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Old 02-26-2014, 07:44 PM   #61
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Hi Linetbo, My family and I absolutely loved this tour. My son rated it as his favourite tour of our cruise, my DH rated it as his second favourite and my daughter and I had it tied with our Athens excursion for #1

Taking the private train car to and from Rome was really nice, and we spent just about the right amount of time at each site. And our guides were very well informed and very helpful.

If we had a complaint it would be a very minor complaint from our perspective in that we did not get a lot of free shopping time, especially since we were not interested in the Vatican shop at the end of the day.
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Old 02-26-2014, 08:08 PM   #62
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Hi Linetbo, My family and I absolutely loved this tour. My son rated it as his favourite tour of our cruise, my DH rated it as his second favourite and my daughter and I had it tied with our Athens excursion for #1

Taking the private train car to and from Rome was really nice, and we spent just about the right amount of time at each site. And our guides were very well informed and very helpful.

If we had a complaint it would be a very minor complaint from our perspective in that we did not get a lot of free shopping time, especially since we were not interested in the Vatican shop at the end of the day.
So, whos going on the train. with you, justDCL or its public, and there's a guide always with you? I want to see the colisseum, sistine chapel, trevi fountain, the vatican.... I was thinking the best of rome tour, but not sure. It will be me and my 14 yo daughter. Thanks for your answer.
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Old 02-26-2014, 09:39 PM   #63
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Unfortunately the Jumping Back Into Eternal Rome tour that we took did not go to the Sistine Chapel. We did have a reasonable amount of time to tour St Peter's, but there is definitely not enough time on this excursion to tour the Sistine Chapel as well.

All of the passengers in our train car, and probably on several, if not all of the train cars were on Disney excursions. The car itself was very nice with groups of four comfortable seats together and room to move around if necessary, much more comfortable than the buses we took on our excursions in other ports.

I can't remember where the Best of Rome tour goes, but the tipping point for us in deciding on Jumping Back into Eternal Rome was getting to take the train, especially since it was only an hour each way, and it left from very close to where the ship was docked.

We were lucky to have two guides with us all day, although Anna was technically the official guide while Clara was her assistant, they were both great and professional as well as nice.


I think if you check out Disney Princess' trip report from last summer, Bringing the Magic back to Venice (I think), her Disney excursion went to the Sistine Chapel, but it had something to do with the day that the Magic was in Rome.
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Old 02-27-2014, 05:33 AM   #64
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Unfortunately the Jumping Back Into Eternal Rome tour that we took did not go to the Sistine Chapel. We did have a reasonable amount of time to tour St Peter's, but there is definitely not enough time on this excursion to tour the Sistine Chapel as well.

All of the passengers in our train car, and probably on several, if not all of the train cars were on Disney excursions. The car itself was very nice with groups of four comfortable seats together and room to move around if necessary, much more comfortable than the buses we took on our excursions in other ports.

I can't remember where the Best of Rome tour goes, but the tipping point for us in deciding on Jumping Back into Eternal Rome was getting to take the train, especially since it was only an hour each way, and it left from very close to where the ship was docked.


We were lucky to have two guides with us all day, although Anna was technically the official guide while Clara was her assistant, they were both great and professional as well as nice.


I think if you check out Disney Princess' trip report from last summer, Bringing the Magic back to Venice (I think), her Disney excursion went to the Sistine Chapel, but it had something to do with the day that the Magic was in Rome.
Yes, we are going to be there on Wednesday and that day the pope is in rome and having an audience.
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Old 03-03-2014, 04:56 PM   #65
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Thank you so much for all of the interesting info that you gave in your TR. We are booked for the 12 night Mediterranean disney cruise on 7/26/14 and the excitement is building. This will be a our 6th disney cruise. Your TR has ramped up our excitement and gotten us focused on planning out our shore excursions. There are 11 of us (ages 10 - -75) that are traveling together and it sounds like there will be something for everyone. Thanks for all of the great info.
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:29 PM   #66
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Hi Cjjoncas, I am so glad that you enjoyed my trip report. Last year at this time I was reading all of the reports I could find! And I hope that you will enjoy your trip as much as we did.

In the near future I plan to post some of our planning info, lists of books and movies that helped our enjoyment.
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Old 03-04-2014, 11:40 AM   #67
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Hi Cjjoncas, I am so glad that you enjoyed my trip report. Last year at this time I was reading all of the reports I could find! And I hope that you will enjoy your trip as much as we did.

In the near future I plan to post some of our planning info, lists of books and movies that helped our enjoyment.
Any tips or planning tools would be helpful. I have already read the Rick Steeves book on Cruising in the Mediterranean which was great for getting perspective on the area and what we may be interested in doing for excursions.

Your info about Disney excursions was helpful. We will probably be doing a mix of Disney and private excursions so it was helpful to hear about your experiences with the Disney run trips.
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Old 03-04-2014, 06:26 PM   #68
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Travel Related Research - Movies and books and trip reports oh my! :) -Part I

In advance of our trip I reviewed absolutely everything I could find that was related to the Mediterranean, especially the trip reports here on the Disboards. My hat is off to Disney Falcon and Minnie Diva and Lilpooh and Debsters41 and so many others on this board for your fabulous trip reports. Thank you.

My research also included the Rick Steves' Travel Show TV series that I found as a boxed set at Costco. I also enjoyed the Rudy Maxa 'Best of Italy' travel show bluray which I also found on sale at Costco . Both were quite enjoyable and I learned a lot. And I find that watching these travel related shows while I am on the treadmill is good motivation for me .

The best video series I found however, especially since we were headed to Greece and Turkey as well as to Italy, was by John Hale - a lecture series specifically about travel through Greece and Turkey. Dr Hale is an archaeology professor who recorded this lecture series for The Great Courses - note however that I would not pay full price for the Great Courses material since they put their courses on sale on a fairly regular basis. Since we are really hoping to take another Med cruise sometime in the future, I also now have my eye on a Great Courses lecture series about the history of the Renaissance period and Florence, Venice and Pisa, but am taking my own advice and waiting for sale prices .

If I could describe the difference between Rick Steves and Rudy Maxa as compared to John Hale it would be that the first two are like dessert while John Hale, well his programs are like dinner . And don't get me wrong, I love both dinner and dessert .

I also bought the Rick Steves' Mediterranean Cruise Ports guide which was extremely useful in helping us to decide on our preferred excursions. His books are informative and enjoyable to read. I also found several DK pocket sized guides on sale at Costco, Barcelona and Athens for this trip, and Venice for a hoped for future trip .

Along fiction based lines, my teenagers and I have read all of the Rick Riordan books in the Percy Jackson and Jason Grace book series. These are modern books for kids that focus on the Ancient Greek and Roman gods and myths. The nice thing about my kids reading these books is that they had a clear point of reference in Rome and in Greece with respect to the relevance of the sites we visited. During our cruise DH was busy reading Dan Brown's newest book, Inferno. At one point DH looked up from his Kobo and stated: as soon as you read this book I can see we will be booking a trip that includes Florence! It would seem that my DH knows me very well .

My DS is also very keen to visit Florence and Tuscany, since several video games that he has played are related to that area and WWII. Florence, Venice and Tuscany are the main locations for Assassins Creed 2 - apparently you can even take a virtual gondola ride through the canals of Venice when playing this game.

And as for computer games, DS was very cognizant of the history of numerous sites and their historical background from the computer games 'Rome Total Warfare', Age of Mythology' and 'Medal of Honour Airborne'. Realistically, although I am not crazy about my DS playing war related games, he has learned a great deal about historical battles and has applied it quite well in his high school history classes. (Honestly, if those games were university programs, DS would probably have his PhD by now!). And, he is more than willing to 'school' me about the background in these games. I should make it clear that I am not actually recommending these games since I have no personal firsthand knowledge of them, however IF you are travelling with teenagers, they may already know a lot more about the history of the Mediterranean area than you might initially assume.
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Old 03-04-2014, 06:42 PM   #69
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Travel Related Research - Movies and books and trip reports Oh My! - Part II

When it comes to movies we took our 'research' seriously and devoted numerous weekend evenings, especially cold snowy ones, to enjoying Mediterranean related movies, including the following:

My Life in Ruins (Greece)
Hercules - the Disney version of course (Ancient Greece -sort of )
Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Santorini)
Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2 (even more Santorini, including in the bonus
material)
Mama Mia (Greek island)
To Catch a Thief (Monte Carlo)
Cars 2 (Monte Carlo/Italy/London)
Monte Carlo (Selena Gomez movie - Paris & Monte Carlo)
Madagascar 3 (Monte Carlo/Rome/London)
Angels and Demons (Rome)
Roman Holiday (Rome)
The Lizzie McGuire Movie (Rome)
Gidget Goes to Rome
The Last Legion (Ancient Rome)
The Agony and the Ecstasy (the Sistine Chapel/Michelangelo)
Tea with Mussolini (Florence) - surprisingly enjoyable WWII movie
Under the Tuscan Sun (Tuscany)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Venice); and

The Young Indiana Jones television series - several episodes are set in Med locations such as Barcelona, Florence and Athens as examples - so while the episode may only include what I refer to as 'drive by scenes' - oh look, 10 seconds of the Sagrada Familia or Park Guell etc, - the rest of the story is fun enough to intrigue and entertain.

Doctor Who - the 'new' series is filmed on location in England and includes numerous episodes set in 'touristic' London, which we really enjoy watching. Series 4 (ie season 4) has an episode set in Pompeii, right before Vesuvius erupts. Although the actual footage that they filmed in Italy took a backseat to the onscreen story ( as it reasonably should for the sake of the story), the Doctor Who Confidential background material available on the Blu-ray Disc involved David Tennant wandering around Pompeii with an archaeologist which I found very enjoyable as well.

Side note - Speaking of 'touristic' London, the Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson flick Shanghai Knights has lots of great scenes filmed in touristy locations, but then again so does Sherlock Holmes (both the movies and the TV show), but I digress .

All of these movies and shows were enjoyable, some more than others.

Movies that I would not recommend include 'Santorini Blue' and 'To Rome with Love' (this second movie is a Woody Allen flick) -IMHO, really bad acting and/ or lame stories in both movies, and I learned nothing about Santorini or Rome. I mention them because personally I felt like they were a waste of my time and money and I would not have watched them if I 'knew then what I know now'. But I reiterate, IMHO.

In between movies:

When in Rome - the Josh Duhamel/Kristen Bell movie 'When in Rome' was light fare and perhaps only moderately enjoyable, but at least watchable, although definitely not a classic - however what we saw of Rome was limited to 'drive by scenes' of a couple of sites in Rome at the very beginning of the movie with more time spent at a fountain before the majority of the movie took place in New York- and we saw the Rome sites for a very very limited time.

When in Rome - the Olsen twins version - is a teeny bopper movie with an improbable plot and questionable acting, however the way they blended into the storyline many famous Roman landmarks was interesting even if the story itself had me rolling my eyes.

Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo - hmm, not even the 'strongest' of the Herbie movies, but hey, it was Disney and had Monte Carlo in the title. It should be noted that I do not remember seeing this Disney movie playing anywhere while on the ship, so take that for what it is worth .

The interesting thing from our perspective is that the movies from my main list have turned out to be even more fun to watch since we have returned since we can now picture ourselves there!
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Old 03-07-2014, 03:36 PM   #70
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Thank you so much for the list of movies and books, my youngest teenager especially needs all the prep he can get because he's not the best travelor. Anything to make him feel more familar, comfortable, and interested will be great, now I'm going to start quizzing him on the places used in his video games. We like the Percy Jackson movies but have not read the books, I will pick those up because they probably have even more detail than the movies about the places we'll go.

We are on the 12 night Med cruise in June, from Barcelona to Venice, and I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed being Disney sheep, because that is also our plan. At least it is if all the excursions we want are available when we finally get to that 90 day mark.
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Old 03-09-2014, 02:27 PM   #71
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Do you recall if there were restrictions about taking food/fruit off the ship when in port? I know in Mexico the crew were adamant about not taking any food (other than water) off the ship. Not the same in Alaska because we were primarily in US territories. My daughter has blood sugar issues so we are always conscious of what to have available for her when we leave the ship. If need be I will bring packaged snacks aboard so that we can have them on shore excursions.
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Old 03-23-2014, 12:11 PM   #72
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I just has to stop and say hi! I was intrigued by the "sheep", but then come to find out - we were on that same train to Berlin that broke down during the "100 year heatwave". We, too are a DCL cruising family - we did the med the 1st year it was out and before Greece It's been fun re-living part of your cruise. We are off to Alaska this summer. Happy travels!!
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