Planning a HOT time in the Mediterranean August 2013

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Pre-Trip Reports' started by texasgirl29, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

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    I admit I've never heard of a entire category dedicated to pre-trip reports but seems like a good idea... a journal of sorts, if you will. So, here's mine:

    We are booked on the Disney Magic, sailing from Barcelona on August 10, 2013.

    We are:
    JoAnn -- me!
    Paul -- husband who just says, "uh huh," to my planning (which is why I'm here with all of you).
    Stephanie -- 16 year old daughter, will be distressed to hear she cannot take two outfits for each day
    Rachel -- 13 year old daughter, looking forward to going to the Edge again

    Dave -- father in law, very experienced cruiser, generously treating everyone to the cruise
    Norene -- mother in law, also experience cruiser, happy to go along with whatever anyone else wants to do
    Brian -- brother in law with some cognitive and mobility issues but loves to eat and swim and enjoys the characters.

    The four of us will leave Texas on August 6 for the red-eye to Barcelona, staying at the TRYO Apolo Hotel http://www.tryphotels.com/en/tryp-apolo-hotel-barcelona-spain.html for three nights prior to the cruise. The inlaws are coming from California -- it is a second DCL Med cruise for Dave and Norene.

    Here's what I'm doing: Reading up on Barcelona. Must sees: Sagrada Familia, La Rambla, Guell Park (http://www.parkguell.es/en/portada) -- and a lot of "want to see" on the list. Not sure if Montserrat is a "must see" or a "want to see" http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/en/tour/montserrat-spain.html

    Watching youtube videos, reading Rick Steves' Barcelona guide book and Fodor's illustrated Barcelona guide book. Checking out documentaries on Amazon Prime.


    The trip report has begun! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3161128
     
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  3. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

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    We are planning to meet Ingrid, who came highly recommended on the cruisecritic board:

    Here's her description in an email to me:

    We will start the tour with a panoramic drive along the beautiful lower coastal road along the coast in the direction of Nice where we will visit the beautiful Old Town with its wonderful flower, fruit, vegetable and speciality market. We will take a walk together through the picturesque old town streets and you will also have the possibility to try some of the local specialities.

    From Nice, we will drive to St Paul in the back-country of the Riviera. St Paul is one of the most beautiful villages in France. It is a center of art and artists, the village is not only gorgeous but also interesting for its wonderful handcraft.

    From St Paul, we will drive to the opposite side of the French Riviera where we will visit the gorgeous hill-village of Eze. You will certainly enjoy the walk through the steep and charming alleys of this extraordinary medieval village that overlooks the entire coast.

    On our way back to Villefranche, we will drive on the middle and lower coastal road and do some breathtaking photo-stops along the way.

    For such a tour of approx. 7-8 hours my rate for 7 passengers is 500 €. This rate includes my driving and guiding services plus all parking and toll fees. As a licensed guide, I am not only driving you around and dropping you off, but will come with you in order to show and explain you all places.
     
  4. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

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    I've read over and over that Pisa is no big deal and we would be better served to go to Florence.

    But we're headed for the famous Leaning Tower.

    Why? You ask. Well, I'd love to see Florence, but heck, it's the LEANING TOWER OF PISA! It's like going to NYC and not seeing the Empire State Building, or Parish and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. Or Waco and not seeing the Dr Pepper Museum...

    Besides, I think our girls will have plenty of opportunity to see churches and statues and artwork in Rome. I know they will be excited to send back those iPhone photos of themselves holding up the tower.

    I downloaded the Livorno & La Spezia (Florence/Pisa) Port Guide from www.tomsportguides.com. We will take the train on our own. I need to do a lot more research to see what else is available in Pisa but I can find some yummy pizza and gelato.
     
  5. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

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    Tours booked with CantBeMissedTours.com for Rome/Vatican and Naples/Pompeii/Amalfi Coast.
     
  6. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

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    My new Keens Whisper sandals came in on Monday. I've been walking around in them in the house to decide if I like them or not and need to return them to zappos. I'm obsessing over comfortable walking shoes for touring in the Med this summer.

    Not sure I'm in love with them, but I'm not really a shoe person....
     
  7. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

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    After wearing my new Keens for two days, they are not going on the trip. Hate the fact I spent so much on them and now I'm back to square one.

    Today our booking window opened and I booked brunch at Palo for Dh and me on the second sea day. We have had dinner there twice but never brunch.

    An app for sagrada familia in Barcelona presented itself on my iPhone. Yes, just showed up and suggested I download it. Glad I did, absolutely gorgeous virtual tour of the interior.
     
  8. jennorthernireland

    jennorthernireland Mouseketeer

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    Hi! I'm enjoying reading about your planning for your trip! My family will be on the Magic the week after you and I am really starting to try and plan everything, so it is great to get another perspective about what to consider.
     
  9. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

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    Thanks, Jenny! Since I'm driving my family crazy with my planning, I only have this forum to talk to!

    On the shoe front, bought a pair of Nike running shoes. Not that I plan on running, but if they are good for running, they ought to be good for walking, right? I was really hoping to love the Keens I bought but they hurt my feet after two days of wearing them, so it's back to sneakers.

    I asked for a new carry-on suitcase for Mother's Day and am now the proud owner of an LL Bean suitcase:
    [​IMG]

    And since I'm obsessed with packing light, I spent some time today looking at youtube videos about packing. I decided to buy some packing cubes to go with my nice new red suitcase.
    [​IMG]

    I'm planning to take capri pants, a variety of colorful t-shirts, two pair of shoes, a bathing suit, underwear and minimal toiletries.

    Since we'll be in Barcelona three days before and two days afterwards, I plan to wash at least once. Actually, you meet some fun people in the laundry room!

    Packing tips, anyone?

    JoAnn
     
  10. jennorthernireland

    jennorthernireland Mouseketeer

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    I am currently obsessed with what shoes I will bring with me - sad, I know! I don't want my suitcases to be heavy, but I like to have a few choices. My Converse sneakers are the most comfortable shoes I own, so I know they would be the best choice if I don't want to limp my way around Barcelona, but I'm not sure they are the prettiest! I have been on the lookout for a pair of slightly more lady like comfy shoes to bring too and I'm not having the best of luck. They all seem to be too Granny-like or not supportive enough. I'm sure I will find something!

    I'm definitely going with the idea of doing laundry at least once in the trip. Over-packing is a bad habit of mine and my husband would be delighted if he didn't have to lug around massive suitcases for a change. I'm going to google packing cubes - I have never used them before - thanks for the tip!
     
  11. jennorthernireland

    jennorthernireland Mouseketeer

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    PS -love your new suitcase!
     
  12. debsters41

    debsters41 DIS Veteran

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    Hello! I am enjoying reading your report and ideas! I wish you a wonderful cruise. Thanks for the links
     
  13. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

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    The packing cubes arrived on Saturday -- they were from ebags.com ($20 and change for a variety pack of one large, one med and one small). Rick Steves has some, too, as well as LLBean and all the usual suspects. I liked the fancy paisley print from ebags. Free shipping, too.

    I think I even impressed my husband and he's getting some. ;)

    Try searching on youtube and you'll see lots of packing tips with and without packing cubes.

    Shoes? Well, there seems to be no perfect answer. Looks like Nikes for walking around the cities, sandals/flip flops for sea days. I'm on the hunt for an inexpensive pair of flats for dress up -- preferably ones that fold.

    Next will be the quest for a new formal-ish outfit. Really, this is the only occasion I have to wear anything formal, so I'm looking to go very cheap... I'll be checking thrift stores and discount stores for something that's not too bulky. I have a black long knit but I've worn it on the last two cruises... need to find something different.
     
  14. jennorthernireland

    jennorthernireland Mouseketeer

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    I have been wondering about the formal element of the cruise! I didn't read anywhere on any of the information Disney has sent me so far about a formal or semi-formal night, but having read elsewhere that they do happen, I'm going to have to investigate further. I do not relish the idea of packing a suit for my husband (or persuading him to wear it)!

    I understand what you are saying about not wanting to spend too much money on something you may not get much use out of. I have just spent the last couple of hours on ebay and similar sites looking for a cheap cross over bag that I won't get too upset about if something happens to it, but that still looks quite nice. I got completely carried away and started trying to bid on a completely impractical and expensive bag instead - luckily I was outbid!
     
  15. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

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    Jenny -- on a 7 night cruise expect a "formal" night and a "semi-formal" night. You will see various degrees of formal, from not at all to sparkly sequins. I tend to think of it in terms of photos -- do you want a nice family photo with everyone in their best? Then it might be worth lugging all that stuff, because, really, when is everyone going to get all dressed up again? I'm really leaning toward just a tie and nice shirt for my husband rather than a jacket -- it just takes up too much room in the suitcase and I'm trying to pack light! Our two teens will probably wear some kind of sundresses. I have one girly-girly and one "why do I have to wear a dress?" girl. On the last cruise, my girly-girly took an outfit and shoes for everyday plus dinner clothes. I don't think it's going to happen this time, although, lucky for her she's a size "00" and her clothes don't take up much room anyway.

    I have a Vera Bradley cross-body that I'll probably take just to hold sunglasses and a small pocket camera. I'll let my husband deal with the money!
     
  16. jennorthernireland

    jennorthernireland Mouseketeer

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    Well, I think I can persuade my husband to go with a dress shirt and tie!

    I just bought my daughter the most beautiful dress in the sales - it's light peach with a cream lace overlay and isn't too short or low cut as can often be a problem with clothes for teenagers who wear adult sizes. This one still looks great and is not at all too boring, but it doesn't make her look like she's trying to get into a bar somewhere! I paid £12 for it (it was really heavily discounted), I think that is about $20? A bargain! I think it would look great for one of those nights, and best of all it won't need ironed!

    I have a wardrobe full of dresses that I rarely get the chance to wear, so that leaves me with my DS who will just have turned 13 by the time of our cruise and might like to turn up to dinner in his boxers if he could....boys! :rolleyes1
     
  17. GreenAcres

    GreenAcres I'm not from the South, but I got here as fast as

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    We are also on this cruise and your report is getting me even more excited to go (and I was pretty excited already). There will be 6 of us: DH, me, DD (turning 23 on cruise), DD's BF (22), DS (18) DS's Friend (18). This trip is to celebrate our son's high school graduation. (We will be officially empty-nesters about 3 days after we get back.) We are on our own in Villefranche, have booked a private tour for Pisa/Florence and we are also using Can't be Missed Tours for Rome as well as for Pompeii and Sorrento. Does this mean we will be touring Rome together maybe?

    I too am having a hard time with comfortable walking shoes. I LOVE shoes and usually pack WAY too many pairs. I've been searching for months for a pair that is comfortable that will go with both skirts and shorts/capris. So far, no luck. At WDW we walk many miles a day and my feet have never hurt in sandals or flip/flops. Maybe I'm worrying too much.

    DD and I are still searching for formal dresses. I'm waiting for spring styles to be 1/2 off (or more) before we get serious about buying.

    I'll be here reading along until we board our plant to Barcelona on August 8th.

    Lisa
     
  18. sajilunni

    sajilunni Mouseketeer

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    Hi, I came across this while trying to find a preview for Personal Navigators, so obviously I'm really excited about this trip too! We'll be on the August 10th sailing as well. It will be my husband and I (both 41), our son (12) and daughters (10 and 7). We're at the early seating, and booked Palo for Sunday and private tours for all the ports except Pompeii/Vesuvius which we'll do by public transportation. Hope we'll run across you on board!

    Sajil
     
  19. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

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    Hi Lisa,
    Sounds like we might be touring Rome together. I wrote to Petro at CBM tours about the Vatican being closed on the 14th and he offered us tour of the interior of the Colosseum and extended tour of the Forum in exchange. He said he was contacted others who had signed up for the tour and indicated we were the only ones so far for the Colosseum. You might want to contact him if you haven't already.

    I think I may be obsessing too much over shoes, too. Every little tinge, I think, "oh, is this going to be a problem? Do I need insoles?" We went to Schlitterbahn Water Park north of San Antonio last week and my knees hurt a little going up stairs. "Do I need Osteo-Bi Flex? Cortozone shot? Knee replacement?"

    Really, I'm not a hypochondriac!
     
  20. GreenAcres

    GreenAcres I'm not from the South, but I got here as fast as

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    That's hilarious! I actually ordered special insoles once to help with my self diagnosed neuroma in my right foot and they actually helped a lot! All in my mind? Nahhhh.

    We booked CBM Tours in January and Peter/Petro told me about the extended Colosseum tour, so we are doing that too. I'm mainly obsessively worrying about one thing: I'm taking not just my own kids but two other-people's-kids to multiple foreign countries! This will be the first time we have ever not booked Disney excursions. I'm particularly worried about Barcelona for some reason. More research will surely put my mind at ease (or at least stop the random episodes of hyperventilating) maybe. I hope.

    On the bright side, the Louisiana weather will work just as well at the Texan summer to condition us for August in Italy! 100 degrees? 100% humidity!? Pfffft...bring it on!
     
  21. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

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