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. nzdisneymom

    nzdisneymom DIS Veteran

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    Jumping Back does not take you to see the Sistine Chapel so if you want to see that, then don't do Jumping Back.

    The train ride was ok - we were the last family onboard and there was an extra DCL CM who joined the tour so the seating was off and they very nearly put us in a whole separate car but I insisted that they not - I didn't want to be "forgotten" or not know where to get off or what to do, etc. Then the other guests were all situated such that we couldn't sit together - DH sat in the back, someone did move so that I could sit with one of our boys and the other one had to sit with someone else (they were 9 and 11 at the time). When we returned, we made sure to be first on the train so at least for the train ride back we could be together. Also at the lunch because we were one person over, there weren't enough seats at the tables designated for our tour, and because the other guests spread themselves out like they did, we were nearly last coming in and there were not four seats together nor would people move so we could sit two and two - I wasn't going to have the boys sit alone (if it had been just DH and me, we would've been ok). So we were put at a separate table off from everyone else. Out of all the DCL excursions we've taken, this was the worst in terms of those sort of logistics which I blame on having an extra person and the inconsideration of the other guests to be aware of others. Because of that experience, though, I think we are more in tune with what's happening with the other guests on our excursions and we try to make sure we aren't prohibiting others from being able to be together and/or we'll split up to help accommodate someone else's family if necessary. This was all back in 2007 and our first "REALLY BIG" excursion of the trip (and our first international trip as a family so we were already a bit stressed from that).

    Anyway, the train ride itself was ok - I don't remember how long it took but we did get to see some of the countryside along the way. And Peter Pan was on the train with us! He came in our car about 15 minutes before we got to the station in Rome and "cockadoodledooed" really loudly (and woke up my 11 yr old who was cranky from that). It was a hoot - I loved that Peter Pan had come on the trip to Rome with us!

    From the train station, they escorted us to a bus where our tour guide met us - the way they set it up, we had a tour escort from Civitavecchia to the train station and they stayed with us on the tour and then got us back to the port - but we had a separate tour guide. We had the headsets and our guide was FABULOUS! We think out of all the DCL excursions we have done, she was the BEST tour guide we had - she was knowledgeable, informative, and kept a good pace but not too fast as to lose anyone. Her English was impeccable. The logistics of the sites were great - we didn't have long waits or anything.

    One thing about this tour was that there was only one opportunity to do any souvenir shopping and it was at the "restroom stop" in a shop near the Vatican before we got on the bus to go back to the train. Also when we got near the train station, they hurried us off the bus and we had to basically run to get the train.

    We did all the things that the tour outlines in the description. I absolutely loved the Pantheon and the stories that go with it. We enjoyed tossing our coins into the Trevi Fountain. We enjoyed getting a drink from one of the street water spouts (it's as cold and fresh as they say it is). The time inside St. Peter's was good but not too long - it's beautiful in there and so full of history. We had a little time to stand and gawk in Vatican Square.

    We chose this particular excursion in 2007 for a couple of reasons - 1, we wanted to do a tour that went inside the colosseum and not just a drive-by or walk around the outside, and 2, we didn't want to spend 1/2 day or more at the Vatican which is what many of the other tours did.

    It was a really hot day, too, and the excursion gave us bottled water, but definitely plan for a hot day and take snacks with you (no time to stop and purchase any) if you or family members need nourishment along the way (we had snacks for the bus rather than snacking while walking). They put us on the bus between some sites, but there was still quite a bit of walking which was fun to see Rome from the streets rather than the tour bus window.
     
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  3. dorothyn

    dorothyn Earning My Ears

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    Hi all! I've enjoyed reading about what everyone else is doing and decided to join the discussion. I'm 38, and will be traveling with my mom who will be 73, and has some mobility problems. We usually do a mixture of ship's tours, tours on our own, and the occasional private tour but this trip we're doing mostly private tours. I'm quite disappointed with Disney's shore excursion options for people who can't do active tours. Even most of their moderate tours require a mile or two of walking.

    We arrive in Barcelona early to tour around for a few days before embarkation on our own.

    In Villefranche, we're doing a tour of Nice, Monaco, and St. Paul de Vence with Ingrid of Kultours. In La Spezia we're doing a wine and cheese tour with Sapori e Saperi. In Rome we're doing a golf cart tour with Gioia Tours. Nothing definite planned for Naples or Venice yet. In Dubrovnik we're doing a walking tour with DubrovnikLady. In Malta we're doing a tour with Rita Fsadni of Malta Private Tours.

    Still waiting to see what tours Disney will have planned for Venice. We'll probably do that on our own, since we've been to Venice before.

    Can't wait for the cruise!
     
  4. nzdisneymom

    nzdisneymom DIS Veteran

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    I didn't realilze she does tours - I have read through her posts and she is so knowledgeable and helpful. Or is this just something you arranged with her? I think that would be so great to have a tour with her.
     
  5. MrsScooby

    MrsScooby DIS Veteran

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    :thumbsup2 Sounds great dorothyn.
    Who's DubrovnikLady:confused3
     
  6. dorothyn

    dorothyn Earning My Ears

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    DubrovnikLady is an ex-pat who retired to Dubrovnik. She's very active in the Dubrovnik forums on Cruise Critic and gives a lot of advice to people heading to her area.


    She said she wasn't allowed to recommend a tour guide on the Cruise Critic website, so I e-mailed her to ask her for her recommendations -- and she said that she gave tours, so we're touring with her.
     
  7. nzdisneymom

    nzdisneymom DIS Veteran

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    Sweet. Well I think we are on the same cruise as you so I guess she's already booked ;)
     
  8. ruadisneyfan2

    ruadisneyfan2 DIS Veteran

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    Thank you for your service (or your dh's) to our country. :thumbsup2 :flower3: :worship:

    My cousin is retired AF! :grouphug:
     
  9. ruadisneyfan2

    ruadisneyfan2 DIS Veteran

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    How does everyone plan to get back to BCN post cruise? I have been planning all along to add DCL transfers a few weeks before we sail but now I'm hearing that DCL doesn't offer transfers if your flight is before 11. My TA has confirmed it too.

    Our flight home at 10:45am so we need to get a van service. Darn it, I love how with the DCL bus I can mindlessly walk out and they guide me to the bus. :rotfl:


    So past DCL Med cruisers, what is the earliest they let guests off the ship?
    I read before that DCL had a quickie contintental breakfast for guests with early flights. They defined "early" as in before 9am.

    I figured with a 10:45am flight, we should be at BCN by 7:45. Should I request a 7am pickup? Will they even let us off the ship that early?
    Is it true that the ship arrives to Barcelona late the night before so it's all cleared by the wee hours of morning. Oh my I'm going to sleep like a rock on the way home. I hope.

    Has anyone used Barcelona Day Tours? They get good ratings on tripadvisor.
     
  10. lilpooh108

    lilpooh108 DIS Veteran

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    I can't help you with the early departure question, but my brother is using Barcelona Day Tours for his MontSerrat excursion and he always says that their reviews are great. I saw tons of great feedback on that company from Cruise Critic. Personally, I decided not to use them (for transfers or excursions) due to their cost and insistence that we be booked as a private tour but that's personal to our situation.

    I'm sure you'll be fine with them w/all the great feedback. Our plan was to just take a cab (but we're leaving much later than you).

    Good luck!
     
  11. lilpooh108

    lilpooh108 DIS Veteran

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    Has anyone taken a DCL excursion to Nice & Monaco and "regretted" not doing it on their own?

    I know Villefranche is do-able on your own, but I'm leaning towards booking a short excursion through DCL for convenience since we're doing "power days" in Rome and Naples. I don't want my family to get mad at me :rotfl:

    I know DCL excursions are more laidback....any thoughts? Rome we're doing sort of on our own and Naples we have a private excursion booked. Thought it might be nice to be led off the ship like sheep in Villefranche.
     
  12. nzdisneymom

    nzdisneymom DIS Veteran

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    We did a DCL to Nice in 2007 which was just a couple of hours excursion and then we had plenty of time in Villefranche itself to just relax and wander the little town. We thought of all the ports we saw in 2007, this was the prettiest. It does look like Monaco and Nice are both relatively easy to do on your own, but there are trains and/or buses involved in getting to them so you take the risk of missing a connection. We were thinking about doing Eze on our own with public transportation but that became too complicated for us, so we've decided to do the DCL excursion that goes to Monaco, Monte Carlo, and Eze.
     
  13. nzdisneymom

    nzdisneymom DIS Veteran

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    Well, DCL still hasn't posted excursions for Venice and it's getting closer to the date when the Platinums can start booking theirs. So what are those of you who are on the Venice cruises planning to do? We are leaning more towards a do-it-yourself thing at least for the first afternoon/evening since we won't have to worry about making it back to the ship on time. But for the second day, we thought it would be nice to have a tour guide - so we're going to wait to see what DCL offers and figure it out then - but if we end up on our own for the second day, we're trying to figure out what we might want to see / do. Ideas??
     
  14. ruadisneyfan2

    ruadisneyfan2 DIS Veteran

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    I plan to use DCL for these excursions since we have OBCs. The hard part is trying to decide which one to do. :scratchin
     
  15. lilpooh108

    lilpooh108 DIS Veteran

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    We did Venice by ourselves on a different (non DCL, land only trip). The *best* thing we did was a special behind the scenes tour booked directly with the Doge's Palace. Make sure you go through the Doge's Palace's own website and not a tour operator.

    It was a guide led tour, got to skip the long lines, and we saw some chambers that the general public was not able to get to. It is called Doge's Palace "Secret Itineraries" tour.

    It was great, I'd highly recommend it. For some reason I believe we also got "free" tix to go back into Doge's Palace to tour it ourselves. Since we were staying in a hotel we used these tix to go back on a different day. It was great.
     
  16. lilpooh108

    lilpooh108 DIS Veteran

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    Yea, I think we're going to do DCL excursions to "rest" up for our big Rome & Pompeii days. By that time we'll have been in Europe for about 2 weeks so I don't wanna burn my family members out...
     
  17. lilpooh108

    lilpooh108 DIS Veteran

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    I am still deciding between going w/Disney for our Rome Excursion versus doing it on our own with a guide once we get there . . .

    Anyway, I researched this last year but I'm refreshing my own memory on how to get to the train station from the Port.

    Here is someone else's step by step instructions (with pictures):

    http://www.eportreviews.com/Europe/Rome_Italy1.htm
     
  18. lilpooh108

    lilpooh108 DIS Veteran

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    For La Spezia, has anyone done the Cinque Terre ferries or a boat tour?

    Here is the ferry schedule: http://www.navigazionegolfodeipoeti.it/

    Would love some opinions on doing a boat tour to Cinque Terre instead of doing Pisa/Lucca/Florence.

    Thanks.
     
  19. nzdisneymom

    nzdisneymom DIS Veteran

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    We are actually planning to use the train from La Spezia to visit the towns of Cinque Terre.
     
  20. gatorfreud

    gatorfreud DIS Veteran

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    We are going to use the train too. Actually, I think we will walk between the first 2 - supposed to be a nice easy flat walk. Then train to some others.

    Kim
     
  21. nzdisneymom

    nzdisneymom DIS Veteran

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    We are thinking we'll take the train to the furthest point which is Monterosso and then explore our way back to Riomaggiore. Actually, we will watch the time and make sure we allow enough to take the walk between Manarola and Riomaggiore even if it means we miss Vernazza or Corniglia. Corniglia is the one that doesn't have a ferry stop.
     

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