MedCruise 6/15 to 6/27/13 from California travelers

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by abayaflowers, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. lilpooh108

    lilpooh108 DIS Veteran

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    I'm sad your magnets got stolen!!

    My parents had the SPH on our Med cruise, and although I liked the layout and cheaper window, I really disliked where the location was. Deck 5 was always crowded and we had talked about whether our FE would be stolen if we had chosen that room. Now I will know to avoid it. They also had a housekeeping cart outside their room all the time and it was just unpleasant.

    Anyway -- that's cool that you guys did DIY. Thanks for the La Spezia directions. I'm bookmarking that for the future. We missed Cinque Terre this time but it's on my "list."

    BTW, we also got colds & sinus infections after we left the ship. There was something going around on the ship in early June (when I was there) and I read a TR that said it started on the EBTA. :rolleyes1

    Eczema -- my youngest suffers from this, and it was REALLY bad during the cruise (all over her face). I didn't stop to think whether it was the water. It calmed down the 2nd day after she got home. How interesting! We also brought Aquaphor for her so that helped alot.

    Can't wait to read more!
     
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  3. drlaurafsu

    drlaurafsu Mouseketeer

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    Hmmm....glad I tossed a z-pack in with our meds. Thinking about taking DS's cream for his eczema now too. Definitely don't want to be sick on our vacation!
     
  4. abayaflowers

    abayaflowers DIS Veteran

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    Continuation of our Cinque Terre stops:

    Monterrosso al Mare: Remember the train was packed until this stop.
    Squished like sardines.
    This is where the beach is. Sand! Beautiful blue water. It was tap water-cold.
    Bring your bathing suits, sunscreens and towels.
    Once you get off the train, take a moment to view where you are.
    Turn right towards the stairs. These stairs will immediately lead you to the beach.
    Its truly beautiful.
    We made sure that our family and the other wonderful family knew when to meet up for the next train stop.
    The Cinque Terre Card is good round-trip on the way back. Remember to validate your ticket and write your name on the back of the card.
    It is a 50 Euros fine if you do not have it validated.
    The town was so cute!
    We turned right from the stairs and towards the end of the town. I wanted to eat the fresh focaccia bread which was raved about on many of the research that I did on Cinque Terre. I was so bummed that I forgot to purchase some bread and pasta for the way back.
    The café that we visited was named: Bar Focacceria Antonio Enotea. You will see the yellow awning on the right before the church and the playground on the left. Have a seat!
    Enjoy the delicious Focaccia bread homemade by the little old lady and her daughter. Theres WIFI but the code was SOOO LONG!
    This place was not cheap.
    So, my plan was to eat food at every stop. Walk off the extra calories and also sweat it off if possible.
    We had a two espressos, 4 pieces of Focaccia bread and waters.
    I could have sat there all day!
    Well, onto more fun.
    Restrooms: around the corner to the right and behind the church. No paper towels. Just wash. Remember to SIT and Squat! :
    My DDs were not having any part of this. DD10 just refused to go all day by the way.
    We continued down the road. The DDs played on the playground for 10 mins. Then, walked over to the end of the dock and we took pics.
    There to the right of the dock, we saw a stone of a thinking man. I dont know whenit was built recently or been there forever.
    Theres cute little places to stay. I knew that we didnt have much time so we turned around and walked back to the other end of town.
    I found a spot to sit and reapply sunscreen. It was starting to get hot and humid.
    My DD10 decided to eat gelato.

    DH and DD13 decided to ditch their socks and shoes and waded into the ocean.

    The speedo scene was killing me.
    DD10 & DD13 kept asking why the men were wearing their underpants in public
    I told them, because they are too poor to buy nice surfboards shorts like in California.
    That kind helped them get over the abundant speedos on the older, not-so-fit men.
    They waded in the water like they have never been in an Ocean before.
    Haha!
    DD10 thought that this was hilarious! She kept saying, but we have Santa Cruz 20 mins. Away from our home. Its the Pacific Ocean. Whats the difference! An ocean is an ocean.
    Anyways, they wrapped it up and tried to get the sand off their feet. To dry them was no problem.

    After all this, we headed back up to the train station for our wonderful Florida family partners.
    They were awesome!
    We finally got onto the train and off to Vernazza.

    Vernazza was DHs favorite.
    Again, we exited the train and turned right. We turned left towards the stairs.
    You will go through a tunnel and walk through town.
    Its small.
    Very cute!
    Lots of places to purchase fresh bread, olives, pizza, lunch, water, etc.
    They loved the fact that everyone in town loved our family. Not just our family, but families in general.
    They were more patient with us and especially the children.
    We found at the end was a dock for the boats to come. We stayed there until we found several benches in the sun in front of a church.
    DH decided be like the locals and unbutton his shirt and sat down.
    It reminded me of the 70s. As he sat there on the bench, I took a pic with the entrance to the church as the background.
    Then, I sent it to his mom. I thought that this was funny, because she is Catholic (so is my family), but REALLY conservative. I found it funny! DH was dying.
    So, we continued to reapply sunscreen and it was getting hotter and more humid.
    Suddenly, DD10 starts jumping up and down.
    She screams that a bird just pooped on her. Luckily, I had wipes. It got into her hair, part of her forehead, down her shirt. She was SO upset!
    Beware of the birds. They are like seagulls.
    Then, DH and DD13 decided to climb the rocky tower. I gave them 15 mins. hike up and down it.
    When we finally met them and their legs were burning.
    Remember, this DIY excursion was not for the faint hearted or unprepared hikers.
    DH is like an Amazing Race on his own.
    So, I have been walking 3 hours everyday for the past year with our 72 lbs. Chocolate lab in the windy Santa Cruz Mountains of California. It did not prepare me for the heat and humidity of the Cinque Terre mountains.
    We ran into some 60 and 70 year old women hikers when we were in Monterrosso. They took the trail and always met them in the towns that we stopped via Train.
    They were amazing and put us to shame everytime we bumped into them.
    So, we walked back up through the tunnel and then turned right onto the stairs leading to the train platforms.
    Note: You will always feel a cool wind before you feel the train coming. Its a quick way to cool down before the next stop.

    Corniglio was the most interesting stop. By this time, it was EXTREMELY hot and humid. Beautiful train station. Remember, that the trains have sporadic schedule here. So, dont miss the scheduled train or you will be staying 1 ½ longer at this town.
    Once you exit the train, you will exit the train and head to the right. The train car which we were on, the doors didn't open. So, I quickly moved to the next car, and made DD10 exit first. She didn't want to be left without me. So, she didn't exit.
    Now that I look back on it, I am glad that she didn't.

    Here's where another Amazing Race moment happened. DH looked up at the top of Corniglio. There are a bunch of switchback stone stairs. He said, "Let's Go!" REALLY!
    I looked at our Florida family DH and said, "I will not hike up those stairs." The Florida DW said that if your DD13 and DD10 can do it, I can do it, too.
    I just shook my head. So, FL DH and I walked at a slow pace until we got to the 2nd set of switchback stair underneath the trees and said good-bye to my DH, FL DW, and the DDs.
    I said, "Good Luck! And Be Careful!"

    They did it. They climbed all the way to the top and back down. My DDs were racing down the stairs. Really! I could just see the Emergency Room visit in Italy if they have one.
    By this time, I was getting worried about our favorite Florida family partners. They were so nice! I thought that FL DW was going to have heat stroke so I fanned her a bit. DD10 was also turning a shade of pink.

    So, we purchased cold water bottles and put it under her armpits to cool her off quickly. We had to wait for the scheduled train. I am so glad that we didnt miss it.

    It was miserably hot and humid by this time.

    More to come on Manarola and Riomaggiore.
     
  5. abayaflowers

    abayaflowers DIS Veteran

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    Yes, I didn't like Deck 5. Too much foot traffic and now that you mentioned it, the cart was always outside our room. I felt like I was in a restaurant table stuck next to the bathroom. haha!

    Yes, this was fun! Especially with our new Florida family friends. They were so nice!

    I knew that I got it from the ship. I started getting this sore throat on semi-formal night after Malta. I told DH that I am getting sick. Sure enough... DH, DD13, and I are all on antibiotics and recovering from it. Yuck!!!

    I am so glad that your youngest is better. I am just happy to be not suffering from Eczema. The DR crew members were getting worried about me. I just told them I was allergic to the recycled water and the detergent that they used to wash the linens and towels. They totally understood.

    Our FL DH mentioned this to me while we were in Cinque Terre. I never thought about it.

    One thing... I know that this is gross, but many people including my husband asked if I saw the brown gunk coming out the the tap water.

    eWWWW! I couldn't know get that mental pic out of my head.

    Did you or know anyone who encountered this, too?
     
  6. abayaflowers

    abayaflowers DIS Veteran

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    Yes, take it with you. It was a challenge just trying to get lanacort in La Spezia. Found it, but was no good. Vaseline was the only thing that prevented the dyshidrotic eczema from getting any worse.

    Also, z-pack is key! I am taking it - it's my 4th day.
     
  7. abayaflowers

    abayaflowers DIS Veteran

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    Thank you! I was crushed to see the DDs looked crushed. It made me angry. Why on a Disney Cruise...Really!
     
  8. lilpooh108

    lilpooh108 DIS Veteran

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    I agree. We packed a Cortaid and Neosporin Ointment w/the Aquaphor and those really helped out. When she flared badly we did the Aquaphor. If her skin started breaking/cracking, we'd apply a little bit of the Neosporin Ointment and it would calm it down. It took alot to keep the eczema under control. Her skin breaking was the biggest issue. So many germs on the ship....and I didn't want her to get an infection (she's a baby, so she touches everything and is always touching her face). Anyway, I'd bring it all.

    Completely agree :hug:
     
  9. lilpooh108

    lilpooh108 DIS Veteran

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    Without doing the "extra" hiking, could people who are more mobility impaired do Cinque Terre on their own? Just curious to see if this is really do-able for us. Your description of the locations sound lovely.
     
  10. abayaflowers

    abayaflowers DIS Veteran

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    I would recommend catching the Cinque Terre Boat. I noticed that at every town, there were mobility challenged visitors. The tour guides were so kind to them and very patient.

    I heard that they are abundant at the La Spezia Port. I would recommend taking this especially for young children.
     
  11. lilpooh108

    lilpooh108 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks, that's a good suggestion.
     
  12. abayaflowers

    abayaflowers DIS Veteran

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    Sorry to be so format-challenged!

    I have to type the TR on word. Then, copy and paste into this window.

    Unfortunately, I have had troubles with just typing a long TR on the disboards.

    Don't know why!

    So, I resorted to typing it on Word and transferring the information.

    However, the nice Word format does not paste correctly.

    My apologies!
     
  13. lilpooh108

    lilpooh108 DIS Veteran

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    Just went through your pics. Malta looks amazing!!

    BTW--- would you recommend the apartment that you stayed in? It looks really cute. We had noise issues with the apartment that we stayed in this time and I'm looking for alternatives for next year. We're thinking of doing the WBTA.

    Did the washer/dryer work well? (Ours did not, so I got on the cruise with 4 loads of dirty laundry :rotfl:)
     
  14. abayaflowers

    abayaflowers DIS Veteran

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    Thanks! Trying to upload videos. Whew! There has to be an easier way. I have more pics to upload as well.

    Valetta, Malta and visiting the Mdina Craft Village was one of my favorite DIY excursions. We took the HOHO bus (red). The routes were shorter and much more available. We were on the bus by 8:30 a.m. and wrapped up by 12:30 p.m. Long for our DD10. It happened to be too windy and cold in the morning. So, we went back to the ship. Then, DH, DD13 and I headed off to the Center to Cafe Cordina to purchase the Maltese Honey :).

    I am trying to upload the taxi ride from the apt. to the Port. Hopefully get that done by tomorrow.
    My husband loved the apt. DDs and I were okay with it.

    Here's my review on TripAdvisor:http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUser...ent-Barcelona_Catalonia.html#review_165736633

    It was quiet and affordable. We paid 314 Euros for a 3 bdrm, 2 bath apt. It was 1000 sq.feet. The balcony made it bigger. It's safe for little ones. There's no where to climb and fall down to the 1st floor. We were on the 3rd floor.

    By the way, I found the apt. through TripAdvisor and booked it via email. Only paid a deposit of 54 Euros to hold it. I booked it 9 months ago.

    The washer no dryer was the big issue. Didn't realize that the cycle was SO long! It took over 9 hours to do a little load. That's why we had so much laundry when we arrived. Same issue that you experienced.

    I think that all Barcelona apts. have thin walls. Only the hotels have thick ones.

    Overall, our family would stay in the apt. again.
     
  15. lilpooh108

    lilpooh108 DIS Veteran

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    OMG...this. Exactly. 9 hours to do a load. I thought it was just our machine!! Our machine was a 2-in-1 washer and dryer which washed and dried in the same machine. The dry cycle would start with the clothes dripping wet, but it was super hot and would burn all of our clothes. It shrunk alot of my kids' clothes, and ruined my mom's Columbia rain jacket. We ended up only using it for underwear, etc and carted 4 loads of laundry on to the ship.

    Ok...now I know it's the machines in general and not just the apartment. :laughing:

    Thanks for the details! It was only 314 Euro for 2 nights? That's great for a 3 bedroom! What was the closest metro stop to the apartment? TIA!
     
  16. abayaflowers

    abayaflowers DIS Veteran

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    Yes! Exactly!!! I am so glad that we were not the only ones experiencing the same thing. Unfortunately, we did not have a dryer. We had to hang it out to dry in a humid day... dried our 20 pieces of clothing by 75%.

    Yes, 314 Euros for two nights. The Fira Palace Barcelona near the Font Montjuic where we stayed 3 years ago asked for 385 Euros a night especially with 4 people. That's too expensive for our pockets and budget. So, I took a chance to book an apt. rental via TripAdvisor/FlipKey.

    It was great deal.

    Never saw the neighbors except on the day that we were leaving for the port. Little old ladies. :)

    The nearest Metro stop was Tarragona. Literally is was on block away. We love public transportation. It's nice to have someone else do the driving. I live in California so public tranportation is not so readily available like in Europe.
     
  17. abayaflowers

    abayaflowers DIS Veteran

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    Manarola
    Once we stopped off at this train station, we were done with the heat and humidity. But, we trekked on.

    We headed towards the exit and through the tunnel. Once through the tunnel, turned left and up the stairs. Either staircase would take you to Manarola. By this time, DH and DD13’s legs were burning from all the stairs and steps taken in the previous 3 towns.

    DD10 and I were good to go.

    At the top of the landing, you will view the quaint little town of Manarola. Not a lot of activity. More a small town with less restaurants of Monterrosso and Vernazza. So, we walked about 5 mins. to end and found a spot to sit, drink water, and eat more of the tasty bread that we bought in Vernazza and off we went back up the hill to find something to purchase.

    Again, it’s really small.

    So, we took pics and off we went again back through the tunnel to wait for our next train.

    By this time, everyone at the train station appeared overheated.

    Felt the wind come before the train and we were off to our last stop Riomaggiore.

    Riomaggiore
    Our last stop was the most unusual. When we stepped off the train, we were facing a little shop, tourism office, and a little restaurant (around 3 p.m). I wanted something to eat and sit down. They closed their doors. So, we walked to the right and through another tunnel. This is long tunnel. Once we were through, we saw the other little town. I had to sit down. I wanted to eat some carpaccio with argula and found it.

    As we sat down, I realized that we only 20 mins. left to eat and get back to the train. Well, I opted to get the food to go. Please remember, it is really less expensive for “Take-Away” than it is to sit down.

    I also made the DDs use the bathroom. Just taking my chance for a nice facility.

    I struck GOLD. It was the nicest bathroom since seeing one in our apt.
    Marble, soap, actual toilet seat, toilet seat covers, soft toilet paper, and paper towels.

    DD10 who has been holding it since 7 a.m. used it ☺

    Yeah!

    Anyways, as I at my carpaccio and argula on our way back to the tunnel.
    DDs and DH wanted to take the trail for the heck of it.

    Our luck, it was closed.

    So, the train was apparently 10 mins. late and DH decided to get some beer and an espresso at the cliff restaurant near lover’s trail.

    By this time, everyone was pooped and tired.

    We met up with our wonderful FL family, and we were headed back to La Spezia.

    We told them that we had to stop off at the Pharmacy, because I needed cortizone for my terrible eczema. FL DW also contracted eczema on her leg.
    So, going back to the ship was another Amazing Races. Since we returned by 5 p.m. Don’t remember the exact time, we still needed to purchase formal/semi-formal pants for DH.

    We walked into a shop and an old man said, “Sure”. Well, little did we know that he wanted to hand-make a pair of trousers/pants for DH. Hilarious! I felt so bad for DH and the shopowner.

    So off we went to find DH trouser, 5 mins. later we found a shop that had black jeans. This was as close as we were going to get to find him formal/semi-formal pants.

    While waiting for DH, DD13 found a light material skirt for 10 euros. Can’t beat that deal. I also was looking for more shorts for DD10.

    What a deal! Pants and skirts for 20 Euros.

    Off we went to find DD10 shorts. Well, we walked into Bennetton and purchased shorts. Whew! It was so inexpensive, because Bennetton’s factory is in Italy. Scored!

    By this time, DH and DD13 were deciding to go find a shop to purchase wine, get an espresso, bread, gelato, and a gift.

    DD10 and I were done. We parted ways and walked another 10 mins. back to the ship. The shops were starting to wrap up. Restaurants were preparing. And, us – the Amazing Racing Team from California – haha! – decided to head back to the tender boats.

    It felt like forever, because our tired feet were hurting so bad. By the time we sat down in the tender boat, DD10 started falling asleep. Everyone’s children were falling asleep.

    By the way, I saw so many women in Cinque Terre who were wearing heals while walking the trails and stairs. Really!

    We all opted for comfortable shoes. On a side note, during our 2010 MedCruise, I tore my achilles tendon hiking up a hill (rather mountain of steps) in La Spezia. So, comfort and support was very critical for me.

    Heading back to the ship by now… Loved seeing the cruise ship … Getting off the tender boat was slow… don’t know… passengers were getting anxious in getting of the boat.

    Whew!

    We did it. DD10 was so concerned that DH and DD13 were not going to get back on the ship. I told her to remember that daddy’s on an “Amazing Race”.
    She laughed. So, off we went to relax before moving on to other activities.
     
  18. abayaflowers

    abayaflowers DIS Veteran

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    I want to publicly thank the following people for making our cruise memorable:

    • Sana from Thailand, Our Server - He was the most patient and kind server. Every dinner time, we had so many "issues". He was there trying to understand DD10's severe food allergies. He was so nervous in making sure that her food was to perfection. Then, he was worried about my severe food allergies. However, I told him not to worry. DH and our dinner family's DH were ordering so many desserts :) There was the pirate night when we need to finish by 9:30 p.m. Party started at 9:45 p.m. and we didn't want to miss any of the celebrations. There were a couple of nights when I didn't show up for dinner, because I was so sea sick.

      We want to thank him! :dance3:
    • Ana, Our Head Server - She was always there to take care of the food allergy menus for my DD10 and I.

      By the way we bought a little gift at every stop to make sure that they knew they were appreciated.
    • Tiago, Our Assistant Server - the funniest guy. Also a ladies man ;)
    • Victor, the SR host for the other SRs on our hallway. I asked him for the craziest things i.e. Do you have a pair of scissors?, can I have extra towels. Such the nicest guy!
    • Klinel, our SR host - so patient with us. We rarely needed any cleaning just once a day. However, when we did, he was magical... cleaned our SR with a blink of an eye. He was from Jamaica. Always smiling.
    • Mirko, our Palo's Server - When he approached our table, I almost fell over off my seat. I can mention this, because my husband doesn't read the disboards. He was the most gorgeous man, besides my husband, on our trip. He was so attentive and patient. He works 9 mos. out of the year to make money for his family in Croatia. I felt so lucky to have two handsome men in my presence at dinner.
    • Stephane, Palo's chef made SUCH DELICIOUS foods. Wow! I finally made room for the Chocolate Souffle dessert.

      A toast from the California family to these people :)
     
  19. lilpooh108

    lilpooh108 DIS Veteran

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    I liked the rest of your "toast" to the crew, but this one made me :rotfl:
     
  20. Silly Little Pixie

    Silly Little Pixie <font color=blue>My name is Inigo Montoya. You kil

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    I'm enjoying your TR! I hope to do a Med cruise someday but the airfare from LAX is :eek:!
     
  21. abayaflowers

    abayaflowers DIS Veteran

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    Thanks! I just remember all the emotions and things going through my mind as I revisit our trip.

    :)

    As for the airfare, it's so ridiculous on how much taxes are added on the airfare. I look back on our fares 4 people for almost $7000.00 roundtrip. $3500.00 was just taxes. It bugs me when I hear the aircontroller and baggage strikes. Really!

    Anyways, I do hope that you would be able to do the MedCruise. It's just wonderful.
     

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