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Old 06-10-2010, 12:40 PM   #1
Disneyfalcon
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First Med Cruise - Our excellent adventure!

11 nights in the Mediterranean!! With the Mouse!!

I got a last minute special too great to pass up! Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love Disney cruises. This was my fifth. 4 of which have been in the last 15 months. When this deal came out, I was scrambling to make it work.

Dh couldn’t get off work for two weeks, but he was beyond sweet and told me to go ahead! I knew the kids would love it too, but there was no way Ds15 could miss two weeks of high school. Dd12 however, no problem! I talked to Ds who insisted he could go at first. After a week passed, I decided to talk to him again.

The conversation went like this –

“So, about this cruise…” – Me
“Mmhmm” – Him
“You know there’s no way you can miss two weeks of school, don’t you?” –Me
“Yeah, I know.” – Him
“So you won’t be bitter if I go?” – Me, sounding hopeful
“No, I guess not.” – Him
“Would you be bitter if I took your sister?” – Me
After an eternal silence – “No, but you’re going to have to buy me off.” – Him (obviously my child)

Now, who else to bring? My parents were tempted, but Mom felt like it was someone else’s turn since she took advantage of the last travel agent special cruise with me. I started talking to friends, and one, Debbie, didn’t hesitate, she was in! She didn’t mind taking her dd14 out of school for this kind of opportunity. And bonus, she has a ds17 who could commiserate with my ds15 while we were gone. We talked to the girl’s teachers and got the green light. Woo hoo!

My parents were still toying around with going. I checked the military specials and there was a great one. They got a category 5, verandah, for an 11 night cruise for $2300. Total. For two people. Pretty amazing!
I realized my in-laws wouldn’t want to pass that up either, so they booked a verandah too.

Here we all are. These photos are your teasers for different parts of the trip!

Dd and I:


Debbie and her dd:


My parents:


My inlaws:



The scene was set, we were ready to plan! And we only had about 6 weeks to do it!

About three weeks before the cruise, we got our room assignment. A verandah!! I couldn’t believe it! With all of my cruises, we’d never splurged for one before. We’ve always been happy enough with our portholes. I was crazy excited to try a verandah, though. What a perfect cruise to have one on!

About a week before we left, the Icelandic volcano started to erupt, shutting down European airspace for days. We were flying directly into Barcelona, which thankfully wasn’t immediately shut down. I was pretty worried we weren’t going to make it, and incredibly thankful we purchased trip insurance. I DID NOT want to use it, but it sure provided some piece of mind.

I have to tell you, of all the reasons I thought we might have to use our trip insurance, illness, flight delays, etc., a volcano in Iceland never crossed my mind!

I had also devised about 13 alternate plans to get there, including – flying into Madrid if it was still open, flying anywhere in Europe we could get to, flying into Morocco and taking the train/ferry/train to Barcelona, and meeting the cruise at any port we could get to.

Well, thankfully, about two days before we left, everything started to open again. Woo hoo, indeed!

After several days spent researching ports and excursions, little bit of shopping, and lots of packing, the big day had finally arrived!
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Old 06-10-2010, 12:48 PM   #2
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Thursday, April 22nd, Day 1 Ė Crazy long travel day to Barcelona

Our flight left at 6 am, so we left the house at 4. We were excited so it wasnít too hard to wake up. We flew from Colorado Springs to Dallas, to JFK, then finally to Barcelona. Our Barcelona flight was delayed about an hour. It was an 8 hour flight, and to adjust to the time change, we really needed to sleep.

For some reasons I donít understand, dinner wasnít served until weíd been in the air about 2 Ĺ hours. It was 9:15! 9:15? Not Barcelona time, NYC time. That seriously cut in to our sleeping time. There were some movies to watch, but they seemed like really odd choices. Star Trek? Now, I loved that movie as much as the next person, Iíve seen it 3 times and Iíll admit, I watched it again. But that movie has been on DVD for months! What happened to new movies on flights?

I managed to get about 4 hours of sleep, off and on.
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Old 06-10-2010, 12:50 PM   #3
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Friday, April 23rd, Day 2 – Barcelona!

Well, we made it! We were in Spain. After we breezed through customs, we went to wait for our bags. We waited and waited. Our bags took an hour and a half! Mercy! I wasn’t too stressed though. I was just relieved we were there.

We didn’t take Disney transfers, but it was sure exciting to see them waving those Mickey gloves in the airport for the people that did!

We had a shuttle reserved and it was waiting for us. On the ride to the hotel, we saw the Magic in port, and we all cheered. I love that ship. It just makes me happy.

Our first night there we were staying in a brand new hotel that had only been open a few weeks. It had a great rate, and was one of the few hotels we found that would sleep 4 people in a room. It was called Hotel Novotel Barcelona City. It was very modern and nice.

Here's the lobby:



We dropped off our bags in our rooms, and headed out for the day. We didn’t want to stay in the room too long, in case the beds seduced us.:lol:

We walked across the street to a mall for an early lunch. The girls and I ended up eating at a Subway. How very American of us.



After that we walked to the nearest metro stop and rode to Sagrada Famalia. Barcelona’s metro was great. Easy to use, clean and inexpensive.
Sagrada Famalia was crazy. When we got up to street level, we turned around and whoa! There she was. Ginormous! Still under construction. Has been for years and years, will be for 50+ more. It was beautiful, nonetheless.





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Old 06-10-2010, 12:51 PM   #4
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Next we rode to the closest stop to Park Guell. Park Guell was quite a hike from the metro stop. Mostly uphill. Here's mom and mil taking a break:



But everyone made it, and we were rewarded with some gorgeous city views and a fascinating park.















After this we had planned on going to the Magic Fountains, but we were exhausted from the lack of sleep and amount of walking we had done. We went back to the hotel, stopping at Burger King on the way for dinner () in our room.

Everyone in my room started drifting off around 6:00. I tried to stay up until 7:30, but I was gone by 6:45.

Tomorrow we board the Magic!
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Old 06-10-2010, 01:40 PM   #5
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Great pictures and report!
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Old 06-10-2010, 03:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redeemed&Loved View Post
Great pictures and report!
Thanks for reading!
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Old 06-10-2010, 03:13 PM   #7
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Saturday, April 24th, Day 3 – Sailaway Day!

We mostly slept through the night. I think we were all awake around 2, 4, and then 8:00 for good. Wow, we had 13 hours of sleep!

We walked across to the mall for breakfast, Dunkin Donuts. I know, shame on us again. We would be more adventurous later in the week.

Our shuttle was supposed to pick us up at 9:30, but there was a miscommunication and they had scheduled us for 10:00. Okay, I guess I wouldn’t be among the first onboard this time. I’d live. Well, then the shuttle as 30 minutes late! I was not very happy then. We had bigger problems with this company on our last day, but that’s a story for later in the report.

When we arrived at the port, we all cheered again. I love that welcome sign!
They had their own up in Barcelona:



The terminal was very different then Port Canaveral, but just as exciting.

We checked in, took our picture with Mickey, and boarded fairly soon after. For you character collectors out there, a Mediterranean cruise has an amazing offering. Every day the gang was dressed in native costumes. I didn’t get pictures of all of them, but they were awesome!





Since we had all booked so late, I didn’t have Palo reservations, so I went to Rocking Bar D to get some while everyone else went to Parrot Cay for lunch. I joined them just a few minutes later for our first grand meal of the cruise!

After lunch, we walked around the ship and showed it to our friends. Here's the crew pool and the port.



The girl’s went swimming in the empty pools, and Debbie and I toured the spa and work out room. I’ll admit, this first day is the only day I ever see the workout room. It’s beautiful though!



Our rooms were ready so we headed down to deck 6. Our Castaway Club gift, and beautiful verandah was waiting for us.



Our bags started showing up pretty quickly so we unpacked and ironed while the laundry room was empty.

We went to the lifeboat drill at 4:30 and got to try out our very stylish life jackets. Hopefully our only time to wear these. Not sure what I'm doing in this picture:



We saw everyone else for our first dinner at Lumieres. Our servers were named Kris and Sandor. Sandor was from Hungary, and Kris was from Switzerland. Sandor was awesome. Kris struggled a little, we think he was new, but he was super nice.
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Old 06-10-2010, 03:13 PM   #8
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The first show of the week was great as always.



The magician picked Debbieís Dd for a volunteer. Iíd seen both the acts before, but they were still funny.



The Sailaway party is normally in the afternoon, but for the Med cruises itís at 10:00! We were tired but it was still fun.

We had our first little towel animal waiting for us when we got back:

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Old 06-10-2010, 03:16 PM   #9
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Sunday, April 25th, Day 4 Ė Sea Day

Today we woke up at 9:00 and had our own private Church services with our family. Afterwards, it was time to eat again! We went to Lumieres for a yummy brunch. The girls ditched us pretty quickly and went to watch Princess and the Frog.

We tried to read on Deck 4, but it was a little chilly! We went to the excursion desk to try to solidify our plans for Tunisia and got some more information.

Can you take too many pictures off your verandah?





Next, Debbie and I went to a cooking demonstration, the first in a series of three. We learned to make a Tuna appetizer.

Debbie loved the tuna, but Iím not a big seafood person, so I passed. At this point, I hadnít eaten in about 2 hours (!) and we went up to deck 9 for some wraps and ice cream.

The girl's enjoyed some room service:



Disney brought a special speaker on board to give us information about some of our ports. Today he was giving a lecture on Pompeii so we went there. I learned a lot, but I may have drifted off a few times.

Afterwards we went to our first Origami class. We made some lovely flowers.
Then it was time for a Latin dancing class! We were learning all sorts of stuff today!

I also stopped by the rebooking desk and rebooked our Alaska cruises. In case you didn't know, rebooking onboard gives you a 10% discount as well as a large onboard credit! I always tell people if there is any chance you will sail again, rebook onboard. Of course I didnít follow my own advice last time I was onboard, so I had to rebook a booking we already had. The price had gone up a little since we originally booked, but we still saved a lot.

Rebook onboard! Do it! You can move your dates around later, but get something in the books! Counting both sets of parents, dd and I, there were 6 of us on this cruise that are cruising to Alaska next year, so I was able to rebook all 6 cabins of friends and family for our Alaska cruise.

Tonight was formal night at dinner, so we got all pretty and went to Animatorís Palate.









Afterwards, we went to a family cabaret show the same magician from the night before. He was very funny again.

The show tonight was Twice Charmed. Iíve seen it twice before so I didnít take pictures, but everyone enjoyed it.

Afterwards we went to a family dance party, and then the girls went swimming while we went to bed!



Tomorrow was our first port - Malta!
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Old 06-10-2010, 05:19 PM   #10
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I'm glad that you decided to post this over here as I always enjoy your pictures. I can't wait to hear all about your experience cruising the Med!
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Old 06-10-2010, 08:36 PM   #11
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Great tr!
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:09 PM   #12
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great TR! The girls look so pretty in there formal dresses. Can't wait to read more. thanks for sharing.
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Old 06-11-2010, 09:57 AM   #13
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Thanks for reading so far!
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Old 06-11-2010, 09:58 AM   #14
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Monday, April 26th, Day 5 – Malta

We ordered room service for breakfast, but I went up to Topsiders to supplement our order with some hot things. Like breakfast potatoes! I don't think I went a single day without breakfast potatoes and I am going into serious withdrawal.

Here we are pulling in:








We got off the ship pretty early and walked into town. It was an uphill climb but very nice once we got to the top. We just walked around at a leisurely pace and enjoyed it.







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Old 06-11-2010, 09:59 AM   #15
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Little silly at times:



Here's where my mom would want me to tell you that she wouldn't usually be caught dead in tennis shoes and black pants, but we were walking and walking!!



Everyone decided to tour St. Johnís Cathedral, but I decided to stay out and take some pictures.







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