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Old 08-28-2013, 03:34 PM   #1066
BellFamilyBelles
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Hi all I will be on the JULY 26th Medi out of Barcelona along with my DH. Adults only this time. We'll be flying in two days early to tour Barcelona but are still looking for a hotel. UBER excited
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Old 08-28-2013, 04:14 PM   #1067
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I have read a few posts saying that there were lots of loud Spanish speaking people on the cruise out of Barcelona and they found it interfered with the shows. I just booked the 12 day cruise that leaves out of Barcelona July 26. I haven't noticed a roll call set up here for that cruise. Should I be concerned about this? I had been looking at other cruiselines and decided on Disney because I love Disney and it's the theme for my wedding. But reading this thread with some of the issues posted, has me a little nervous. The Princess and Celebrity ships that I considered are cheaper.
I am one of the people that reported the loud talking but it was mostly during the cruise director's intro each night. It was annoying, but in no way would I use that as a factor to decide for/against Disney cruising. I have cruised on Princess and I really love it, but if Disney is the theme, you are going to love the cruise. It is more expensive and that may be a factor for you, and not an insignificant one. But really, chatty people would not keep me from going anywhere I wanted to go.
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Magic in the Mediterranean trip report http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3161128
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Old 08-28-2013, 04:18 PM   #1068
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Originally Posted by BellFamilyBelles View Post
Hi all I will be on the JULY 26th Medi out of Barcelona along with my DH. Adults only this time. We'll be flying in two days early to tour Barcelona but are still looking for a hotel. UNER excited
We stayed at the Tryp Apolo. If you look at my trip report, I have photos of the rooms. We had a two room suite (although suite makes it sound a lot fancier than it was....) so that's good if you have someone besides a couple. It was close to the port, Las Ramblas, the metro, etc. although you do have to walk a few blocks to Las Ramblas and take a cab to the port. But all in all, it was pretty good.

Depending on when you get in, you may have one day for jet lag and one day for touring!

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Magic in the Mediterranean trip report http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3161128
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Old 08-28-2013, 04:25 PM   #1069
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Thanks Texasgirl for clarifying. I have done Princess before in Europe and have always loved them, but I also love Disney cruises and Disney. So after reading and researching and finally deciding on Disney (I had such a hard time because I love both cruiselines), when I read some of the issues in the different posts, I started to panic I made the wrong decision. I feel better now.
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Old 08-30-2013, 04:01 PM   #1070
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Thanks Texasgirl. That is very helpful. So happy we Disney fanatics have a place to converse!
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Old 08-30-2013, 04:56 PM   #1071
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we stayed at the Hotel Continental. Right off Las Ramblas. Old hotel but very clean and great location.
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Old 08-30-2013, 07:23 PM   #1072
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Originally Posted by angelinaxox View Post
I have read a few posts saying that there were lots of loud Spanish speaking people on the cruise out of Barcelona and they found it interfered with the shows. I just booked the 12 day cruise that leaves out of Barcelona July 26. I haven't noticed a roll call set up here for that cruise. Should I be concerned about this? I had been looking at other cruiselines and decided on Disney because I love Disney and it's the theme for my wedding. But reading this thread with some of the issues posted, has me a little nervous. The Princess and Celebrity ships that I considered are cheaper.
Our ship was probably 80% from Spain. There was some loud conversations but surely not enough to say it would ruin my cruise or prevent me from doing a Med cruise again. The only thing I could say was annoying was people dragging toddlers & young children (5-ish) on a 9 hour tour of Nice & Monaco & having to hear them cry half the day. Isn't that why one would book with DCL in the first place? The kids can play in the club while parents enjoy adult activities. Our 3 Italian tours were private so that was nice.

DCL will always be a premium line. Sure, the Med cruise is port intensive so many feel it's not worth paying the premium for DCL there. We still enjoyed the dining & shows. We love all the Disney touches too. By booking onboard we got around $600 discount plus $800 in OBCs which level the playing field, at least for the 7 nt cruises it did.
Our other 2 choices were NCL Epic, which to me is way beyond ugly, and RCCL which sails Sun to Sun & I needed to be back at work Monday. DCL sails Sat to Sat. So for me, DCL was an easy choice.
I would not let a couple comments sway my decision. I found that Europeans smoke a LOT more than Americans, on the ship & on land. It is what it is & that part wouldn't change on any cruise line or cruise vs. land tour. I can't stand the smell but seeing Europe was still well worth it to me. It's just part of experiencing other cultures, imho.

No regrets here.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:22 PM   #1073
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We chose to cruise in June to avoid the European holiday dates. We accidentally traveled to Europe once during the 1st week of January which coincided with alot of their Christmas holiday breaks and the crowds were rowdy and insane (we did Italy and France). I promised my husband we'd never deliberately coincide with the European breaks again.
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Old 08-31-2013, 05:35 AM   #1074
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I didn't really notice the breakdown on our cruise, too busy having fun I guess. But the one thing that I did notice was the lack of line jumping. Every line for the characters was managed. At breakfast people moved up the line rather than cut in. When we went to Disneyland Paris my little one got jostled, breakfast was chaos, and I felt overwhelmed by the lack of English speaking people. (I knew it was Going to be predominantly French and Spanish speaking but I just really wanted to hear an English voice.)

The only time I got annoyed was at pirate night when a woman kept pushing to the front and her daughter kept leaning across my son to take pictures. He's only seven and kept saying he was getting squashed. We deliberately didn't stand next to her at the farewell thing.
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Old 09-02-2013, 04:14 PM   #1075
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Well, keep in mind that on a European cruise you are bound to meet Europeans! Viva la difference!

I met a lot of very nice Europeans...sometimes there was a language barrier, and sometimes there were cultural differences in line jumping, tardiness,etc., but we go to Europe to experience the culture, so it's all part of it! I like hearing the different languages spoken (although I do agree that there is a difference in children's behaviour that takes a bit of getting used to!)
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Old 09-09-2013, 06:05 AM   #1076
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Just back from the last Med cruise of 2013!

FYI: There was a Disney photographer at Pisa standing in the shade in front of the bakery/cafeteria with a view of the tower. He was there for all DCL passengers, not only those on excursions.

Mickey Bars returned on the second to last night!

Steaks were very tough, nearly inedible according to my husband.

Very, very many very young Spanish children. They were not running amok, however, things were just loud. I suspect a KSF for Spaniards.

Relatively few FE participants, but the gifts were AMAZING.

The photo CD was the best investment I have made in a long time.

All the CMs were very helpful and I did not witness any lack of enthusiasm as they approached the end of the cruise season before dry dock.

I went in expecting things not to be perfect, yet I came away very satisfied.

We did all ports totally on our own, very cheaply. We were successful because we only put in one attraction/city per port stop.

Any questions? Ask now before I forget.
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Old 09-09-2013, 10:34 AM   #1077
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Originally Posted by debsters41 View Post
Just back from the last Med cruise of 2013!

FYI: There was a Disney photographer at Pisa standing in the shade in front of the bakery/cafeteria with a view of the tower. He was there for all DCL passengers, not only those on excursions.

Mickey Bars returned on the second to last night!

Steaks were very tough, nearly inedible according to my husband.

Very, very many very young Spanish children. They were not running amok, however, things were just loud. I suspect a KSF for Spaniards.

Relatively few FE participants, but the gifts were AMAZING.

The photo CD was the best investment I have made in a long time.

All the CMs were very helpful and I did not witness any lack of enthusiasm as they approached the end of the cruise season before dry dock.

I went in expecting things not to be perfect, yet I came away very satisfied.

We did all ports totally on our own, very cheaply. We were successful because we only put in one attraction/city per port stop.

Any questions? Ask now before I forget.
Can you share what you did at each port? We are planning to do all our own excursions next year so any advice would be helpful.
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Old 09-09-2013, 04:28 PM   #1078
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Can you share what you did at each port? We are planning to do all our own excursions next year so any advice would be helpful.
Sure!

For Villefranche, we walked to the train station along the harbour. We walked up at the big tree with the sign for the train station. The first entry is for Monaco, and further up I believe is for Nice. Either way, it is clearly marked. I went inside and bought the return ticket for Monaco for 4, it was all on one ticket about the size of a boarding pass, I want to say between 22 and 24 Euro. In Monaco we went up the escalators and elevator to the exit for Monte Carlo. To be honest, I did not see signs for any other exit. When you get out, if you want to go to the Cathedral and Oceanographic Museum area, you need to cross the street to get the bus. Buying tickets at the machine right there makes it a few cents less per ticket, but the tickets take a looonnnggg time to print. You can buy tickets on the bus, but I think for that journey only. Enter the bus at the driver and place each ticket on the reader in front of him (or her, we only saw male drivers) He will show you where. The Oceanographic museum is the last stop, so it is in that location where you will get the bus back. The bus back will stop near the Casino. We used it as a photo stop only, having walked quite a bit in the old town area. We did not go into the casino. We took the bus again to the train station. After we got off the train in Villefranche, it was quite hot so instead of going downhill coming out of the train station, we walked up a bit and around the bend following the signs for the Rue Obscure. Keep looking to the left to see the entrance, as it is not really marked. I think I found it by chance because I had seen a picture of it once on Google. I also suggest reading up on the history of this street before you go, as there is no information available there that I could see, but at the end of the street (it is a covered avenue, thus out of the hot sun) very near the tender dock there was a lot of information about the artist Cocteau. Don't forget the 10 - 20 minutes free wifi. at the tender dock

La Spezia we went only to Pisa. I had a 12:15 tower climb which was ideal. We left the ship by 8. It was docked and we had to take a shuttle to the end of the dock area. From there we turned left and walked until the park, tree shaded street. You want to turn right on the street just before the (closed at that time) tourist information office. That street is what you need to walk all the way straight to the train station. Unfortunately, I did not know that and not looking at the map I had downloaded I got my family hopelessly lost. It didn't matter, we found our way and were still able to make it in time to buy tickets (return) for the 9:12 train. These tickets cost 58 Euros for a family of 4. It got us to Pisa Rossore in plenty of time (that station is the one you want, and is BEFORE Pisa Centrale. The tickets will be for Pisa Centrale, so don't worry if you miss the stop. Pisa Rossore leaves you close to the Field of Miracles. Exiting the station, we were directed left by some helpful Italians. After our climb and visit to the Baptistry and Cathedral (Pre-book tickets 20 days prior and leave all bags in the bag check, which is located in the stark building opposite all the stalls and shopping, there are signs around the doors.) we walked through the City of Pisa back to Pisa Centrale train station. It was a beautiful city for me. I used Rick Steves Med Cruise guide book walk and had Gelato near the bridge at the place he recommended in the book. It was wonderful. Our tickets were checked by the inspector on the return to La Spezia. We walked leisurely and were back at the ship by 4 or 4:30.

Rome: I went ashore only with my more active 17 yo daughter, leaving my older one on board with a rainforest pass . We caught the 8:02 train to St Peters station, walked through and around the massive hoards of people entering to see the Pope and found our way to the Vatican museums by 9:30. Our tickets were for 10 (pre book 60 days in advance) I couldn't believe that even for people without tickets there was no line. No line. I think it was because everyone wanted to see the Pope. We took the short itinerary inside the museums for the Sistine Chapel but inadvertently missed the Rafael rooms. Make sure you watch out for that, I suspect there are two 'short' itineraries. Exiting the museum at the Museum entrance because the group exit into St Peters was closed, we proceeded to the Metro, using my Everyman Guide Map of Rome. From there we went to Spanish steps, walked from there to Trevi fountain, threw in obligatory coins, off to the Pantheon (I think stopping at Disney Store on the way, or soon after) Got cafe granita con panna at Tazzo d'oro coffee shop and Bar near the Pantheon and ate it while walking to Piazza Navona. From there we walked back to Via del Corso, down to the Monument to Vittorio Emmanuel Monument, and Mussolini's window. But instead of entering the square we went to the left and up a side road which led to the Trajan's market ruins, walked up that big street that leads to the Colloseum, saw that a bit (from the outside) then took the subway to Termini, so daughter could gaze at the shops a bit (found a cute dress) then walked to the 2:34 train back to Civitavecchia. We were back on board by 4:30.
The BIRG ticket I bought in Civi. that morning for 12 Euro each was good for all the transportation of the day.

Naples: Take the SITA bus if you are going to Pompeii in order to avoid all that walking up to the train station. After walking through the annoying taxi drivers, turn right before exiting the port. Walk past the large building and soon you will come to an area at the end of that building where 3 or 4 SITA busses are parked. There is a ticket office in the end of the building which sells lots of different kinds of tickets apparently. The ticket office opens at 8:30. Tell them you want for Pompeii Scavi. The tickets cost about 3 Euro each, and are the same tickets which are used for the train. The bus leaves at 9. Ask any bus driver and he will lead you to the right bus, which will say Pompei Scavi in big letters across the front. The bus leaves at 9, takes about half an hour and Pompeii is the first stop. The driver won't let you miss it. Cross the street and go up the hill to the left behind the entrance to the highway. Soon you will be at the entrance to the Ruins (just a little further on the street up the hill is the train station) Coming home, we took the train. Buy tickets in the train station then take the underpass to the other side of the tracks. If you want to see the archeological museum, get off at the next to last stop in Naples and take the Metro from there. If you want to go right to the boat, get off at the last station called Porta Nolana or something to that effect and take the number one tram (The tram is like a silver bullet compared to the big yellow buses; the stop for the tram and the buses is the same. You want to cross the street outside the train station and take the bus going to the left [looking out from the station]) It will leave you off right outside the entrance to the port. We walked around Naples a bit to see the narrow lanes.

I found that by learning a few words in Italian and making a very very small effort, I was received with smiling faces all around. I made my daughters speak French in Villefranche... put those years of lessons to use.

Recommended resources (besides the Dis, of course):
Tom's Port Guides. Google it and download his very helpful pdf.s
Everyman Guide Map / Book. I had both Rome and Barcelona. I would plot places and shops and Chocolate eateries while doing my research. So
much more compact and clearly written and easy to carry. I will never visit a city without one.
Rick Steve's Med Cruise Guide book. It is a condensded version of all the information you can find onthe net. I found it worth the money.
For more information on the SITA buses in Naples (comfortable and air conditioned) refer to Trip Advisor, Naples Forum, Top questions 'how do I get to
Pompeii' and look for a post by "A brit in Ischia" He is a wealth of information.

For learning Italian, I used podcasts "My daily phrase Italian" by Radio Lingua. There are 100 5 minute lessons. It was more than adequate, and I remembered maybe 5 phrases, lol. Very easy.


I have given as many details as I can remember, I hope this helps! Have wonderful cruises everyone!
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Last edited by debsters41; 09-10-2013 at 03:39 AM. Reason: I had to clean it up a bit since I have been linked to
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Old 09-09-2013, 05:36 PM   #1079
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I have given as many details as I can remember, I hope this helps! Have wonderful cruises everyone!
I've linked your recap on the 1st page of this thread
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Old 09-09-2013, 07:44 PM   #1080
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Debsters41, I loved your summary, thanks so much for posting. And lilpooh108 thanks for keeping this thread active and organized
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