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Old 07-03-2013, 03:07 PM   #1
clairedy6
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7/25/13: Planning A Magical Mediterranean Cruise!

Hi everyone!

This is the first time I will be participating in a full-on PTR for any Disney trip I've ever taken, and what better way to kick it off than through our first Disney Med Cruise?! I can't even begin to tell you how much I've dreamed of going to the Mediterranean, and the thought of visiting all these magical places on the Disney Magic is so fitting! I couldn't have come up with a more perfect itinerary. 12 nights sailing through the Mediterranean and Adriatic Sea.. it is just dreamy and I can't wait to go!

Yesterday we passed the 3 week mark of our countdown. I know that's a little late to be starting this report but better late than never right? The only thing that was holding me back from starting this earlier was that Naples was the only port I hadn't had a complete plan for--but I do now, thankfully!

We'll be leaving Toronto on July 23rd for an overnight flight and arriving early morning on the 24th. Our cruise leaves on the 25th and gets back on the 6th of August.

So, without further ado, here's our itinerary:

Day 1: Barcelona, Spain
Day 2: Villefranche-Sur-Mer, France
Day 3: La Spezia, Italy
Day 4: Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
Day 5: Naples, Italy
Day 6: At Sea
Day 7: Venice, Italy
Day 8: Venice, Italy
Day 9: Dubrovnik, Croatia
Day 10: At sea
Day 11: Valletta, Malta
Day 12: At sea
Day 13: Barcelona, Spain
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Old 07-03-2013, 03:12 PM   #2
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July 23rd, 2013: Flight to Barcelona

We're taking an American Airlines flight mid-day from Toronto to New York, then we have a short layover and we're boarding another AA flight from New York directly to Barcelona! I've never flown on AA before so I'm excited to try that out. Plus, just the thought of boarding the flight gives me butterflies

The only things I'm a bit disappointed about this flight are a) there's no personal TVs and b) we booked the flight a little late so we couldn't get any window seats

But all that can be put aside because I'll know that I'm on my way to EUROPE!!!

I plan on bringing my iPad on the plane to stay entertained until I can fall asleep (fingers crossed)! Haven't found a suitable book for the trip yet; I'm thinking about reading Under A Tuscan Sun. Any other suggestions?
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Old 07-03-2013, 03:19 PM   #3
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July 24th, 2013: First Day in Barcelona!

Our flight arrives in Barcelona at 7:45. We're staying at the Holiday Inn Express Barcelona City 22..this wasn't my first choice. Originally, we had planned to stay at the Acta Antibes hotel which was only a ten minute walk to the Sagrada Familia but that fell through after we had to book a flight that left on the 23rd instead of the 24th. We called Expedia to try to change the dates but they said they'd have to cancel and re-book the entire reservation, and the going rate for that hotel had jumped up to over 500 euro

I'm glad that this new hotel offers free breakfast. No wifi, though. Hopefully I'll be able to find some at a café somewhere...

Anyway, all we've got planned for today is exploring the city. I've got a couple of restaurants and coffee shops I'd like to check out so I mapped all that out on Google Maps.

Here's a tip: if you're planning on visiting somewhere that involves a lot of walking from site to site, just use Google Maps map it out and then print it for later! You can add placemarks and even draw out lines for your walking routes.
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Old 07-03-2013, 03:33 PM   #4
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July 25th, 2013: EMBARKATION DAY!!!!

Today we board the Disney Magic and our trip officially begins!! I've never been on the Magic before but I have been on the Wonder. I know they're both very similar so hopefully I'll be able to find my way around.

I'm looking forward to the Sail Away Party, unpacking, meeting our cabin & dining team, and exploring the ship!
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Old 07-03-2013, 03:47 PM   #5
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July 26th, 2013: Villefranche, France

Today we're in the French Riviera!! This is by far one of the ports that I'm most excited about. I've dreamed of the South of France forever, and if it weren't for this trip planning I probably never would've discovered the medieval village of Eze!

Here's our plan:

We're going to try to leave on the first tender at 8:45, which means an early breakfast at Topsiders so we can be one of the first in line for a ticket. Then we'll be sailing into the port of Villefranche! I've seen a couple of videos of the tender ride into this town and it just looks so beautiful, I can't wait to see it in person.

Once we get off, I'm going to try to find a Tourist Info booth somewhere to get a bus and train schedule. Then we'll walk through a bit of the harbor and up the Rue De L'Eglise. Hopefully the church at the top of this street will be open so we can peek inside! Then we're walking to the Octroi bus stop to catch a bus to Nice, which should be about 10 minutes. Once we're in Nice, we'll get off at the JC Bermond stop and walk down to the beach, then to the Old Town. I want to spend at least an hour in the Old Town just walking around and exploring.

After our visit to Nice, we'll take a bus from the Ségurane stop directly to Eze Village via the Moyenne Conriche, which according to Google Street View, has amazing views of the ocean.

I'm planning on spending the rest of our time in Eze, shopping and walking around. Hopefully it won't be too crowded and we'll have time to take the Nietzsche path down to Eze-Sur-Mer, which is supposed to be breathtaking!

Once we're in Eze-Sur-Mer, we'll take the earliest train back to Villefranche (after checking out Bono's house!). If we arrive in Villefranche with enough time, I'd love to go swimming if it's not too cold!

Then we'll probably be taking the last tender back to the ship I definitely want to try to be in the last group onto the ship so that we have as much time as possible in France!
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Old 07-03-2013, 05:12 PM   #6
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July 27th: La Spezia, Italy

Our first port in Italy! I'll probably be pinching myself at this moment because Italy has been a place at the top of my bucket list since I was little. We're tendering here too so we'll get a panoramic view of the Italian Riviera.

I know a lot of people will be going to Tuscany today but we've decided to venture over to Cinque Terre. Although I do want to visit Tuscany one day, I thought it would be too hectic for one day and Cinque Terre is just so laid back and relaxed.

Our plan is to walk through the town of La Spezia to the train station, buy the Cinque Terre Park and Train card which covers all train travel between the towns and hiking trail entry, and take the local train to Monterosso, which is the last town of the five. We'll walk around the old town a bit and then take the intense hour long hike from Monterosso to Vernazza, the fourth town. We'll walk around there and visit a café I found and the local cemetery. Then we'll take a train to Manarola, eat lunch, then take a train to Riomaggiore (since the walkway of love is closed), then finally back to La Spezia.



I really want a picture like this!
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Old 07-03-2013, 08:26 PM   #7
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July 28th, 2013: Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy

Today we dock in Civitavecchia, which is about an hour away from Rome. We'll be walking to the train station and taking the local train to Roma San Pietro, which is the closest stop to St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican. We'll also purchase a metro day pass which covers train, bus, subway, and tram travel within the city.

Once we arrive in Rome, we'll take the bus to Vatican City. Since it's the last Sunday of the month which means free entry to the Vatican museums, I'm assuming it will be really crowded there, which means the lines will be really long, so we're skipping the museums and Sistine Chapel and just visiting St. Peter's. Hopefully that line up won't take longer than an hour or so!

I'd read online that everyone entering St. Peters (including children) must have their shoulders and knees covered, which is a bit of a drag since it'll probably be really hot! I just purchased a black maxi skirt specifically for this day

After the Vatican, we'll take a bus across the Tiber River to the Campo De'Fiori. From there, we'll begin our Rick Steves' Heart Of Rome walk. I found this self-guided tour in my Rick Steves' Italy book. By the way, I highly recommend getting a Rick Steves book if you're going anywhere in Europe. They've got great self-guided walks mapped out that cover all the attractions, along with restaurant, hotel, and transportation suggestions. Anyway, the Heart Of Rome Walk starts at Campo De'Fiori and passes through Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and Spanish Steps. Somewhere along the way we'll take a lunch break and probably eat at least 3 rounds of gelato. Once that's done, we'll take the bus down to the Victor Emmanuele monument, and from there, we'll walk past the Roman Forum towards the famous Colosseum. I plan on taking lots of pictures outside of the Colosseum, the architecture is just stunning. We won't be going inside because it would take up too much time and the tickets are too expensive. After visiting the Colosseum, we'll take the subway to Ostiense station, and catch a train back to Civitavecchia.
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Old 07-03-2013, 08:51 PM   #8
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July 29th, 2013: Naples, Italy

Our day in Naples was the hardest to plan for me. I was torn between visiting Capri or Sorrento & Positano; I finally decided that Sorrento & Positano was the best choice for multiple reasons, one of them being that we'll get to experience the Amalfi Coast. Once that was decided, I had trouble choosing between a private tour or going on our own. I liked the idea of not worrying about transportation or being late for the ship. On this trip, we won't be doing any private tours through Disney or a 3rd party company because we need to budget money and I personally believe that you can cover more ground on your own without having to worry about other peoples' plans--you can control where you want to go, what you want to do, and how long you want to stay. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of having a tour guide that can explain the history of the places you're visiting and help you to connect with the country you're visiting, but we just couldn't fit it into the budget.

So, in the end, we decided to venture out on our own. I did a lot of research online and I think I've found the best way to get to both places and back!

We'll hop off the ship in Naples and walk over to the ferry dock, which is literally right next door to the cruise terminal. From there, we'll buy a one-way ticket to Sorrento. The trip to Sorrento takes about 40 minutes, and I think the price is somewhere around 11 euro p/p. Once we're in Sorrento, I've got another self-guided walk planned out from my Rick Steves' Italy book. I also want to walk through the Lemon Grove and sample some Limoncello.

After we've explored Sorrento, we'll take a taxi from Sorrento to Positano along the Amalfi Coast. I'm really looking forward to visiting Positano. It just looks so serene and quaint, like the perfect Italian town. I've heard that Positano is famous for their clothes and shoe making, so I'd love to find myself a pair of leather sandals to bring home!

After we're done in Positano, we'll take a smaller ferry to Salerno, which is further away from Naples, but the train ride is only half an hour since it's a regional train. If we went to Sorrento, it would taken an hour! Once we get to Naples, we'll take a quick bus ride back to the port and then relax after all that sight seeing.
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Old 07-03-2013, 08:54 PM   #9
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July 30th, 2013

Today's our first sea day! I'm looking forward to enjoying time on the ship, relaxing, and catching up on some sleep.
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:00 PM   #10
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July 31st, 2013: Venice, Italy

Today we're in VENICE!! Wow, I can't even begin to imagine how amazing it will be to pull right into the islands and get a breathtaking view of the entire city. It's definitely a once in a lifetime experience and I'm so glad we'll have 2 days to explore it!

We dock at 1pm, which gives us enough time to enjoy lunch on the ship, something that we won't have a lot of opportunities to do on this cruise since we have so many port days (can't complain about that )! The Magic docks right in the city of Venice so everything is in walking distance.

There's a little wine bar I plan on checking out that's close to the port, so we'll do that and then take a vaporetto from Piazzale Roma to St. Mark's Square. I don't really have anything else planned for Venice besides visiting a couple of shops (including the Disney Store!), eating, and getting lost down the alleyways...
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:03 PM   #11
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August 1st, 2013: Venice, Italy

It's the first day of August Today we don't have much planned besides exploring. Our ship leaves at 5:30..Thank God we're in late dining, or else we'd miss the beautiful views of departing Venice!
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:11 PM   #12
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August 2nd, 2013: Dubrovnik, Croatia

I'm so looking forward to visiting Croatia! I've never been anywhere in Eastern Europe so I hope it enchants me enough to want to go back!

We dock just about 10 minutes away from the Old Town of Dubrovnik, which is where most of the cruise passengers will probably be going. On Monday, Croatia joined the EU, which means they now officially accept euro instead of kuna...aka no currency exchanging!

We'll take the local bus from the cruise port to the Old Town and spend most of the day there. I'd love to check out a wine bar in Dubrovnik and maybe some churches if they're open! If there's time it'd be great to visit the beach which is really close to the town.

Then we'll just take the bus back to the ship.


Tonight is the Pirate Deck Party!!! It's always fun seeing the fireworks at sea.
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:20 PM   #13
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In for this one. On the same adventure as you. I am hoping to do a report but will wait until we get back.
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:33 PM   #14
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August 3rd, 2013: At Sea

Today's our second last sea day. I'm hoping to eat lunch at Lumiere's, or maybe do a little shopping and spend some of our $200 onboard credit we got from booking this trip during our last cruise to Mexico?! Yeah, I don't think I'll be bored today..
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:40 PM   #15
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August 4th, 2013: Valletta, Malta

Malta is our last stop on the cruise

We're meeting up with DH's old friend who moved back to Malta a couple of years ago, and he's going to give us a tour around the island in his car I'm hoping he'll be easy going enough to take us to Mdina, which is an ancient town that I saw on Tripadvisor with really pretty views of Valletta! There's also a café/tea shop I want to visit. If there's enough time, I'd love to check out one of Malta's beaches, or maybe the grotto! There's so much to do that it's hard to pick one over the other.

Either way, I'm so glad I didn't have to worry about planning transportation because we would have probably ended up taking a taxi if DH's friend couldn't meet us, which would've probably costed a lot.
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