Med Cruisers...Let's Discuss Planning!(Updated Tour Info, Links & BCN Info on Page 1)

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by lilpooh108, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. lilpooh108

    lilpooh108 DIS Veteran

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    The 2013 Med cruises are almost over :sad: Since there is so much amazing information in this thread and in the TRs, I compiled links to the info below. Feel free to let me know if I'm missing anything. This first page is a work in progress.

    Barcelona Pre-cruise Hotel Thread/Recommendations

    Helpful Discussion on Med Ports for Mobility Challenged Folks

    Interesting Discussion re ABD v Private Med Excursions

    Recommended/Referenced Barcelona Transfer Companies
    Barcelona Day Tours
    Spanish Trails
    Barcelona Airport Transfers
    Suntransfers
    AeroBus BCN (only 5.9E one way ticket)

    Barcelona Attractions/Info
    Sagrada Familia tickets online
    Casa Batllo
    Bus Turistic HOHO (Blue Bus)
    Grayline HOHO (Red Bus)
    Barcelona Cathedral (free in mornings, small charge in the afternoon)
    Picasso Museum
    Parc Guell (free prior to Oct 25, 2013, fee for admission after Oct 25, 2013)
    Fat Tire Bike Tours
    Runner Bean *Free* Walking Tours Barcelona (Tips Accepted)
    Discover Walks *Free* Walking Tours Barcelona (Tips Accepted)

    Villefranche
    Ingrid from Kultours


    ***Please PM me if you have recommendations or more info***

    La Spezia (Florence/Pisa)
    Art Viva (link to Rick Steve's discount page)
    Florence Cooking Classes
    Your Tour In Italy
    Rome in Limo

    Website to Purchase Pisa Tower tickets

    Informational Website on Cinque Terre
    Website for Ferry Company w/Service to Cinque Terre
    Status of Cinque Terre Trails

    Lucca (Wiki Travel)
    Lucca With Kids" (A Great Read)
    Lucca, Beautifully Preserved (Rick Steves Short Clip)

    Civitavecchia (Rome)
    Recommended touring/transfer/guide companies
    Rome in Limo
    Rudy's Touring Service
    Walks of Italy**
    Angel Tours
    Through Eternity**
    Your Tour In Italy
    Can't Be Missed Tours

    **Rick Steves discounts available

    Website to Purchase Colosseum tickets (and tickets to Underground Tour)
    Website to Purchase Vatican tickets

    Rome Gladiator School for Kids
    Blog Description of Gladiator School

    Rome ToolKit's detailed summary of the cruise port

    Heatherbelle's Explanation for Rome On Your Own (with itinerary)

    Tom's Port Guide Rome

    Naples
    Your Tour In Italy
    Rome in Limo
    Walks of Italy**
    Can't Be Missed Tours

    Tom's Port Guide Naples/Sorrento

    Venice
    Tom's Port Guide to Venice (PDF)

    Palazzo Ducale's Link to Secret Itineraries Tour

    Doge's Palace website link to different tickets & museum passes

    Walks of Italy's Secret Itineraries Tour

    Mykonos, Greece
    Tom's Port Guide to Mykonos

    Thndrmatt's summary of DIY at all ports
    http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=48812510&postcount=756

    Celestine's Recap of DIY at all ports


    7-Night Med Trip Reports

    Realbetis' TR

    Disney Helen's TR

    Disney Mam's TR

    Lilpooh108's TR

    Lilpooh108's Bathroom roundup for 7 night Med

    Abayaflowers' TR (mostly DIY)

    Kikids' TR (mostly DIY)

    Pandanasbearz's TR

    TexasGirl29's TR

    RuaDisneyfan2's Summary (used Rome in Limo for all 3 Italian Ports)

    Debsters41's Summary recap

    12-Night Med Trip Reports
    MelCatfish's TR

    Scraptographer's TR

    disprincess4ever's TR

    MinnieDiva's TR

    Deb in IA's TR

    EBTA TR
    Gotomu212's EBTA TR






    *****Original Post*********************************
    OK, ok. I know lot of people have pre-trip reports, planning reports, etc. I can't go through them all :laughing:! So I'm looking for a few quick tips for summer 2013 Med cruisers like me!

    We are on the June 1, 2013 cruise and so I've got to finalize our plans very very soon. Where are you guys all in the process? We all have recommendations of tour guides to use, but what about tour companies to AVOID?

    I ask because I've been communicating with a certain company and they asked me to post a tripadvisor review before I've even taken the tour, you know, about our "booking process." Uh, no thanks. I figure tips like these will help us avoid pitfalls, etc.

    Here are my questions.

    1) Got all your flights booked? Inter-Europe flights booked? Where do you plan on storing your stuff before/after the cruise? We have a late flight out of BCN to CDG. What do we do w/luggage? How is EasyJet at BCN? Crowded, well managed, etc?

    2) My family has an odd number of 9 people. We can't save money by booking a minivan with a private tour company, and every company I've contacted wants to put us on a minibus (thereby eliminating any savings).

    What to do? Just book through Disney? Does Disney waste alot of time? I hate waiting around on the ship for people to disembark w/the Disney Excursion. Precious time wasted. Will it be bad to just book through Disney?

    3) Any family friendly restaurant recommendations in any of our Med port cities, or for London, Barcelona and Paris? We have 7 adults, 1 infant, 1 toddler. We've done Europe as adults, but never with kids. We will be a hassle to seat, I'm guessing. My days of "get up and go" are over :lmao:

    4) Any typical tourist things to watch out for w/kids? Touring w/kids is very different than touring with adults. Any places that surprisingly don't allow strollers? Any weird things I should know about before I get there (to do with kids)?

    5) How do I manage a 12 month old and a 4 YO? Double stroller (prob not)? 1 stroller and 1 baby carrier? Ask DH to wear a hiking carrier and let 4YO walk? I'm considering jet lag, and might just bring 2 $15 umbrella strollers and throwing 1 away if it gets to burdensome.

    6) How much should the cab fare be from Barcelona central to the port?

    What do you plan on doing? Help! Thanks everyone! I'm hoping to get a good discussion going.

    P.S. I have been checking Cruise Critic, but I love my DIS'ers. It's a familiar place here. Let's chat.
     
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  3. GeneMachine

    GeneMachine Mouseketeer

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    Traveling with kids is easy once you decide to chuck a traditional schedule out the window, go with the flow, and let them nap in the stroller. I would also suggest identifying a few big things you'd like to see, and be comfortable with the idea of not seeing everything. You are right, traveling with kids is different, but you can still "get up and go" at a different pace. Some things can be planned with children's activity in mind. For example, there is a lovely little park a block away from Sagrada Familia where your oldest can play, the little one can nap, you or someone else can be with them while others tour the Cathedral. If you go towards the end of the day when lines are shortest, perhaps you can tag team--someone else tours while you relax in the park with the kids, then they take over for you. I would probably save museums for another trip and focus on things that keep you outside (very easy to do in all the cities you mentioned!).

    I think your idea of one throw away stroller is great. That and a baby carrier will get you through with minimal hassle. Double strollers are a huge pain in the neck, to travel with and to use in highly trafficked tourist areas.

    I'll think of some more and post later. I'm excited too, but my kids are older now and I'm in a different mode as far as planning is concerned. It's going to be great, whatever you do, don't worry. You'll have so much fun!!!
     
  4. lilpooh108

    lilpooh108 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for your tips! I see in your signature that you did the Med in 2011. Any reviews, etc?
     
  5. tinkertaylor05

    tinkertaylor05 DIS Veteran

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    Hi :wave2: I know we're on the same cruise meet but thought I'd contribute anyways! Are you on the fb page? I know there's been some discussion there.

    I always over budget for everything so have put in 50 euros for our airport taxi BCN to our hotel. I'm sure I'd read someone paying around 40 euros but could be wrong.

    I'd avoid taking a double stroller if you can, it will be a hassle particularly for visiting busy cities.

    It's our first cruise so I'm not much help with those tips and we're from the UK so not the same travel issues but if you want any advice around Paris I'd be happy to help as we've been a few times :goodvibes
     
  6. lilpooh108

    lilpooh108 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks! I don't have a FB account (shocker, I know), so that won't work for us. I've looked on our cruise meet page and there's not much action.

    Do you have any restaurant recs for London? My DD has allergies, and I've checked out all the menus already for London for our itinerary. Our intent is to go to pretty boring restaurants---Pizza Express, Prezzo, Wagamama since I can peruse menus ahead of time. I've eaten at these places before and its not terribly exciting. Any family friendly recommendations? Thanks.
     
  7. bats

    bats Enjoying Bahama Mama's

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    Hi there .. Another from the UK here and we've done 2 Med cruises with DCL already and are going again this year.

    We used a company in Rome called www.yourtourinitaly.com. They were recommended by some DVC staff we spoke to after their Med cruise in 2010. We had 7 seat mini vans, but I know they have a variety of vehicles at their disposal. They were absolutely fantastic ... We ended up with 42 people on our tour (all from the Dibb, the UK version of the Dis).

    Can't help with child friendly places as I don't have any, but I can tell you that I was soooooo pleased I booked a private tour of Rome with that company as opposed to going with DCL. Our company had smaller vehicles so could get right into the city limits .. The DCL people were on buses and had to walk an awful lot in 100 degree heat as their vehicles were not allowed into the city. We were dropped off at the door to the attractions ... Brilliant.

    Best wishes
    Joa

    Ps .. I don't have a FB account either!!! Gave it up about 3 months ago and love not being on it!!
     
  8. lilpooh108

    lilpooh108 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks Joa. Do you have a recommendation for Pompeii? That's where we're running into issues.
     
  9. Kirbo

    Kirbo Runs with Scissors

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    I'm subbing to this! We're on your cruise and I think we've done next to no planning :rotfl2:

    Our girls are going to be almost nine when we sail. We're coming over on the EBTA and then doing the first Med. A few of our family are meeting us in Barcelona for the Med portion.

    For flights we're doing Disney Air. They'll fly us to Galveston and then home from Barcelona, so I don't know anything about doing the air on one's own.

    I think we might just do Disney excursions. That's assuming they are still available when our booking window opens.

    Some of our family members (aunt, uncle, mom and dad) are going to do excursions on their own and are thinking of using www.romeinlimo.com. They want to see it all and go, go, go. While that sounds fun, I don't think it would be a fun way to do it with two nine year olds.

    We're going to come at this as a fun family vacation in a lovely local.
     
  10. lilpooh108

    lilpooh108 DIS Veteran

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    Ohhhhhh I wanna do the EBTA sooooooo bad bu we've already committed to doing London and Barcelona prior to the cruise.

    Did u get the same cabin and everything?

     
  11. Kirbo

    Kirbo Runs with Scissors

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    Yes. At first we were in two different ones but our TA finally found one that was available for both. We're going on the cheap (well, cheap for DCL :rotfl: ) and have booked a 10 down on the first deck.
     
  12. lilpooh108

    lilpooh108 DIS Veteran

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    Nice:thumbsup2 have fun!
     
  13. Kirbo

    Kirbo Runs with Scissors

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    Thank you, you as well :goodvibes
     
  14. MinnieDiva

    MinnieDiva Obsessive Trip Planner

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    If you look at my siggie, there is a link to my PTR. In post #1 there are links to a bunch of threads for planning. HTH.
     
  15. bats

    bats Enjoying Bahama Mama's

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    For Pompeii, our friends just got on the train. It was a 5 min cab ride to the station from the ship, then about 7 stops I think ... The ruins of Pompeii are just up the road (5 min walk) from the station. Ill look up the info and come back with it ok.
    The only thing you have to be wary of is pickpockets. They are in every major tourist city of course, but because you tend to relax on the train and put your bags down, it seems a little more common here.

    Saying that, none of our friends (nearly 50 of them) were troubled by anyone or anything in Pompeii. They were careful with their bags and ensured all of their belongings were in sight at all times.

    My niece and nephew climbed Mt Vesuvius ... Not sure you want to do that with the littlies though!!!
     
  16. bats

    bats Enjoying Bahama Mama's

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    Doing DCL tours in Rome will be busier than doing a private tour. Why would you think it would be different? They go to the same places and have to queue the same with everyone else!

    I would opt for the private tour every day. As I said in my previous post ... The DCL buses were not allowed inside the city walls so everyone got dropped off outside and had to walk in. Each stop was about a 10 min walk apparently .. Walking in 100 degrees with children ..no thanks!

    The smaller vehicles were able to go right to the doors which was Godsend ... They were all air conditioned and it was a relief to get back inside them believe me! Our drivers had bottles of bottles of water for us all and we stopped for lunch in one of their local pizzerias .. Great food, great service and it was where the local Police had their lunch so we knew we'd be ok!

    One thing our tour company did was pre-purchase tickets to some of the attractions .. For the Colosseum, we had to queue for 10 mins to get the tickets, then we were straight in .. We'd all paid a little extra for a guide as there were so many of us, he was excellent. We also pre-purchased tickets for the Vatican .. Our driver took me to a little tiny ticket shop that you'd never find as a tourist ... Paid the money, got our tickets and on our way again. No queuing for the Vatican.

    I'll be back with the Pompeii details, hold fire.
     
  17. bats

    bats Enjoying Bahama Mama's

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    All of the following post is from Heather (scarecrow) on the Dibb (uk version of this board). I have copied it from the Dibb, over to here for you.

    Monaco as other have said is dead easy. It's a 10 min walk along the water front. You will see a large tree on your right hand side, cross the road and the station steps are hidden behind the tree. Then you are on the train for Monaco. Don't forget to validate your ticket before you board the train.

    We loved Monaco. We headed straight for the palace and caught the little red train. Then after the palace we caught the bus for 1 euro each and went back to the Cafe de Paris for our rather expensive ice creams. They were €5 each and we sat in the little park in front of the hotel, not in the actual cafe. Then we got the bus back to the train station for another euro each. You'll have loads of time. I remember the issue with the trains very well I think we caught the last train into Monaco that morning and we had a long wait for it due to track failure I think.

    For La Spezia, we caught the train again. It's around a 30 min walk to the train station for this port, I was with some fellow Mouseketeers and I can't remember who. But between us all we found the station. You need to head into the middle of town. Then we caught the train to the 5 villages and got on and off at different ones and walked between the first two, which I enjoyed, but Matthew did not. Moan, moan moan. I wish we had taken our swim things with us. We had pizza and gelato at various stops which he enjoyed. You buy the special card from the tourist info shop inside the main station and it includes the pass for the walk and train fare between all of the villages. We were back on the ship for around 2.00 and set off around 9.00

    Rome we did on our own, with the train. Just follow the masses, we got off at St. Peter's or something like that dead easy. We arrived at around 10.30 and there were already long queues for the Vatican here. We just got on a hop on hop off bus and did our own thing.

    Now my favourite trip is next. Top tip, get up early in time for the opening of the hydrofoil ticket office and go straight there. Secure your tickets for the boat you want and then you could get back on the magic to have breakfast. I wasted over 1 hour queuing for my tickets and missed the early hydrofoil. As soon as you land on Capri, go to the ticket office to buy your return tickets. If you want to leave the Island earlier than the time on your return ticket they will let you, we did this. Also if funds allow, take a taxi to the top, there are very, very long queues for the funicular and again we wasted time here. I wanted to go to Ana Capri, but we ran out of time. Capri is very expensive to eat and drink, so pre-order your room service sandwiches and fruit to take with you - top tip that Bats gave me.


    Link for Ville Franche http://www.eportreviews.com/Europe/V...che_France.htm
    Scroll half way down and it shows you a picture of where to catch the train to Monaco.

    Naples on your own, again scroll down the page for train info
    http://www.eportreviews.com/Europe/Naples_Italy.htm

    Pompeii - http://www.eportreviews.com/Europe/I...iOnYourOwn.htm

    Little red train in Monaco - http://www.monacotours.mc/

    Italian train website - gives you a rough planning guide.
    http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/inde...80 a3e90aRCRD

    Ron in rome - includes photo's to help you get to Rome on the train.
    http://www.roninrome.com/transportat...-civitavecchia

    Here's another Rome info page, with a ton of stuff and maps, thanks to a poster on cruise critic for this. http://www.tomsportguides.com/Rome-04-10-2011.pdf

    Hop on hop off bus rome http://www.city-sightseeing.com/inde...tinations=Rome

    Website for tickets in Italy http://www.tickitaly.com/

    A wealth of info for trains across Italy from all ports http://www.ftroute.com/IT_Schedules.cfm (Thanks to Cruise Critic for this)

    Capri info (Naples) - http://www.mediterranean-cruise-port...-to-capri.html
     
  18. bats

    bats Enjoying Bahama Mama's

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    And this info from K8T of the Dibb ...

    Rome also simple, so many people do it, it is like a DIY excursion!! Just follow everyone and make sure there is a train after your planned return train, just in case - but my thoughts are that at the worse we would get a cab!!!! (hopefully not though, I dread to think the cost!.

    Pompeii is easy on the train, but I would suggest a taxi to the train station, as the walk along the busy roads is horrid (we did it once!). There is a bus outside the gates of the cruise dock, but we missed this last time - However, we still got on another bus further along. Check out Cruise Critic site for lots of help on DIY trips.

    You can also do the Vesuvius trip on your own. We combined this with Herculaneum and have done it twice now. Get on the train from Naples to Ercolano. You need to get on the Circumvesuviana line, which is down below the main station - well signposted and trains are every 20 - 30 minutes. It is quite quick and before the Pompeii stop.

    When you get off the train, look to your left (you are in a dead end street) and you will see an office selling trips up Vesuvius in a Minibus. These leave every 20 mins, or depending on how many people there are. They take you to the bottom of the walk up and wait until you come back down. It takes about 45 mins to get up - although we had a 3 year old the first time and a 6 year old the second!!! It is quicker to get down! Make sure you wear trainers or shoes which are enclosed as the gravel and rock gets into sandals. It can be chilly at the top too.

    When we got back to the minibus, we had time for a quick icecream and they dropped us off at the entrance to Herculaneum, from which we walked back up (about 10 mins max), to the train station to go back to Naples. Herculaneum is actually a lot smaller and easier to understand as a town than Pompeii.
     
  19. Lynda Silk

    Lynda Silk DIS Veteran

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    Just wanted to be part of this thread because ofall the great info. We are planning to go on a med cruise in 2014.
     
  20. bats

    bats Enjoying Bahama Mama's

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    If there is one!!!
     
  21. Kirbo

    Kirbo Runs with Scissors

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    Sorry, I wasn't clear. My other family members want to see EVERYTHING. We are ok with seeing just what is on one excursion rather than trying to combine three excursions :). So they will be racing around trying to fit absolutely every possible sight in. That's what I meant. I know we'll be busy on a Disney excursion, or by ourselves, but I'm not sure we want to join my family on their private excursions as I worry that it will be too much. My eight year olds can walk with no trouble, but if we have 27 different things to fit into eight hours and we need to race between them, then I don't think my kids will enjoy that. Better to have fewer things and come back at another date to see more.
     

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