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Old 06-11-2013, 10:28 AM   #1
Disney mam
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June 1st Med Magic

Hi, this is my first trip report on here so please be patient with me.

Myself, DH and 2 sons travelled from Wales, UK to Barcelona by train. We had a 4 hour car journey to Ashford, Kent where we would get the Eurostar to Paris Nord Station. We followed the signs for Metro 5 to catch the subway to St Austerlitz Station, where we would board the Elipsos overnight sleeper train to Barcelona- Franca. Subway tickets for a family of for from Nord to gare d'Austerlitz worked out to approx 8 euros. There were 9 stops between both stations.
The subway was jam packed and my kids were a little nervous at first because we were crammed onto the train with no space to move and everyone talking a foreign language. Both boys coped well though even when a couple of strangers came up to us begging for money! We met a real dodgy guy as we were trying to use the machine to purchase the tickets, he said something (don't know what) but I gave him a firm no and kept everything close. Within seconds security was there moving him on, so no big deal. Felt pretty safe really.

Was going to post pictures of the beds on the sleeper train but they have vanished!!!
Will be back with more soon.
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Last edited by Disney mam; 06-11-2013 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:59 AM   #2
Disney mam
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We arrived in Barcelona at the exact time stated by the rail company, boy they are very efficient.

I had an apartment booked for 2 nights in Barcelonetta, which was very close to the beach. Called the lady to let her know we had arrived and then we took to the streets and walked to Barcelonetta with the kids in tow and our luggage. The sun was shinning, everybody was feeling great after the train so we were happy to walk for 15 minutes in the sunshine.

Here is a link to the pictures for Barcelona.

http://smg.photobucket.com/user/kiki_304/story/15479

We didn't too much tourist stuff. We enjoyed the beach, strolled down Las Ramblas and explored the side streets. Walked to the Columbus statue, visited MareMagnum and let the kids enjoy the local area and parks.

The one thing we did notice about Barcelona was the awful smell from the street drains. Not very inviting to eat outdoors when they had lots of lovely tables set up. Not everywhere had this issue, but it was hard to not notice it.

Someone on the cruise asked my boys if they like Barcelona and they replied "it was very smelly". OOoopps, kids.
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:58 AM   #3
Disney mam
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I had checked in on-line and completed the kids club forms also. My check in was for 11:30 so we walked from the apartment to Columbus statue to catch the blue port bus. There was a gentleman there ensuring everyone got on the correct bus for their cruise. The bus cost 2.50 euros each and was about 5 minutes. When we pulled up there was a queue snaking around the building but went down in no time. It looked worse than what it was, as everything ran efficiently to keep the queue flowing smoothly.

After passport checks, we went through the security scanners before joining the check in queue. They were handing out navigators for the day here. I think we got there at the right time, as the queue really grew after us. Only a short wait until we got to a desk where they took our pictures and then couldn't print out our KTTW cards as the printer had broke. It was fixed within a couple of minutes and we were able to go through to the waiting area.
I spotted the kids club check in and headed there to collect their wrist bands. This took the longest as people didn't fill in the forms on line. Once we got to the desk we were there for only about 2 minutes as we had filled in the forms on line. (great tip I picked up from here).
We were number 6 to board but because the kids area took so long we were going in with #11.

We did stop and have our picture taken just because I wanted it.

Once we were welcomed on board to dropped off my picture mounts with treat to be signed. (another great tip from here). We headed to Parrot Cay for something to eat and a sit down to take it all in. This was our first cruise and we needed to take 5 to enjoy the moment.
After lunch we were able to go to our room. I unpacked everything had look over the navigator, showed my boys their life jackets and how to put them and before I knew it, it was time for muster drill!!! Where did the time go? I missed my DIS meet !!!

Okay, muster drill over. Both boys behaved brilliant and understood what they needed to do if the alarm went. SO what do we do next? WHat everyone else does, go up to the deck for the party. We were even on the TV (DH couldn't get a picture). The boys loved this party and danced, sang and partied hard. lol A kind lady invited my son to go in front of her by the railings to see Mickey. She did offer earlier but he wanted to dance.
We didn't sail away from port until after 6pm and I was on main dining. My rotation was AAPLAPL. I ran and got change just before dinner and when I came back up top we were just turning around to leave the port.

We met our table guests which had 2 boys like us and all the kids got along great. They were also pleased to find out that we would be dining together all week. The couple was nice and everyone was comfortable from the off.
First night was "show night" only we didn't know this at the time. This was our table guests first Disney cruise and they weren't aware either. as they went to play one of the games else where. I don't think they were big Disney fans, so they didn't feel like they missed anything.

http://smg.photobucket.com/user/kiki_304/story/15483

After the dinner show the boys wanted to go to the clubs. There was quite a bit of excitement there when one of the girls found out they were from Wales and just down the road from where she lived. She felt a little piece of home and they spoke some Welsh to her throughout their stay. They even taught her some as she hadn't used it in a while. lol
DH and I enjoyed a stroll around the decks and had a walk around to get some idea of where everything was.
We were just so lost without the boys and had to go and get them from the club at 10pm. We headed to bed not long after and I was pleased that I didn't need any tablets sickness.
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Old 06-11-2013, 03:42 PM   #4
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Great start!! My DH and I are going on the August 31 cruise. I am excited to read the rest of your report!! Thanks for the Navigators!!
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Old 06-11-2013, 07:02 PM   #5
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Can't wait to read more
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Old 06-11-2013, 09:19 PM   #6
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I'm in! Off to a great start.

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Old 06-12-2013, 12:40 AM   #7
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Great report so far! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 06-12-2013, 04:45 AM   #8
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Sunday was a sea day and we were up early. The boys went straight to club after breakfast and DH and I chilled with a coffee by the adults pool. It was lovely a quiet this early in the morning and we were the only ones there for a bit.
We decided to just enjoyed the day looking around the ship. We got the boys and took them enjoy the pool for a bit before it got too crowded. I saw lots of people saving loungers!! They did not just save one, they saved them for all family members, then let their kids fall asleep on them whilst they had towels and clothes on others. No one approached them from DCL, but that may be because there was a couple of spares dotted around the place.

We had some lunch and dropped the boys back to the club because they just loved them. DH and I decided to pop back to the adult area and relax for a while. We found lots of empty loungers with items placed on them (but no one in sight belonging to them). We did have a chuckle at a few men who were at the bar and not using the loungers but had all their stuff on loungers! Their "empty" loungers had become shaded so they got their stuff and moved it to the bar area to a sunny are. If they were already sitting in the sunny bar, then why did they have a lounger? Probably hoping to go back in the sun I guess at some point in the day. (Not going to say what language they were speaking)

Okay, so now is the exciting part. We heard of a wedding taking place on board with a DIS member!! and I remembered my Dress was all creased up and I forgot to send it to be sorted!! Had to go iron it in that small room really quick or I would miss the wedding.
We were told we could view the service from the deck above, and thought we would go along for support. My DH took photos of the beautiful Bride and Groom with the sea in the background. Shame the Disney photographer wouldn't pull back a bit, he seemed to only want to take close ups. I have shared the photos with the bride and she claimed they are better than Disney's (which I am shocked).



After the Wedding I had to get ready for Formal night. We were on early seating and the wedding started at 4pm, I was cutting it close. I managed to get the kids from club, get ready and have a picture with the Captain before dinner. Luckily our table mates were just behind us (as the night before they had followed us in), perfect timing.
I didn't get the photo with the Captain because I didn't like it.



Dinner was nice, went smoothly and my oldest boy ordered off the adult menu. Kenloy and Joy were our servers and we were sat at table 35. They were good with the kids, doing magic tricks throughout the cruise and entertaining them. Only thing was, from the 2nd night on they were bringing my boys soda because the other kids at the table was having it. And then later on I noticed the soda was free flowing. Myself and the other Mum had noticed this so we asked them to only allow 1 soda per night. So, just beware of how often soda is given with dinner.
I did not get any menus and my memory has failed me, so for this I am sorry. But I do remember having steak, which was lovely.
I think it was during dinner that an announcement was made to inform us we were high tailing it to Villefranche as someone needed urgent medical attention and that we would be there that night. Of course we were not able to get off as we hadn't had clearance by the port authorities and this was a tender port. But it looked beautiful all lit up at night!!



After dinner, our table guests had to run again and so we decided to go get some more pictures done before heading back to our room to change into something more relaxed. The boys of course went to the clubs and we collected them on the way to the show "Twice Charmed". My youngest ran to the front row seats to the left (not the best place to sit, but we stayed). We loved the show and was looking forward to the rest. After the show, we had a little walk with the boys and everyone was marvelling at how beautiful the view was. A lovely cocoa later and we were able to get the boys to bed ready start the next day.

http://smg.photobucket.com/user/kiki_304/story/15523
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Old 06-12-2013, 06:43 AM   #9
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Day 3 Monday- Villefranche

We decided to just stay local here and have a look at the town, so there was no rush with a nice relaxed breakfast at topsiders.

The night before they said that they wanted to get everyone who was booked on an excursion on the first tenders, but we could go to Buena Vista Theatre to get tickets for the tender. By the time we had our breakfast there was an announcement that no tickets were needed and we could head straight to the tender. There was one on aft and forward that would alternate. We had perfect timing and easy access to the aft because our stateroom was deck 2 aft. We took 3 water bottles on the cruise to use whilst out and about, and they were the best thing we took. We just filled them with ice and water to enjoy through the day.

So, the tender was quite big and ferried many guests at a time to and fro to land. It was only a short journey and we were on land in no time. We came out of the port and headed straight across the road and up hill. We walked the side streets before walking along the main road to find some steps to take us back down.



The views were lovely and the waters clear. We weren't unable to get a clear shot of the Magic as there was another ship in front of her!!! Oh well.



We headed back to the ship just in time to miss the rain. Don't think it rained badly, but still I would not want to have a long walk back to ship when wet. We were only off the boat for about 2 hours, but that was enough for us.
We had lunch with the kids before they went to the clubs. They discovered the day before that they don't get much food in the kids club and would rather eat with us. This was fine with us as we actually missed our kids and had to get them out of club to spend some time with them.

Dining was cruise casual at Parrot Cay and we were ready and punctual. We waited a little for our table mates before going in to sit and wait some more. Whilst we did not order without them, we did not like the idea of keeping our servers waiting. So we just waited at the table and our guest arrived only a little later.
We skipped the show tonight which was a comedy musician and dropped the kids to club. Well, before dessert I had to rush and change my youngest into his PJ's for Pluto's party and run him to the club quickly. After dessert we took the other son to the lab, so no kids again. We wondered around a little lost without our kids and bumped into Minnie!! Of course, I never have any kids with me so character photos are few. Darn those clubs, I missed my kids.



IronMan 3 was showing at 10:15pm and I told my DH to have some alone time and watch it.
I collected the boys from club and we ordered fruit fruit and cookies from room service.

http://smg.photobucket.com/user/kiki_304/story/15525
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Last edited by Disney mam; 06-12-2013 at 06:59 AM. Reason: Added title
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Old 06-12-2013, 10:25 AM   #10
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Following along, great so far. Looking forward to the rest.
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Old 06-12-2013, 10:30 AM   #11
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Following along.
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Old 06-12-2013, 07:02 PM   #12
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me too and looking forward to reading more!
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Old 06-13-2013, 05:53 AM   #13
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Tuesday june 3th- Pisa

We planned on doing all ports on our own which we were glad we did. Spending time being herded around like sheep is not our idea of a good experience. I read up a little on the trains and how to get there which worked out fine.

We were up as we pleased (no alarm), had our breakfast and made our way to the train station with a relaxed attitude. Today we only planned on taking the boys to Pisa because I didn't want to make my boys feel like this wasn't a holiday by dragging them everywhere.

This was a tender port and ran smoothly again. When we got on dry land we walked to the left and just across the road was a tourist information centre where we got a map and they gave us more directions to the station.
We walked straight ahead through the town (lots of shops) and then saw steps on the right to go up to the station. We headed to the ticket office (where they spoke limited English). This was a 15 minute walk to the right of the port. We purchased tickets to "Pisa Centrale" Which was due to leave at 11:38 and this train was assigned seats. It was just over an hours journey with a few stops as it was the fast train intercity. She validated this ticket for the outbound journey when we purchased it. The return ticket was only good to use on fast regional and regional trains, not IC.

I had read that if you get off at "Pisa S. Rossore" then this was a shorter walk to Pisa. However, this IC did not stop there but Centrale was only a few seconds after. We got off and headed straight to the toilets for the boys. These are easy to get to, just to the left on the main platform as you're heading out and cost 1 euro each. Even though the lady only charged 2 euros for both boys and myself. These were clean, so I would use them if needed.



Outside the station was a beautiful water feature and the sun was shining. There was a large map outside the station to show you how to get to the tower. It was straight ahead from the station and through a lovely shopping area. It was about a 20 minute walk from the station.


If you see him then you are heading in the right direction.


This bridge is about half way.



The boys wanted to climb the tower but we decided not to as the queue was not moving at all. After we had walked around to have a look at some of the beautiful buildings the queue was moving but the boys no longer wished to go. We said we would have to go back for another trip.
The Cathedral was free to enter, but you had to go in 2 at a time and not as a group (something like that). So we decided to leave it.
After walking around for about 3 hours and then looking at the gift stalls that are all lined up across the way we decided it was time to eat. We ended up buying the boys snacks as they didn't want to stop in any of the places we passed because they wanted to get back for a volcano eruption that they were creating on the ship. (They missed this activity because they train was delayed for 20 minutes). Sorry boys.

We caught the regional fast train back and they had lemonade waiting for us at the tender. Security to get onto the tender was straight forward, just use your KTTW cards and over 18's need photo ID just in case.

We dropped the oldest off to club and Theo stayed with us and he was glad as we saw Donald. As you have probably noticed, I have very little pictures of the boys with characters, because they lived in the clubs.



Tonight was cruise casual and the show was "Walt Disney The Dream Goes On". This was great for adults but I think the kids didn't enjoy this as much.

After the show, we had a little walk and got something to eat whilst chilling on the loungers watching a movie.



http://smg.photobucket.com/user/kiki_304/story/15537

Tomorrow we go to Rome.
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Old 06-13-2013, 07:19 AM   #14
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First, your boys are just adorable!

I will be doing this trip with my DS who will turn 8 on the cruise so thank you for the report. It will be the 2 of us and my mom and we plan on doing most ports on our own as we don't like being herded like sheep either and paying an exorbitant amount for the experience!

Looks like you all had a fabulous time.....and yes my DS would live in the lab on a computer all day if he had his way
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Old 06-13-2013, 08:33 AM   #15
Disney mam
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Quote:
Originally Posted by braysmommy View Post
First, your boys are just adorable!

I will be doing this trip with my DS who will turn 8 on the cruise so thank you for the report. It will be the 2 of us and my mom and we plan on doing most ports on our own as we don't like being herded like sheep either and paying an exorbitant amount for the experience!

Looks like you all had a fabulous time.....and yes my DS would live in the lab on a computer all day if he had his way
Our table mates did all the Disney excursions and were totally worn out from running about place to place. They spent very little time in places and were on and off buses. They did enjoy it though, but they just look like they had been run ragged.

Pisa train tickets were 2ad 2 kids and 35euros ic out and 21euros regional back.
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