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Old 05-24-2013, 11:16 AM   #16
GreenAcres
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August 10th

We are also on this cruise and your report is getting me even more excited to go (and I was pretty excited already). There will be 6 of us: DH, me, DD (turning 23 on cruise), DD's BF (22), DS (18) DS's Friend (18). This trip is to celebrate our son's high school graduation. (We will be officially empty-nesters about 3 days after we get back.) We are on our own in Villefranche, have booked a private tour for Pisa/Florence and we are also using Can't be Missed Tours for Rome as well as for Pompeii and Sorrento. Does this mean we will be touring Rome together maybe?

I too am having a hard time with comfortable walking shoes. I LOVE shoes and usually pack WAY too many pairs. I've been searching for months for a pair that is comfortable that will go with both skirts and shorts/capris. So far, no luck. At WDW we walk many miles a day and my feet have never hurt in sandals or flip/flops. Maybe I'm worrying too much.

DD and I are still searching for formal dresses. I'm waiting for spring styles to be 1/2 off (or more) before we get serious about buying.

I'll be here reading along until we board our plant to Barcelona on August 8th.

Lisa
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:48 AM   #17
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Hi, I came across this while trying to find a preview for Personal Navigators, so obviously I'm really excited about this trip too! We'll be on the August 10th sailing as well. It will be my husband and I (both 41), our son (12) and daughters (10 and 7). We're at the early seating, and booked Palo for Sunday and private tours for all the ports except Pompeii/Vesuvius which we'll do by public transportation. Hope we'll run across you on board!

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Old 05-25-2013, 12:48 PM   #18
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Hi Lisa,
Sounds like we might be touring Rome together. I wrote to Petro at CBM tours about the Vatican being closed on the 14th and he offered us tour of the interior of the Colosseum and extended tour of the Forum in exchange. He said he was contacted others who had signed up for the tour and indicated we were the only ones so far for the Colosseum. You might want to contact him if you haven't already.

I think I may be obsessing too much over shoes, too. Every little tinge, I think, "oh, is this going to be a problem? Do I need insoles?" We went to Schlitterbahn Water Park north of San Antonio last week and my knees hurt a little going up stairs. "Do I need Osteo-Bi Flex? Cortozone shot? Knee replacement?"

Really, I'm not a hypochondriac!
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Old 05-25-2013, 01:35 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texasgirl29 View Post
Hi Lisa,
Sounds like we might be touring Rome together. I wrote to Petro at CBM tours about the Vatican being closed on the 14th and he offered us tour of the interior of the Colosseum and extended tour of the Forum in exchange. He said he was contacted others who had signed up for the tour and indicated we were the only ones so far for the Colosseum. You might want to contact him if you haven't already.

I think I may be obsessing too much over shoes, too. Every little tinge, I think, "oh, is this going to be a problem? Do I need insoles?" We went to Schlitterbahn Water Park north of San Antonio last week and my knees hurt a little going up stairs. "Do I need Osteo-Bi Flex? Cortozone shot? Knee replacement?"

Really, I'm not a hypochondriac!
That's hilarious! I actually ordered special insoles once to help with my self diagnosed neuroma in my right foot and they actually helped a lot! All in my mind? Nahhhh.

We booked CBM Tours in January and Peter/Petro told me about the extended Colosseum tour, so we are doing that too. I'm mainly obsessively worrying about one thing: I'm taking not just my own kids but two other-people's-kids to multiple foreign countries! This will be the first time we have ever not booked Disney excursions. I'm particularly worried about Barcelona for some reason. More research will surely put my mind at ease (or at least stop the random episodes of hyperventilating) maybe. I hope.

On the bright side, the Louisiana weather will work just as well at the Texan summer to condition us for August in Italy! 100 degrees? 100% humidity!? Pfffft...bring it on!
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Old 05-25-2013, 03:30 PM   #20
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[QUOTE=sajilunni;48497549 We'll be on the August 10th sailing as well. It will be my husband and I (both 41), our son (12) and daughters (10 and 7). We're at the early seating, and booked Palo for Sunday and private tours for all the ports except Pompeii/Vesuvius which we'll do by public transportation. Hope we'll run across you on board!

Sajil[/QUOTE]

Hi Sajil! If you haven't already, check out the August 10 meet up group. http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2868430

It's not too terribly chatty over there -- we need more participation! Who have you booked private tours with? We have booked with Ingrid in Villefranche and Can't Be Missed Tours in Pompeii and Rome. We are going to do Pisa on our own. Everyone says there's not too much there, but I think that might just be enough adventure for one day since we're having full days everywhere else.

I checked out a book from the library about Pompeii -- photos of how it looks now, descriptions of the main buildings and sketches of how it might have looked. I saw several books on Amazon that were used for very little money that I might buy. We're only spending a couple of hours there then on to Sorrento and Amalfi Coast but two hours in the August heat might just be enough (I'm not quite as brave as Lisa).

Can't Be Missed Tours also has a Facebook Page with a lot of smiling faces from the tours...

JoAnn
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Old 05-25-2013, 04:21 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenAcres View Post
That's hilarious! I actually ordered special insoles once to help with my self diagnosed neuroma in my right foot and they actually helped a lot! All in my mind? Nahhhh.

We booked CBM Tours in January and Peter/Petro told me about the extended Colosseum tour, so we are doing that too. I'm mainly obsessively worrying about one thing: I'm taking not just my own kids but two other-people's-kids to multiple foreign countries! This will be the first time we have ever not booked Disney excursions. I'm particularly worried about Barcelona for some reason. More research will surely put my mind at ease (or at least stop the random episodes of hyperventilating) maybe. I hope.

On the bright side, the Louisiana weather will work just as well at the Texan summer to condition us for August in Italy! 100 degrees? 100% humidity!? Pfffft...bring it on!
Hi Lisa and JoAnn - that's great that you will be on the same CBM tour in Rome! I have been giving them some serious consideration for our cruise the following week. I couldn't see the price on the website for the inside Colosseum tour - may I ask how much that was? Also, do you pay at the point of booking for this excursion? It wasn't very clear on the website.

I wasn't sure about booking them for Pompeii/Sorrento because the info on the website says the return to the cruise ship is at 5pm and on our itinerary, the Magic leaves port at 5.30pm - I would be having severe heart failure if there were any delays!
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Old 05-25-2013, 05:03 PM   #22
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Thanks for that link, Joann! We booked a lot of tours actually because we're trying to get the absolute most out of this first European visit with the kids. We booked Barcelona Day Tours to pick us up from the airport and give us a short overview of the city (and food market!) before dropping us off at our rental apartment. We'll have another 2 full days to explore Barcelona on our own. Then Riviera Premium Tours to show us Monaco, Monte Carlo, Eze, and Cannes. Driver Guide Service to show us the highlights of Rome. And Tuscan Sunshine Tours to show us Florence and Pisa. We last went to Florence on our honeymoon 15 years ago and were BLOWN AWAY by the statue of David (and I am not normally an art appreciator) so we would love to show it to our kids. There's actually a half scale of the Leaning Tower of Pisa where my parents live in Niles, IL so they might not be all that impressed by the genuine article. ;-) Pompeii and Vesuvius we're going to try to do on our own with the info we gleaned from www.shorebee.com. There's a 4x4 that will drive us most of the way up Vesuvius so the hike won't be that bad.

Getting excited!
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Old 05-25-2013, 05:03 PM   #23
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Quote:
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Hi Lisa and JoAnn - that's great that you will be on the same CBM tour in Rome! I have been giving them some serious consideration for our cruise the following week. I couldn't see the price on the website for the inside Colosseum tour - may I ask how much that was? Also, do you pay at the point of booking for this excursion? It wasn't very clear on the website.

I wasn't sure about booking them for Pompeii/Sorrento because the info on the website says the return to the cruise ship is at 5pm and on our itinerary, the Magic leaves port at 5.30pm - I would be having severe heart failure if there were any delays!
Jenny,
The Colosseum tour was not originally part of the Rome tour but the day we are there, the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums will not be open on our particular tour day due to a national holiday. We had already paid for the Chapel when I was reminded about the holiday. I emailed Petro and he said (you could almost see him smacking his head) you're right. To compensate, he said they would do an extended Colosseum and Roman Forum visit. Normally, they do not go into the Colosseum, but if you wish to, you can purchase a ticket and the tour will be milling around for a while outside. Since we had paid for our tickets to the Vatican already, he made the adjustment (13.50 euros each). We have a balance after the adjustment; he said just to pay at that time.

As far as getting back on time from Amalfi, I think if you email him with your questions/concerns he will answer you quickly.

I'm glad the tour is prepaid with PayPal -- less cash to worry about.

JoAnn
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Old 05-25-2013, 05:11 PM   #24
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Sajil,
Wow, you are prepared!

I don't have anything definitive for Barcelona except I know we want to see Sagrada Familia, La Rambla and Gruelle Park. I am thinking we will do a HOHO bus either in the afternoon we arrive or the next morning. We've always enjoyed the HOHO buses (NYC, Chicago, San Francisco) -- I love to survey everything. We may want to go to Montserrat after the cruise but I'm not sure about that because I'm a chicken about heights and that cable car ride looks scary.

On all of our past cruises we've taken the ship excursions because it's just so darn convenient and you are assured of getting back on time (or they will wait for you). The DCL excursions on this trip are so expensive, and I've been encouraged by reading some of the trip reports and port reviews.

JoAnn
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Old 05-25-2013, 05:44 PM   #25
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Jenny,
The Colosseum tour was not originally part of the Rome tour but the day we are there, the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums will not be open on our particular tour day due to a national holiday. We had already paid for the Chapel when I was reminded about the holiday. I emailed Petro and he said (you could almost see him smacking his head) you're right. To compensate, he said they would do an extended Colosseum and Roman Forum visit. Normally, they do not go into the Colosseum, but if you wish to, you can purchase a ticket and the tour will be milling around for a while outside. Since we had paid for our tickets to the Vatican already, he made the adjustment (13.50 euros each). We have a balance after the adjustment; he said just to pay at that time.

As far as getting back on time from Amalfi, I think if you email him with your questions/concerns he will answer you quickly.

I'm glad the tour is prepaid with PayPal -- less cash to worry about.

JoAnn
I will have to get in touch and find out more. It sounds like they are good to deal with. I like the idea of pre-paying too. We will have to have quite a lot of currency with us already - the balance of the apartment in Barcelona has to be paid for in cash, for example.
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Old 05-27-2013, 03:20 PM   #26
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[/URL]

One step closer!

JoAnn
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Old 05-27-2013, 03:41 PM   #27
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Joann, yes I'm prepared because I like to know what ALL my options are. I contacted the top 5 rated shore excursion operators (according to TripAdvisor) at each port and compared prices and services. This is our first cruise where we're not using the shore excursions offered by the cruise line, but they were SO expensive, and often not *exactly* what we were interested in (e.g.- the 4x4 excursion up Vesuvius includes a visit to a winery which would be lost on the kids). I was surprised to learn that private tours are actually cheaper and more flexible than the big bus ones. I am very nervous about the whole idea of being left behind by not going with the official tours, and have articulated that to all the private tour operators, who have done their best to reassure me that they have NEVER missed a boat, as they are very conscious of the time restrictions. We actually changed our Naples (which we're doing on our own) plans a bit based on my fears. When I looked at a Google Map of the area I noticed that Vesuvius and Herculaneum were actually a lot closer to Naples than Pompeii, so we're going to skip Pompeii in favor of those other visits, and if we have time left over we'll explore Naples by the port. And maybe get to experience some *authentic* Neapolitan pizza!
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Old 05-27-2013, 04:05 PM   #28
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Oh, and as for Barcelona, did you know there are FREE walking tours available? http://www.runnerbeantours.com/tours It's nice to get to talk with a native of the city to learn more about it from their perspective. We were interested in the kids walking tour, but couldn't fit it in logistically, so we're kind of doing an airport transfer to our hotel combined with a tour straight off. We're also going to try to do a flamenco dinner show. I visited Barcelona back in '92 during the Olympics, so I'm really excited to revisit the Olympic park area again. And because we're adventurous foodies I really want to visit La Boqueria Market because the videos I've seen of it look great!: http://www.foreverbarcelona.com/our-foodie-tours/ Tapas is a great concept for a grazer such as myself. I will eat myself silly on this vacation. ;-)
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Old 05-27-2013, 04:43 PM   #29
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I looked at the runner bean tour site as well as the reviews in trip advisor as you suggested and they look great. Truly and honestly, though, I would have no idea what to tip. I think I'd like to do one of these.
JoAnn
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Old 05-31-2013, 06:33 PM   #30
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I read a thread on cruise critic.com today about pickpockets in Barcelona and that got me thinking about a purse. I was unaware -- until today -- of the entire safe travel accessory industry. Pacsafe was a brand that was mentioned. I am normally a minimum purse kind of person but I would like to have a pocket for a water bottle, steel cable embedded straps, and anti-theft RFIL shield for credit cards.
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