Questions for past Med cruisers....

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by ruadisneyfan2, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. ruadisneyfan2

    ruadisneyfan2 DIS Veteran

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    We just booked our 1st Med cruise and have so many questions/concerns.


    1. Where is a good hotel to stay pre cruise? Is it better to be near the port or near the airport? Unfortunately, due to time constraints with work we won't have time to arrive extra early to tour Barcelona if that matters.

    2. I'm checking out flight times on USAirways for the same week (but in 2012) to get an idea of fares & flight times. (We have ff miles we can use with them.) They have non stop red eye flights that arrive at BCN 8:25 am their time, so roughly 2:30am our time. If we flew out Thurs evening from Philly, arrive Fri am in BCN, should we get a hotel for Thurs night too? It will feel like the middle of the night when we arrive but of course our room may not be ready if we only book a Fri night hotel stay.

    How did you handle that? I don't want to be sleeping in the lobby waiting for our room to be ready. If we book a Thurs night stay also, will they think we "no-showed" since we'd be checking in at 9am? I don't mind having to pay for another night of the room but I want a smooth check in and be able to go right to sleep. We wouldn't sail until the next day.

    3. The latest flight going home post cruise is at 10:45am. In the past I've heard that it's doable but how early do they let you off the ship and how long of a drive is it between port & airport? Did you have to spend another night in Barcelona? With the Labor Day holiday, it would be doable if we had to but would prefer to fly right home & adjust to EDT before school starts Tuesday.

    Thanks for any tips!! :grouphug:
     
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  3. kcashner

    kcashner DIS Veteran

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    OK, what I have done in the past is to book DCL air now, knowing that I can cancel it up to 120 days ahead if I find better (read cheaper) flights on my own. In 2010, I found flights for about 1/2 of DCL's rate. In 2011, DCL was $350 per person less.

    3. (yeah, I'm starting at the end). DCL booked us on a flight at like 10:30 or something. They had a special disembarkation both years for people with flights before 10:00. The ride to the airport is about 30 minutes. Delta had reps at the cruise terminal so you could check in luggage there if that was your airline--the line was a million miles long, and for once I was glad that my luggage had to go on the bus. The waiting line for the taxis was also a million miles long. In 2010, it took about an hour (no kidding) to get a taxi. In 2011, we were on the DCL bus--much faster.

    1. Where to stay depends largely on what you want to do. We stayed near the airport--my intent was to sleep and get my body clock reset so that I'd be good for the cruise. I used a hotel that had free transportation to/from the airport, so just rode their bus back and caught the DCL shuttle to the cruise terminal. Both hotels I used had good access to public transportation and one offered limited shuttle service to downtown free. If you want to sightsee, I'd stay in town. That's also closer to the terminal.

    I'd avoid the cabs if at all possible. They add fees to everything--extra fee if they go to airport or cruise terminal or both. Extra fee if it is Saturday or Sunday or before a certain time in the morning. You get the picture.
     
  4. woody73

    woody73 <font color=darkorange>Enjoyed the Pumpkinmen<br><

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    In many ports of Europe, if you have your hotel call for a taxi, the meter begins as soon as they get the call -- not when you and your luggage are in the cab.

    Woody
     
  5. thinkoflaura

    thinkoflaura Mouseketeer

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    i would book the room for both nights... just email the hotel the day or two before to let them know your arrival time...

    this is where we stayed pre-cruise. we arrived around 7pm the night before our cruise so had no time/intention to go into Barcelona.

    http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/bcnbr-renaissance-barcelona-airport-hotel

    we liked it because you can get a pkg with shuttle service from the airport to the hotel and then the next day from the hotel to the port!!!

    i'm not sure if their airport shuttle is 24 hours. you may want to ask.
     
  6. MDTerp

    MDTerp Mouseketeer

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    This is also where we stayed pre and post cruise. They even offered a shuttle to downtown (if your plans change and allow time to see dowtown Barcelona).
     
  7. tinkerbelltwins

    tinkerbelltwins DIS Veteran

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    I've got another question if you all don't mind my jumping in here. Tell me about the seating times for dinner. I usually book first seating because of the kids (they will be nine at sail time) but I'm wondering if we'd be missing lots of meals or at least getting to dinner late because of the port excursions. Should I switch to second seating?
     
  8. wen-tom

    wen-tom spit spot!

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    last year, many of the port excursions were half days so I guess it depends on what you would be doing.
    In most cases, there was no rush getting back from excursions for main seating.
    Late seating went on sometimes until almost 10pm and so It would also depend on how your girls would be at that time of night.
     
  9. tinkerbelltwins

    tinkerbelltwins DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the advice -- looks like we will stick with first seating as we are early birds! There's no way our children can keep their eyes open that late at the dinner table.:cloud9:
     
  10. Cousin Orville

    Cousin Orville Inventor of Air Cooling

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    We had early dining in the med, and it was not a problem. Most excursions or private tours you might do are done mid afternoon. On days with all day tours they are very accommodating for you to switch to late dining that night as needed. I remember this happening a couple of yrs ago on the Baltic in Berlin and it might have been the case for those who went all the way into Florence on the Med. With most ports it's not an issue.
     
  11. nzdisneymom

    nzdisneymom DIS Veteran

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    We'll be looking for a hotel in BCN that will accommodate the four of us in a single room. When we went in 2007, we booked the air/hotel portion through DCL late and all of their available accommodations for 4 in a room were long gone - so our price doubled for hotel. But if we end up having to do two rooms, well, I guess that's what we'll do.

    As for the dining question, we had main seating in 2007 and found that on the days that the ship was in port later, they adjusted the seating time... so instead of seating at 6 p.m., they moved it to 6:30. We found the same thing on the Baltic - or if the time didn't change, they would still seat you later than seating time (it's like they knew what excursions you were booked on and that you'd be late getting back). We also found that on both the Med and Baltic that dress was a lot more casual - they were absolutely happy to seat and feed you in the dining room even if you literally got on the ship, washed your hands, and came on in straight from your excursion. It was a completely different vibe than on the Caribbean cruises we've done. We also found that being a longer cruise, dining seemed so much more relaxed.
     
  12. gotomu212

    gotomu212 Mouseketeer

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    Here's my advice on #2 and not getting a hotel for the first morning. I've had to travel to Europe numerous times and the fastest way to get regulated to the new time is not to sleep (no, I'm serious) at least not right away.

    Chances are you will catch a few hours of sleep on the plane- (not great quality sleep but a few hours and anyone who's had a baby in the house or late night term paper knows that it is feasible to survive for a little while on a few hours).

    By the time you get your luggage and get through customs on those 8 am arrivals it's at least 10. Drop the luggage at the hotel so they know you are in town and would love for your room to be ready early if possible.

    Then keep moving (think like a shark). If you can stay awake until 3 or 4 in the afternoon, you will be golden. The key for my family is to walk so we do our own little walkabouts in the historical section of whatever town we're in. You aren't looking to experience the museums, just get some fresh air, work out those cramped muscles, and experience some of the city through osmosis.

    Then around 3:30 we eat a little and back to the hotel for our nap- only the nap turns into a full nights sleep since we had such limited sleep on the plane. When we wake up, we see the sunrise, and get an early morning city experience that few tourist see, PLUS BONUS jet lag is completely gone and we aren't tired at all the rest of the trip.

    European hotels are expensive and we can't justify the cost just to have our room ready 4 hours before we would otherwise get it.
     
  13. thinkoflaura

    thinkoflaura Mouseketeer

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    omg - i misread the OP and thought your flight gets in AT 2:30am local time. if you get in at 8:30am local time, then i absolutely do NOT recommend you get the room an extra day.

    if you can stay up and moving til night time, great! otherwise, perhaps you can get to the hotel, have brunch, check in, take a nap (2 hours MAX - set a wake up call!) and then try to stay up til your typical bedtime.

    bottom line- as soon as you land, you have to totally erase the "x:xx MY TIME" thoughts from your head and act as if their time is your time.
     
  14. Candy Apple

    Candy Apple DIS Veteran

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    On the 2010 WTBA, our flight arrived around 8:30AM Barcelona time. This is 2:30AM our time, but we stayed awake the whole day. This really helped us adjust to the new time. It was hard when we got to our stateroom after lunch to dump our carryons and bring in the luggage. DS13 (12 at the time) laid down on the bed to try to go to sleep. We literally dragged him out of the stateroom and up on deck. Nothing like fresh air to keep you awake. Then, we had muster drill and sail away party. Sail away party is a great energy booster! We had early dining and then went to bed. The next day we were adjusted to the new time, although a bit tired due to very poor sleep on the plane.

    I had been planning on a bit more sleep time on the plane than we got. Our flight left Altanta around 6PM, so I was thinking we'd eat dinner around 7 and try to sleep by 8/9. The kids normal bedtime was 8:30. Well, dinner service didn't begin until after 8! Something to keep in mind if you have little ones. So, here I was eating dinner at 8:30 at night (we usually eat at 6), and thinking it was already 2:30 in the morning Barcelona time! We finally were ready for "bed" around 10PM (4AM Barcelona time) by the time dinner service was over. Then, they woke us up at 7AM for breakfast, in anticipation of our 8:30 AM arrival.

    We will do things the same way for our Med with Greece cruise, but at least I know to expect very little sleep time on the plane.
     
  15. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel

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    I totally agree with this. This is how I did it in 2010 in Barcelona, and it worked really well. I faded mid-afternoon, took a bit of a nap, then went back out & ate and went to see the Magic Fountain. I was able to stay awake until late evening, slept well that night, and woke up in plenty of time to eat, get ready, and head over to the ship. Helped tremendously to get over the jet lag.

    Sayhello
     
  16. DisneyDee27

    DisneyDee27 Disney fanatic since '75

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    Thanks for the advice....
    Dee pirate:
     
  17. wrennies

    wrennies Mouseketeer

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    We did the Med in 2010 and like a lot of folks who have already posted we also stayed at the Marriott Rennassiance at the Airport. Loved it!!! Make sure you get the cruise package and an elite room. There are lots of "perks" for the elite rooms.
    As for the time change, we started working on this at home about 4 nights before. We went to bed early and got up earlier each day. We had a lot of fun family time and looked forward to Dunkin Donuts opening each morning. we aore out about 6:00 Barcelona time (we arrived at 9:00 am Barcelona Time). It worked out good that we sat at the marina and ate dinner, went back and everyone went to sleep pretty early.
    As for the flight back, we were on Delta and were able to check in at the port. We were off the boat by 8:00 (with ease) and took DCL transportation to the airport around 8:45 (after checking in with Delta). Our flight was at 11:00. We sat at the airport with nothing to do for almost 2 hours (very boring airport BTW). I know DCL does not recommend it, but I will plan this way again myself.
     
  18. sabrecmc

    sabrecmc DIS Veteran

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    We stayed at the Le Meridien prior to the cruise. Great location off Las Ramblas and near the port. On the way out, we stayed overnight at one of the airport hotels b/c we had a 10am flight.

    There were a lot of people getting of the ship to catch early flights and reports after the cruise were that cab lines were very long. We did need quite a bit of time to get checked in at the BCN airport for our flight, so I think we'd have really, really been pushing it if we tried to leave the morning we got off the ship. Not saying it couldn't be done, but it would've stressed me out!

    I echo others about just staying up the day you arrive. You'll crash that afternoon, but it will be better for your trip to just push through it that morning. We arrived in Paris around 9am and then went to Disneyland Paris for part of our pre-cruise trip. We just stayed up until around 2pm, then slept for several hours, got up and had dinner, then went to sleep that night. By the next day, we were pretty much on schedule.
     
  19. pixie08

    pixie08 DIS Veteran

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    This is good advice:thumbsup2 Actually I have travelled to Europe quite a bit to visit family. What I do is a few days before I leave is wake up earlier and earlier. So on the day of the trip I am up around 3am. Then on the plane you are exhausted. You should sleep at least 5 hours. Once you hit the ground keep going! DO NOT STOP! If you do you will get jet lag. Then go to bet a an early but reasonable time, like 9, 10 pm and get a great nights sleep for like 9 hours and you will be great fro the vacation!

    We stayed at the AC diplomatic. We got a book in advance rate for 120E and the hotel was amazing! So keep shopping and book in advance because if you don't mind prepaying you'll see you can find some reasonable deals.
     
  20. mkmommy

    mkmommy DIS Veteran

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    I agree with the stay awake as long as possible. It was hard on my then 8 year old but we kept walking till 7:00 and then she was out till 8:00 the next day and we had no problems.

    Hotels the sleep 4, stayed at the Novotel, it was nice modern hotel with a shopping Mall next door, but a little out of the tourist area, but Metro was close(love the Barcelona Metro, so clean and easy).

    Also stayed at the Fira Palace, huge rooms, not as modern, but a great rainforest shower and I loved the location. It was a 2 minute walk to the Magic Fountain show.
     
  21. ruadisneyfan2

    ruadisneyfan2 DIS Veteran

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    :thanks: :disrocks:

    Great hotel suggestions. I like the Marriott Renaissance & how close it is to airport. We are a family of 4 so I will book something early & keep checking.

    Do you automatically get an airport hotel, or any hotel for that matter, just by booking airfare through DCL? I know it includes ground transfers and that sounds like our best bet.
    I have been to Europe 2x and know we'll eventually adjust to the new time zone but of course back then I was in my early 20's and did 3 hrs/week of aerobics. :lmao: Seems like a lifetime ago. I did a 14 nt. Perillo tour of Italy with a college friend & we did stay awake but mentally dragging.

    Dh & I did 12 nts in Ireland for our honeymoon & we slept once we got there.
    Both times worked out fine but neither time did we have kids so that's my concern.
    I like the idea of waking up extra early every day so we're a little closer to Barcelona time by the time we fly.

    Dh's big concern is that no one will speak English. Is it hard to find English speaking hotel employees? I worry about email the hotel & if they'll be able to read my emails. I recall very few that spoke English at hotels in Italy but we had a tour guide to simply hand out hotel keys to the group, help us get cold medicine at a pharmacy, etc. We always had someone taking care of things for us.
    I just don't want to feel totally lost once we arrive and have dh say I told you so. :laughing:
    I'm a Disboards planner; I will win! :thumbsup2 :lmao: :cool2:
     

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