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Old 06-13-2013, 07:37 AM   #1
OrangeCountyCommuter
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Magic In the Med June 1 Sailing Quick Summary

I just returned from Europe and my Magic cruise in the Med.

I am not going to do a day by day trip report, but had some thoughts I thought I would pass on.

I did this cruise with my 75 year old mother and we did not do any DCL excursions!

PROS!

Service! My last DCL was a Dream cruise. Service was just OK and in some ways worse then on other lines I have been on. Made it hard to justify the Disney pricing. Well, this trip upped the ante. I had the BEST servers ever! My room steward was great, bar servers were great etc.....

Ship I know she's going in for refit, but I really had no complaints. Everything was clean and looked good. We did see some "fading" of carpet and the wood on our veranda needs refinishing, but.... I have a feeling that I am not going to be as happy with the "updated" ship!

Debarkation I had read horror stories from the 2011 cruises so I warned my mom. Much ado about nothing. We walked off ship around 8, picked up luggage and waited all of 5 minutes for a taxi (and half of that was because some of my fellow cruisers apparently have never actually gotten in a cab LOL!)

CONS

Embarkation We stayed at the Marriott and took DCL buses to the port . They had 5 buses from our hotel and about that many from the Hilton so they loaded us ALL up and shipped us there at once. REALLY? That made sense, then you could stand in HUGE lines and wait in that horrid hall!!!!!! YUCK!

Dining Assignments. This one is both pro and a con. I spent an hour on the phone with DVC and DCL a few months ago moving to early dining. Showed on my reservation etc... Well, the worst IT shop in hospitality strikes again! Got my key and I have "late dining" Now my mother goes to bed at 9 so this isn't going to work and of course since I had early dining I had not made an effort to be at the port FIRST to get that changed. We did head directly to Rockin D bar and met a GREAT CM who managed to fix this (the woman behind me had the exact opposite problem. Disney's IT shop is just an embarrassment of " things we can screw up" IMHO) The CM turned out to be our head waiter and he was also wonderful! Loved him!


Communication If you aren't talking DCL excursions good luck. DCL apparently believes EVERYONE will use them and won't need info. The worst was Rome. I went to the 8:30 show the night prior. There the Cruise Director announces that in spite of the time on the Navigator for the next day that says debarkation is at 7:45 we won't be able to get off until 9 if we aren't doing DCL. REALLY? How were folks suppose to know this? And no, LOTS of folks missed that show. At 8:20 I was watching excursions buses still offload passengers (yes that was well past "we were suppose to leave time" LOL!) So they didn't come to the show..... After the show I went to Guest Services to complain about the lack of communication. Saw the Cruise Director and complained to him. He then tells me it's now 7:30 that we can get off! So, how were the folks who heard 9 suppose to know this??????

It appears that the problem is that DCL is a 'secondary' player and may have to dock at a "secondary" dock. If you are booking a private excursion I would start "haunting" the Guest Services desk the day before and find out what the deal is for YOUR cruise...

In Naples, don't follow Cruise Director Peter's directions when getting off the boat. Walking directly out of the port won't get you to the part of the city you wanted to be in. We had to go a long way to the left!

Will do a separate post on the ports with info for those of you doing it on your own!
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Old 06-13-2013, 07:41 AM   #2
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Thanks for the report! I will be doing this next year traveling with my mom and DS. We plan on doing all ports on our own too so looking forward to reading more.
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Old 06-13-2013, 02:41 PM   #3
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Villefranche

This was a tender stop, but they took us to the boat not too long after we showed up in the theater where you go to "get a ticket" (tickets are kind of a joke... you actually just get one and sit in the assigned row and they take you from the row in the order you got there... don't know why they even bothered with the "ticket" lines LOL!)

We went to Nice on this day. We walked up the hill to the bus which was marked and was easy to do. Bus was cheap and easy! Our only error was getting off at the wrong bus stop in Nice, but once we figured out where we were it was great. We spent several hours wandering around the "old city" We made it to the "flower market" only to discover it's an antique market on Monday. Oh well, still a great place to look around. Also did the promenade. We really liked Nice!

We had lunch at a tiny place in the old city, cost us about 8 Euros each with our Croque Monsieur and beer. Good deal. Just don't stop where the "touts" are. There was also a great gelato place there

Our plan was to bus back to Villefranche and tour it.. the weather didn't cooperate. As we were walking down the hill from the bus it started raining.. We found a bar and SLOWLY drank a beer. We finally just gave up and headed to the boat (after a stop at a store to restock our wine supply.) Villefranche looks adorable and I hated to miss it!
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Old 06-13-2013, 02:54 PM   #4
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La Spezia

This was our favorite port!

Once again we had to tender. This time we waited quite a while in the theatre. Disney needs to work on this. As my mother pointed out they have a big movie screen and a captive audience, where are the commericals? Why not show some cartoons etc... Kids were BORED and whiney... and I can't blame them. We had to wait a lot longer today then the day before and it's boring. (Sorry but hearing the CMs life story is not really entertainment! )

We got off the tender and got directions to the train. We planned to go to the Cinque Terra.... but as we were walking I saw the tour boat. We talked for a few minutes about this. it was 9:10 and the boat left at 9:15.....we weren't sure about being tied to the boat for the whole day, but I had an idea and ran over to ask if we could just get a one way ride to Vernazza. Yep, for 15 Euros. So we did it... And it was GREAT! Just GREAT! If the weather works for you DO THIS!!!!!! You get to see the towns from the water, the scenery is beautiful, it's just outstanding!!!! LOVED IT!

We got off in Vernazza and had a beer at the port (there's a theme to our travel LOL!) We then explored the town, they were having a small market which we liked. We then took the train to Riomaggiore and toured it. Had lunch there at a small place.

We then trained back to the port city. I asked for directions at the train station. I don't know WHERE that girl was sending us, but.... we got good and lost. So I showed my Rick Steves map to a man on the street. He walked us back to where we were suppose to go. Turns out it's a GREAT pedestrian street back to the port. Very nice. We had more gelato, stopped for another beer and basically wandered back to the port.

Great Day!

I think the onboard time for this day was 7:30. I would bet half the DCL excursions weren't back by then Our table of 6 had just the two of us at it at 6. MDR was half empty for early seating

Now my pet peeve for this cruise... it's not fair to your server for you to show up at 7:30 for the 6 pm seating and expect them to serve you. (Folks were pushing open closed doors) Servers handled it pretty well, but IMHO it's just rude. Go up to topsiders! You won't starve!
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Old 06-13-2013, 04:56 PM   #5
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looking forward to reading more
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Old 06-14-2013, 01:11 AM   #6
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Thanks for this information! We are also planning on Doing it on our own! Please tell me: Do all family members have to be present for tender tickets or can I go and 'save places' for the rest of my family while they eat breakfast?
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Old 06-14-2013, 06:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by debsters41 View Post
Thanks for this information! We are also planning on Doing it on our own! Please tell me: Do all family members have to be present for tender tickets or can I go and 'save places' for the rest of my family while they eat breakfast?
All family members must be present. They load you into the theatre and are pretty strict about it. Then they load out by row in order they seated you. So since they don't let you hold seats if you don't all arrive at once you could actually be on different boats.

The tickets actually were useless. It is not like on other lines where they call the number on your ticket
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Old 06-14-2013, 09:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeCountyCommuter View Post
All family members must be present. They load you into the theatre and are pretty strict about it. Then they load out by row in order they seated you. So since they don't let you hold seats if you don't all arrive at once you could actually be on different boats.

The tickets actually were useless. It is not like on other lines where they call the number on your ticket
Thank you
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Old 06-14-2013, 09:46 AM   #9
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Rome

This was not a tender port, but you do have to take a shuttle bus to the port exit... and it's a LONG way from where we docked to there so take the bus (plus it's not exactly a safe place to walk!)

I had printed out Tom's port guide and his map lead me right to the train station. I bought my tickets from the "Travel Agency" next to the train station. And went to the platform to wait for the 8:41 train... which was cancelled. So we got on the 9:05. By the time we hit Rome that train was PACKED, PACKED, PACKED, but I am pretty sure that was because it was two trains of people.

Before the cruise reading on here, I had nearly panicked and booked the DCL "Rome on Your Own" due to the number of ships in port. But I am glad we didn't Train worked fine!

We got off and took the metro to Colessum. Just walked around outside it (we were there two years ago and did the underground tour etc...) We then walked over by the Pathenon and toured some churches we had missed on our last tour. Had lunch in the Piazza Navarrno.

And then we made the big error. We walked over to St. Peter's.... Thinking the crowds from the papal audience would have died down... WRONG!!!! NIGHTMARE. Amazingly croweded, we gave up on St. Peter's. If you are in Rome on a Wednesday I would avoid this area at all cost!

We took the train back to the port, found a grocery to resupply our room and headed back to the ship. We got back on the ship at 6 PM.

This was a tough day. If we had not been there before I think it would have been much more frustrating. I would recommend that a newbie to the area book a private tour. Yes, it's costly but Rome is not an easy city and you aren't that close to the sights!
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Old 06-14-2013, 10:08 AM   #10
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Thanks for the report.
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Old 06-14-2013, 11:03 AM   #11
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Naples

We had done the Pompeii, Almafi Coast, Sorrento etc.. on our last trip. However, when we were in Naples they were having a garbage strike... that limited our desire to spend much time in the city LOL!

We walked from the boat to the center of the old city. Don't follow Cruise Director Peter's "easy walk off directions" he gives you over the PA, we got so LOST! Luckily another nice man walked me a mile out of his way to get me where I needed to go!

We toured 7 churches this time. AMAZINGLY beautiful churches. Wandered around the old city, had pizza and my mother went back to the Archaeological Museum. (we did it last time and I didn't feel like doing it again. I found a cafe with free "wifi" and checked my email.)

We had a really good time in this city and it's an easy walk about....

We stopped for supplies and got more wine for the room and headed back to the ship.
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Old 06-14-2013, 11:20 AM   #12
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Barcelona

I wanted to give a few quick notes on Barcelona.

We spent one night before and two nights after the cruise there. Before the cruise we stayed at the Marriott using my points and taking DCL to the port. I wouldn't do it again. Cabs were cheap and easy and we should have taken a cab to the port from any hotel in the area!

Afterwards we spent two nights at the Hotel Atlantis. This was a great choice for us. About a block and half from the Ramblas, our rate included breakfast, room had a balcony, fridge and coffee pot. Easy walk to the metro and sights.

Barcelona is a great city. Do NOT MISS Sagradia Famalia - buy an advance ticket or get there early and stand in line. One of the most amazing sights I have seen (and I have done some GREAT cathedrals, Seville, St. Peter's etc...) Don't skip this!

I know there's a ton of "fear" of pickpockets. Once again, we had no problems. We used a money belt when "moving" around. Both of our hotels had safes so we locked up our cards, extra cash and passports when we got to them. But if you use some safety measures you will be fine IMHO. And if they take your wallet with 50 Euros so????/
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Old 06-15-2013, 08:20 AM   #13
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Thanks OCC!!

Keep the tips coming, we leave in a week!
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21 day trip report LIVE from Amtrak, Disneyland & EB Repo through the Panama Canal!
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Old 06-15-2013, 09:20 AM   #14
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Thank you for you trip report. It is so helpful. We are going on the same cruise in Aug.
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Old 06-15-2013, 12:26 PM   #15
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A few I remembered on debarkation I had wanted to let others know

1. If you are flying Delta that day you can check your bags at the port
2. If you shopped too much there is a shipping service there affliated with UPS to ship your goodies home (Having done this in the past, I would ship underwear and take my goodies home, but...)
3. The same service will also hold luggage for the day while you tour or even deliver it to BCN to your flight for you. (No idea of cost on this or shipping)
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