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Old 05-30-2013, 09:31 PM   #601
msabol01
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We are booked for June 2014 and like many of you, we plan on arriving in Barcelona early (2 nights) and then afterward to Paris for 3/4 nights. There is 6 of us. Any suggestions on where to stay in Barcelona and Pairs? Thanks for all the great ideas regarding the trip already! This is one that needs to be well planned!

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I am going in August 2014, but planning on arriving a week early and doing Paris and Barcelona pre-cruise. I found some nice rental flats on vacation rentals by Owner (VRBO) dot com. They mostly list weekly rentals but you can find a few owners that rent nightly for rates that are much less than hotels.
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Old 05-31-2013, 06:49 PM   #602
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So we are going to be on this cruise and arriving in Barcelona 1 week earlier. We plan to rent a car and drive around although inhale no clue where yet. Has anyone drove from Barcelona and enjoyed interesting sites which are not too far from the post. We are thinking of hoping over to France but really in early planning stages. Any tips are greatly appreciated. Thank you!
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Old 05-31-2013, 06:58 PM   #603
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So we are going to be on this cruise and arriving in Barcelona 1 week earlier. We plan to rent a car and drive around although inhale no clue where yet. Has anyone drove from Barcelona and enjoyed interesting sites which are not too far from the post. We are thinking of hoping over to France but really in early planning stages. Any tips are greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Which specific cruise are you going on?

Even though it is not close to port I don't think you should pass up on Montserrat if you have a week. We have two and a half extra days and are doing the Ramblas, a Gaudi tour and Montserrat.
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Old 05-31-2013, 07:52 PM   #604
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Which specific cruise are you going on?

Even though it is not close to port I don't think you should pass up on Montserrat if you have a week. We have two and a half extra days and are doing the Ramblas, a Gaudi tour and Montserrat.
Which Gaudi tour are you doing?
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Old 05-31-2013, 11:13 PM   #605
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Which specific cruise are you going on?

Even though it is not close to port I don't think you should pass up on Montserrat if you have a week. We have two and a half extra days and are doing the Ramblas, a Gaudi tour and Montserrat.
Oh sorry! Forgot I mention, the Disney Magic 7day on Aug. 24. Will definitely research Montserrat.
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Old 06-01-2013, 02:51 AM   #606
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So we are going to be on this cruise and arriving in Barcelona 1 week earlier. We plan to rent a car and drive around although inhale no clue where yet. Has anyone drove from Barcelona and enjoyed interesting sites which are not too far from the post. We are thinking of hoping over to France but really in early planning stages. Any tips are greatly appreciated. Thank you!
I would plan to stay outside Barcelona. Based on what I saw yesterday it is not a place I would want to drive in.
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Old 06-02-2013, 12:39 AM   #607
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Which Gaudi tour are you doing?
Self guided Rick Steves tour.
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Old 06-02-2013, 01:05 AM   #608
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We are looking into doing a Med cruise in June 2014 for our ten year anniversary but would have our 7 and 2 year old with us. How do you think kids do on Med cruises and with excursions?
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Old 06-02-2013, 04:04 AM   #609
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We are looking into doing a Med cruise in June 2014 for our ten year anniversary but would have our 7 and 2 year old with us. How do you think kids do on Med cruises and with excursions?
It doesn't matter which cruise you are on, the key with children is to do things they enjoy. We have cruised since our youngest was 14 months old. WE have split up in ports and done different things and on the Baltics cruise we left them on board and did a DCL excursion as we knew they had no interest in more buildings, art and dead rocks! THis time we are doing the family scavenger hunt at Herculaneum. If your pockets are deep DCL has lots of family port adventures, but often we just do our own thing - hop on hop off buses, boat trips etc. have always been a hit with the girls.

Whatever you decide to do, have a great time and remember you are all on vacation!

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Old 06-02-2013, 11:53 AM   #610
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We are looking into doing a Med cruise in June 2014 for our ten year anniversary but would have our 7 and 2 year old with us. How do you think kids do on Med cruises and with excursions?
We've done the Baltic and Med with our kids - same age as yours. They love it. I'd have no problem taking our youngest on a half day DCL excursion, but anything longer and we typically look at private tours which makes things much easier as far as telling them where you want to go, how long you want to stay... If you need an emergency bathroom stop, etc.
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Old 06-14-2013, 07:46 AM   #611
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Hi guys! We are back. I will eventually do a trip summary (not a full report) simply due to time constraints, but here is some of our relevant info:

Our itinerary: London (3 nts), Barcelona pre cruise (3 nts), DCL Med Cruise, Paris (4 nts).

Embarkation: We deliberately went late and got to the Port at 2pm. Poolside by 3pm.

Disembarkation: Easy. No customs or immigration. We ate in the room, had time to go up at 7:45 am to Deck 10 for last minute pics. Walked off the ship at 8:10 am and was curbside by 8:25 am.

Stroller situation: As I noted in my original post which started this thread, transporting my kids was a major concern. My 3 YO ended up walking almost everywhere where a stroller wasn't practical. My infant was Ergo'ed. We brought 2 cheap Target $15 umbrella strollers which were very useful and thrown away at the end of the trip.

Monaco, Monte Carlo, Eze: HORRIBLE port excursion through DCL. Really really bad. Some people on our bus got left behind and the guide almost left us as well. So many people complained that next day DCL sent out DCL guides
to monitor.

Portofino, Santa Margherita: A wonderful surprise. DCL excursion.

Florence, Pisa: My family members did this DCL adult only excursion. Someone in their group was almost robbed in Florence. A group of women walked up to a lady in group and tried to rip her neck wallet off her neck. Everyone screamed, a tussel ensued and the women ran away.

Rome-- we put together our own day by booking transfers and a Vatican museum tour through Walks of Italy. We booked the UndergroundTour with the Colosseum and cabbed to the Vatican ourselves. Walks of Italy was excellent. They were great w/reservation modifications and their guides/driver were awesome. We left Rome at 4:40 pm and got back at 5:50 pm. When we were leaving we saw DCL groups barely meeting up to leave, so we felt comfortable with the time we had going back.

**One thing about Walks of Italy, the stated 10% cancellation fee and "no modification" policy in case the cruise ship missed the port gave me some hesitation with the company. If you decide to book with them, clarify the policy with the owner and see what they will do in case the ship misses the port.

Since my dad and I couldn't walk much, opted instead for the Scavi tour rather than the Vatican tour. Go to the Vatican website for more details. It was simply amazing.

Pompeii, Positano---while the sites were great, the tour company "See Amalfi Coast" was a MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT. They are #1 on TA. Well, they suck. Our driver didn't show up on time, he was incredibly sleazy, and he took us to a tourist trap restaurant to make commission, thereby cutting our Positano time to 1 hr and we had to skip Sorrento. Expensive and disappointing. I tipped him anyway (bad habit), but would not recommend them to anyone. Please avoid

Barcelona-- mixed feelings about Barcelona Day Tours. We paid 343 Euro for a 1/2 day Montserrat tour. Well it rained and basically we got 20 minutes at Parc Guell and we went to a Tapas restaurant afterwards. I'm going to email them and see if they will apply a courtesy discount of some sort. I paid in advance. The driver was nice, though.

DCL related-- character lines were incredibly long compared to what we were used to. Food was very average but our dining team was amazing. Loved them. The new navigator format sucks since the schedule is only an insert and they sometimes were missing. They also did not state all activities. Our cabin was DIRTY DIRTY upon check in (brown smears toilet seat, door jam, sheets were dirty). Rectified at 2am in the morning. Whole thing was a hassle.

Overall-- this was a trip of a lifetime for us. Our group included extended family members who do not travel with us often and we all appreciated the journey together. There are moments, as you are sitting there, which you knew were incredible and you'd remember for a lifetime. The trip itself was physically exhausting (especially b/c we had 1 early pregnant lady, me post-surgery, my dad pre-surgery, and 2 small kids]). Despite all our obstacles it was simply an amazing and wonderful trip. I loved every minute.

Here are some highlights, pics:
RIB speedboat tour


Portofino:


Colosseum (underground portion):




Roman Forum:


Positano:




Paris (from rooftop of our hotel):







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Old 06-14-2013, 08:06 AM   #612
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We booked the UndergroundTour with the Colosseum



How was the underground tour? Where do you pick up your tickets and how far in advance do we need to arrive?

Sounds like an interesting trip. Yeah for you.
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Old 06-14-2013, 08:45 AM   #613
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How was the underground tour? Where do you pick up your tickets and how far in advance do we need to arrive?

Sounds like an interesting trip. Yeah for you.
Tour Tickets are in the form of stickers that denote your tour time. You can meet at the meeting point as indicated on the instructions you will receive when you check in. We checked in about 30 minutes early, then met at the meeting point 10 min prior.

Go past the hordes of people waiting in line and up to the window that says reservations.

We bought our entrance tix separately so that we could do the Forum first.
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Old 06-14-2013, 08:48 AM   #614
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lilpooh, we have the Monaco, Monte Carlo and Eze excursion booked, can you be more specific about why it was so bad? Besides people being left behind?

I was really looking forward to that one...
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Old 06-14-2013, 09:02 AM   #615
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lilpooh, we have the Monaco, Monte Carlo and Eze excursion booked, can you be more specific about why it was so bad? Besides people being left behind?

I was really looking forward to that one...
The guide did not really guide anyone. She simply accompanied the driver to each point and then stated where the meeting point was. It was actually a hindrance to have her as a guide since she wouldn't let people stop for bathroom breaks, etc. The entire thing was bizarre. She also gave everyone the wrong meeting point and so that's why people missed the bus. When we showed up 5 min late (I had found the bus, then ran back to find my husband to tell him the correct meeting point), she looked surprised and started recounting the people on the bus. When she realized 3 ppl were missing, she out loud "I guess 3 ppl decided not to continue the tour." She told everyone to meet on parking level -2 instead of -1, where the bus was parked.

She refused to give kids in the tour bottles of water, b/c she decided that they must not have paid for the tour. Several of us had to explain that kids do pay, etc.

People were repeatedly scolded and shushed by this guide for various random things, such as asking questions. She also shamed people for being
late and was not accommodating. Her behavior was appalling and very un-Disney. We tipped the driver for helping us w/ the strollers all day. I noticed that no one tipped her and the next day found out that many people complained about Monaco/Monte Carlo/Eze tour.

Site wise--the sites were incredibly boring. Monaco is small and the palace took about 15 min to walk through. The plaza was cute, but there weren't too many places to eat. Monte Carlo--- the bus couldn't drop us off at the Casino, and so the group walked up a very very steep hill in the rain. Then the entire group waited around until the pick up time and walked down. EZE--it was pouring at this point and 75% of our bus stayed on the bus. I walked to Eze with 2 other families and explored. Eze would have been my favorite stop and I wished we came here earlier rather than having 1.5 hours at Monaco for no reason at all.
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