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Old 08-19-2013, 08:59 PM   #46
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Great review but I have to ask again - are we going to see pictures of the picture frames? I am dying of curosity
I am glad that you are still reading along. I have taken photos of my picture frames and hope to post them in my Trip Report Wrap up post, which should be coming soon. My problem is that DD who has been handling my photos for me has been away camping with friends - which is why there has been journaling but no photos since Malta.

Hopefully we can get back on track much sooner than later.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:02 PM   #47
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Trip Report Wrap-up

Now that we are back and people ask how the trip was I find it hard to put into words. I feel like the little kid in the movie 'The Incredibles' who is a witness to the Incredibles in action and yells: THAT WAS TOTALLY WICKED! Really.

We are debating another med cruise next summer (since our kids are rapidly reaching the 'about to graduate high school stage' and the Mom side of me is worrying about separation from my 'babies' and therefore wants to have lots and lots of family trips together before that happens) and since the current Disney itineraries that are available to us when the kids are not in school aren't ideal from our perspective, we are considering other cruise lines. The problem we have is that we feel that the 'Disney difference' with respect to the cruise line itself really does make a difference to us, especially when I think about all of the time that we did spend on the ship after excursions and of course on sea days, and how it totally made this trip for us. However I will continue to read all of the threads about other cruise lines as food for thought .

Overall, we really did enjoy all of our Disney excursions. Especially the ones with Greek and Roman ruins and things to climb . The interesting thing from my perspective is that one of our favourite excursions was Athens which we mostly did on our own, but that was tied in enjoyment with our excursion to Rome, which was very long and very structured.

Least favourite excursion for me was Monaco, while for DH it was Delos , although Monaco would be somewhere close down there on his list as well. Surprisingly Malta rated as least favourite for both kids, but then again they have their mother's love of climbing things, and even though Delos was a little 'without' when it came to interesting stuff, we had lots of room to climb around once we spread out - in other words we liked it despite (or perhaps because of) it being the most systematically laid out pile of rocks my DH had ever seen .

I do have some issues with the cost of the Disney excursions. There is no getting around the price of the 'Disney difference', especially for the 'Pisa Climb the Tower' excursion. As much as I enjoyed it, the financially responsible, logical side of me wants to stage a revolt... I am just not sure that my family would be willing to join me in the revolt.

If there is another Med cruise in our future, although I will definitely check out what excursions Disney has to offer, I do believe that we will be more open to 'straying from the herd'... Or should that be flock?

Overall though, on this trip we got to see and do so much together, and it is wonderful to have personal memories to go along with so many iconic monuments, and so many not so iconic cheesy picture frames .

Barcelona


Monaco


Pisa


Rome


Athens


Ephesus


Mykonos


Malta
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:54 PM   #48
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really nice trip report! your picture frames are AWESOME! how many do you have from all your trips?

I feel bad about giving you the unwanted info on the cost of buying the Leaning Tower tickets directly. I hope you get to do another cruise and have a fabulous time as "sheep" or intrepid solo travelers, whichever path you choose!
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Old 08-21-2013, 08:06 AM   #49
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I really have enjoyed reading your TR. I love the fact that you all spend time as a family. It reminds me of our family. Both of our DDs are out of the house now. One is married and the other is a college student. We have LOVED all of our Disney trips and hope that we will get to share the Disney LOVE with our grandchildren sometime in the future. Enjoy those babies while they are there!!
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:11 AM   #50
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I love the frames. Another reason to do this trip again - I want to get frames too.
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Old 08-21-2013, 07:09 PM   #51
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really nice trip report! your picture frames are AWESOME! how many do you have from all your trips?

I feel bad about giving you the unwanted info on the cost of buying the Leaning Tower tickets directly. I hope you get to do another cruise and have a fabulous time as "sheep" or intrepid solo travelers, whichever path you choose!
Thank you for your kind comments about our trip report.

Honestly, I really appreciated the info you provided about the cost of your Tower of Pisa climb - even if the logical, financially responsible part of me squirmed - a lot . On the other hand, DH and I have discussed your comments a lot, in a good way, , as we look ahead to hopefully taking another Med cruise in the next year or so, and how we intend to approach it.

And as for my - as it turns out rather extensive cheesy picture frame collection - since I started collecting when DH and I did a Princess cruise to Alaska for our honeymoon, I probably have about 2 dozen, plus the ones from our most recent trip
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Old 08-21-2013, 07:25 PM   #52
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I really have enjoyed reading your TR. I love the fact that you all spend time as a family. It reminds me of our family. Both of our DDs are out of the house now. One is married and the other is a college student. We have LOVED all of our Disney trips and hope that we will get to share the Disney LOVE with our grandchildren sometime in the future. Enjoy those babies while they are there!!
Thank you for taking the time to share about your family as well , it really is wonderful when you can enjoy being together - especially in the close confines of an inside cabin .

I really do enjoy traveling through my camera lens, and my most favourite pictures from the trip now that we are home are the simplest moments of our family goofing around together, granted, in some pretty amazing places . The whole concept of college and marriage and grandchildren for my kids excites me and scares me at the same time, so at this point I am digging my heels in and holding my 'babies' tight all the way!

Like you though, I look forward to sharing our Disney love with our kids and hopefully their kids (way in the future) for many years to come.
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Old 08-21-2013, 07:28 PM   #53
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I love the frames. Another reason to do this trip again - I want to get frames too.
I am glad that you like my picture frames . And hopefully I am an 'enabler' in this case and you get to do this trip again sooner than later .
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:04 PM   #54
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WOW, love your TR. Your cheesy frames are also great!!

We are booked for the 9 night Med Cruise leaving June 26 1914 from Venice.
However, we have been considering changing to the 12 night Mediterranean
leaving July 26th. That would be this same trip and it sounds fabulous!!

Thanks for all the great details you added, it makes me feel more comfortable about planning this trip

We want to travel to Barcelona a few days early and explore. My biggest concern is the flight. I keep reading reports where these flights are delayed and rerouted and it is somewhat intimidating.
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Old 08-29-2013, 04:24 PM   #55
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WOW, love your TR. Your cheesy frames are also great!!

We are booked for the 9 night Med Cruise leaving June 26 1914 from Venice.
However, we have been considering changing to the 12 night Mediterranean
leaving July 26th. That would be this same trip and it sounds fabulous!!

Thanks for all the great details you added, it makes me feel more comfortable about planning this trip

We want to travel to Barcelona a few days early and explore. My biggest concern is the flight. I keep reading reports where these flights are delayed and rerouted and it is somewhat intimidating.
Thanks for your kind comments. I read and re-read so many trip reports for the year before we left that helped me, and just tried to include info that might help someone else, so I am happy that this helps you with your planning.

The 9 day trip truly looks great, however for us having 4 sea days on our trip really made it a vacation as it built in the time that we needed to recover from our busy days and just relax, however I know that not everyone needs the rest days, or else they prefer to rest once they get home. I honestly would not mind doing the same itinerary we did again since there is still so much left to see!

As for the air travel, I am sure that everything will go smoothly for you as you have built in extra time that will give you that extra cushion that you may need and allow you to compensate if anything does go awry. Looking back, even though we were scheduled to fly in early morning originally, if we had booked our flight in to Barcelona for Sailaway Day, given our flight delays, it would have been hit and miss as to whether we would have made it before the ship sailed away. Luckily although we did not get to see everything in Barcelona that I had on my list, we prioritized and got to do what was most important to us. I guess this just means that we need to go back and visit Barcelona again if we want to do anything else on the list... At least that's what I keep telling my DH

I hope you have a great trip
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Old 08-30-2013, 05:56 PM   #56
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Great TR! It makes me want to take a Med cruise sooooo badly (especially for the characters)
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Old 08-31-2013, 07:59 PM   #57
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Great TR! It makes me want to take a Med cruise sooooo badly (especially for the characters)
Thanks for your kind comments. I have to admit that having the Disney characters around in their different costumes for several of the countries we visited was really neat and a nice Disney touch. I hope that next year they come up with Greek costumes for the other characters, or else Mickey is going to be VERY busy!

I hope that you get to take a Med cruise sooner than later.
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Old 09-05-2013, 01:18 PM   #58
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I LOVED your trip report. Having done some of the same ports on our 10 night DCL Med cruise in 2011, I really enjoyed your photos and your accounts of what you did, where you went, what you ate, etc. We are doing the 12 night Med cruise July 14, 2014. The itinerary is fabulous with 7 ports and 4 sea days. You should consider that one.
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:29 PM   #59
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I LOVED your trip report. Having done some of the same ports on our 10 night DCL Med cruise in 2011, I really enjoyed your photos and your accounts of what you did, where you went, what you ate, etc. We are doing the 12 night Med cruise July 14, 2014. The itinerary is fabulous with 7 ports and 4 sea days. You should consider that one.
Many thanks for your comments, and I am happy that you enjoyed my report. We have actually booked the 14 July 2014 cruise, however I might wait to see the 2015 itineraries before we commit to airfare. That said, the teenagers are lobbying hard to head to the Med this coming summer. Happily they have told us many times now how much they enjoyed this last cruise and they want a repeat .
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Old 02-25-2014, 06:25 PM   #60
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We soon climbed on board our bus and headed to St Peters, and this time our guides informed us to not leave anything on the bus as we were not going to get on it again, but instead would be walking to the train station from here when we were done. Anna and Clara took us an around about path to enter St Pete's, where we had to open our bags for visual inspection by some Vatican personnel, but we did not have to pass through an X-ray machine this time. We also had a couple of moments to snag pictures with/of the Vatican guards since this was an out of the way gate and we had to wait a little for a couple of people to buy scarves.


Clothing requirements were interesting. DD and I brought sun dresses that we simply pulled on up over shorts and with our t shirts, it looked like we were wearing skirts all of a sudden. DS was able to low ride his shorts, which were long to begin with - I noticed that the other boys in our group basically did the same thing. DH simply zipped the 'legs' of his pants back on - we had bought these pants for him at Costco back in the Spring, and they worked very well. Several of the ladies had to find or purchase scarves from street vendors to cover their shoulders. One guy was simply out of luck as he had chosen to wear shorter styled shorts and a tank top for his day of sight seeing in Rome, and he just wasn't allowed in. Clara showed him where to meet up with us and probably gave him a timing as well.


Although we are not big into touring through churches, St Peters was fairly impressive. The area around the Pieta was crowded, but otherwise as long as you avoided the large tour groups that were moving en masse, it was easy to see most things un obstructed.


I must admit, that the remains of the deceased pope that are on display was a little disturbing to me, and as soon as I realized what we were in line to look at, we backed away rapidly. Anna had done a great job guiding us all day long, but she was particularly passionate about St Pete's, probably because she had been baptized there.

I think I took more pictures in St Peters than almost anywhere else, since everywhere I looked it was a feast for the eyes. And we were allowed to take photographs because there are no paintings in St Peters, only mosaics that are so amazing that they look like paintings!


As we left St Peter's and headed out through the square, Clara in response to a question I had asked earlier, made sure that I saw the 'wind carvings' that are on the stones in the courtyard, that were shown in the movie Angels and Demons. We also saw the Vatican guards again, but these guys were pretty busy with the big crowd around them.


Our final stop of the day was at a gift store just outside the Vatican. Really, there was nothing there we were interested in, and there were not very many other shops in the area selling souvenirs, so if I had not already found my cheesy picture frame at this point I would have been out of luck. Other members of our group were definitely a little put out that there had been no real shopping time built into the tour, however I can see from the guides point of view that this Vatican gift shop was convenient for the bathroom facility aspect.

The walk back to the train station was not a long walk, but it was definitely a hot one. I was way too happy to get on the train, and I was very glad that the train ride and subsequent bus ride went smoothly. Clara handed out water bottles and wafer cookies at this juncture. Luckily I had some dried apricots and nuts for us to eat since we couldn't eat the cookies. We were also lucky to be one of the first buses to return from our train, as the queue to get back on the ship only grew longer and longer at that point of the day.

As we were already late for dinner we headed straight to the dining room and our servers were quick to serve us. Happily we had pre-ordered spaghetti and meatballs the night before even though we had questioned whether we would even be dining in the main dining room this night. And oh my goodness, our supper was delicious. The chef had managed to make our meal so delicious, that we even questioned whether it was actually gluten-free! So, on our day in Rome, we Celiacs managed to have pasta twice. I believe that is some kind of a record for us.

Characters collected this evening included: Italian Goofy, Daisy and Donald (gondolier?)


Last Thoughts on Jumping Back Into Eternal Rome excursion - we truly enjoyed this excursion. We felt we really lucked out with Anna and Clara as our tour guides, and walking through Rome and eating lunch at the Piazza Navona were just the icing on the (gluten free) cake for us . One change that we would make would be to add in a little souvenir shopping time while wandering through the neat streets between the Trevi Fountain and the Piazza Navona, and to drop the Vatican gift shop. Overall, this was DS's favourite excursion, and probably tied for top spot for the rest of us .

If there is a next visit to Rome, ideally we would find an excursion that let us explore the Roman Forum, the Spanish Steps and the Roman aqueduct park. And we enjoyed the Piazza Navona so much, we would probably want to spend time there again. Realistically this means that next time we will have to do Rome on our own.
Did you like this tour? I was thinking to do the best of rome.
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