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Old 06-20-2007, 10:39 AM   #1
Rogillio
DIS Veteran
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Alabama
Posts: 2,030

Med Cruise - 26 May/6 June

We wrote this mainly for the family archives but maybe there will be something of use to those who are cruising later this summer.

~Mike



The Rogillio’s Grand DCL
Mediterranean Cruise Adventure
26 May – 6 June 2007

Nearly 14 months after booking the cruise, we were finally on our way to Barcelona, Spain to set sail on Disney Cruise Line’s Magic for her maiden voyage in the Mediterranean! All the months of waiting, planning and anticipating were finally over and we were on our way!

We’d done our research, figured out where to stay, what to see, and all that remained was the awful cattle car flight to Barcelona from Huntsville! Of course we did survive and what follows is an account of our time. As always, this report is written primarily for our family archives to read in our golden years while we ponder what we did with all the money we made over the years!

Barcelona, Spain

5/23 – After cleaning the house and doing the last minute packing, we left for the airport for our 1155 hrs flight to Barcelona by way of Atlanta and Newark. We arrived the next day shortly before noon. We exchanged our money for euros, € and dadgum if we weren’t very unfortunate! The Frommer’s books had listed the rate at about $.85 to one € , and another had listed a record high of $1.20 to one € . We got a rate of $1.40 to one € ! In other words, the dollar was VERY weak against the Euro and our money was worth about ½ of what it would have been worth several years ago. In one way it made the figuring easier, as we just assumed everything was 1.5 times the € cost. We didn’t really get many bargains . . .  We took a cab from the airport to the hotel and got our first view of the city we’d explore for the next couple of days. We passed a sign that said “Placa de Catalunya” I was excited, I had no idea any more what was actually THERE, but I recognized a name that was familiar, and had to be in the book! We’d had high hopes we’d be able to check into our hotel immediately on arrival. Fortunately check-in was at 1230 hrs so we only had to wait about 45 minutes. We ate tapas (sandwiches on round Italian/French bread) while we waited and decided they were pretty darn good! We each got a different type of sandwich and shared them between the 4 of us.

We’d only had about an hour of two of sleep on the plane the previous night so a nap was declared to be in order, and we all collapsed onto our beds for some restorative slumber. We had the segregation thing going, since we’d been unable to locate a room that would accommodate all 4 of us. Evidently the Europeans still only travel 2 to a room! It worked well tho, as we had no fights and delays over bathroom time. 

We found a double-decker tour bus and purchased tickets to ride it for the remainder of Thursday and all day Friday. We got off at Poble Espanol at Montjuic – a village built for the 1929 World’s Fair. There are over 100 styles of Spanish architecture in this area, and a lot of those are inhabited by shops with souvenir items and crafts. It was fun to wander thru it, not many other people were there so it felt as if we had it to ourselves. We had dinner there in a small diner.

We rode the bus around a bit more and exited close to the port and the statue of Christopher Columbus and made our way up Les Ramblas on foot to our hotel. Les Ramblas is the most famous promenade in Spain, it once was a sewer. It’s hard to believe that as I think about the trees and wide area for walking. We saw all sorts of human statues, musician and wall to wall people. There were some in fantastic costumes (think tall tree!) as well as little outdoor cafes, and all sorts of vendors. It was an interesting evening walk. I think we were all sawing logs by 9 pm, but we slept well and were up by 7 and out the door to find breakfast by 8! We found a small pastry/coffee shop just up from the hotel and had freshly baked pastry there both mornings we were in Barcelona.

We were too early for the bus so opted to walk to the Barcelona Cathedral. Construction on this cathedral began at the end of the 13th century; work was finally completed in the mid-15th century. It ranks as one of the most impressive cathedrals in Spain according to our Frommer’s book. (a plug for Frommer’s here, they do an excellent job of providing detailed, terrific information for the traveler.) Quoting the book: “The cathedral is the cloister that enthralls most visitors; consisting of vaulted galleries enhanced by forged iron grilles. It is filled with orange, medlar, and palm trees and features a mossy central pond and fountain, and is (inexplicably) home to a gaggle of white geese.” Yep. There sure are geese in there! Nick asked me why, I had no idea!

The church itself was most beautiful and serene. We’d read that you had to have shoulders and knees covered to gain admittance, so we ensured we were properly attired. Glad I’d read that as we saw a young woman get turned away from the door because her shorts were too short. I would have hated to walk all that way there to be unable to enter. It was fascinating to see paintings in the church that were painted 600 years ago!

After we left the Cathedral we wandered thru the narrow alleys of the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter). It was very interesting to get this glimpse into life. We paused outside a tiny grocery store, Mike and the kids entered it while I stayed outside. I watched as a woman juggling her cell phone, a stroller with her baby, a cigarette and her unleashed dog came out of the store. Huh? Wow. You don’t find dogs in the grocery stores in the states! And they sure don’t run about unleashed in town!

We found Les Ramblas again and made our way to a bus stop so we could explore more of the city. The area our hotel was in was absolutely gorgeous if you were in to architecture. I was. I am! There were also some statues outside of the hotel that embarrassed Jamie immensely. Think very large, proportional, nude, anatomically correct male statues! I believe she told her daddy to not look, uh, it’s not like he’s not familiar with the sight honey! She definitely told me to not look and held her hand up so she wouldn’t even catch a glimpse in her peripheral vision.

We were not as impressed with the modern part of the city. Rectangular boxes with windows aren’t very interesting.

We walked to La Pedrera, a work of Antoni Gaudí, the outside wasn’t like anything we’d ever seen. According to Frommer’s it’s unlike any piece of architecture in the world. There isn’t a straight wall in the edifice or inside. We didn’t enter this museum and missed our chance to see the roofscape, which is also not a flat surface, but undulates. We walked on instead to La Sagrada Familia, a famous unfinished cathedral. We’d seen the exterior from our bus tour and read that it was a must-see. Frommer’s steered us dead wrong on this one “If you have time to see only one Catalan landmark you should make it this one” Bleah! The outside on the west, the Passion Façade, was not to our liking, elongated stylized figures. The east façade, the Nativity Façade, was a riot of carvings; it seemed every square inch of stone was part of a shape, whether it looked like a Christmas tree, a bird or a person. The interior was a major disappointment. We paid $44 to see it, and you know what? It IS unfinished and looked like a typical construction site!! We paid some major $ to see a lot of scaffolding.  

Friday we walked to sites we’d seen from the bus that were close to our hotel. We’d struck paydirt with booking at the Onix Rambla. It was in a beautiful part of the city and close to some of the main attractions we wanted to see. First on our agenda was Casa Batlló, aka the House of Bones. It was difficult to believe the same man that created La Sagrada Familia was responsible for this house; we were SO impressed by it. Well worth the money to tour this incredible place. This is thought to represent the legend of St George (the patron saint of Catalonia) and his dragon. The balconies are protected by imposing skull-like formations and supported by vertebrae-like columns representing the dragon’s victims, while the spectacular roof is the dragon’s humped and glossy scaled back. St. George can be seen in the turret, his lance crowned by a cross. I can not imagine living in this house. It seems the house was built to have apartments in it too, as there were 3 floors that each had 2 apts, the doors were in the same Gaudí style. But who knows! There were 2-3 floors we didn’t have access to below the main floor as well as some rooms on the main floor. Hopefully the pictures we took do it some justice. The central well with a skylight surmounting it was phenomenal. The care and attention to detail Gaudí lavished on this place took our breaths away.

While we cooled our heels waiting for Casa Batlló to open, I read about the Casa Amatlier which was right next door. Nick spied the pigs blowing glass and taking photos. It made for a very interesting façade, and was a sharp contrast to the flowing lines of Casa Batlló.

Nick and I also walked up the block to gaze at the Casa Lleó Morera and see if we could find the telephone, light bulb, mulberry bush and lion that were a part of this richly decorated building. We sat and craned our heads and looked and looked. Finally Nick spied the light bulb and from there it was easy pickings for the other 3!

We had breakfast both mornings at a small bakery/coffee shop just up from the hotel. It was very fun to try the different pastry treats and much cheaper than the 10 € the hotel wanted for breakfast.

By the time we finished wandering and exulting in the beauty and wonder of Casa Batlló it was time to head back to the hotel and collect our bags. We’d thought about taking the bags to the ship (which sharp-eyed Jamie had spotted on the previous day) and returning to wander some more, but it was a long taxi ride to the pier. We didn’t feel like spending more money on taxis or walking back up to the Sephora shop I’d wanted to see and opted instead to relax on the Disney Magic. Nick immediately went to Ocean Quest – an area set aside for kids 10-13, I went to the spa and booked a massage (at a reduced price since it was a port day!) and Mike and Jamie reacquainted themselves with the ship.

First Sea Day

The sea day was relaxing, I can’t think of what we did to occupy our time – we did get laundry out of the way! Oh yes, Nick and I played Bingo. We didn’t win a thing . . .

Mike and Nick participated in the Mickey 2000 race. The race was similar to a pinewood derby they have in the scouts except the car is carved out of a potato and a carrot. Their car did not win the any races but they won the award for ‘best car name’ for “Mickinator”.

My thing on cruises is to play Bingo and buy perfume, so I went to test out various scents so by the end of the cruise I’d know which one I wanted to purchase, it works well for me!

Mike went to the fitness center and ran a few miles on a treadmill than took the spin class on the exercise bikes. This modicum of exercise did little to burn off the mega-million calories we were consuming.

From here the details get a tad hazy, I didn’t take good notes this time as we were busybusybusy!

Palermo, Sicily

Our first port of call was Palermo, Sicily, (5/28/07) where we boarded a bus which took us to the catacombs. On our way there we drove by the beautiful 19th century Teatro Politeama and Teatro Massimo featured in "The Godfather: Part II." as well as the "Four Corners" intersection. This famous landmark features four statues depicting the four seasons, four statues of Spanish Kings and four statues representing four female patron saints. There used to be 8000 ‘residents’ in the catacombs, thankfully for me that number has been reduced to 2000. By my 2nd dead person I was over wanting to see more! I found it really macabre, and was rather glad pictures were not allowed. Mike and Nick really got into it, whispering to each other, “I see dead people”.  That’s a line from a movie, The Sixth Sense, in case you don’t get it. *G* Perhaps Mike will have a different perspective to share!

Mike here: The first person to be mummified was a famous monk. They put him on display to show the people that we are all just mortals and will die and the life hereafter is much more important than the life we are living now. Turns out, because of the nature of the air, the body was preserved so then all the monks were preserved. Then the townsfolk started paying the monks to preserve/display their departed loved ones. Keep in mind that this was at a time before photography so one could ‘hold on’ to their loved ones a little longer. This was the best part of Palermo IMO. Very cool!

From there we drove thru the winding, narrow streets (are there any other kinds in Europe?!) to what used to be the “summer residence of the Norman Kings, the Zisa Castle, with its impressive Arab architectural flourishes.” It was huge, 2-3 stories, gilded, and very impressive.

We were taken to a little ice cream shop where I had the best gelato I’ve ever had. Man o man, I could have had several more cones! From there we went to “the age-old beauty, Spasimo Church, which was originally constructed in 1509, transformed into a theatre in 1582, used as a place where the lepers lived during the plague in 1624, and is now a center for cultural and musical performances.” It had no roof, which was interesting. At one point it was very decrepit, but the city started realizing people were interested in seeing it so that area of town began to be invigorated with shops and I think they started some minimal restoration of the church. It’s not in the plans to replace the roof; I believe it’s more interesting without one too.

Back to the ship where we promptly set out again on a walking tour of Palermo. We saw the spectacular “Cathedral at Palermo which dates back to the 12th century. The combination of Christianity and Muslim craftsmanship create an architectural masterpiece. Inside you'll find pieces that date back to the Middle Ages. It first served as a mosque and was transformed into a church in 1185.”. I love looking at the architecture and feasting my eyes on the art.

Naples, Italy - Vesuvius and Pompeii

5/29 saw us at Naples, Italy, where we embarked on our tour of Vesuvius and Pompeii. WOW. There was a LOT of wind at Vesuvius and rain – of course the brellies were on the ship, grrr, and the only one that had a warm piece of clothing was Jamie – a sweatshirt. I had a 2nd t-shirt on, I’d meant to bring a light jacket on the cruise, but obviously forgot! There were several tour groups huddled under a roof where they got some protection from the on-again/off-again rain, but zero from the wind. BRRRRR! Finally we made our way inside the little shop where Mike and I got cappuccinos. It was amazing how much warmer we were out of the wind but still amongst the press of bodies! I finally broke down and bought a light fleece jacket for 25 €. Way over-priced, but darnitall, I was FREEZING!

Finally the 50 mph wind subsided enough to let a couple of groups thru which eased the crush of people, then it was our turn. I can see why they wouldn’t let more go, that wind just tore at your breath and pushed you around. There was a railing on the downward side, and thank heavens for that! Jamie didn’t want to leave the comfort of the bus to climb the volcano, but we said we hadn’t come all this way and spent the money to sit in a bus! So Jamie and I trudged our way up and up and up while Mike and Nick showed off by running on occasion! I believe the guide said Vesuvius was 1300 -1400 meters high, which translates into 4265 – 4593 feet high. A good little jaunt! We saw steam escaping from the bowl of Vesuvius and lava rivers from the 1944 eruption. The whole thing was way beyond my imagination.

From there we jaunted to a local restaurant where we had Pizza Margharita. Hmmm. We’d all been rather excited to try pizza at its birthplace, but hmmm. It wasn’t so good!

It was oven-baked, which was cool, but the sauce was very reminiscent of the time we put up our tomatoes. Seeds and thin juice and tomato bits (sans skins) and no spices. The cheese was in little blobs, not covering the whole crust as we’re used to. Hmmmm. We all got the giggles over the ice cream we were served. I’ve never seen spoons that small, not even the taste testing spoons at ice cream shops. We said we were going to use these spoons for the Rogillio diet plan. I laughed til I cried!

On we went to the next jewel at Naples, Pompeii. Oh. My. Gosh. It’s always cool to see something I’ve read about, but this far exceeded my expectations. I’d had no real idea of how large the area was, nor how settled with streets and buildings. I know Mike was very impressed, I think the kids were too.

Mike here: Of all the ruins I’ve seen around the world, I found Pompeii to be the most impressive. We’ve all learned about Pompeii in school and seen it on the Discovery and History Channels but you really have to walk the streets and sidewalks to get your arms around Pompeii. This was NOT a little ‘village’ – this was a very large city of 20,000 residents and one day in about 79 AD the city disappeared under 10 meters (about 30 feet) of volcanic ash. And for the next 1,600 years it remained preserved exactly as it was on that day when Mt. Vesuvius blew. I was amazed to see marble countertops much like you would see in someone’s kitchen today! There were theaters and gyms and bars and brothels and houses and you could almost ‘see’ the city as it was 2,000 years ago.

Olbia, Sardinia

On to Olbia, Sardinia on 5/30/07. We were awakened by a band. When we looked out of our balcony down to the pier we also saw two groups of dancers. We felt as if they were playing exclusively for us as we saw no other arms hanging over their rails! They had wine and cheeses and bread set up under a tent on the pier. We hadn’t booked an excursion here, and given the temps were a tad chilly and the excursions were for beach activities, we were glad. We set off on foot and explored the town. Saw the Cathedral of San Simplicio. It was built between the 11th and 12th centuries. It wasn’t as ornate as some of the other churches, but I enjoyed it.

Mike: Ho-hum. We could have skipped this port IMO. We did not participate in any of the excursions and there was not much to see in the port town. We had bough a case of water (24 bottles) on the ship on our first day and it cost us $54. While in this town we bought 6 huge (1.5 liter I think) bottles for $3. So when we finished a small bottle water we’d fill it back up with this water.

This was a nice, relaxing day, which was good planning imo on Disney’s part, since Civitavecchia (Rome) was next!

Civitavecchia, Italy - Roma

5/31/07 - We did Rome on our own, and I’m glad we did. Armed with the Frommer’s Rome book and map we left the ship at 0730 and walked for 30 minutes (shuttle buses didn’t start til 8, and we wanted to get to an 805 train) to the train station. We barely made it on the train and found our seats to watch the country side roll by. By the time we hit St Peter’s Basilica stop the train was SRO. Glad we got seats! We walked to the Basilica where we stood in line for 20 minutes. We’d contemplated going on to the Sistine Chapel, but decided we were in line, let’s just stay here and we’ll take our chances on the other line. Glad we did, by the time we got to the entrance the line was more than double in length.

I was astounded at the Pietá, so incredible to think Michelangelo carved that from stone. We paused by the 13th century bronze of St Peter, but opted to not kiss his feet.  The mosaics took my breath away. How on earth did they make things so huge and so lifelike and so richly detailed and make it look like a painting?

We’d erred and not availed ourselves of the facilities prior to entering the Basilica (or as Mike says, we didn’t use the restroom!) and so Jamie and I had a 20 minute wait to use the restroom! The door was guarded by a burly woman who let 2-3 people in at a time as 2-3 people came out. Men of course entered and left as they pleased!

From here we scuttled over to the Sistine Chapel, where we waited in line about 40 minutes. If I was awe-struck over the Pietá, I was rendered speechless at the beautiful art work and tapestries we passed on our way to the Chapel. All I could do in the Chapel was stand with my head craned back, exploring the ceiling. We left way too soon for my liking, I could stay among the artistry for a long time!

We tried pizza again, same results, but a tad more cheese. Blech! Can’t wait to get home and make some of our own! We took a subway to the Spanish Steps, which pleased Jamie immensely. She’d seen the steps in the movie “When in Rome”. We sat on the steps and watched the plaza for a few minutes, then I had to step into the ritzy shops we saw. Hmmm. Yves St Laurent, Hermés and, um Dior? think very highly of themselves they do! I looked at tiny purses about 3”x 4” and they wanted 250 € for them. Yee haw! I looked at a scarf thinking it may be in my price range. Uh-uh. 150 € for it! Oh well. 

We headed back to the subway and got out at Trevi Fountain. Oops, we THOUGHT we stopped at Trevi Fountain! Not. We stopped at an un-named fountain instead.  We also stopped at a tiny shop for water so we could look at said unknown fountain before pressing on to the Colosseum. Mike was very impressed with it, me? Not so much! So I’ll leave it to him to share his thoughts on this place.

From here we walked to the Roman Forum and located the Temple of Romulus – not named after the legendary cofounder of Rome, but named for the son of the builder. This was awesome to see because the doors and hinges are original – hung in A.D. 306.

We walked past a museum and rows of taxi cabs. There was a strike going on at the time we were in Rome, and just our luck, a couple of blocks from the museum was where the taxi-driver rally was being held!

We skedaddled on out of there . . .  We embarked on a search for the Pantheon. It seems no buses ran past our current location to near the Pantheon, we were not near a metro, and gee, taxis were out of the equation, so we hoofed it!

The Pantheon was a wonder to me. It was built in 27 B.C, is 142’ wide and 142’ high. The domed ceiling has an 18’ diameter opening in the top, this is so the smoke from sacrificed animals could escape. The walls are 25’ thick and the bronze doors leading into the building weigh 20 Tons EACH! This is the oldest intact building in Rome.

Whew, time to head back to the ship, we chose bus to train station. We waited about 45 mins for the bus to come, and evidently the buses were jam-packed due to the taxi strike. We were glued in the bus together. At every stop I couldn’t see how one more person could possible squeeze in, but they did!

It was nice to finally sit on the train and relax – this train had much comfier seats than the morning train!

Second Sea Day

Thank heavens 6/1 was a sea day, I think I slept til 8 or 9 am. I was whipped! Nick and I played more bingo. Still losers . . . 

La Spezia - Florence and Pisa

6/2 – Florence and Pisa expedition was a major disappointment to Mike and I. I’d been the one that pushed to use the Disney excursion since I knew Florence wasn’t close to La Spezia, where we moored. Big mistake. Should have researched trains and such for this area like we did Rome. We took a 2 hr bus ride, then met the tour guide and got whisked here and there but didn’t get to do any shopping. Sniffle. Whine. Yes, I was bitterly disappointed as there was a recommended Murano glass store in Florence. I didn’t hear the guide say we’d have a 1.5 hr lunch or I would’ve bailed on it and gone shopping. At the least we should have found out what time to meet back at the bus and done Florence on our own. Much easier for 4 people to move around than a clump of 25-30.

A big shock for Jamie and I was the lack of public toilets! We both had to use the facilities near the end of the trudging about and wow, had to ask in shops if we could use their toilet! Let’s just say bathrooms in Italy are a marginal step up from China. It was always a toss of the dice whether there would be a seat, or toilet paper! Yeppers, I’d read about that too and was prepared for the worst! Another passenger found an infamous hole in the floor to use. TH we missed those on this trip!

The Duomo was magnificent, would have liked to walk around all 4 sides, ditto for the Baptistry. The North & East (Gates of Paradise per Michelangelo) doors were created by Ghiberti and took 20 & 27 years respectively to cast. I would have loved to peer at the doors, North, South & East for several more minutes than we were allotted!

We went to the Uffizi, just walked by, certainly didn’t go in, we saw the copy of David’s statue and Hercules, as well as a bunch of other un-named statues we didn’t have time to look at properly. We leaned against a railing by the river Arno and looked at the Ponte Vecchio. More whining from Casey. We were supposed to be able to cross it but that glimpse was all we had before we retraced our steps and went to the restaurant for a leisurely multi-course meal.

We then drove about 1.5 hrs to Pisa where we were allotted 30 minutes to see the sights there. Oddly enough, I’d never heard of a Duomo and baptistery in Pisa, just the tower! The other two buildings were pretty, but we didn’t enter any of them. Jamie and I did some shopping at the tourist traps, since this was the only shopping time we were to get!

Yes, yes, yes, as Jamie says, build a bridge and get over it, but the depth of my disappointment is far too deep to recover quickly. I never saw any glass in stores in Italy that had much millefiori work. I did get a couple of paperweights there, and I’m glad I did so, but their selection was nothing compared to this site: http://globalgiftmall.com/paperweights1.html

We missed dinner again this night. We’d missed dinner when we were in Rome too. It’s ok, because it’s not like we missed on FOOD, just the lovely sit-down 4 course meal! There was always pizza and burgers and hotdogs and fries and ice cream available. 

Marseilles, France

6/3 saw us in Marseilles, where we once again felt we should have done the tour on our own. We spend $45 @ person to ride a bus and a little train to see a church on a hill, the Notre Dame de la Garde. It was a pretty little drive up there, and our tour group didn’t have to wait in line for a train, but gee, people were riding the free shuttle and paying 5 € @ person. Much less expensive than our method! Our tour guide didn’t explain anything, not even small details like “exit the train and go right to go up to the top of the church” and she also left behind a family party of 8 when we departed on the little train. Whoops!
Miss Claudia got a stinky review from tour group 20 . . .

Villefranche, France

6/4 – Villefranche – tendered in again. We rode a bus to Monaco, on the Lower Corniche along the Cote d’ Azur. Man oh man, this is absolutely gorgeous country. We saw Prince Albert’s palace, no pix allowed, ohmygosh, tho if pix HAD been allowed I would’ve filled an entire 256 card with pictures here I think. Sumptuous furnishings, chairs, paintings, couches, beds – evidently we’ve grown taller and wider over the years! – wonderful woodworking in the form of gilded cabinets and tables. WOW. We piled back on bus to drive to the restaurant for lunch, after lunch we waited to enter Monte Carlo which opened at 1400. Mike took the first turn in, we had 45 mins for this bit, so he was going to take 15 and I’d take 15 and then we’d walk about for 15. Well, at 20 m I was ticked that he wasn’t out yet, so I left the casino steps where we kept getting shooed away from sitting whilst we waited. Kids and I walked about a bit, then met up with everyone at the appointed time. Turns out it took Mike 12 minutes to enter the casino proper after he hit the front doors. We didn’t know there were tickets for the tourists, as it costs 10 € just to enter the thing. Bathrooms for women were also on a pay as you go basis, I think I heard it was 5 € for them, as opposed to .30 € that we paid at Pisa. Men evidently, weren’t required to pay! I thought that was interesting. He and the guide had looked for me and waited for 10 minutes before they went back in the casino. I felt kind of bad then, but oh well, who knew all the machinations they had to go thru? Not us! We were tired of cooling our heels on the steps of the place. Our group scurried back to the spot where our bus was to pick us up only to wait 45 m on a narrow sidewalk in a tunnel area, evidently the lot where the busses were parked was full up, too many busses going thru the tunnel, something like that. At any rate our driver was held up. I kept sending Nick on a recon mission – how many busses in line now? Is one of them ours? Never til the bitter end! Urk. We then drove out of Monaco and on the Upper Corniche to Eze (Eagle’s Nest) where we climbed a lot of steps, saw an old church and only entered one tourist store where I resisted their very expensive pieces and got a great view, albeit veryvery far away, of the Magic.

Back to ship where we waited in line for a tender, showered, and I headed out again to at least dip my toes in the Med. Their beaches at this point are odd, not sand, but very small, ¼” diameter or less, smooth, flat rocks. The water was unbelievably clear. I wish I would have insisted the kids accompany me on this but they’ll just have to dip their toes in the Med on THEIR dime!

Third Sea Day

6/5 – sea day Jamie, Nick and I played bingo again, I splurged and got the red card, with 6 chances at the big jackpot, in addition to the purple card that had 6 chances and the small purple card with 3 chances. I felt that with 15 chances surely we had a good shot at it. We lost. Our bingo on-board streak is intact. We’ve yet to win a thing, be it money or prizes. I may have to give up throwing this money away if we take another cruise!

Trip Home

6/6 – debarked and home in HSV at 2100 after 23 h of traveling. URG!

Miscellaneous Notes

Saw bitty cars everywhere, the SmartFor2 and SmartFor4 cars were always underfoot.
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Old 06-20-2007, 11:44 AM   #2
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Thank you so much for your report! We are booked for the same excursions in Palermo and Florence/Pisa. Can I ask how old your kids are and if they enjoyed the catacombs or if they were creeped out?

Thanks!

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Old 06-20-2007, 12:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UMTerp View Post
Thank you so much for your report! We are booked for the same excursions in Palermo and Florence/Pisa. Can I ask how old your kids are and if they enjoyed the catacombs or if they were creeped out?

Thanks!

UMTerp
Our kids are 14 and 16. My son and I loved the catacombs but my wife and daughter were kinda creeped out. I thought it was the most facinating thing in Palermo!

I think the Florence/Pisa excursion was a waste of money. Had I to do it over again, we'd of done this port on our own. You can catch a train from LaSpezia to Florance and from Florence to Pisa and then Pisa back to the port for a fraction of the cost of the excursion. We wasted much of the day on the bus and I think the train would have been much more efficient.

Well, whatever you do, it will be an experience you will never forget. Have fun!

~Mike
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