspective as you read this report:

Security of Money - during periods of travel or when off the ship on excursions, I carry an across the body (Roots) triangular shaped camera bag that can be worn either in front or in back. Often my camera was actually out of the bag and around my neck, and I used the bag to carry other stuff, like souvenirs after we bought them, or water bottles. DH and I both wore shorts during the trip when on excursions, and this made it easy for each of us to wear a cotton money belt (we purchased ours at Bentleys).

We only carried as much cash on us as we felt we needed for each particular day, leaving the rest in our room safe, however we each carried a credit card in case one didn't work for some reason. (In hindsight, if the card didn't work it was because of the machine, not the card). We had purchased a package of 'sleeves' to cover our credit cards individually to avoid them being electronically 'picked'. Did we honestly think that we needed the 'sleeves'? Maybe not, but we had cheap peace of mind, and we bought them at Bentley along with my money belt for less than the cost of buying the heavier money belt that did the same thing that the sleeves do (and I would not have liked wearing the heavier belt). At no time did we have any issues with pick pockets, however I was glad for the peace of mind the money belts gave us in several highly crowded areas where we were being bumped up against a lot.

Whisper systems on excursions - Out of 7 Disney port excursions, we received 'whisper systems' on 5 of them. Essentially a whisper system is a small square radio receiver on some type of string that you can wear around your neck. The ear phones we received on the Med cruise only had one ear bud (unlike during our Baltic cruise). In general they worked very well, except in Delos where the stone walls seemed to block the sound waves. As we did Athens on our own, the guide just briefed us on the bus. In Malta again, our guide used the bus sound system to brief us.

Dining Rotations - Our dining rotation this trip was APL, which meant that we were in Parrot Cay on Formal night and I think in Lumieres onPirate night. During a conversation I had with Cedomir our head waiter, Cedomir mentioned that how you are assigned to dining rooms is based on the type of reservation that you have, as in Family, Adult etc. I don't remember all of the details (including what the etc was, but there was another category` DH thinks maybe size of party?), but it was clear to me that if I wanted to be in a specific restaurant on a specific night then I needed to actually make that request before the cruise started. It also explained why we have never been in the 'fancier' restaurant on Formal night as they schedule the dining rotation so that Adult groups get that option.

Weather/Temperatures - The weather on our cruise was basically sunny every day, and the basic temperature during our cruise was hot! Ok, not really, the temperatures were actually about the same as we had been experiencing at home before we left, but at home we don't wander around outside for extended periods of time during the hot summer, unless we are heading towards a body of water for recreational purposes!

The average temperature on the more westerly ports was officially around 81F, while the official temperatures for the eastern ports (Greece and Turkey) was roughly 89F. The reality was that the days started out really warm in the mornings and by lunchtime you probably had sweat rolling down your back, no matter how light the breathable fabric of your Lululemon t-shirt and your equally lightweight breathable Travex shorts was! Ok, that was pretty specific, but you get the picture, it was often in the 90s by lunchtime. In general our tour guides all handled this well and kept us in the shade as much as possible, and they all provided us with a bottle of water.

There were usually water fountains available (one of the reasons why the Greek and Roman empires lasted so long in my estimation!), however we often chose to purchase coke/diet coke (which fluctuated around 1.5 - 3 Euros per can in general).

In Mykonos/Delos, it did not feel as hot as it was simply because there was a very strong wing blowing constantly. It was not a knock you off your feet kind of wind, but just constant wind, which had the effect of cooling down the islands. Apparently this happens every July according to our tour guides. One of the sea days also felt a little cooler than 80 degrees, but it was still warm/hot overall. And Malta was having a heatwave according to our tour guide, so yes, we were melting in Malta!

Med related souvenirs on the Magic - I always hit the Treasure Ketch on board the ship just after it opens on Embarkation day. Realistically that is when the store has the best variety, both of souvenirs and of sizes and styles as they haven't sold out yet. In general though, we don't usually shop a lot, my main souvenir (aside from my collection of cheesy picture frames) is usually the photo cd.

Based on a conversation with a Treasure Ketch CM, their Med merchandise this year is just not selling well. We did end up buying some pins, one for Greece and one for the Med (which is all that they had specific to this trip), a Greek Mickey vinylmation (they also had a gondolier styled one too I think), a post card,

a scrapbook kit (paper and a sheet of stickers I think) and a Med themed photo album (to hold 200 4 x 6 photos).

When I added on a t-shirt for each of us,


my total came to roughly $200 (no VAT on this trip). As a result of spending more than $175 at one time, I got a coupon for 20% off a purchase from the store of my choosing - there were some restrictions on it, but I don't remember what they were. I do know that you could not combine this with any other discount, such as the Gold/Platinum Castaway perk of 10% off. I actually had trouble using it, since we are not shoppers and since it wasn't valid at Shutters .

Photo CD/Shutters photos - The cost of the photo CD on this 12 night cruise was $399, coincidentally, that was the same price it was on the Baltic in 2010. On this cruise you could also add in all of the hard copies of photos for another $75. Since we like to purchase the photo cd, we usually take advantage of most of the family photo ops available either on the ship or on excursions if we are lucky.

On this trip we saw Shutters photographers at Villefranche/Monaco, Pisa and Rome. We did not end up with a photographer on any of our excursions however. In Athens, although the photographers tried to set up on the Acropolis, they were quickly shut down by the Acropolis officials (Pillar police as we like to call them - those would be the people who see people touching or sitting on the pillars or columns and make them stop, often blowing a whistle). We did not see any out and about in either Ephesus or in Mykonos/Delos. At Malta, the photographers were apparently wandering around on deck 4 during the day using the port buildings as a backdrop.

I highly recommend that you start on Day 1 and collect your photos from the racks each time you see them and then get the Shutters staff to start a file for you behind their counter. By the last couple of days, the majority of photos from the first few days have been removed from the walls and placed in bins on tables. On the last sea day (we really should have done it the night before, as in the Malta night, but hindsight is 20/20), we compared our hardcopy photos to the digital files and were able to get the Shutters staff to add photos to our digital file for our cd, and conversely, to print some photos that we could not find in hardcopy.

The morning of the last sea day was complete and utter madness at Shutters and getting a photo kiosk on deck 4 was almost impossible! Luckily DH headed for the kiosks on deck 3 where it was slightly less
congested. One lady that we saw was at a kiosk before we started our review of our hard copy prints, and was still at the kiosk after we left a neighbouring kiosk having completed a review of our digital file.

One of the Shutters staff informed DH that after dry dock the Magic should be outfitted with photo folders on shelves, similar to the system on the Fantasy and the Dream, and they can hardly wait!

Last edited by Scraptographer; 08-30-2013 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:38 AM   #27
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Day 7 - First Sea Day

You know what they say about the road to heck being paved with good intentions right? Well, we had intended to sleep in, especially as we had lost an hour due to a time change, but sleeping in did not happen. I woke up way too early, and then convinced my DH to get up and go for a walk with me on deck 4 to get our 5km in for the day nice and early. We left the kids sleeping. Upon returning to our cabin we got cleaned up, and we got the kids up to head to breakfast at Lumieres together since they were serving a sit down service brunch.

Next we headed out to attend the Castaway Club Gold and Platinum function. Goofy was there in his Spanish costume for pictures, and cookies and fruit were being served as well as drinks.


After Captain John welcomed us, Peter, our Cruise Director took over to brief us on the upcoming changes to the Magic after dry dock. The majority of the changes have already been discussed in previous threads on the Disboards, except that he also mentioned that one of the original Iron Man suits will be on display in one of the kid's clubs, Oceaneer's Lab? What my DH and I found amusing was Peter commenting something to the effect of - you probably want to know about the the 2015 itineraries <pause for effect>, well, we don't know what they are yet. But you could always check the Disboards... They seem to know everything first!

At the end of the gathering, we picked up our rice crispy Mickey head cookies - DD brings them home to friends as souvenirs since we can't eat them due to the malt in the rice crispies i.e. gluten. The kids headed to the Vibe and/or the pool/hot tub, while DH decided to tackle the laundry. It seems that 2 washers and 1 dryer were not functioning, but everyone was playing nice in the laundry room, and DH had fun socializing with others in the same boat, discussing the trip so far, and speculating on what would actually change for the Magic after dry dock . I visited DH in the laundry room, bringing him pop and munches from deck 9.

I spent part of the afternoon up on deck, and although I noticed that we sailed between Sicily and the toe of Italy, it did not really excite me, realistically I may have been too engrossed in my book.


Eventually we all headed back to the room to shower and change and get ready for formal night. Both DH and DS cleaned up very nicely in their suits, while DD and I pulled out our fancier dresses. We scored photo ops with the Mariner Mickey statue in the Atrium lobby as well as with Chip and Dale and Minnie in formal attire.


The evenings entertainment was Twice Charmed, or as I like to call it, Twisted Sisters . This production was very well done, and ended up tied with Once Upon a Song as my favourite of the Disney-ish shows of the trip. They definitely had some great performers on this cruise.

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Old 08-08-2013, 05:25 PM   #28
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Day 8 - Second Sea Day

Ah yes, a second sea day in a row, and all of the travelling we had done was finally catching up with us at this point. Instead of sleeping in, we got up early to go to the character breakfast. Urgh! What were we thinking?

Honestly when we got that wake up call from Mickey, we probably would have just rolled over and gone back to sleep since we were so tired, however Cedomir had promised gluten free waffles and pancakes for breakfast, so we parental units headed for Parrot Cay, leaving the teenagers to roll out of bed on their own and join us eventually, which of course they did, because we were talking waffles and pancakes here. And yes, we knew they would not be the made from scratch type, or even the Mickey head waffles everyone else can order, but Cedomir was so happy that he could order them for us that we said yes to the character breakfast.


And it was indeed a typical character breakfast, with napkin hats and visits from the Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Chip and Dale in their tropical style attire.


After breakfast, since we were up so early anyway, we decided it was the perfect opportunity to go see Iron Man 3 playing in the Buena Vista theatre. There is often discussion on the Disboards as to why you would go see movies while on a cruise. For our family the response would be why not? And as a further benefit, we find that after a cruise when we see the movies again, they bring back warm memories. Whenever I watch either How to Train Your Dragon or The Sorcerer's Apprentice, I am usually immediately reminded of our Baltic cruise.

Following the movie we headed to Lumieres for brunch, however the menu was exactly the same as the day before, so although we ate, we were feeling a little uninspired.

At that point DD headed off to hang out at the Vibe while DH and I headed for deck 4 to get our 5 km walk in for the day. DS set himself up in a lounge chair on deck 4 to play on his Gameboy and count our laps . Yeah right, he was way too engrossed in his game and paid us very little attention at all.

By 1:30 pm we headed to the Walt Disney theatre to watch The Lone Ranger, because it was just that kind of day. We had not yet seen The Lone Ranger, and happily we enjoyed it a lot however it was not over until 4:30 pm. DD in the meantime had spent the afternoon hanging out at Vibe, except for attending a couple of animation classes. Luckily we had wave phones to keep in contact.

We headed back to the cabin (via the tea station on deck 9 and got cleaned up for dinner. Dinner at Lumiere's was the show dinner with Belle and the Beast and other friends showing up along with dessert.


After supper we queued up for white screen photos, and yes, we normally try to get family photos every night. The logic process is that we are normally dressed fairly nicely anyway, the process usually takes very little time and we have a better chance of getting the best family photo with the more photo ops we get. And each cruise it usually works. Tonight however the line up seemed to take forever as it felt like everyone on the ship wanted to get their pictures taken! In the end these photos were definitely worth the wait, but at the time our kids were grumbling a little about missing the evening show. It was ok, they survived . We also chose to get a picture with Mickey and Minnie together in Spanish attire as our 'character interaction' of the day. Although we already had the individual characters in their Spanish attire, this was more for the opportunity to get a picture with them both at the same time.

By the time we finished with our photo ops, it was too late for the kids to go to the show, so we headed up to deck 9 for our evening cup of tea. When we found Hercules playing on on Funnel Vision we knew that the evening had panned out in the best way possible for us and we all pulled up a lounge chair and settled in to enjoy the rest of the evening, watching Hercules out on the dimly lit open deck before visiting Athens .

Last edited by Scraptographer; 08-20-2013 at 08:42 PM.
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Old 08-09-2013, 03:42 AM   #29
solgent
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Granted, if I could climb the tower again without it costing so much I would probably do it in a heartbeat.
I don't know how much you paid but I bought tickets to climb the tower online from home (18 Euros each) and we took the train to Pisa on our own (10 Euros each). We enjoyed this day very much.
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Old 08-09-2013, 05:29 PM   #30
Scraptographer
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I don't know how much you paid but I bought tickets to climb the tower online from home (18 Euros each) and we took the train to Pisa on our own (10 Euros each). We enjoyed this day very much.
First, thank you for reading along and for commenting, I really do appreciate it.

Second - Arrrrrrgh!!! See, the logical, financially responsible part of me really did not want to know how much ... Or should I say how little ... Doing this on your own cost. Which is exactly why I barely researched the DIY option at all once I realized that I could not be sure what time I could get to Pisa etc. And based on our sheeplike tendencies, I knew if we got 'stuck' debating stuff, I would not have gotten to climb the tower.

Based on the difference between the Disney 'look at the tower' vice 'climb the tower' excursions, Disney charges roughly $80 to $90 per person for this option, vice your cost of 18 € or roughly $28 to $30 per person depending on the exchange rate.

So yes, the price that Disney charges for their 'Disney magic' for excursions is a whole 'nother thread!!

From our perspective, and based on our comfort zone now that we have 'been there and done that', if we are lucky enough to do another Med cruise, we will probably stray away from the herd next time and visit more sites on our own.
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