We do not book air or hotel through Disney they are over priced (IMO). We normally spend at least one night in Barcelona to just to the time difference. On our first med cruise we spent 3 night to be able to see Barcelona. We will be fighting out Thursday night because light you flights are normally in the evening. Our flight in May 2010 was with Iberia cost $633 per person from Boston and we had to change plane Madrid. I like to stay at Eurostars Grand Marina in Barcelona. It is right on the port and you can walk to a number of places. Last time a lots of us were staying in the Hotel and we meet up shared cabs and went to see the fountains. We also meet up with others from the Dis board as well. I will buy some Euros before I leave. I use my Disney visa reward dollars to pay for things on the cruise (i.e. stateroom tips, Palo, etc) We would enjoy sharing private tours. I noticed you wrote you took the train to Roma then took the tour from there? We had the car pick us up at the port and drop as off as part of the private tours. Also, because we booked all 3 Italy ports with them they discounted the tours savings $150 Euros. If there are a number of people interested in sharing private tours we should start a list and see what people are interested in seeing. This way people with similar interest can be group together. Also, from my experience with the private tours the money is paid in cash or travelers checks at the end of the tour. I did have one company in Barcelona require 10% to hold the tour. Did anyone have a different experience when dealing with private tours? I like first seating because I do not like to eat at 8:00 PM - 8:30 PM. We (any many others) were late a few nights and DCL let everyone go to dinner late. There is always the other dinning options if you miss you seating. It is up to you about booking through Disney or not. You should do what you are comfortable with. On our last DCL Med cruise each couple saved over $2,000 on excursions and did not have bus full of 40 people. When booking private tours all I can say is research...research...research and contacting the company to get a feel for them. There were a couple of companies I did not get a good feel for when doing my research.