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Old 03-06-2011, 09:13 AM   #76
Almagetty
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awatt: Do you have a review posted of your cruise? We have booked with Catherine for our day in Villefranche and I would love to read your impressions.
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:20 AM   #77
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DisneyFalcon

Just read your review and loved it. You have a real talent for writing. I have been to most of those places but my photo's weren't nearly as good. pj
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:23 AM   #78
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Just read your review and loved it. You have a real talent for writing. I have been to most of those places but my photo's weren't nearly as good. pj
Thanks, Pj! That's very nice of you to say.
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:47 AM   #79
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Disney Falcon: I'm reading your trip report for about the 100th time. (It's really well done, thank you!). I do have a couple of questions having to do with smaller details:

1. In Barcelona, I notice you used the metro to get around. How was that? Did you buy a pass for the day?

2. Can you share the name of the transfer company you used in Barcelona? I don't do "late" very well.

Thanks!
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Old 03-06-2011, 11:28 AM   #80
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Originally Posted by Almagetty View Post
Disney Falcon: I'm reading your trip report for about the 100th time. (It's really well done, thank you!). I do have a couple of questions having to do with smaller details:

1. In Barcelona, I notice you used the metro to get around. How was that? Did you buy a pass for the day?

2. Can you share the name of the transfer company you used in Barcelona? I don't do "late" very well.

Thanks!
Thanks Almagetty!

The metro was very easy to use. We bought some day passes. If I remember correctly, if you take 7 or more trips in a day you'll save money. I believe they were good for 10 trips. You can also share the day passes. My daughter and I split one.

I don't mind naming the transfer company now, since they've had ample opportunity to make it right and never did. It was a2btransfers. I do not recommend them. It was a very bad experience.

We used Sun transfers when we arrived and they were great!
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Old 03-06-2011, 01:20 PM   #81
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Thanks Almagetty!

The metro was very easy to use. We bought some day passes. If I remember correctly, if you take 7 or more trips in a day you'll save money. I believe they were good for 10 trips. You can also share the day passes. My daughter and I split one.

I don't mind naming the transfer company now since they've had ample opportunity to make it right and never did. It was a2btransfers. I do not recommend them. It was a very bad experience.

We used Sun transfers when we arrived and the were great!
I was looking at booking with Sun transfers so good to hear a positive report from someone that is not from their website
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Old 03-06-2011, 03:43 PM   #82
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Thanks, DisneyFalcon! Phew! We're booked with Autos Vilar for all of our transfers. They are highly recommended on Cruise Critic. We have to be at the train station in Barcelona to get on the 11:00 AM AVE to Madrid, so it's important that our transfers go off as planned.
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:42 PM   #83
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I was looking at booking with Sun transfers so good to hear a positive report from someone that is not from their website

Yep, they were good! We actually came out of baggage claim probably 1 1/2 hours late because the baggage system broke down, and there our driver was waiting for us!


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Thanks, DisneyFalcon! Phew! We're booked with Autos Vilar for all of our transfers. They are highly recommended on Cruise Critic. We have to be at the train station in Barcelona to get on the 11:00 AM AVE to Madrid, so it's important that our transfers go off as planned.

Good! It's funny because if they were just late I might not have even said anything. It was the fact that they didn't actually get us to the airport!
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:45 PM   #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Almagetty View Post
Disney Falcon: I'm reading your trip report for about the 100th time. (It's really well done, thank you!). I do have a couple of questions having to do with smaller details:

1. In Barcelona, I notice you used the metro to get around. How was that? Did you buy a pass for the day?

2. Can you share the name of the transfer company you used in Barcelona? I don't do "late" very well.

Thanks!
Hi

The Metro is easy and there are stops at some very convenient places. You can get 10 tickets for a good rate and use these between everyone, there are automatic machines, that you can put English in as a language and get your tickets.

We used a very good company twice, they had great vehicles, arrived on time, helpful drivers. You can do everything on line and get confirmation. I actually emailed a few days before we left just to confirm that they had our booking and everything was OK. They are Barcelona Airport Transfers I would have no hesitatation in recomending them, based on our experiences.

Kate
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Old 03-07-2011, 04:12 PM   #85
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Thanks for the information, K8T, and for the link to the transfer company. I think I'll contact them for a quote, just to compare with the price I already have.

Edited to add: I just checked the prices with Barcelona Transfers and they are quite a bit less than the company I now have reservations with. Thank you, thank you for the tip K8T!!!
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:47 PM   #86
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Thanks for the information, K8T, and for the link to the transfer company. I think I'll contact them for a quote, just to compare with the price I already have.

Edited to add: I just checked the prices with Barcelona Transfers and they are quite a bit less than the company I now have reservations with. Thank you, thank you for the tip K8T!!!
So glad, I thought they were a bit more than others to be honest!!!, but it was worth it for the reliability and vehicles.

OK, if anyone is interested!!!

Corsica Ajjacio. This is a lovely little island, we did a local excursion on another cruise ship, but it only took us around the town and to the square and monument, which you can actually walk to yourself, head up into the town and to the left slightly and then straight on again. (sort of 11.00 direction from the ship!).

I like this port because in the morning there is usually a market, just opposite where the ship comes in, selling fresh vegetables, fabulous honey etc. If you continue through the market, through to the other side, there is a long shopping street that runs parallel with the water, some nice cafes, touristy type stuff, nice pottery in bright colours, olive oil pourers etc. A good place to buy gifts to take home.

Ajjacio is the birthplace of Napoleon, so there are monuments and squares dedicated to the man himself and there is also an amazing library along the main street that houses, really really old books full of his letters and journals, certainly worth a look.

I believe there is a little train that does a trip around the town. There are some small beaches within walking distance, just walk to the left of the town and keep going following the waterline. You have to go down some steep steps to the beaches, they are quite narrow, but nice sand and the water is clear, good for snorkling. The second beach along is nicer, but a bit of a walk. They have showers, but that is all. We buy cheese & bread at the market, a bottle of wine and have an afternoon just lazing!

There is also a tourist bus, which takes you along the coastline, which is very interesting to see a bit of the scenery, there are private beach clubs along this road and the bus will drop you off, they have jet skis for hire. I am sure a search would come up with something and of course a taxi could take you.

The shops do usually shut around lunchtime, so just be aware of that, they open again in the afternoon. There are some lovely restaurants on the edge of the quay, which do fantastic seafod (as you would expect). Try the Moules et frites.

Villfranche This is a tender port, the boats come into a little harbour, which you walk along, through a small building which has lots of tourist information, maps etc., The beach is literally over to your right, so just walk along the waterside. However it is very narrow and a bit stony. The train station is the same direction, you will see a large wall on your left and some steps up to the station. If you are on the sea side of the platform the train takes you to Nice, on the other side (landside), you go to Monaco, Montecarlo.

The trains are easy to use, clean, but busy, there are displays inside that tell you what station is coming up.

Montecarlo is certainly worth a visit, looking at the millionaires yachts and the Casino is beautiful, you need your passport if you want to go inside and I think they charge you now to have a look. There is the Hotel de Paris just outside and opposite that a pavement cafe, where it cost us around $60 for two beers, two wines, three waters and an icecream!! However, you can sit here with cool water being misted over you from above, watching the Ferraris, Rolls Royce and other amazing cars driving up to the Casino and being valet parked by the doorman - in the middle of the afternoon. The Palace is worth visiting, the buses are fairly easy to use, the maps have the routes marked. It is built into a hillside and you can find elevators that take you up levels, but be prepared for some walking!

Nice has a large beach, but a stony one, amazing shops and again restaurants along the beach front, it is a big place, very different from Monaco/Montecarlo. A typical seaside resort. I like shopping around here and there are some quaint little streets. I am sure you are aware that you may find topless bathers on the beaches, perfectly normal in the South of France! There are a lot of small private beaches, with sun loungers and umbrellas and showers, You can pay six or seven euros and stay for the afternoon, with drinks and icecreams being brought around to you.

If you go out early enough, you can do both Montecarlo and Nice, but probably wouldn't do either full justice. Personally I would say go to Montecarlo, I think it is much more visual and entertaining.

Villefranche is also nice just to wander around for an hour or two if you don't want to go far.

Hope the above helps, Disney Falcon has some great photos which show all the ports really well, you can't go very wrong if you follow that!!

Kate
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Last edited by K8T; 03-07-2011 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:15 PM   #87
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Red face

K8T your info has been so helpful! Keep it coming, please.

-I have booked 3 private tours ( rome, pisa/lucca, and pompeii/sorrento) and for 5 it is definitely expensive, but my family has never been and my DH is not in the best shape. We will definitely do some of the others on our own as we really need to save money.
-I am now debating whether Pisa should be on our own - it will be my son's 12th birthday and I didn't want to make it a stressful day doing it on our own. I feel that going to Florence is too much and my kids have never been to Pisa ( I think kids want to see and climb the tower in general).
-Corsica and Villefranche seem easier to do on one's own
-Malta on our own - getting a cab at port sounded great especially if we want to go to the Blue Grotto and Mdina. Or is this too much and we should just walk around Valleta?

-With Palermo on the list now, does anyone have any thoughts. The kids would love the catacombs but going to a beach sounds great as well.
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:42 PM   #88
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K8T your info has been so helpful! Keep it coming, please.

-I have booked 3 private tours ( rome, pisa/lucca, and pompeii/sorrento) and for 5 it is definitely expensive, but my family has never been and my DH is not in the best shape. We will definitely do some of the others on our own as we really need to save money.

If you get stressed about trains and stuff then Rome is probably a good one to do. Personally I would skip the Vatican inside, it is just too much to take in, but try and do the Sistine Chapel. Not sure if you can book on its own. 12 year old must do the Colleseum, alll that talk about tigers ripping people apart, just what they like!!!

-I am now debating whether Pisa should be on our own - it will be my son's 12th birthday and I didn't want to make it a stressful day doing it on our own. I feel that going to Florence is too much and my kids have never been to Pisa ( I think kids want to see and climb the tower in general).

Florence is beautiful, but I think you are right in choosing Pisa, it is much more visual - don't we all remember seeing it in our encyclopedias!!! Florence is very busy and really for grown ups. You son is old enough to climb the tower, but prebook, giving an approximate time. Pisa on your own is simple, but if you are plannin on Lucca too, you may be rushing and juggling trains, but maybe someone else can help out with that.-

Corsica and Villefranche seem easier to do on one's own

You are right there in Corsica, beaches, town and monuments all walkable. In Villefranche, the train is simple just an up and down line, take your pick which way to go.

-Malta on our own - getting a cab at port sounded great especially if we want to go to the Blue Grotto and Mdina. Or is this too much and we should just walk around Valleta?

You will have time to do Blue Grotto and Mdina, then get dropped off at the gateway to Valleta, you can stroll around and then walk back down the hill (very steep, but easier going down!), to the ship. We did this.

-With Palermo on the list now, does anyone have any thoughts. The kids would love the catacombs but going to a beach sounds great as well.
I would like to know about Palermo, some friends said the actual town itself isn't great - very industrial, but Scily is supposed to be a beautiful island.


I would wecome some help with Cinque Terre if anyone can. I was planning on getting the train to Vernazza and then walking to Montorosso (sp?). Anyone know if doable and do the trains run frequently to come back?

We did see boats next to the ship that were saying 'Cinque Terre', anyone do one of these?

Thanks
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Old 03-09-2011, 03:10 PM   #89
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Rome in Limo

Just booked private tours through Rome in Limo for our six person group for Naples, Rome and La Spezia for our July 20 cruise. It was very easy to do and Jany responded immediately to emailed questions. They give a €50 discount per port for doing multiple ports. We're getting a private tour guide for the Vatican, and will buy Coliseum and Vatican tickets on our own online.

The total price will be less than doing comparable tours through Disney, and we'll have the flexibility of a private car. Online reviews for the company that I found were universally positive. This is our first time to Europe, so we'll keep our fingers crossed for a good experience.

Now we have to figure out what to do in the other ports, but thanks to this thread it shouldn't be hard to do. Thanks to all who have posted for their advice!
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Old 03-09-2011, 03:20 PM   #90
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Barcelona--
The metro tickets are 6.70 Euros for a strip of 10. These are not a "day pass," but are good for a total of 10 rides, and can be used by multiple people.

An easy way to see the city, especially if you don't have a lot of time, is the hop on, hop off Bus Turistica. It was 22 Euros for an adult for one day, 29 for 2 days. Less for a child. There are 3 interlocking bus routes, each is about 2 hours long if you don't get off. The earphone discussion will tell you what you are seeing. You'll want to ride up top so you can really see things, so bring a sweater or jacket if it is at all cool!
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