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Old 07-25-2013, 03:14 AM   #1006
mikeandmela
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After spending parts of three days and two nights in Barcelona I must say that we only scratched the surface of all that is here. This place is way off the radar of most travelers from the US for reasons unknown to me. What an incredible mixture of ancient and modern set in between the crystal clear Mediterranean and mountains!! We were treated like royalty at the hotel Monte Carlo, which is right on La Rambla, one foot outside the hotel and like George M Cohan said " the greatest show on earth, the people". See y'all on the Magic!
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Old 07-25-2013, 03:16 AM   #1007
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We are just getting ready to leave Novotel Cornella and board the Magic - see you all soon!

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Old 07-25-2013, 09:19 AM   #1008
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Happy Sail Away...
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7/7/07 11 Night Mediterranean MAGIC
6/29/08 Mexican Riviera WONDER
7/18/2010 Baltic Cruise MAGIC
1/21/2011 Cruise to Nowhere WONDER

4/10/2012 Double Dip, Bahamas DREAM

12/23/12 Club 33, Oh Yeah
6/27/2013 Back to the Mediterranean with a new flair MAGIC

5/17/14 Cruise to Nowhere Wonder
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Old 08-07-2013, 09:29 AM   #1009
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What a great time. We got back last night. I'm hoping to start working on a trip report, just to relive the magic of this trip. The people, the places, the cast, crew, and ship. The ship definitely carries the correct name!

Thank you all! Our travelling companions were the best. I thought this would be a one time thing. No way. It may take some time to save, but it will happen again. The kids grew so much in just a short period of time. Our lives were enriched beyond measure - in just 2 short weeks.

I can't thank all of you enough.

This was the first cruise we were paired with table mates. What an amazing time we had with them.

For those who didn't notice, Ridley Pearson - author of the Kingdom Keeper's series was on board with us. I finally got up the courage to ask if it was him - and it was. He was the gentleman sitting around the decks diligently typing. He was writing the 7th book while we were busy leaving him alone. My DD and some of her friends talked with him. He signed autographs and talked at great lenght with thime. He really is a wonderful person, and patient person. And, his wife is very gratious as well. She handled our interruption into their life with such grace and charm. I will have to find a way to thank them. And, I hope he keeps writing for a long time to come.

I hope all of you arrived safe and sound to a comfortable home.
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Old 08-07-2013, 11:22 AM   #1010
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Originally Posted by Figment_Fan View Post
What a great time. We got back last night. I'm hoping to start working on a trip report, just to relive the magic of this trip. The people, the places, the cast, crew, and ship. The ship definitely carries the correct name!

Thank you all! Our travelling companions were the best. I thought this would be a one time thing. No way. It may take some time to save, but it will happen again. The kids grew so much in just a short period of time. Our lives were enriched beyond measure - in just 2 short weeks.

I can't thank all of you enough.

This was the first cruise we were paired with table mates. What an amazing time we had with them.

For those who didn't notice, Ridley Pearson - author of the Kingdom Keeper's series was on board with us. I finally got up the courage to ask if it was him - and it was. He was the gentleman sitting around the decks diligently typing. He was writing the 7th book while we were busy leaving him alone. My DD and some of her friends talked with him. He signed autographs and talked at great lenght with thime. He really is a wonderful person, and patient person. And, his wife is very gratious as well. She handled our interruption into their life with such grace and charm. I will have to find a way to thank them. And, I hope he keeps writing for a long time to come.

I hope all of you arrived safe and sound to a comfortable home.
I have to agree. We also had a wonderful time. Great table mates, thanks to you all, and wonderful tips made the holiday one to remember.

All meant we had to book again for next year, better start saving.
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Old 08-07-2013, 12:13 PM   #1011
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Alex, it was a pleasure meeting you. But, it is going to take me a little longer to save for another Med trip. I'm thinking 3 to 4 years. I trully hope you are still going then, and we will cruise again with you.
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Old 08-08-2013, 08:15 AM   #1012
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We're back...

Well, we are finally home.

We had such a great time and was really sad to have it all come to an end.

Here are some highlights. It was HOT, HOT, HOT at every port.

Barcelona - we did the HOHO bus the first 2 days (really, used the bus to sleep while our room was getting ready on the first day). The second day, we took it to see La Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. We stayed at the Le Meridien on Las Ramblas so we were able to just walk around (including to Barcelona Cathedral in the Barric Gothic area).

At Villefrenche, we signed up for DCL's Monaco and Monte Carlo tour. It was a little pricey but was glad we did it through Disney as oppose to our own because of the heat and the fact that we were geographically challenged on this trip. Was nice to see but not much to do.

Did La Spezia on our own. Our plan was to take the train from La Spezia and head to Pisa. We got tickets to climb the tower. If we had extra time, we would stop by Lucca, never did make it to Lucca. We read that we could walk to the train station from La Spezia port. We should have just cabbed it. It was a long walk (about 30 minutes) in the heat. However, we did get lost a few time hence the extra time. We got to the train station and was able to get our tickets to Pisa. No problems there. Nice ride. The ticket machine didn't take our visa but did take the Amex card. We also remembered to validate our tickets both ways which was good because someone did check our tickets on the return trip. Got to Pisa, took a taxi from Pisa Centrale to the Field of Miracles (6.3 Euro each way, well worth the expense as oppose to trying to walk it), took the obligatory pictures, climbed the tower, ate lunch and then headed back to the train station to head back to port. By the time we got back to the port, it was 5:30pm. There was no way we would have made it to Lucca.

We took the DCL tour at Rome - Colesseum with the private tour of Vatican. We were really glad to do this through DCL as it was a Sunday and the Vatican was closed to the public. It was really beautiful. We even had some free time to visit St. Peter's Basillica. Absolutely stunning.

At Naples, we signed up for a private tour through APT Tours. Paolo took us to Pompeii and we spent about 2 hours walking around on our own. Then, Paolo drove us out to Sorrento and Positano before he dropped us off to make our own pizza and a family owned restaurant in Sorrento. This was one of the best part of our trip. We got to make our own pizza and have it for lunch. Absolutely scrumptous. And the owner was so friendly and personable. After lunch, Paolo dropped us off in Sorrento so that we can walk around and buy souvenirs. I would highly recommend APT Tours.

We did Venice on our own. We met up with Alex and his family and walked to make our very own Venice masks at Ca'Macana, as soon as we docked the first day. Thanks to some very nice Venetians, we were able to find the shop. We had a lot of fun with this activity. Thanks to Alex and his family for joining us (which helped knock the price down). Afterwards, we walked back to the ship, had dinner with our daughter and dropped her off at the kids club while my husband and I walked back out to take the ghost tour. Figment_man, sorry we weren't able to hook up. We did meet Paul and his daughter during our tour. Ghost tour was interesting. The guide took us to some out of the way places that we would never be able to find again. My husband had wished there were more 'ghost' stories in the tour. The next morning, we took the water bus to St Marks and did the Secret Itinerary Tour - highly recommend this. Then we walked around a bit and back to the ship while we shopped for souvenir.

Did Dubrovnik on our own. It was more than sufficient for us. We took the free Disney shuttle to the old town area. Walked around the town. Walked the wall for a part of the way. And shopped for souvenirs.

Did Malta on our own. The Baracca Lift was not opened when we got there so we climbed up the steps that were available (around 200+ steps). Kind of like climbing up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Since it was a Sunday, almost everything was closed (shops, etc.) We walked to the 'Malta Experience'. My husband really enjoyed the 45 min history movie of Malta (my daughter and I fell asleep). A lady I spoke to took the DCL tour of 3 cities. She said that everyone on that tour hated it, the guide did not seem knowledgeable, left them at designated spots with no info of where to go, what to do, etc. The village they stopped at was horrible and unclean. People complained to the guide that they wanted to get back to the boat earlier but she refused. I'm glad we decided to save the money and do this on our own.

This is our 4th disney cruise and the first time we joined the FE. And boy, were we glad we did. Thanks to everyone who participated and for all the goodies. My daughter had great fun checking the FE pockets every day and seeing all the treats and surprises in there. We have a lot of talented folks in this group!

Some additional observances:
- You hear about pickpockets but we didn't see or have a problem at the ports. However, we were still aware of our surroundings at all times and did not let our guide down.
- I thought the kids on the ship were very well behaved, especially the teens.
- We didn't have a problem with missing FEs, at least I don't think we did... :-)

- It was extremely hot during this time of year. You definitely need to make sure you drink plenty of water.
- The ship ran of our Diet Coke on Deck 9 towards the middle of the cruise. By the end of the cruise, they were out completely in all the restaurants too. For the most part, it seems that people took that in stride and there were no riots but hopefully, next time they'll be more prepared.
- We had switched from the late dining to early dining and I'm really glad we did this. I knew that there was no way we would be able to eat dinner at 8:30/9pm. We would have been hungry after a day in ports and would have to eat something around 6pm anyway. So, we switched and we really didn't have any problems making our dining time. We were late a couple of times (early dining started at 6pm) but as long as we were there by 7pm, we had no problems getting served.
- The dress code in the dining rooms were really relaxed in this cruise. I think because of the port intensive days and the early dining but we did not feel uncomfortable with coming in late in our t-shirt and shorts and sitting down to eat. We would never have made it to dinner if we had to get ready and change. Also, alot of the tables were empty, probably because people ate at the port or they had a later return time and just ordered room service.

All in all, it was a great trip and we met some really great friends. Until next time!

Yee
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Old 08-08-2013, 03:22 PM   #1013
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Pavilion, I'm sorry we didn't get together either. I kept looking for you, thought I saw you a couple of times, but never got the opportunity to approach close enough to talk.

We primarily did Disney excursions and liked them all except one. It was in Villefrance, she was a very talkative guide on a long trip that could have let us sleep on some parts of it, but didn't. It wasn't that she talked so much as she kept repeating the information. I think we passed Sean Connery's house more than 5 or 6 times with how often she mentioned it. And, the same with other houses and places.

Unfortunately, this trip, like any Disney trip has proven addictive. I thought this was a one time, once in a lifetime trip. Yeah, I don't know what they put in the food, drink, or pool water, but we will be going back. It may take a while to save up the money. But, this is going to happen again. And, I trully hope many of you will be back there with me.
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Old 08-08-2013, 03:25 PM   #1014
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Also, did anybody else notice that Peter, the cruise directly, couldn't possibly ever have slept. He was everywhere, morning, noon, and night. And, with a smile on his face. I know I ran into him many mornings at the Cove. As good as it is, there isn't that much caffiene in the coffee. Yet, he kept going.

I wish I could have that much energy.
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:20 AM   #1015
mikeandmela
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Figment, I intended to give your room a ring during the cruise and see about having a couple of beers but whenever I thought about it the time was either 5AM or 11:30 PM. We stayed quite busy throughout the entire trip.
Here's my favorite pic from Villefranche:


No Toyota Prius taxis for this bunch!!

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Old 08-10-2013, 09:55 AM   #1016
Kellycanada
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Fe gifts

[LEFT]We would like to thank everyone for all the lovey fe gifts. We had great fun checking our mail box every day! We had an amazing trip and hope to do another one day. I keep waiting for housekeeping to show up and clean my house, but so far no luck. Kelly.
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:59 AM   #1017
Kellycanada
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Hi pavilion. We got terribly lost looking for the mask shop. People were very kind and helped us out. But we did get to see some unique parts of Venice! We should have joined you as this ended up being one of Sean's favourite activities and he wanted to make a second mask. Who would have thought!
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Old 08-10-2013, 10:17 AM   #1018
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We loved the cruise. We did all DCL excursions, will go private next time. Avoid especially the one's with "families" in the title because you seems to get "that family" that holds everything up and there is nothing you can do.

Having a very hard time getting back on EST time. Can't wait to go on another cruise!
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Old 08-10-2013, 10:55 AM   #1019
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Hi pavilion. We got terribly lost looking for the mask shop. People were very kind and helped us out. But we did get to see some unique parts of Venice! We should have joined you as this ended up being one of Sean's favourite activities and he wanted to make a second mask. Who would have thought!
Thanks again for letting us join the mask making. It was great fun. And we got lost too, Kelly! We've already booked for 26 June out of Venice next year so looking forward to seeing Venice again.
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Old 08-10-2013, 10:58 AM   #1020
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We loved the cruise. We did all DCL excursions, will go private next time. Avoid especially the one's with "families" in the title because you seems to get "that family" that holds everything up and there is nothing you can do.

Having a very hard time getting back on EST time. Can't wait to go on another cruise!
We did all tours ourselves with the exception of Pisa where we did the Disney tour. It's all pretty straightforward, especially if you check out Tom's Port Guides website and Ron in Rome website, they're both very helpful. Also look up Phill, Emma & Ben who have done many Disney trips and video them really well.
Hope to see you. All again some day.
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