UPDATED! 24 April 2010 - Mediterranean Adventures of an Aussie family! Trip Report

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by shushh, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. austraveler

    austraveler Mouseketeer

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    Best family holiday ever! We stayed at POFQ - mainly for the small size, fun looking pool and boat to DD. I would definitely stay there again although I am also keen to try other resorts. We used flight centre for flights too but I booked Disney directly. I than transferred the booking to magic for less travel to get two free guidebook and $50 disney dollars. Shameless I know!

    Thanks for your help. i am madly searching the internet to look at the best shore excursions. Did you bok those yourself or did the agent assist you?
     
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  3. shushh

    shushh DIS Veteran

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    Nah! Nothing wrong with being shameless!

    Do you mean Disney excursions? We didn't do any with Disney as our youngest excluded us from most of them and we weren't interested in the ones that we could do. We booked private tours for most ports and I researched/booked them myself. To be honest, I don't know if the agent can book the Disney excursions for you but I'm sure someone on the boards will know.

    How did you find the transport from POFQ to/from Downtown Disney/parks? We're staying at the POR.
     
  4. Dicecatt

    Dicecatt DIS Veteran

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    Love reading your report! Your children are just lovely! I love the picture of the little one in the life jacket, hilarious.
     
  5. shushh

    shushh DIS Veteran

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    Thank you! I've also enjoyed reading your TR. It's so nice seeing everyone's photos and hearing about their experiences. I love it how you've got so many photos on your report and they're so big!
     
  6. shushh

    shushh DIS Veteran

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    TR updated to the end!
     
  7. austraveler

    austraveler Mouseketeer

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    We thought the boat ride to DD was great - the boys dozed off for 10 minute catnaps each time as it was very peaceful along the "river". The buses to the parks were wonderful. I see lots of complaints online about all the stops, but it is no different from catching the train a few stops in the city. It only adds 5 minutes to the journey at most. We only ever waited 10 minutes for a bus. If our experience was the norm, I think people are just whingers.
     
  8. ejw

    ejw Mouseketeer

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    Hi shushh,

    in cinque terre did you use a guide? you mention one in your planning but don't mention one in your review.

    we also will be going there and i am trying to decide if we need a guide or not.

    thanks, ellen
     
  9. MinnieDiva

    MinnieDiva Obsessive Trip Planner

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    Hey ellen....good question...Dh and I are doing it as well and the plan is to take the train to the furthest out of the 5 towns and hike in....I'm hoping it's feasible. DD staying on the boat.....
     
  10. shushh

    shushh DIS Veteran

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    Sorry, yes we did use a guide from the 5T National Park Tourist office. It made it easy because she bought the tickets for everything, knew the timetable of the boat and trains and we just had to follow her everywhere, but if you had no young children its very doable on your own.

    The view of the villages from the boat is beautiful and different from being there itself. If doing by train, you may want to consider skipping Corniglia (The middle village) as there are about 300-400 steps from the station to the village itself. The walk from Manarola to Riomaggiore (via dell'amore) is very easy and short. La Spezia station is about a 15-20 min walk from where the tenders are. Easy walk down the hill on the return! Lots of shops on the way.
     
  11. ejw

    ejw Mouseketeer

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    Hi shushh, thanks for answering my question. right now i am leaning towards doing cinque terre on our own. I am thinking about skipping corniglia and monterosso. we will have 3 kids with us, 13, 13, 6, and don't want to do too much. have you heard anything about disney's excursion for 5T? can you provide the website for the tourist office in case we change our minds?

    btw, read your TR and thought it was great! lots of good info. ellen
     
  12. shushh

    shushh DIS Veteran

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    Unfortunately, we didn't bump into anyone who did the Disney 5T excursion so I can't help you there.

    The train trip between each town only took 5 min. Some trains skipped certain towns. It took longer by boat to get to each town. We caught the first ferry from La Spezia to Monterosso (0915) which took about 2 hours (went past portovenere, stopped at Riomaggiore, Manarola, and Monterroso. Vernazza was closed to the ferry that day). So if you're going to skip Corniglia and only use the trains, you can do Monterosso easily. However, the first train from La Spezia to the 5T doesn't leave until 1000 I think. But just check again as timetables may change closer to the summer.

    The email address of the 5T tourist office is

    agenziaviaggi@parconazionale5terre.it

    http://www.agenziaviaggi5terre.it/?lang=en

    Oh and one more thing, there's a little cafe/bar on the via dell'amore. The views from the tables/seats were incredible and I so wanted to stop and enjoy a drink but we were unfortunately constrained by the needs of our little one.

    Hope that helps!
     
  13. ejw

    ejw Mouseketeer

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    Hi shushh, all this info really does help. i'll check out the website. just one more question, if you don't mind, do you have the website to get the train schedule?

    ellen
     
  14. shushh

    shushh DIS Veteran

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    No I don't have site for an updated train timetable. There is on on the 5T national park site but I couldn't make sense of it! I just asked the national park office about the earliest trains and ferries.

    When having lunch there, try the specialty pasta of the ligurian coast which is Trofie with pesto. It was quite yummy! And apparently the ravioli with walnut sauce is also a specialty. We also had their simple seafood spaghetti. All were very yummy and we ended up ordering seconds!
     
  15. soxfan1495

    soxfan1495 Earning My Ears

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    Shushh, How would we get in touch with the tour guide you used in Tunis? Thanks.
     
  16. shushh

    shushh DIS Veteran

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  17. soxfan1495

    soxfan1495 Earning My Ears

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    Shushh, your trip report is very helpful. We might be interested in going on a tour with Ben, but have not seen any other reviews of him. Can you point me to any that you saw prior to your tour? Comparing Ben with what we have read about larger tours recently done in Tunis, Ben sounds like he might be better. Thanks.
     
  18. shushh

    shushh DIS Veteran

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    A few people have written reviews on tripadvisor. I emailed a group of 4 Australian ladies in their mid 50s who have used him. They were on the Volendam. I have to be honest and say that I was initially skeptical, but I figured I had nothing to lose as i didn't have to pay for anything up front.
     
  19. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Great PTR/TR Shushh...Here's to the next one!

    I was so on-board to sign up for a European cruise myself....until your last rough day. I have no problems travelling on all sorts of transport EXCEPT by boat. I get horribly sea-sick and I curse the English Channel crossing for this affliction!
     
  20. queenie82

    queenie82 Queen of the 5 Castles

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    WOW...great trip report.
    I love the detail and honesty.
    Your tour of Pompeii sounds amazing!!!
    I wish we had done a private tour of Pompeii. We were in Rome for a few nights (not a cruise...just a European trip) and all the 'regular' day tours from Rome seemed to be much the same but the one I picked had reviews claiming the 'local guide' was great so I booked it.

    We wasted so much time in Pompeii. He moved so slowly that had we not broken off ourselves to meet up later we would have maybe seen 1/3rd of it. It was hardly enjoyable racing around trying to see everything....given we were supposed to be guided through everything!

    It sounds like it was a great cruise overall with great ports of call. And it is certainly a wonderful option with youngsters! Like PrincessInOz it sounded like something I really wish I could do (if I had the time off available and money to re allocate...lol)
    .......but for that ending.
    We did a 3 night disney cruise which was fantastic...but the last night we went full board from CC back to port. We were rockin and rollin and my brother lost it. I was ok but it doesn't seem it was as bad as your experience in that it was only like that overnight! So I wouldn't convince any family to go on that cruise with me!!

    Thanks so much. You have a beautiful family and have despite all the drama (who would of thought an Icelandic volcano would be the HUGE spanner!!!) seemingly had an AMAZING adventure.
    He may not be thrilled with it...but Jonah looks adorable in the lifejacket!
     
  21. shushh

    shushh DIS Veteran

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    queenie82 and PrincessInOz, thank you so much for your kind words. Don't be put off by the last sea day! Apparently, it was one of the worst storms the Magic had ever encountered, and completely unexpected. The captain made a decision to hug the shoreline (took about 2 hours to get there) and it calmed right down after that.

    I'm eagerly awaiting the Magic's schedule for 2012 when the Fantasy comes out, here's to hoping she will travel somewhere closer to home so we don't have to take the horrendous flights just to get on a Disney cruise! It'd be nice to have a few more Aussies onboard!
     

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