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Back to the Med Greece/Turkey in 2013! Complete!

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by MinnieDiva, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. mindelmouse

    mindelmouse Rabid Disnoid's Spouse

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    very nice so far. Let me know when you want me to pipe in otherwise I'll be here on the sidelines....don't want to rain on your parade...or fun~~~ I have to say when they are on vacation, they are the two most laid back type A's I've ever seen:dance3:
     
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  3. MinnieDiva

    MinnieDiva Obsessive Trip Planner

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  4. OurDogCisco

    OurDogCisco DIS Veteran

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    I second that! Love to know the must sees in Greece and Turkey.
     
  5. MinnieDiva

    MinnieDiva Obsessive Trip Planner

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    So, I asked my DH what I should write about next and whether there was anything he remembered about embarkation and the first sea day. Typical guy...ummmmm....I'll think about it. Well, I remembered a bunch of stuff!

    So after taking the bus to the terminal, we entered the building and since we'd checked in at the hotel, were able to bypass all the tables they had there. The carry-ons had to go thru a luggage scanner, then up an escalator, down a gangway, and onto deck three. Now after almost 2 years of planning, even though I knew we were going to be announced, and I even knew what the lobby looked like, I still got all sorts of teary! I'm not sure how much I can emphasize that this was truly a "dream come true". I have wanted to see Europe in the worst way for years, and now I got to do it on a Disney cruise ship!!! From the lobby, we went to where ever it was that they were doing Palo and the Tea with Alice. We already had a group dinner reservation at Palo with a disboards group, but we never were able to get a brunch. We got situated with both of these, and we either went to the kids club or to lunch. We'd preregistered DD online, so we went in and toured around, and got her bracelet. Then we decided to hit Parrot Cay instead of Topsiders. While it would have been nice to enjoy the beautiful weather, there's something nice about a server bringing your drinks to you instead of trying not to spill them while you balance your luggage.

    By this time, we were able to hit the stateroom! We were in 2560, midship. Really, really liked it. The only bad part was on the last night when some unruly preteens were left unsupervised to run around and shout. But, I digress...We proudly put up our magnets:
    [​IMG]
    And changed into swimsuits for the pool party. I think we may have had a piece or 2 of luggage by this time, but I really can't remember...

    **Our 1 tip...all those things people tell you you should bring...we only took the shoe holder! It made keeping all the little stuff...makeup, brushes, hairspray, shoes (imagine that!), sunscreen, etc, etc very manageable. There's only so much shelving in the bathroom....***

    I'm thinking that we may have had our Dis Meet before the pool party...I don't remember hanging out in a swimsuit and coverup inside. Dis meet in the Promenade Lounge!! Great turnout, and it gives faces to all the names you've been chatting with for months!!! (or years.....)

    The sail away party is a must do at least once. DD liked it, and it gives a good send-off to your vacation. The only downside was that we didn't actually leave Barcelona until something like 8:30 or 9pm...DD swam after the sail away party, so we ended up missing the 1st nite's show. We may have missed it the 2nd nite too...it took us a bit to get the rhythm of ship life. I do regret missing them as the entertainment is pretty good. Dinner that night was in Parrot Cay. We had a table with Mindelmouse and Jel0511's families, so the kids were well occupied, and the adults had great conversations as well (after we figured out out to get us all there so we could hear each other).

    I took pics every night of our towel animals:

    [​IMG].

    Ok, I'll chat about the 1st sea day later...gotta go eat dinner!
     
  6. mindelmouse

    mindelmouse Rabid Disnoid's Spouse

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    Don't forget one of the highlights of that first day....you and DH stopping at our cabin and sharing our first bottle of Spanish wine before dinner :)
     
  7. MinnieDiva

    MinnieDiva Obsessive Trip Planner

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    Holy cow, how could I forget that? So yeah, we went to the local market right around the corner of the hotel and bought some wine. Now, I know nothing about spanish wine. Napa, Monterey, Washington, sure. Lived there and have drank my fair share. So we looked on the bottles and looked for wines that were produced in the Catalunyan region and bought a white, a red, and a rose, stashed them in our carryon amongst our swimsuits, and brought them onboard! And the best part.....we paid only $8.50E for all 3!!!:thumbsup2
     
  8. lostboysean

    lostboysean Earning My Ears

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    So I know it will make the wife's day if I actually post on this thing and I will also contribute something worthwhile. I didn't want to do the cruise thing but it made travel in Europe much easier. We didn't have to unpack and repack every time we changed location and if you are traveling with a picky eater of a child there was food available for them to eat. I also felt very comfortable with the kid onboard the ship as far as safety was concerned. Do look at bringing wine on board as an alternative to ordering as the ship has the customary 200% mark up, this is an industry wide thing but they will happily give you glasses to keep in the stateroom that you can fill-up and take to dinner. Enjoy and I must really love my wife to be doing this!
     
  9. mindelmouse

    mindelmouse Rabid Disnoid's Spouse

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    OMG I love that you're doing it as well...and I love, love, love the name.....welcomepixiedust:
     
  10. MinnieDiva

    MinnieDiva Obsessive Trip Planner

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    Even the reluctant DH can be persuaded to participate!! :cool1:

    Sea days!! We booked the 10-night Med cruise in 2010 so that DH wouldn't have that extra sea day to be "bored". Wow, did we make a huge mistake in that assumption! We weren't bored, we were exhausted!! You have NO IDEA how excited I am that there are 4 sea days this time!! After doing the Rivera, La Spezia, and Rome, I'm going to be longing for a day to sleep in. I'm also a bit worried about how my dad is going to do. That's a lot of activity in 3 days! Our cruise to Alaska was far more relaxing, as there were far fewer port days. Also, the cold temperatures kept the # of repeat showers down, which can take up a surprising amount of time!

    So, sea day #1: Got up at the crack of dawn to go for a run. Yup. Not kidding! There were actually a few disboarders out there. While you can hide in the gym from the wind and use the treadmill, I was so excited to have warm air that I wanted to be outside to see the sea!! Run complete, hit the shower, and get ready for our character breakfast. There were 2 possible days for this...both on the sea days. I'm not sure what the rhyme or reason was for the assignments, but we got ours that first morning. Twas fun!

    [​IMG]

    I loved being able to get egg white omelets custom made!! DD was happy to see that there was cartons of chocolate milk! DH was happy to have coffee. ;)

    ***Error alert** Mindelmouse sent me her trip report and I read it at a swim meet yesterday and it occurs to me that my (all 2 of them :rotfl:) are running together and that our dismeet was on the sea day*** oops

    Can I mention that I love the spa? I had made sea day reservations for both DH and I. We both had hot stone massages, the first time to do this type of massage for both of us. I've had a few since then, but none have stood up to the quality of that one! WOW!

    DD was in the pool for much of the afternoon. Here in WA, out pool is indoor, so having an outdoor pool and having it be warm was a huge novelty. We hauled her out late afternoon so as to shower and get ready for formal night. So here in lies the question: to dress or not to dress? For our family, we love to dress up. Because DH wears a uniform and I wear scrubs, the opportunity to wear something nice is rare. DD will wear anything dressy, especially if her shoes have little heels :cutie:. I know that in 20 years, I'm going to enjoy looking back on these pics. I also love to sew, and it gave me the opportunity to make all DD's dresses for this trip. And.....I have to remake them all again for the next trip!!!! Is so much easier sewing for her than me...but I did alter a semiformal for the med and did make one formal for AK. For this med cruise, DH had rented a tux. It was waiting for him when we arrived, and really rounded out his wardrobe. He didn't rent one for AK, and says he won't for next summer either. We did, however, buy him a nice suit with several ties and dress shirts.

    [​IMG]

    gotta go take DD to school..
     
  11. mindelmouse

    mindelmouse Rabid Disnoid's Spouse

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    Ha ....we missed the character breakfast...couldn't get my kids to get up - they were exhausted...I think DH and I had Palo brunch ressies that day anyway.
     
  12. Tracerr00

    Tracerr00 DIS Veteran

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    I really love that you started this thread! My DD (13 at the time), my sister and I are doing a 7 night Med cruise in June 2013 and I love the Barcelona tips and I can't wait to read more about your trip! It'll be our first Med cruise so I'm fascinated. I sure hope that our DISmeet group has as much fun as yours did (does!)!! I'm an obsessive planner so I will be following this thread to glean as much info as possible! ;)
     
  13. MinnieDiva

    MinnieDiva Obsessive Trip Planner

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    I'm so glad to hear you're enjoying this!! It's certainly getting me excited, and I'm loving remembering all the details! I would assume you've hopped over to your meet thread already? Which date are you going...??? Will I be waving to you getting off as I get on?

    So 2 nights ago, we were getting ready to watch the previously mentioned Rick Steves DVD with our daughter. I asked her what she remembered about Barcelona, and believe it or not, even with all the pictures, she really didn't have anything that stuck out! I was really kind of taken aback, but then realized that it was a good thing that we were repeating some stuff again this go-round! All the talking I did before and after the last trip apparently didn't stick. Huh. Who knew? I figure a 10 year old will get a bit more out of it (I hope). I have distinct memories of trips taken the summer I was 8 turning 9, so I figure this'll stick. Right?
     
  14. MinnieDiva

    MinnieDiva Obsessive Trip Planner

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    So, I keep everything during a trip. Tickets, maps, navigators, etc. I use them when I scrapbook the trip. Now, I'm not a hard-core scrapbooker..No decorative edges or 1 pic per page kind of thing. Nuh-uh. But, the end result is fun to look at and is handy when doing reports like this because you can look back on what you did!! Fortunately, I was able to get one of the special DCL mediterranean 2010 books that were for sale (not so much in AK :mad:). So if there's any particular navigator question out there, I can look back to them. That being said, there are, I'm sure, lots of changes to the 2011 navigators.

    So August 20th was Malta, and .....my birthday!! How many people can say they went to Malta for their birthdays? Well, except for all the Maltese.....Anyway, I thought that it was a great way to spend my b-day! I got up early as I wanted to take pics of us pulling into port. I think that the walls...the fortress...surrounding the town of Valletta was absolutely beautiful! See the arch under construction/renovation?

    [​IMG]

    We took our time getting up and out as we were doing this port on our own. The bad part of this was that it wasn't getting any cooler! After disembarking, we avoided all the tourist scams...lots of horse/buggy combos that wanted to give you a tour around the town. While I'm sure it would have been nice, the prices they were charging seemed ridiculous at the time, but I'm afraid I don't remember them right now. We walked UP the hill. Here's the arch that was under construction from the other side..

    [​IMG]

    We headed for St. John's Co-Cathedral, which was stunning. I have the ticket stubs, but no price was listed on them:

    [​IMG]

    The cathedral was not air conditioned. Some people obviously did not bathe.

    We also went to the War Museum, which we (meaning DH & I) enjoyed, DD didn't hate it as it was air conditioned. I have the ticket receipt for $15E for the 3 of us. This was the entrance:

    [​IMG]

    At some point, we hit the toy museum...ok at best...save your time, and came upon a square that had a fountain. DD walked up to it, turned around and handed us her glasses, and went to get wet!

    [​IMG]

    We headed back to the ship early to hydrate and get DD in the pool. The view from our stateroom:

    [​IMG]

    There are cafes in that strip that have free wifi you can pilfer while standing outside, by the way....

    At dinner, my dear friends had arranged for a birthday cake! It was quite a surprise!

    [​IMG]


    So....what am I going to do next time? I'm interested in the Blue Grotto tour, I think. I want to take my dad to the co-cathedral, and I'm pretty sure Mindelmouse and crew would be ok with all that as well. They did something completely different and if I recall, neither of their kids had quite acclimated and were a bit under the weather. We were forcing water on DD, but even she was a bit sluggish. Did I mention it was hot? Hence the June trip this time around!!!! Malta was fascinating! It was the most bombed location in WWII...those giant fortress-like walls are where the citizens lived to stay safe. There have been multiple cultures that have called Malta home, and their language is a mix, it seems, of them all.
     
  15. MinnieDiva

    MinnieDiva Obsessive Trip Planner

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    On the topic of DD's glasses...

    She wears contacts now, but didn't then, obviously. If you or someone in your family has glasses but no shades to put over them, I highly recommend getting a pair of the clip ons. I've gotten them for DD at walmart near where the sunglasses are kept. It was very, very bright with a lot of glare off the water. I'm sure that didn't help her feel very good...
     
  16. tinkerbelltwins

    tinkerbelltwins DIS Veteran

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    Love love love the fat bike tour idea in Barcelona. I studied that picture you posted with your daughter riding behind your husband with that attachment gizmo. I know that I would feel more comfortable with my twins if they were riding attached to our bikes like she was! Is it a modified tandem kind of bike? Love the idea of seeing lots of stuff without wearing out our daughters by walking too much. Did they offer kids helmets? If you have any other words of advice about this tour, please let me know.:)

    Thanks!!!!

    Beth
     
  17. mindelmouse

    mindelmouse Rabid Disnoid's Spouse

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    Yes Mindelmouse and crew would be good with that idea. We didn't get to see the inside of the cathedral and did not get to see the blue grotto. We did a tour of Valletta through Disney and our tour guide was the worst. My daugher actually got seasick on land so DH took her back to the ship while I stayed with DS. It was scorching hot and my son had me in every store in Valletta as we waited for the tour guide (we were given 2 hours to explore on our own). There was very little shade to hide from the sun. In retrospect we should have just hiked back to the ship and not waited for the bus, but that was my first port in Europe and I didn't have my bearings yet.
     
  18. mindelmouse

    mindelmouse Rabid Disnoid's Spouse

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    DD has clip ons for her glasses now and loves them.
     
  19. MinnieDiva

    MinnieDiva Obsessive Trip Planner

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    It was a tandem-like attachment, but the best part was that the back of her part had two wheels, like the back of a tricycle, making all the more stable. I had to think about the helmet issue. It says on their site that they offer them, and I asked DD is she could remember, and she promptly told me that none fit properly...the kids was too small, and the next larger size too big. For the vast majority of the ride, we were off the main roads, and when we were in a busy area, i blocked the back side of DH/DD's bike that was exposed to traffic, so that I'd take the hit if there were one. Now why weren't we wearing helmets? I'm squeamish about bugs. I don't trust ANYONE with sanitation but myself. The lectures I give DD about not sharing brushes, hair bands, hats....

    The ride itself was very easy, only 1 area that I can remember where there was a slope of any kind to have to really pump the legs. Highly, highly recommend this tour! I didn't get a t-shirt and wish I had (may just have to go by and get one next summer!). If you decide to do this, make a reservations and notate that you're going to want the attachment for the kids. This way, they can ensure that the equipment is serviced and ready to go. We didn't have to pay ahead of time (as in with the reservation), and they were very accommodating and helpful! They do tours in Berlin and Paris as well; hope to be able to them there as well some day!!

    HTH! kim
     
  20. MinnieDiva

    MinnieDiva Obsessive Trip Planner

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    Awesome!:banana:
     
  21. tinkerbelltwins

    tinkerbelltwins DIS Veteran

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    Sounds awesome! Thanks for all of the tips on this and everything else. I think we are going to do it on our 12-nighter cruise next July! I showed my DH your post and we also looked on their website so will definitely put this in my planning file. Even though the website says to just show up, I'll send them an email and let them know we'll be wanting two attachments to the bigger bikes for our girls. I love those beach cruiser bikes. We had them when we were in college at UC Santa Barbara! I hear you on the helmet issue. Wouldn't want the girls to catch anything hair related from a strangers' helmet. But can't envision packing their bike helmets either, given all the space issues with luggage. So we will just muddle through it without helmets and tell them it is a Spain only thing.

    Sorry to pester you with questions, but I've got another one! When do you recommend calling places about booking hotels and tours. A year out or now?

    Thanks!

    Beth
     

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