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Old 08-25-2013, 10:32 PM   #1

newfamilyman's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 489

July 25th Venice Cruise Report with Reviews of Disneyland Paris & Private Excursions

Our family had a magical and memorable vacation last month, enjoying the Disney, 12-night Venice cruise and spending a couple of days at the beginning at Paris Disneyland and a couple days at the end in Barcelona.

We did not do any Disney excursions, and the main purpose of this trip review is to help others who are considering different private excursions for Med and European cruises and trips that you are planning for your families. We were mostly glad with the choices that we made, and I want to help others make good choices as well.

Like so many of you, our family loves Disney and includes Disney in many of our vacations. This was our fifth Disney cruise, with our favorites until that point being the August í08 Panama Canal on the Magic in í08 and last yearís Alaska on the Wonder. We had Disneyland premium APs for many years, until Disney almost doubled their price, at which point, it no longer made financial sense to renew, though we still enjoy visiting several days a year.

DW Karen and I, Carl, live in Los Angeles with DD Kailey, 12, and DS Christopher, 8.

Air France 380
We decided that a cruise departing in Europe required a stay in Paris and visit to Disneyland Paris. Going to Paris made it easy to decide to try out Air Franceís 380. I read varying reports about sitting upstairs or downstairs, and we ended up flying upstairs on the outbound and downstairs for the return.

Based on travelersí comments that I had read online, I was expecting the upper deck to be markedly superior to the lower deck, but this didnít end up being the case. If you sit in economy on the 380 on the upper deck, as one poster noted, you have to do the walk of shame as you pass business class and then premium economy before you get to your seats. Boarding downstairs and turning right (see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), you wonít have to encounter any of your more fortunate, fellow travelers.

Another disadvantage to being upstairs is that you have no choice but to be in front of the restrooms, with are shared with premium economy. Where we were sitting downstairs, in row 40, we were in front of the galley, which put us near the drinks and snacks but a cabin away from the lavatories.

I was surprised that Air France managed to make each compartment feel private by the use of curtains, so you didnít feel as if you were sitting with 500 other people, which was my only concern.

You have the option with Air France of paying for an exit row, which I did on the outbound flight, and it turned out to be a mistake. While there was more legroom, the seat was tighter, as a result of a wider armrest to accommodate the tray and video screen, so I was overall more uncomfortable.

I was very pleased with the Air France flight overall, however. There were many films from which to choose, and I enjoyed a rare double feature of Iron Man 3 followed by a recent French comedy. The stewards were exceptionally helpful and friendly, so no complaints there. Both the seat width and pitch were considerably roomier than economy seats on other aicrcraft. It was a wonderful luxury to fly the A380 on Air France, even in coach.

Next Installment: Disneyland Paris from the perspective of a Disney-loving, American family.
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