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Bon Voyage!

1

About This File We know our fellow Mediterranean cruisers are eager for information on their upcoming cruises, so we made this PDF filled with our special port guides for the Mediterranean. This file contains our Mediterranean cruise information, culled from the fifth edition of PassPorter’s Disney Cruise Line guidebook, which covered the Mediterranean cruises. Here are a few important items to keep in mind as you use this preview file: Photos—We have many more photos of the Mediterranean than we could fit into our guidebooks, and you’ll see references to them throughout the text of this file. You can see more photos online at http://www.passporter. com/dcl/mediterranean.asp and at http://www.passporter.com/photos Sharing—This file is intended only for readers who purchase this file directly or pre-order a new tenth edition of PassPorter’s Disney Cruise Line guidebook directly from us. We kindly request that you do not share this file with others. The information in this preview file represents a considerable investment as we researched most of the Mediterranean ports in person so our readers would have reliable information. Sharing may mean that we cannot offer a preview file like this in the future, and we appreciate your understanding. If you have friends and family who would like to pre-order, here’s a 30% discount coupon code that works in our store: friend Not Going On a Mediterranean Cruise? Please don’t let this preview file lead you to think our cruise guide is focused on the Mediterranean. Our cruise guide is 300+ pages long—the Mediterranean sections comprise about 75 pages of that. We cover the Caribbean ports—and all aspects of Disney cruising—in delightful detail. We are very excited about our new cruise guide, and we think it’s our best yet! We expect to release the new guide in early 2010 and we post regular progress updates in our newsletter (are you subscribed?) at http://www. passporter.com/news.htm We hope you enjoy this information! If you have questions or comments, please e-mail us at jenniferanddave@passporter.com. and

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Ports of Call

Activities

Dining

Staterooms

Reservations

Introduction

2

PassPorter’s® Field Guide to the Disney Cruise Line® and Its Ports of Call—Fifth Edition by Jennifer Marx and Dave Marx

©

2007 by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

P.O. Box 3880, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106 877-WAYFARER or 877-929-3273 (toll-free) Visit us on the World Wide Web at http://www.passporter.com PassPorter® is a registered trademark of MediaMarx, Inc. Photograph on cover is Crissy Castellanos; photographs on pages 13, 18, 62, 68, 133, 134, 138, and 310 Disney; photographs on pages 235, 239, 243, 255, 267, and 284 Photodisc; photographs on page 91 Paul McGill; all other photographs MediaMarx, Inc. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions.

©©

©

©

©

PassPorter’s® Field Guide to the Disney Cruise Line® is not affiliated with, authorized or endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with, The Walt Disney Company, The Disney Cruise Line, Disney Enterprises, Inc., or any of their affiliates. While every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information in this travel guide, the passage of time will always bring changes, and consequently the publisher cannot accept responsibility for errors that may occur. All prices and operating schedules quoted herein are based on information available to us at press time. Operating hours, maps, policies, fees, and other costs may change, however, and we advise vacationers to call ahead and verify these facts and any others which are subject to change. The authors and publishers of this book shall not be held liable for any information (valid or invalid) presented here and do not represent The Walt Disney Company. The Disney Cruise Line® is a registered trademark of The Walt Disney Company. This book makes reference to various Disney characters, trademarks, marks, and registered marks owned by The Walt Disney Company and Disney Enterprises, Inc. The use in this guide of trademarked names and images is strictly for editorial purposes, and no commercial claim to their use, or suggestion of sponsorship or endorsement, is made by the authors or publishers. Those words or terms that the authors and publishers have reason to believe are trademarks are designated as such by the use of initial capitalization, where appropriate. However, no attempt has been made to identify or designate all words or terms to which trademark or other proprietary rights may exist. Nothing contained herein is intended to express a judgment on, or affect the validity of legal status of, any word or term as a trademark, service mark, or other proprietary mark. PassPorter’s® Field Guide to the Disney Cruise Line® is authored and edited by Jennifer Marx and Dave Marx. The information presented is for your personal vacation planning. Any stated opinions are ours alone, unless otherwise noted, and do not represent The Walt Disney Company or anyone else. Materials submitted and credited by persons other than ourselves are here with their permission and any associated rights belong to them.

Magic

Any and all written messages, suggestions, ideas, or other information shared with the authors in response to this guide shall be deemed and shall remain the property of PassPorter Travel Press. Special Sales: PassPorter Travel Press publications are available at special discounts for bulk purchases for sales premiums or promotions. Special editions, including personalized covers and excerpts of existing guides, can be created in large quantities. For information, write to Special Sales, P.O. Box 3880, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48106.

Index

Distributed by Publishers Group West

ISBN-10: 1-58771-037-4 ISBN-13: 978-1-58771-037-7 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

.................................................................................. Printed in the United States of America


70

Chapter 2: Plotting Your Course

Topic: Getting to Barcelona

Getting to Barcelona Air travel is the only way for many to get to Barcelona. Use the tips on page 53 for booking the best transatlantic flight. Flights to Barcelona from the U.S. are expensive. We couldn’t find a flight from Detroit (our major hub) for anything under $750/person, thanks in part to the hefty taxes. Several East coast airports do offer flights for about $600–$700, if that is an option for you. Note that we didn’t find the best rates many months in advance, but rather 4–8 weeks before. To search multiple travel sites, try http://www.sidestep.com or http://www.kayak.com. Also look into Disney Air (see page 47) to see if it’s a better fit for you—for our Mediterranean scouting cruise, we used Royal Caribbean’s air program and saved a bit of money (and headaches). Travelers coming from elsewhere in Europe should investigate easyJet (http://www.easyjet.com), which has excellent fares for flights to/from Barcelona. Most likely, you’ll fly into Barcelona Airport/Aeroport de Barcelona (BCN)—also known as El Prat de Llobregat—but it’s possible your flight may have a connection in another city, such as Munich. If you do connect through another airport, you can get more information on airports and their terminals at http://www.airwise.com/airports/europe/. Barcelona Airport is located 40 minutes from the port, making it very convenient for cruisers. Of the nearly 75 airlines that fly into this modern airport, popular lines include US Airways (this is what we took on our recent trip), Iberia, KLM, Continental, and Delta. When you arrive, your plane docks at one of the three terminals (see map below), though most international flights arrive in Terminal A. From there, follow signs to baggage claim. Taxi stops are positioned opposite each terminal. For more details on the Barcelona Airport, call +34-932-983-838 or visit http://www.aena.es, click “English,” click “Airports,” then select Barcelona from the “Choose airport...” drop-down menu. Airport address: Edificio Bloque Tecnico, 08820 El Prat de Llobregat, Spain.

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Ports of Call

Activities

Dining

Staterooms

Reservations

Introduction

Going on the Mediterranean cruise? This part’s just for you!

Magic

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Index

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Introduction

71

Getting to the Port of Barcelona

Reservations

The Disney Magic berths at the Port of Barcelona while it cruises the Mediterranean in the summer of 2007. The Port of Barcelona is about 40 min. (11 mi./18 km.) south of the airport. You have five options: Disney ground transfer, public transportation, town car/limo, taxi, or rental car.

Activities

if you aren’t doing a ground transfer. Barcelona taxis are plentiful, clean, and reliable; they are black with yellow doors—green lights indicate they are available for hire. Figure about €25– 30 for a one-way fare from the airport to the port (estimate 40 min. for the trip). Exchange rate at press time is €1=$1.25. Luggage is €.90/bag. Taxis at the airport work on a queue system—just follow the signs to the taxi stop outside the terminal and wait in line for an available taxi. If you have special needs or need a taxi adapted for disabled passengers, you can call +34 93 420 80 88.

© MediaMarx, Inc.

Taxi—This is your best mode of transportation

Staterooms

Disney Ground Transfer—Available to/from the airport and the cruise terminal. Just add it to your cruise reservation. If you take this option, Disney will give you more information on where to get your ground transfer. Most likely, you’ll just need to look for a representative bearing a “Disney Cruise Line” sign after you exit the international terminal. We took advantage of ground transfers on our scouting trip, and they were efficient and comfortable—in fact, because our flight arrived very early in the morning (8:00 am), we received a complimentary Barcelona city tour before we arrived at the port around 11:15 am. For more details, see page 47.

Dining

Topic: Geting to the Port of Barcelona

Black-and-yellow Barcelona taxis at the airport

Public Transportation—While it is possible to take public transportation from the airport to the port, it isn’t easy—plan on several changes and some walking. We strongly discourage you from using this method—you’ll have to contend with pickpockets while juggling your luggage. If you want to check out public transportation options, see http://www.tmb.net.

Ports of Call

Chapter 2: Plotting Your Course

Rental Car—Several rental car (“car hire”) companies are available at the airport, namely Hertz, Avis, National Atesa, and Europcar. But unless you’re planning to stay in Barcelona several days, want to go out of town, and have a sense of adventure, we don’t recommend you rent a car. Barcelona roads are congested and difficult to drive. Besides, a rental car really won’t get you from the airport to the port, as you’d still need to return to the airport to return the car. Nonetheless, here are the driving directions to the port: Exit the airport, take the road to Barcelona city (see map on previous page), then take the Ronda Litoral Highway, exiting at “Puerto.” Upon exiting, turn right and follow the “Puerto” signs.

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Index

Barcelona Airport Transfers (http://www.barcelonaairporttransfers.com, +34 605 32 72 73) offers one-way transports to the port in a Mercedes for about €77. The Golden Wheels limousine service also comes highly recommended—visit their site at http://www. thegoldenwheels.com or phone +34 93 364 44 33.

Magic

Town Cars/Limousines—If you’d like to arrive in style, consider a town car or limousine.


Index

Magic

Ports of Call

Chapter 2: Plotting Your Course

Topic: Lodging Near Port of Barcelona

Lodging Near the Port of Barcelona You may find it convenient to stay near the port the night before your cruise, or even for a few nights before/after your cruise to explore the city of Barcelona (as we did). You can reserve on your own, or book a pre/post-cruise stay hotel package (from one to three nights) through Disney Cruise Line. Note that children staying in your room incur an extra cost. These are the six hotels available through Disney for pre-/post-cruise stays (we’ve even evaluated one firsthand for you—the AC Barcelona): AC Barcelona $395+ 3.2 mi./5.15 km. to port This sleek, modern hotel is located in the heart of the city in the new shopping district, Diagonal Mar, about 40 minutes (14 km.) from the airport, near a Metro stop, and only 300 meters from the Mediterranean Sea (beach under construction at press time). Built in 2004, the 368-room, 22-story hotel has many modern amenities and panoramic views of the sea. Rooms have twin beds (in our case, they were pushed together to make one king bed), air conditioning, cable TV, phone, CD/cassette/radio stereo, free minibar with soft drinks), high-speed Internet access (€12/24hour period), hair dryer, designer bath toiletries, and bidets. Each room is decorated with dark wood floors and lots of glass—the windows even open. Hotel services include complimentary newspapers, a fitness center, outdoor pool, Turkish bath, solarium, sauna, and massage room. Wi-Fi is available in public areas—there’s also a public Internet area with laptops available (but you must still pay the Internet access fee mentioned above). The hotel has an excellent 24-hour restaurant that serves traditional Mediterranean cuisine; 24-hour room service is also offered. A complimentary hot breakfast buffet is included in the room rate—the food was delicious and selection is excellent. We enjoyed our room overlooking the city on the 11th floor, but we didn’t feel the room was child-friendly—too much glass, including the bathroom door! Otherwise the room was spacious for a European hotel, service was good, and we loved breakfast—we recommend this hotel. Check out the 13th floor observation deck for glorious views. For photos from our stay here, visit http://www.passporter.com/dcl/medhotelstay.asp. Check-in time is 2:00 pm; check-out time is 12:00 pm. For details, visit http://www.ac-hotels.com, call 93 489 82 00, or e-mail acbarcelona@ac-hotels.com. Address: 278 Passeig Taulat, Barcelona, 08019. Our room (#1116) at AC Barcelona

© MediaMarx, Inc.

Activities

Dining

Staterooms

Reservations

Introduction

72

Grand Marina Hotel $390+ at the port The Eurostars Grand Marina Hotel offers the closest accommodations to the cruise terminal, located inside the port itself in the World Trade Center complex. The 8-story hotel is along the western side of the circular complex, facing the sea. The 235 spacious guest rooms offer a double bed, air conditioning, private terrace (some rooms), cable TV, phone, safe, minibar, desk, high-speed Internet access, whirlpool tub, handheld shower, hair dryer, bath toiletries, and “welcoming gifts.” There’s also a fitness center, hot tub, outdoor swimming pool, massage room, and beauty salon. A free Internet terminal is in the first floor lobby bar. There is an on-site restaurant—Aire de Mar—that serves a breakfast buffet (about €15), lunch, dinner, and room service. If you don’t want to eat breakfast at the hotel, look for several inexpensive cafes just behind the hotel. Check-in time: 3:00 pm; check-out time: 12:00 pm. Visit http://www.grandmarinahotel.com, e-mail info@grandmarinahotel.com, or call 93 603 90 00. Address: Moll de Barcelona, s/n, Barcelona 08039.

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Barceló Hotel Atenea Mar $270+ 2.6 mi./4.2 km. to port This small-yet-modern hotel is located next to Forum 2004, Barcelona’s newest waterfront development. The 191 guest rooms have views of the sea or the mountains. Rooms have either one king bed or two twin beds, air conditioning, cable TV, fee-based Internet access (some are wireless), safe, mini-bar, and full bathroom with bidet, hair dryer, and complimentary toiletries. Hotel features include a fitness center, jacuzzi, sauna, and a cyber cafe with wireless Internet access. Bicycles can be rented nearby on the Nova Mar Bella beach. Onsite restaurant is “El Comedor” (a breakfast buffet is available for €13) and room service is also available. This hotel is a bit less convenient to tourist attractions than the others listed on these two pages; the nearest Metro station is a 10-minute walk away. Check-in time: 3:00 pm; check-out time: 12:00 pm. Visit http://www.bchoteles.com/atenea_in.htm, e-mail ateneamar@bchoteles.com, or call +34 93 531 60 90. Address: 37-47 Paseo Garcia Faria, Barcelona 08019 Hotel Husa L’Illa $291+ 3.75 mi./6 km. to port This hotel may appear less sophisticated than its pricier Barcelona sisters, but it is comfortable and has a decent location in the L’Illa shopping complex, located on the main thoroughfare of Avenue Diagonal. Each of the 103 guest rooms has air conditioning, cable TV, phone with dataport, mini-bar, safe, trousers press, newspaper delivery, hair dryer, and bathroom. Hotel features include a lobby with a fee-based Internet terminal, a small cafe, and a bar. There is also an on-site restaurant, Mirador. Some guests report that the hotels has large, clean rooms, but we also hear reports of dinginess and spotty service—your mileage may vary. The hotel was built in 1992 and refurbished in 2001. Check-in time: 2:00 pm; check-out time: 12:00 pm. Visit http://www.hotelhusalilla.com, e-mail info@hotelhusalilla.com, or call +34 93 410 33 00. Address: 555 Avenue Diagonal, Barcelona 08029

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Introduction Reservations Staterooms Dining Activities

Hilton Diagonal Mar $335+ 3.2 mi./5.15 km. to port This unusually shaped, 23-story high-rise hotel is located on the main thoroughfare of Diagonal Mar, convenient to shopping. Each of the 433 guest rooms offers spacious accommodations (323 sq. ft.), views of the city or sea, 28-in. flat-screen TV with cable, reading chair, desk, multi-line phones, mini-bars, fee-based high-speed Internet access (€27/day), bathrooms with three-jet “monsoon” showers, bidets, and complimentary Crabtree & Evelyn toiletries. Hotel features include an outdoor swimming pool, pool bar, fitness center, and business center. There is an on-site restaurant, Indigo, that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as a lobby bar, a pool bar, and 24-hour room service. Additional eateries are nearby (including a Starbucks). Breakfast may be complimentary with some packages (if it isn’t included, the price is 20 euros). The beach is a three-minute walk away. Check-in time: 3:00 pm; check-out time: 12:00 pm. Visit http://www.hilton.com, e-mail res.diagonalmar@hilton.com, or call +34 93 507 07 07. Address: 262-264 Passeig del Taulat, Barcelona 08019

Ports of Call

Hesperia Presidente $325+ 3 mi./4.8 km. to port Renovated in 2005, this 151-room modern hotel is located in the heart of the Diagonal Avenue shopping district. Rooms offer comfortable beds, desk, air conditioning, free wireless Internet access, hair dryer, phone, flat-screen TV with cable, minibar, safe, your choice of pillows (such as hypoallergenic, feather, or therapeutic), walk-in shower, and bath toiletries. Hotel services include a fitness center, solarium, outdoor swimming pool, on-site restaurant (breakfast is €15), room service, and bar. Note that this hotel is about a 15-minute walk to the nearest Metro subway station and is not near a beach. Check-in time: 2:00 pm; check-out time: 12:00 pm. Visit http://www.hesperia-presidente.com, call +34 932 002 111, or e-mail hotel@hesperiapresidente.com. Address: 570 Avenue Diagonal, Barcelona 08021

73

Magic

Topic: Lodging Near Port of Barcelona

Index

Chapter 2: Plotting Your Course


Chapter 2: Plotting Your Course

Topic: Port of Barcelona

Port of Barcelona While the Disney Magic is in the Mediterranean, it sails out of the Port of Barcelona (Port de Barcelona), which is also known as Port Vell. Barcelona’s port is the busiest Mediterranean port. The port area used to be a bit rundown and seedy, but it was rebuilt in time for the 1992 Summer Olympics, which were held not far from the port. More information is available at the port’s official web site at http://www.apb.es/en/welcome. While we can’t be exactly sure, we are pretty sure that the Disney Magic will dock at Moll D’Adossat Terminal at the port. (To check terminal assignments, visit http://www3.apb.es/en/PORT/Cruises/Forecast). Our Mediterranean scouting cruise (see next page) used Terminal B. The cruise check-in buildings that serve each of these terminals are of recent construction—the one we used was particularly good with plenty of checkin stations, chairs to wait upon, and even a few shops to browse. Porters will be on hand to collect all luggage (tip €1 –2/bag) except your carry-ons before you enter the terminal—luggage is scanned and delivered to your stateroom later, so be sure to attach those luggage tags you received with your cruise documents. Security scans your carry-ons before you enter the terminal, and you will need to pass through a metal detector. Plan to arrive before 3:00 pm. Ships are scheduled to leave at 9:00 pm (10- and 11-night itineraries) or 4:30 pm (westbound transatlantic crossing), but they may leave earlier when weather dictates.

© MediaMarx, Inc.

© MediaMarx, Inc.

Tip: To see a detailed aerial view of the port, download the free Google Earth program at http://earth.google.com.

Index

Magic

Ports of Call

Activities

Dining

Staterooms

Reservations

Introduction

74

Terminal B on Moll D’Adossat

Inside the modern and spacious terminal

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Shore Excursions—We’re convinced that for most ports, the right shore excursion is the best choice for the majority of cruisers. It may feel like “If this is Tuesday it must be Belgium,” but the time you save by never getting lost and never having to wait in line for an admission ticket is golden. Many of Dave’s full-day excursions came with wireless headsets, which meant he could wander a short distance from the tour group but still hear everything and keep track of the group’s movements. Jennifer’s half-day excursions were hit-or-miss. The more overwhelming ports—such as Rome—are best served by full-day excursions. Shopping—Even though most excursions include shopping stops, they leave little time for indecision or comparison shopping. If something strikes your fancy, get it—you probably won’t get another chance. Be prepared for just a little buyer’s remorse, especially on big-ticket items. Have a plan, have a budget, have a recipient list, and do your best to stick to it. Money—You’ll want Euros for your in-port purchases (except Gibraltar, which deals in Pounds). Onboard the Disney Magic, you’ll be dealing in U.S. currency. Cash tips on the ship will be welcome in either dollars or Euros. Get Euros from your hometown bank to save some time and money. Security—We cover this in each port section, but we can’t say it enough: Be careful. Dave lost his wallet on the last night of our trip. Was his pocket picked? It’s easy to blame, harder to prove, but still quite likely. Bottom line is that you’re most vulnerable when you’re distracted, as travelers will undoubtedly be from time to time. Customs—Thanks to the European Union umbrella, there will be no passport or customs inspections while you’re with the ship, very similar to touring the Caribbean. Customs clearances take place at the airport. And regardless of what convolutions U.S. law may be going through, you will need a passport for this trip. Period. See pages 50–51. Read our in-depth report at http://www.passporter.com/dcl/mediterranean.asp.

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Introduction Reservations Staterooms Dining

Lost Luggage—This seems to be far more common on flights to Europe. Dave’s suitcase went to Lisbon for a couple of days before it found him again in Villefranche. Another couple on our flight lost everything, and all four parties at Dave’s lunch table in Florence reported at least one lost item. Distribute each traveler’s clothing between several bags, just in case. If a bag doesn’t show up on the carousel in Barcelona’s Terminal A, search out the Iberia lost luggage desk. The staff handles lost luggage for most airlines. File a report with Disney once you board the ship, too, with the incident number given to you by the airline.

Activities

Like many other die-hard Disney Cruise Line fans, we jumped at the chance to book the 2007 Mediterranean itineraries. When the fever abated, we realized we had a much bigger problem on our hands: How were we going to write authoritatively about all those amazing ports of call? There was only one answer: Get to Europe ... and fast! We thought of visiting each port by air or rail, but we wouldn’t be experiencing the cities and ports from our readers’ perspective. If our readers were going to do Rome in a day, so would we! So, we booked a cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas, which hit most of the same ports as Disney’s 10- and 11-night itineraries. Here are some key tips we learned on our scouting trip:

Ports of Call

Our Barcelona Travel Experiences

75

Magic

Topic: Our Journey to Barcelona

Index

Chapter 2: Plotting Your Course


Index

Magic

Ports of Call

Activities

Dining

Staterooms

Reservations

Introduction

76

Chapter 2: Plotting Your Course

Topic: Mediterranean Weather

Mediterranean Weather Wondering what the weather will be like on your Mediterranean cruise? The Mediterranean is a pretty nice place to be in May, June, July, and August. Warm temperatures and sunny skies are the norm, with very little rain overall. If you’re familiar with California’s climate (particularly San Diego, Los Angeles, and Anaheim), it’s very similar. Storms of any kind are quite rare during Mediterranean summers. Most of the special terms for Mediterranean weather describe mild conditions such as “etasian” (a refreshing northerly summer wind) and “leveche” or “sirroco” (a warm wind). Disney cruisers will miss winter’s brutal mistral winds. Here are the details on each port: Tenerife

May

June

July

August

Average High

74°F/23°C

77°F/25°C

81°F/27°C

82°F/28°C

Average Low

62°F/17°C

66°F/19°C

68°F/20°C

70°F/21°C

Average Rainfall

0.1 in./0.25 cm.

0 in.

0 in.

0 in.

Cadiz

May

June

July

August

Average High

71°F/21°C

76°F/24°C

81°F/27°C

82°F/28°C

Average Low

60°F/12°C

64°F/18°C

68°F/20°C

69°F/20°C

Average Rainfall

1.5 in./4 cm.

0.7 in./2 cm.

0.1 in./0.25 cm.

0.2 in./0.5 cm.

Gibraltar

May

June

July

August

Average High

71°F/21°C

76°F/24°C

81°F/27°C

82°F/28°C

Average Low

60°F/16°C

64°F/18°C

68°F/20°C

69°F/20°C

Average Rainfall

1.5 in./4 cm.

0.4 in./1 cm.

0 in.

0.1 in./0.25 cm.

Barcelona

May

June

July

August

Average High

68°F/20°C

75°F/24°C

81°F/27°C

82°F/28°C

Average Low

54°F/12°C

61°F/16°C

66°F/19°C

66°F/19°C

Average Rainfall

1.7 in./4.5 cm.

1.5 in./4 cm.

1.1 in./3 cm.

1.7 in./4.5 cm.

Marseille

May

June

July

August

Average High

70°F/21°C

79°F/26°C

84°F/29°C

82°F/28°C

Average Low

54°F/12°C

61°F/16°C

66°F/19°C

66°F/18°C

Average Rainfall

1.8 in./4.5 cm.

1 in./2.5 cm.

0.6 in./1.5 cm.

1 in./2.5 cm.

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May

June

July

August

Average High

66°F/19°C

74°F/23°C

79°F/26°C

81°F/27°C

Average Low

56°F/13°C

63°F/17°C

66°F/19°C

65°F/18°C

Average Rainfall

1.9 in./5 cm.

1.5 in./4 cm.

0.7 in./2 cm.

1.2 in./3 cm.

Florence

May

June

July

August

Average High

74°F/23°C

81°F/27°C

88°F/31°C

88°F/31°C

Average Low

52°F/11°C

58°F/14°C

63°F/17°C

63°F/17°C

Average Rainfall

2.9 in./7.5 cm.

2.2 in./5.5 cm.

1.6 in./4 cm.

3 in./7.5 cm.

Rome

May

June

July

August

Average High

72°F/22°C

79°F/26°C

82°F/28°C

82°F/28°C

52°F/11°C

61°F/16°C

64°F/18°C

64°F/18°C

June

July

August

Average High

72°F/22°C

79°F/26°C

84°F/29°C

84°F/29°C

Average Low

52°F/11°C

61°F/16°C

64°F/18°C

64°F/18°C

Average Rainfall

2 in./5 cm.

1.3 in./3.5 cm.

1 in./2.5 cm.

1.6 in./4 cm.

Palermo, Sicily

May

June

July

August

Average High

72°F/22°C

77°F/25°C

82°F/28°C

82°F/28°C

Average Low

61°F/16°C

66°F/19°C

73°F/23°C

73°F/23°C

Average Rainfall

1 in./2.5 cm.

0.5 in./1 cm.

0.2 in./0.5 cm.

0.5 in./1 cm.

Olbia, Sardinia

May

June

July

August

Average High

72°F/22°C

79°F/26°C

84°F/29°C

84°F/29°C

Average Low

54°F/12°C

61°F/16°C

64°F/18°C

66°F/19°C

Average Rainfall

0.9 in./2 cm.

0.4 in./1 cm.

0.1 in./0.25 cm.

0.3 in./1 cm.

Transatlantic Crossing Weather The mid-Atlantic path you’re likely to take is relatively warm, mild, and calm in both May and August. To see wave height forecasts (up to 168 hours), visit http://www.lajollasurf.org/nata.html. You’ll also find current temperatures at http://www.oceanweather.com/data (click the appropriate section of the ocean map).

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Activities

May

Ports of Call

Naples

Dining

1.3 in./3.5 cm.

Magic

1.3 in./3.5 cm. 0.6 in./1.5 cm. 0.6 in./1.5 cm.

Index

Average Low Average Rainfall

Introduction

Villefranche/Nice

77

Reservations

Topic: Mediterranean Weather

Staterooms

Chapter 2: Plotting Your Course


235

Tenerife, Canary Islands

Size: 785 sq. mi. (2034 sq. km.) Climate: Subtropical/temperate Temperatures: 74°F (23°C) to 83°F (28°C) Population: 839,000 (island) Busy Season: December to February Language: Spanish Money: Euro Time Zone: Central European Transportation: Walking, taxis Phones: Dial 011-34 from U.S., dial 112 for emergencies

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The Canaries’ early history is lost in the depths of time. While the islands make fleeting appearances in Phoenician, Greek, and Roman writing, they were largely forgotten until 1400, when the Spanish conquered the islands and their indigenous people, the near-Neolithic Guanches. Spanish rule reigned and the islands became wealthy with sugar cane, and wine production. Christopher Columbus stopped here on his way to discover America and the islands became a significant stop on the trade route to the New World. Today, the island’s economy is primarily based on tourism (an estimated 20 million visitors each year) with cash crops of bananas, tomatoes, and tobacco thrown in for good measure. And, yes, the small finch (better known as a canary) is an island native.

HISTORY

These islands of eternal spring are blessed with sunny skies and constant, warm temperatures, making this a paradise in both winter and summer. Historical speculation places the lost continent of Atlantis among the Canary Islands. The islands themselves are an archipelago 60 miles off the coast of western Africa (Morocco) but belong to the Kingdom of Spain. Tenerife offers the most varied terrain of the islands, from the third-largest volcano on earth (Cañadas del Tiede) and fertile valleys with banana crops to sheer cliffs and wide swaths of black-sand beaches along the coastlines.

AMBIENCE

Tenerife, Canary Islands

FACTS

Tenerife, the largest of the seven Canary Islands, is the lush, exotic “Hawaii” of Europe. Volcanos, beaches, dolphins, carnivals, and warm winds are the island’s hallmarks, with the added sophistication of old-world Spanish cultural influences. Tenerife is a popular tourist destination.

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Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

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Your ship docks at the Avenida de Francisco La Roche Wharf at the Puerto de Santa Cruz (the deepest port in the world), located in the city of Santa Cruz at the northeast tip of Tenerife. You should be able to walk right off the ship, down the long pier, and into town (about a half mile away), but be aware that the port area is relatively industrial and not particularly scenic. Taxis and shuttles should be readily available to take you farther into the island. Disembarkation time is typically 7:00 am with an all-aboard time around 7:00 pm (eastbound) or 9:00 pm (westbound). You can get nearly anywhere on Tenerife by taxi or bus within one hour, thanks to the roads that lead to almost every town, village, and beach on the island. Tenerife taxis can be spotted by the letters “SP” (servicio publico, or public service) on the taxi’s rear and the green light on the taxi’s white roof. You can ask taxi drivers for sightseeing tours—expect to pay about €80 for a half-day tour. • Another transporation choice is the Tenerife bus system, which is generally clean, reliable, and cheap. For routes, maps, timetables, and prices, visit http://www.titsa.com. • While rental cars are certainly available on Tenerife, we hear that driving in town is a challenge. And while we did find a rental agency (car hire) with a pick-up point at the “Santa Cruz harbour” with prices from €30 to €73/day at http://www.carrentals.co.uk, reservations could not be made from within the United States or Canada. Verdict? It’s going to be more hassle than it’s worth to rent a car. Like all major tourist destinations, Tenerife has its share of hoodlums and pickpockets, so keep valuables safe and avoid beggars and other individuals you may find on the streets. In general, however, Tenerife is famous for its relative lack of crime—violent crime against tourists is almost non-existent, there are no terrorist threats, and the government is stable. Your biggest danger may be from the sun, so wear that sunscreen and stay hydrated. Tenerife shopping is known for its duty-free items (perfume and jewelry) and local handicrafts (volcanic sculptures, embroidered linens, and pottery). There’s a Corte Ingles department store in Santa Cruz that sells a wide variety of items, too. Cheap electronics are common hereabouts, but be wary of quality and scams. If you’re looking for stores within walking distance of the ship, head toward Plaza de España (see map) and walk in any direction uphill.

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We expect most of our readers will book a shore excursion (see next page). If you decide to do something on your own, here are four of the top attractions in Tenerife: Las Cañadas del Tiede (Tiede National Park)—This snow-capped, dormant volcano dominates the landscape of Tenerife and draws many visitors to its viewpoints. Expect breathtaking scenery on clear days. There’s a cable car (€22) to get you to the top. Also in the national park are the fascinating “Roques de Garcia” rocks. Los Gigantes (Cliffs of the Giants)—Remarkably sheer cliff faces that plunge into the ocean. The only way to view these cliffs properly is by boat. Ancients thought these cliffs represented the end of the world. Güimar Pyramids—Built by the original inhabitants of the islands, these mysterious step pyramids are evocative of pyramids in Mexico, Peru, and ancient Mesopotamia. There are six pyramids in total here, along with a museum. Playa Jardin—This recently refurbished, man-made beach near Puerto de la Cruz has black sand, huge rocks, clean waters, and lovely gardens.

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Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

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Embarking on Shore Excursions in Tenerife, Canary Islands Disney Cruise Line has yet to announce its roundup of shore excursions—we expect it to do so in spring 2007. We provide these listings to acquaint you with the possibilities based on typical offerings by other cruise lines. Anaga Mountains Rating: n/a From beaches to mountains, the Canary Islands have a little something for Tour everyone and this tour takes advantage of that. Start out by boarding a tour bus Leisurely and drive to the fishing village of San Andrés, where you’ll have the opportunity to All ages take photos of Las Teresitas beach—all of the golden sand on this mile-long beach $50/$25 was imported from the Spanish Sahara. Next, drive to El Bailadero—the highest 4 hours point in the Anaga Mountains—for spectacular views of the entire island. As you descend, you’ll stop at the remote village of Taganana and sample some locally produced goat cheese and wine. After photo stops in English Point and Pedro Alvarez village, you’ll enter the old Spanish capital of La Laguna, which continues to cling to its colonial traditions. A visit to La Iglesia del Cristo church offers Gothic architecture and a sterling silver altar. Your tour bus returns you to the pier at the conclusion of the tour. Mt. Tiede Rating: n/a Delight in the Canary Islands’ magnificent landscape on this tour through Tour mountains and valleys. As you wind through lush forests up the mountain Leisurely range, you’ll stop at Mirador de Otuno for panoramic views. Then you’ll enter All ages Las Cañadas National Park and encircle the peak of 12,270-foot-tall Mt. Tiede. $120/$60 You’ll also pass by the strange “moonscape” scenery and see the huge volcanic 7.5 hours rocks. On your way back down, you’ll stop at Humboldt Viewpoint for photos and Puerto de la Cruz for lunch. Your tour concludes after a visit to the botanical garden. Santa Cruz City Tour and Pyramid Park Rating: n/a Begin this excursion with a bus tour of Santa Cruz where you’ll pass the botanical gardens and the old bullring. Then you’ll enter the Güimar Valley, home of the mysterious step pyramids (see description on previous page). After viewing the pyramids, you’ll visit the basilica and the Black Madonna, patron saint of the Canary Islands.

Tour Leisurely All ages $60/$30 4 hours

Canary Island Gardens Rating: n/a The Canary Islands are rich with colorful flowers, plants, and vegetation. This Tour tour highlights some of the finer gardens on the island. The first stop is the Leisurely Jardin Botanico (botanical gardens), founded in 1788 by Charles III of Spain. All ages The concept behind this garden was to acclimate all of the new plant life $80/$40 that the Conquistadors brought from the New World to Spanish soil. Many 4 hours plants that grow here are originals to the garden. The pride of the garden is a giant South American fig tree. Next on the tour is a stop at the Risco Bella Garden, which highlights the most beautiful of local plant life. Before returning to the ship, you’ll stop at the Orchid Gardens of Sitio Litre. This beautiful garden boasts the largest collection of orchids in the Canary Islands. See page 168 for a key to the shore excursion description charts and their icons.

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Cadiz, Spain

Size: 4.7 sq. mi. (12.3 sq. km.) Climate: Mediterranean Temperatures: 71°F (21°C) to 82°F (28°C) Population: 130,000 Busy Season: Summer Language: Spanish Money: Euro (€) Time Zone: Central European Transportation: Walking, taxis Phones: Dial 011-34 from U.S., dial 112 for emergencies

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Cadiz holds a special place in history. It was founded in 1100 B.C. by the Phoenicians (they called the city Gadir) and, as such, is considered to be the oldest occupied city in western Europe. Later, the Romans turned the port into a lively, bustling stop along the trade routes. The Carthaginians, Visigoths, and Moors occupied the city in turns. In the 16th century, Cadiz was a launching port for ships sailing to the New World. Most significantly, in the 19th century, Cadiz was a hotbed for the antimonarchy movement and a center for political discourse. As a result, Spain’s first constitution was declared here in 1812. The city has a long history of tolerance and liberalism.

HISTORY

Cadiz is known as La Tacita de Plata (Little Silver Cup) due to its unique shape, phenomenal light, and the reflection of the sea on the city. Its crowded position on a peninsula makes for tall, jampacked buildings and narrow streets, but neat gardens and modest piazzas offer some breathing room. A walk around the city’s Old Quarter—which only takes about an hour—offers a charming, picture-perfect view of the “old world.” Sherry is produced by the barrel here, and if you venture out of the city, you’ll see the rows of vineyards covering the countryside. Seville, famous for its bullring, art galleries, and flamenco, is a mere 22 miles (35 km.) away and well worth a visit.

AMBIENCE

Cadiz

FACTS

Picturesque and laid-back, Cadiz is a friendly port. The golden cupola rising above the city and the ancient architecture lend Cadiz a Moorish look, but this port town is Spanish and proud of it. Its close proximity to the larger town of Seville makes it a popular stop for cruise lines.

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Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

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Your ship docks at the Alphonso XIII Quay at the Port of Cadiz. A cafeteria and public phones are available inside the cruise terminal. You’ll find much more information on the port at its informative web site at http://www.puertocadiz.com. The city center is a mere 10-minute walk from the pier. If you’re in need of a map, look about for the small tourist office at the port. Disembarkation time is typically 8:00 am with an all-aboard time around 10:30 pm. Eastbound cruisers arrive on a Tuesday, while westbound cruisers arrive on a Wednesday. If your interest lies in Cadiz, you’ll find it easiest—and most interesting—to walk into town and wander about. It’s difficult to get lost here—the city is not that large and it’s easy to keep an eye on the waterfront. To download and print a good map before your visit, go to http://www.opentopsightseeingtours.co.uk and choose Cadiz from the drop-down menu. • If you want to visit Seville on your own, take the train from the station just off the Plaza de Sevilla (see map)—it’s a 15-minute walk from the port. Expect to pay about €8/ person; the trip takes an hour and 45 minutes, each way. For train schedules, visit http://www.renfe.es.• Sightseeing buses that let you hop on and hop off at popular spots around town are available here, as they are in many cities popular with tourists, for €12/adult and €6/child. • Should you want to explore the surrounding areas on your own, you have time in this port to rent a car—you’ll find an AutoEurope (http://www.autoeurope.com) car rental agency at the train station. • There’s little need for a taxi here, but they exist. We’re going to sound like a broken record, but your biggest threat in Cadiz, as in other Mediterranean ports, is pickpocketing. Carry the minimum and keep it well concealed. Another caution is on overimbibing the local beer, which may have a higher alcohol content than other brews you may be used to. And don’t forget your sun protection—the Mediterranan sun can be harsh in the summer. The best shopping boulevard in Cadiz is along Calle Calumela, between Calle Topete and Calle San Francisco (see map)—you’ll find many boutiques here. For a large selection, try El Corte Ingles department store at Avenida Cortes de Cadiz . You’ll find a traditional outdoor market near Plaza de las Flores—this is your best bet for local handicrafts. Look for the local specialties: sherry, flamenco dresses and fans, ceramics, dolls, leather goods, blankets, and saddles.

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Cadiz Sights—The gold-domed Catedral Nueva (pictured on page 239) is a must-see in Cadiz—it’s open from 10:00 am to 1:30 pm and again from 4:30 to 7:00 pm. Cathedral admission is €4. The Museo de Cadiz at Plaza de Mina offers artifacts and fine arts—admission is €1,50; open all afternoon. Consider a visit to La Torre Tavira, an old watchtower with amazing views of the city and a camera obscura exhibit—admission is €3,50 (see http://www.torretavira.com). Cadiz also offers golden, sandy beaches—La Cortadura Beach is considered the finest in the city with a long shoreline and sand dunes. Seville Sights—Don’t miss Alcazar (Plaza del Triunfo), a 14th century palace and the oldest royal residence still in use (the Spanish royals stay here during their visits). Palace admission is €5. Catedral de Sevilla (the Cathedral at Playa Virgen de los Reyes) is the biggest Gothic building in the world (and the third-largest church in the entire world)—it took more than 100 years to construct. Cathedral admission is €7,50. Want to see the real Macarena? Visit the Basilica de la Macarena, which holds the “Virgin of Hope” (called La Macarena). Free admission to the basilica. Museo de Ballas Artes (Plaza del Museo) is a must-visit for any art museum fan—its collection of Spanish Masters is breathtaking. Museum admission is €1,50; hours are 3:00–8:00 pm (Tuesdays) and 9:00 am–8:00 pm (Wednesdays).

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Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

Topic: Cadiz Shore Excursions

Embarking on Shore Excursions in Cadiz, Spain Disney Cruise Line has yet to announce its roundup of shore excursions— we expect it to do so in spring 2007. We provide these listings to acquaint you with the possibilities based on typical offerings by other cruise lines. Cadiz, Jerez, and Sherry Tasting Rating: n/a Board the tour bus for a drive through the city of Cadiz. You’ll make a stop at Tour Cathedral Square where you’ll discover the important and historical landmarks Leisurely of this area. From here you’ll drive 30 miles to the town of Jerez de la Frontera, All ages which has an ideal climate for growing the grapes that produce the three main $50/$25 sherries. In Jerez, you’ll set out on a walking tour of the birthplace of sherry. 4 hours Highlights include the cathedral of Jerez and Constitution Monument. Your tour concludes with a visit to a sherry cellar (bodega) to see the sherry-making process and sample some sherry if you wish (and if you’re of age, of course). Cadiz & Flamenco Rating: n/a Leave from the port in a tour bus and head to the center of town to see the Tour most important landmarks of the city. See the 18th-century tobacco factory Leisurely that now serves as the Congress building. Also on this leg of the trip you’ll come All ages across Santo Domingo Church, the old Royal Prison, and a Roman theater. At $70/$53 this point, you’ll take a walking tour to see Plaza de la Mina, which at one 4 hours point was once used as a garden by the local monks, and to Calle Ancha, where beautiful 19th-century palaces stand. Your tour concludes at the Flamenco Plaza La Cava where you’ll see the famous dancers while enjoying tapas and drinks. Cadiz City Tour Rating: n/a For a short excursion, this one is chock-full of everything Cadiz. Start by going Tour to the center of town in a tour bus—along the way you’ll spot the Cadiz Palace Leisurely of Congress, Santo Domingo Church, Old Royal Prison, Roman Theater, San All ages Carlos Gate, and two castles (San Sebastian and Santa Catalina). A walking $37/$18 tour begins at Plaza de Espana—highlights include the Monument of the 3 hours Liberal Assembly and the neoclassical Provincial Deputation building. From here you’ll move onto the Plaza de la Mina where you’ll view the exterior of the Fine Arts and Archaeological Museum. On your return to the port you’ll pass Cuesta de las Calesas, a 17th-century fortification. Seville Day Trip Rating: n/a A tour bus shuttles you north to one of the greatest cities in Spain: Seville. Your Tour first stop is at the massive Cathedral of Seville. While you’re here, be sure to see Leisurely the Reales Alcazares and the Casa de Pilatos monuments. From the Cathedral, All ages you’ll set out on a walking tour of the Santa Cruz Quarter, the old Jewish ghetto $112/$57 of Seville and now an upscale, picturesque area. After a stop for lunch, your tour 8 hours moves on to modern Seville and you’ll discover why Seville has become one of the largest cities in Spain. Notable highlights include Torre del Oro and La Giralda Tower. The tour concludes with a stop at Plaza de Espana, a delightful square with monumental architecture (the square appears in a scene of “Star Wars: Episode II”). See page 168 for a key to the shore excursion description charts and their icons.

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Gibraltar

Size: 2.5 sq. mi. (6.5 sq. km.) Climate: Mediterranean Temperatures: 71°F (21°C) to 82°F (28°C) Population: 28,000 Busy Season: Winter Language: English, Spanish Money: Pound Sterling (£) Time Zone: Central European Transportation: Walking, taxis, cable car Phones: Dial 011-350 from U.S., dial 999 for emergencies

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Gibraltar is firmly rooted in the bedrock of history. The ancients alternately feared and revered it, thanks not only to its magnificent geography but also its position at the entrance to the Atlantic Ocean. The Greeks named the Gibraltar promontory one of the two Pillars of Hercules, which formerly marked the end of the world. Its vantage point meant it was much sought after as a defensive point—it has been besieged 15 times—and occupied by the Visigoths, the Arabs, the Spanish, and eventually the British, in whose hands it has been since 1713. Today, Gibraltar’s economy is based on financial services and tourism.

HISTORY

“The Rock,” a gray limestone monolith nearly two miles (three km.) long and 1,396 ft. (426 m.) high, dominates Gibraltar’s scenery. Miles of tunnels and 140 natural caves riddle the soft limestone, making the solid “Rock” almost hollow! The top slopes are the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, home to Europe’s remaining wild monkey, the Barbary macaques. The eastern side offers small beaches nestled against sheer cliffs, while the western side harbors the town and its residents. Impressive fortress walls and a Moorish castle enclose the town, and its bay is a well-known spot for dolphin watching and diving. The southernmost tip of Gibraltar is Europa Point, from which you can see the North African coast 14 miles away.

AMBIENCE

The famous Rock of Gibraltar

FACTS

We’ve all heard of the solid “Rock of Gibralt ar.” But did you know that while Gilbraltar is at the southern tip of Spain, it’s actually a British overseas territory? This tiny, densely populated region stands sentry over the Strait of Gibraltar, which links the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean.

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The Disney Magic docks at the Port of Gibraltar, located on the western side of the Gibraltar peninsula. Your ship berths alongside the port’s cruise teminal, which offers visitors a cafeteria, local handicrafts store, and a tourist information desk. More information on the port is at http://www.gibraltarport.com. A taxi stand and excursion tour buses are a short walk away. It’s also quite possible to walk into town from the pier. Disembarkation time is typically 7:00 am with an all-aboard time of 6:30 pm. Eastbound cruisers will arrive on Wednesday; westbound cruisers arrive on Tuesday. If you’re just interested in shopping, it’s an easy walk (less than a mile) from the cruise terminal to Main Street (see map on next page). Other sights, such as the Moorish castle, are within walking distance. • Taxis are popular and plentiful here—ask a driver for a “Rock Tour” for about £7/person. The tour encircles the Rock and takes in most of the major sights in about 90 minutes. For more information, visit http://www.gibtaxi.com. Do note, however, that if you want to cross the border and visit Spain, Gibraltar taxis are not allowed into Spain—you’ll have to get dropped off at the border, walk across, and hail another taxi. • If you’re not on an excursion, you can get to the top of the Rock via cable car (£9)—the station is next to the Alameda Botanical Gardens (see map). • We do not suggest you rent a car in Gibraltar—roads are very narrow and parking spaces are severly limited. Safety in Gibraltar isn’t difficult. Crime rates are very low. Pickpocketing is a concern, albeit to a lesser extent than other Mediterranean ports. Humans aren’t the only creatures to remain alert around; Gibraltar’s famous Barbary apes have been known to pickpocket, too. Perhaps more importantly, the apes can bite and scratch, so we discourage you from feeding or touching them. Gibraltar’s Main Street is the focus of shopping here—its main pedestrianized thoroughfare runs almost the entire length of the town (see map). You’ll find luxury goods (leather, jewelry, watches, and perfume) and electronics for sale in both chain stores and small boutiques. And let’s not overlook the plethora of toy monkeys, a popular souvenir. Prices are usually given in pounds as well as Euros at most stores—if you use Euros to pay, however, your exchange rate may not be favorable.

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The Food—With most excursions lasting less than half your day, consider finding yourself a decent lunch spot. Gibraltar food is known for two things—its unique cuisine and its British pub fare. For a taste of Gibraltar, look for eateries serving calentita and panissa—baked chickpea dishes. You’ll find tapas bars around, too. Feeling British? Look for pubs—we hear The Clipper is particularly good. You’ll also find some Moroccan cuisine in Gibraltar.

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Activities Ports of Call

The Bay—The Gibraltar bay is home to three species of dolphin as well as whales, turtles, and flying fish. “Dolphin safaris” are available to attempt to spot these creatures (http://www.dolphinsafari.gi). Diving is also popular in the bay, which has several shipwreck sites and plenty of marine life (http://www.divegib.gi).

Magic

The Rock—View it from afar (you can see it from the cruise dock) or get up close on an excursion or with the cable car (see previous page). Consider also a visit to upper St. Michael’s Cave—this extensive cave system has enough room for a concert auditorium! Entry to the cave is free with a cable car ticket. The cable car also gets you up to the Apes’ Den to see the fascinating monkeys.

Index

A visit to the Rock is the main draw for tourists in Gibraltar, but there are several other interesting sights as well. Here are details:

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Topic: Gibraltar Shore Excursions

Embarking on Shore Excursions in Gibraltar Disney Cruise Line has yet to announce its roundup of shore excursions—we expect it to do so in spring 2007. We provide these listings to acquaint you with the possibilities based on typical offerings by other cruise lines. Gibraltar’s Highlights (City Tour) Rating: n/a This driving tour shows you all of the important sites of Gibraltar, albeit in a Tour condensed version. As your bus tour starts out, you’ll pass the American War Leisurely Memorial and the British naval headquarters stationed in Gibraltar. Next, All ages your tour bus drives to the Europa Point for photo opportunities of the Strait $55/$45 of Gibraltar, the Spanish mainland, and, if it’s a clear day, Africa. From there, 2 hours you travel to the Upper Rock area to see St. Michael’s Cave and the Barbary apes. Your tour concludes with a drive past the Moorish Castle and the Tower of Homage, and then it’s back to the pier. Upper Rock Walking Tour Rating: n/a You’ll be hard pressed to get a better experience of Gibraltar than on foot. Tour Your guided tour begins with a visit to Gibraltar’s military fortifications with Moderate its beautiful floral gardens and spectacular views. Next, take the cable car to All ages the top of the Rock, where you’ll be able to view Catalán Bay before walking a $60/$55 wooded footpath to St. Michael’s Cave. After seeing the cave, you’ll be shuttled 4 hours to Apes’ Den, home of the Barbary apes. See the Great Siege Tunnels and then walk pass the Moorish Castle before walking back into town for some shopping. From the shopping area, it’s only a short walk back to the pier. Wear comfortable shoes. Gibraltar on Your Own Rating: n/a If you want to explore Gibraltar at your own pace, then consider this tour. Tour Take a cable car to the top for spectacular views of the Mediterranean, the Moderate Atlantic Ocean, and even Morocco on a clear day. At the top, you’ll receive All ages an “electronic tour guide,” a handheld computer with the history of the Rock $35 of Gibraltar. Follow the signs to St. Michael’s Cave and Apes’ Den to see the duration varies Barbary apes. Take the cable car back down into town for some shopping. When you’re done, you can take advantage of the shuttle service that leaves every 20 minutes, or just walk the short distance to the pier. Dolphin Encounter Rating: n/a Your tour begins with a water taxi at the ferry terminal to the Bay of Gibraltar. If for some reason no dolphins are spotted here, your boat continues on to the Strait of Gibraltar. After viewing the dolphins, the water taxi passes the western face of Gibraltar while the onboard guide provides facts and answers any questions that you may have about Gibraltar and its history. After you return to the ferry terminal, you can choose to go back to the ship or take a shuttle into town for some shopping.

Tour Leisurely All ages $65/$40 4 hours

Index

See page 168 for a key to the shore excursion description charts and their icons.

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Size: 188 sq. mi. (487 sq. km.) Climate: Mediterranean Temperatures: 68°F (20°C) to 82°F (28°C) Population: 1,500,000 (city) Busy Season: Summer Language: Catalan and Spanish Money: Euro (€) Time Zone: Central European Transportation: Walking, taxis, subway Phones: Dial 011-34 from U.S., dial 112 for emergencies

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Magic

Believed to be founded around 250 B.C., the Barcelona region began as small villages settled by Carthaginians. The villages grew into a city, which the inhabitants called Barcino. The Romans arrived by the first century A.D., leaving its architectural legacy behind for us to enjoy. Several more invasions arrived—Visgoths, Muslims, Franks—thanks to its desirable location. Barcelona eventually became one of the most powerful trade cities in the Mediterranean, becoming the seat of the monarchy until it shifted to Madrid in the 15th century. The region suffered in the 16th and 17th centuries, enduring revolts and repression. The industrial boom of the 19th century brought good things to Barcelona, including several international exhibitions. In 1992, Barcelona hosted the Olympic Games, which revitalized the city even further.

HISTORY

Basking in the glow of the Mediterranean sun, Barcelona is a vibrant city with a balance of old world charm and modern enterprise. The stylish city offers eccentric and modern architecture, culinary treats, trendy shopping, and impressive art collections. The rounded top of Mt. Tibidabo provides a backdrop to the picturesque city, which is located on a plateau along the southeast corner of the Iberian peninsula, bounded by the Collserola mountain range, the Llobregat and Besós rivers, and the sea.

AMBIENCE

Barcelona’s Christopher Columbus Monument

FACTS

Mention Barcelona and you may think of delicious paella and tapas, or its delightful climate and sunny beaches. Did you know it’s also the second largest city in Spain, and the capital of Catalonia? Steeped in more than 2,000 years of history, Barcelona is a cultural and commercial center of world significance.

Activities

(Mediterranean Itineraries’ Home Port) See pages 70–75 for details on flying into Barcelona, terminal information, and more

Ports of Call

Barcelona

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Index

Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

Tip: Look for the µ camera symbol throughout the text to indicate when additonal photos are available online along with our trip report at http://www.passporter.com/dcl/mediterranean.asp


Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

GETTING THERE GETTING AROUND STAYING SAFE

Ports of Call Magic Index

Topic: Barcelona Tips and Notes

Making the Most of Barcelona

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The Disney Magic docks at the Moll D’Adossat Terminal µ, a large port facility on Barcelona’s coast. Taxis and tour buses leave from the pier. The ship arrives at varying times, depending on your itinerary: the eastbound transatlantic arrives at 7:30 am, and the 10- and 11-night itineraries arrive at 6:45 am. You can catch a shuttle bus (€1,50) from the dock to Monument de Colom µ, which is at the southern end of Las Ramblas pedestrian promenade. Taxis are also available in this area if you wish to go farther afield. Unlike so many other Mediterranean ports, downtown Barcelona is within easy distance of the dock. Barcelona taxis µ are black and yellow, and plentiful. Look for a green light atop a taxi that indicates it’s available for hire. Prices are posted inside the taxi, and a meter shows the final price (though do expect an extra fee if you’re going to the airport and/or have luggage with you). Plan to tip about 5–10% of the fare. • If you’ll be in town for a while, consider Barcelona’s excellent public transportation system, the Metro µ, with six subway lines criscrossing the city. A subway ride is just €1,05. For Metro routes, visit http://www.tmb.net (L4 route is the closest to the port). If you’re going to a nearby town, the FGC (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya at http://www.fgc.es) commuter line has routes at the same price as a subway ride. • While rental cars are available, we don’t think they are necessary for most of our readers. If you’re in the minority, Hertz, Avis, National Atesa, and Europcar all have agencies at the airport. • Plan to do a lot of walking in Barcelona—most of the city center is pedestrian-friendly. Despite its charm, Barcelona has a bad reputation for petty crime. Dave lost his wallet in Barcelona, and while we can’t be sure, we suspect his pocket was picked in a subway elevator. Your best bet is to avoid looking like a tourist (keep those maps and books tucked away) and secure your wallet and purse. Avoid tourist dress (i.e., shorts) and wear fitted, earthtone clothes. Be wary of anyone attempting to sell you a trinket, beg, or even help you clean up bird droppings—they may be hoping to distract you long enough to pick your pocket. Carry the absolute minimum in cash and ID, too (thankfully, Dave followed this advice). We also suggest you avoid the southern end of Las Ramblas in the late evening, as it can get rather seedy. If you’ll be spending some time in Barcelona, visit this site with tips on avoiding problems: http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/barcelona-safety.html

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Walking Around the Gothic Quarter: Begin at Plaça Nova µ with one of the Roman gates to the old city. Here you’ll see the 12th-century Palau Episcopal (Bishop’s Palace). A street opposite the palace leads to the Cathedral, which you may enter by the main door (wear respectful clothing—no shorts or tank tops). Leave the cathedral by way of the cloisters and enter Plaça Garigia i Bachs— cross the square to Plaça Sant Felip Neri. Nearby is a shoe museum. Exit to Carrer del Bisbe and walk south to the Placa Sant Jaume, the heart of the city. You can walk north through the same way, or wander down the enchanting streets. Allow 3–4 hours. Note: Look for signs showing the route µ of an alternate walking tour, too.

Index

Walking Las Ramblas: Starting from Monument de Colom, walk north along Las Ramblas µ. Your first stop will be the Reials Dressanes (medieval dockyards) and the Museum Maritime. The Wax Museum comes along next, followed by Plaça Reial, a gorgeous square with an iron fountain. As you continue on, look for the mosaic in the walkway by Joan Miro. Next is the Sant Josep (Boqueria Market) which houses popular food stalls. Walking on, look for the Palau de la Virreina, a lavish 18th-century rococo building. As you come to Carme street, look for Iglesia de Belén, an ancient Jesuit church with a Gothic interior. You’ll finish at the Font de Canaletesµ, a 19th-century iron fountain, near the Placa de Catalunya. Allow about 3–4 hours.

WALKING TOURS

Dining

BARCELONA MAP

Touring Barcelona

Reservations

Introduction

Topic: Barcelona Map

Staterooms

Chapter 6: Putting Into Port


Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

Index

Topic: Barcelona Activities

ACTIVITIES

Playing in Barcelona Barcelona has so many attractions you’ll find it hard to decide. That’s why we spent several extra days in Barcelona. Here are the attractions we found most interesting during our visit: The Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic)µ is a must-see and one of our favorite sights. Try our walking tour detailed on the previous page. This is the “old town Barcelona,” dating back to the Roman era with ancient fortified walls, Roman palaces, and narrow cobblestone streets. Picasso lived and worked here. The Gothic Quarter is very near Las Ramblas (see next page) if you want to combine visits. L’Aquarium de Barcelonaµis a large, popular aquarium at the port. Over 11,000 sea creatures (450 different species) make their home here in the 20 tanks and displays. The walk-through shark tunnel (262 ft./80 m. long) is a visual treat. There’s also an interactive, hands-on area where you explore three marine ecosystems. An IMAX theater is next door, but you can visit one at home, right? The aquarium opens every day from 9:30 am to 9:00 pm (open a little later on summer weekends). Tickets are €15/adults, €12/seniors 60+, and €10/kids age 4–12. Phone: 93 221 74 74. http://www.aquariumbcn.com Montjuicµis a huge, hilltop park, home to the 1992 Olympics, many museums (including Poble Espanyol—see next page), and great city views. It’s easily reached by city transit and aerial tramway from Barceloneta.

Montserratµis a breathtaking mountain with a monastery perched atop it. It’s located about 35 miles northwest of Barcelona, so consider a tour operator or excursion. You can go inside the cathedral to view the 12th century “Black Madonna.” Try to time your visit to catch the Escolonia boy choir at 5:00 pm. We also had a nice, inexpensive meal at L’Arsa La Cafeteria. http://www.abadiamontserrat.net

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Sagrada Familiaµis a huge, ornate temple that has been a work in progress since 1882 (and still has at least 20 years to go). The church—which happens to be Barcelona’s #1 tourist attraction—is open 9:00 am to 2:00 pm on Monday–Thursday and 4:00 pm–7:00 pm on Friday (closed weekends). http://www.sagradafamilia.org

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Atop Montserrat

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RELAXING ON BEACHES

What better way to relax than on a sunny Spanish beach? Barcelona has four main beaches. Barcelona’s beaches are generally clean and most have lifeguards. The closest large beach to the port is Barcelonetaµ, a wide but crowded beach lined with a boardwalk and several American-style eateries, as well as the yummy Can Majó paella eatery (see next page). Beyond that is Nova Icaria, which offers several beach bars and restaurants on its broad, golden sand. Adjoining Nova Icaria is Bogatell—it features a paved path for cycling and jogging. A bit farther down is Mar Bella, the city’s only “naturalist” (nude) beach. If none of the city beaches appeals to you, consider Casteldefells beach with five kilometers of wide sand and many eateries—it’s a 15minute train ride south from the city to the nearby station of Platja de Casteldefells. If you want a beach off the beaten path, hop on a train going north to Ocata—here you’ll find a long, golden beach with space to breathe. Remember to bring your sunscreen and wear your swimsuit under your clothing on your way to and from the beach—swimwear is only appropriate attire on the beaches in Spain.

Dining

Poble Espanyol de Montjuic µ, the “Spanish Village,” sits atop the Montjuic Mountain and displays architecture and culture from different parts of Spain (we think of it as the “World Showcase” of Spain). More than 50 vendors, craftspeople, and workshops create traditional Spanish goods here among the squares and streets. This is the home of El Tablao de Carmen restaurant and flamenco show—see next page. The village is open 9:00 am to midnight or later, though most cafes and shops close earlier. Admission is €7,50 for adults, €4 for kids 7–12 (kids under 7 are free). Phone: 93 50 86 300. http://www.poble-espanyol.com

Magic

The world-famous Las Ramblas µ is a 3-km.-long, tree-lined boulevard with a pedestrian promenade down the middle and shops and restaurants along the sides. (“Las Ramblas” actually means “dry riverbed” in Arabic.) You’ll find designer boutiques (Versace, Giorgio Armani) as well as department stores and street vendors. You’ll also find several tourist museums, including a maritime museum, wax museum, art museum, and a museum of erotica. You can walk here from the port—see the map on page 249. The Barcelona Transport bus (€8 for an all-day card) runs along Las Ramblas from 7:30 am to 9:45 pm weekdays and 9:00 am to 9:20 pm Saturdays (the line does not run on Sundays, as nearly all the shops are closed). This is a very busy area and prime for pickpockets; guard your valuables.

SHOPPING

Shopping and Relaxing in Barcelona

Reservations

Introduction

Topic: Barcelona Activities

Index

Chapter 6: Putting Into Port


Topic: Barcelona Eateries

Dining in Barcelona If you’re into food, be sure to get into one (or several) of Barcelona’s eateries. Widely regarded as Europe’s latest culinary capital, Barcelona offers its own unique twist on traditional Catalan food. You’ll want to try the paella, of course, but also look for tapas (tasty little appetizers), zarzuela (fish stew), and meti i mató (soft cheese and honey).

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Dining

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Traditional lunch hour is 2:00–4:00 pm. Dinner is taken late between 9:00 and 11:30 pm. Locals generally make lunch their main meal of the day. Most restaurants serve a fixed-price meal at lunchtime, consisting of an appetizer, an entree, dessert, and a drink. This meal, called menúdel dia, is usually an excellent bargain (around €8–12). Nonsmoking restaurants and bars are largely nonexistent; choose an eatery with an outdoor patio if smoke is a problem for you. Legal drinking age is 16. Bars and lounges are everywhere. Do consider ordering a una jarra de sangria (one pint of sangria). Mmmmm! Plan to tip about 5–10% of your total—leave your tip in cash. A 7% sales tax will also appear on your bill. Here are the restaurants we tried and enjoyed during our stay, plus a few we haven’t tried but have heard good things about:

Ports of Call

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Taller de Tapas —Excellent tapas restaurant with English menus and English-speaking staff. They also serve breakfast. Get a seat outside to watch the Gothic Quarter strollers. This was our favorite dining experience in Barcelona—highly recommended! Address: Plaça Sant Josep Oriol 9. Phone: 93 301 80 20. Web: http://www.tallerdetapas.com Café de L’ Academia—A charming old town restaurant with an enchanting outdoor terrace, complete with an old, bubbling fountain. Affordable prices. Address: Lledó 1 Plaza San Just, Barri Gotic. Phone: 93 315 00 26. Open Monday–Friday (closed most of August).

Magic

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Can Majó —This popular waterfront restaurant serves up excellent paella (€14) and fideuas (paella with noodles instead of rice). Try for a table on the terrace. You’ll want to make reservations if you plan to visit on a weekend. Address: Almirante Aixada 23 (on the Barceloneta beach). Phone: 93 221 54 55.

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Index

Barceloneta —If you can’t get into Can Majó, walk farther down the beach to Barceloneta for great paella and fisherman’s rice (€16,40 each). Address: L’Escar 22, Moll dels Pescadors (near the Barceloneta beach). Phone: 93 221 21 11. Web: http://www.rte-barceloneta.com El Tablao de Carmen—Yes, this is a tourist destination, but what fun! The set menus are a bit pricey at €59–83, but the price includes the 75-minute flamenco show. Reservations should be made in advance at their web site. Address: Poble Espanyol (see previous page). Phone: 93 325 68 95. Web: http://www.tablaodecarmen.com

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Hotel Constanza—A trendy boutique hotel of just 20 rooms within easy walking distance of shops and La Ribera. Breakfast is €6. Rooms start at about €120. Address: Bruc 33, L’Eixample. Phone: 93 270 19 10. Web: http://www.hotelconstanza.com Neri Hotel µ—Another boutique, 22-room hotel, this one in the Gothic Quarter near the cathedral. Its focus is on romance—check out its terrace and rooftop garden. Rooms start at €170. Address: Sant Sever 5, Barri Gotic. Phone: 93 304 06 55. Web: http://www.hotelneri.com Montecarlo µ—Situated right on Las Ramblas, this 200-year-old building features an ornate facade and rooms with adjustable beds and jetted tubs. Rates start at about €150. Address: Las Ramblas 124. Phone: 93 412 04 04. Web: http://www.montecarlobcn.com Vincci Marítimo Hotel—If sunbathing on beaches is your thing, consider this modern hotel near the Barceloneta beach. The hotel even has a communal Japanese garden to relax in. Rates start at €140. Address: Llull 340, Poble Nou. Phone: 93 356 26 00. Web: http://www.vinccihoteles.com Learning More About Barcelona • Recommended web sites about Barcelona: http://www.barcelona-tourist.guide.com http://www.aboutbarcelona.com http://www.timeout.com/barcelona • Recommended guidebook: Insight CityGuide Barcelona (ISBN: 981-4137-49-9). • Our trip report: http://www.passporter.com/dcl/mediterranean.asp.

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Introduction Reservations Staterooms Dining

Duques de Bergara—Would you like to sleep in a duke’s townhouse? This renovated 1898 home built for the Duke of Bergara offers 149 guest rooms, each with a marble bath. Rates start at €180. Address: Bergara 11, Ciutat Vella. Phone: 93 301 51 51. Web: http://www.hoteles-catalona.es

Activities

If you decide to extend your stay in Barcelona but opt not to book one of Disney’s pricey pre- or post-cruise hotels (see pages 72–73), here is a list of more moderately priced and special hotels. We haven’t checked these out ourselves, but we hear good things about them. Keep in mind that Barcelona hotels are quite popular and enjoy an 85% occupancy rate, so availability can be hard to come by unless you book in advance. Tip: If you can manage it, we suggest you plan to stay in Barcelona before your cruise—this gives you time to acclimate to the time zone before your cruise starts.

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Magic

Topic: Barcelona Lodging

Index

Chapter 6: Putting Into Port


Topic: Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris Thinking about taking a side trip to Disneyland Paris µ? You’re not alone—several of our readers asked us to research this possibility. We didn’t make a visit there ourselves on our recent Mediterranean cruise, but we did visit Disneyland Paris just last year with our son Alexander. Disney Cruise Line wasn’t yet offering an add-on trip for Disneyland at press time, but you may want to check with them in the event they add one.

Index

First things first—how do you get to Disneyland Paris from Barcelona? Your best bet is to take the “Trainhotel” on the RENFE (Spanish National Railway Network). The Trainhotel leaves from the Barcelona Franca station in the evening and arrives in Gare de Paris-Austerlitz the following morning. Prices start at about €100 per person, round-trip. For more details, see http://www.seat61.com/spain.htm or http://www.raileurope.com. Once you reach Paris, take a taxi—it’s about 30–45 min. to the park and about €70 (bring cash). It is possible to take a train to Disneyland, but it requires switching lines several times—we don’t recommend it.

The parks themselves—Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios—are within walking distance of each other. Admission is €43/adult and €35/child age 3���11 for a one-day/one-park ticket. Park hoppers are available—one-day hopper (€53/€45), two-day (€96/€79), and three-day (€115/€95). You can tour the park attractions and eateries before you arrive at http://www.disneylandparis.com. One attraction you should not miss is CinéMagique at Walt Disney Studios—it’s a delightful journey through 100 years of movies with Martin Short! Sleeping Beauty Castle

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Disneyland Paris itself could be blitzed in a day (not counting your transportation to and from Barcelona, of course), though we spent three days here in order to really enjoy it. Keep in mind that there are now two parks at the resort as well as several resort hotels. We splurged on the Disneyland Hotelµ, a grand Victorian hotel right at the entrance to the Disneyland park. Our large, first-floor room had high ceilings and a fourposter bed—quite enchanting and very French. Room rates here start at €427. If you’re more budget-minded, consider Disney’s Davy Crockett’s Ranch at €186/night. More Disney resort hotel options exist between these two rates, as well as several non-Disney hotels that begin at about €140/night. (All of the rates we mention are per adult, based on double occupancy, and include park admission.)

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Palermo, Sicily

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Size: 61 sq. mi. (158 sq. km.) Climate: Mediterranean Temperatures: 72°F (22°C) to 82°F (28°C) Population: 675,000 Busy Season: Summer Language: Italian, Sicilian Money: Euro (€) Time Zone: Central European Transportation: Walking, taxis, trains Phones: Dial 011-39 from U.S., dial 112 for emergencies

Dining Activities Ports of Call Magic

The name Palermo comes from the Greek word panoramus, which refers to the city’s excellent natural harbor. Recorded history begins in the 6th century B.C. when Phoenicians colonized the area. The First Punic War in 241 B.C. brought the region under Roman rule. Arabs conquered the city in 827, followed by the Normans in 1060. It bounced back into Roman control in 1194, but passed to French and Spanish rule later. Eventually, Sicily and Naples unified into the “Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.” The harbor and city center were nearly destroyed during World War II. In 1946, the island of Sicily became an autonomous region of Italy.

HISTORY

As a Mediterranean island, Sicily basks in the warmth of the sun and summers are very hot and dry. Sicily’s largest city, Palermo, is also its capital city—it’s a thriving metropolitan area well known for its great food, street markets, puppets, citrus groves, plazas, and monuments. Palermo’s long history of occupation and siege by many Mediterranean powers molded its culture and architecture greatly—you’ll find a fascinating melting pot of Byzantine, Norman, Arab, and Baroque influences. In fact, the cathedral pictured above was originally a mosque. And we mustn’t forget that Palermo is notorious for the mafia—it was originally established here to provide protection for the citrus-growing estates around the city.

AMBIENCE

Duomo (Cathedral) in Palermo, Sicily

FACTS

Sicily evokes images of saucy spaghetti and The Godfather movies. And yet it’s so much more than that with its classic GrecoRoman architecture, mild and sunny climate, and diverse geography. You haven’t seen Italy until you’ve also seen Sicily—it’s truly a unique place.

Photodisc

(Mediterranean Itineraries)

Reservations

Introduction

Topic: Palermo Introduction

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Index

Chapter 6: Putting Into Port


Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

GETTING THERE GETTING AROUND STAYING SAFE

Ports of Call Magic Index

Topic: Palermo Tips and Notes

Making the Most of Palermo, Sicily

Activities

Dining

Staterooms

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Introduction

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The Disney Magic berths at Palermo’s Stazione Marittima on Molo Vittorio Veneto. You’ll pull up right alongside the cruise terminal, which has small gift shops, a cafeteria, ATMs, phones, and Internet access (€4/hour). From the pier you can catch a taxi, take a carriage ride, or walk directly into town for shopping and sightseeing. Disembarkation time is approximately 7:00 am and you’ll need to be back onboard around 5:30 pm. The 10-night cruises arrive in Palermo on a Friday; the 11-night cruises arrive on a Monday. Palermo is a port designed for walking—the city center is less than a third of a mile (500 meters) from the pier. Most of the important museums, monuments, and palaces are all within walking distance in the “old town.” Just be aware that the old town is composed of a lot of little streets going every which way—be sure you have a good map with you to avoid getting lost. • Taxis are plentiful, if pricey, in Palermo. Taxis are available from taxi stands—of which there are plenty—rather than hailing them from the street. Be sure to establish the price of the ride before getting into the taxi to avoid being overcharged. Taxis charge approximately €3,50 for the meter drop, €2,25 for the first kilometer, and €.65 for each kilometer thereafter. If a taxi figures largely into your plans, consider researching and booking a taxi in advance online at a site like http://www.alantrip.com. You can also use taxis for sightseeing tours— ask your driver about this option. • A romantic, pricey transportation option are the many elaborate horse-drawn carriages, known as carrozza, lined up along the streets in tourist areas. Expect to pay €40–60 for an hour’s ride around the city, but you may be able to barter that price down a bit. • Thinking about renting a car? Don’t do it—Palermo has bad traffic and a lot of one-way streets. • Buses are available, but they are time-consuming and we don’t recommend you waste time on them during what little time you have in port. Palermo’s famous for its mafia, but this doesn’t cause a concern for tourists. Instead, focus on keeping your valuables safe and avoiding pickpockets. Beware of purse snatchers on mopeds—don’t carry large purses. Traffic is also little crazy around here, so be very careful when crossing streets. Women should be aware that Italian men can be romantically enthusiastic, for lack of a better term—just ignore catcalls and invitations, and avoid travelling alone in secluded areas.

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Walking Around Old Town Palermo: From the cruise terminal, walk toward town in a westerly direction to Via Principe di Belmonte, a pedestrian avenue with great shopping. Turn left (south) on Via Maqueda, walking toward the intersection of Via Cavour where you’ll see the famous Teatro Massimo opera house. Continue down Via Maqueda to Piazza Bellini at the intersection of Via Vittorio Emanuele. This intersection is also known as Quattro Canti (Four Corners), described on the next page. You’ll see the San Cataldo and Santa Caterina churches here. If you’d like to walk to the city’s cathedral, turn right at Via Vittorio Emanuele and walk west—you can’t miss the large Duomo. Otherwise, turn left (east) onto Via Vittorio Emanuele and walk to Via Roma, another large avenue with interesting shops and eateries. Turn left on Via Roma and walk northwest, passing the Oratory of the Rosary of St. Dominic. Farther along and down a side street is the archeology museum described on the next page. When you reach Via Cavour, you’ll leave the old city and enter the new—from here you can continue northwest and shop along Via Principe di Belmonte or explore the quaint side streets of the old town before leaving that area. Allow 3–4 hours for this walking tour, more if you plan to shop and eat.

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Chapter 6: Putting Into Port


Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

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Magic

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Topic: Palermo Activities

Playing in Palermo, Sicily ACTIVITIES

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Cathedrals and Monuments—At the intersection of Via Vittorio Emanuele and Via Maqueda you’ll find the Quattro Canti (Four Corners), the traditional center of Palermo and heart of the old city—most of the city’s monuments and churches are within walking distance. On the southeast corner of Quattro Canti is San Giuseppe dei Teatini church, a notable baroque church. The massive cathedral in Palermo is Santa Maria Assunta, but it’s usually just referred to as the Cathedral or Duomo. Inside is a museum containing the cathedral’s treasury. Admission to the cathedral is free; museum and/or tomb admission is €1 (or €2 for both). The Norman Royal Palace and Palatine Chapel are relics from the medieval age— admission is €6 to enter both. Museums—The best museum in Palermo is arguably the Salina Regional Archeological Museum at Piazza Olivella. It offers an extensive collection of Phoenician, Greek, and Roman artifacts. Admission is €5; hours are 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, but the museum may be closed on Monday. The Galleria Regionale della Sicilia (Via Alloro 4) is a medieval art museum. Admission prices and hours are the same as the archeological museum above. Shopping—The closest shopping district to the cruise terminal (and within easy walking distance) is along the pedestrian thoroughfare Via Principe di Belmonte—it has plenty of upscale shops and cafes. More luxury goods can be had in the high-end boutiques and designer stores on Via Liberta. Via Roma and Via Maqueda are also good shopping areas. Palermo store hours are typically 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, and 3:30 pm to 7:00 pm—note, however, that most stores are closed on Monday mornings. To experience a Palermo street market, head to Via Roma for the Vucciria Market—you’ll want to get there early in the day to see it in full swing. Palermo souvenirs to watch for include marionnettes, embroidered items, and ceramics. Dining—If you’re looking for lunch, you’ll find a wide variety of street vendors and cafes along the main avenues. What to eat? Palermo’s wood-oven pizza is very good—the local specialty is pizza Palermitana with anchovies, pine nuts, olive oil, and cheese. For something really unique, look for a street vendor selling babbaluci—savory, marinated snails! Or how about guasteddi (buns filled with bits of calf’s spleen, cheese, and hot lard)? Finish it all off with refreshing gelato (Italian ice cream) or granita (flavored ice).

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Mysteries of Palermo Rating: n/a Take a tour of some of Palermo’s most beautiful monuments, such as Teatro Tour Politeam, Teatro Massimo, the Quattro Canti, and the Catacombs of the Moderate Capuchin Friars. The catacombs are home to more than 8,000 mummified All ages bodies of monks, noblemen, and citizens—all of which are still dressed in their $60/$30 original 15th-century garb. Move on to Castello della Zisa and experience an 4 hours impressive example of Arab architecture which, at one point, served as a hunting lodge for the Norman kings. At the end of the tour visit the Chiese dello Spasimo church. Here, Raphael painted a canvas depicting Jesus falling beneath the cross. This ancient place of worship is now a center for cultural and musical performances. Segesta and Erice Rating: n/a A 45-minute tour bus ride to Segesta provides a delightful view of Sicily’s Tour varied landscape of mountains, undulating hills, and vineyards. Segesta is an Leisurely ancient, abandoned city and its ruins tell the story of a once-thriving cultural All ages center—square towers and a gate from the old fortifications are just some of $160/$80 the archeological wonders. The Temple of Segesta is quite possibly one of the 8 hours most spectacular structures as it has stood for the past 2,400 years. The Roman theater has been in Segesta since the middle of the third century B.C. There are almost no modern structures nearby, so you can really get a sense of what it must have looked and felt like in ancient times. A stop on the way back to the coast brings you to the small medieval mountaintop fortress of Erice overlooking the northwestern coast. Erice is a popular stop for its many historical and artistic charms. Ancient Phoenician walls are still evident in some sections of the city. Two castles—Pepoli Castle and Venus Castle—offer delightful views. There’s also a beautiful Gothic church to marvel at. The guided tour through town usually includes an authentic Sicilian lunch served at a local hotel before returning to the pier.

Introduction Reservations Staterooms

Cefalu Rating: n/a An hour-long motorcoach ride from Palermo brings you to the ancient seaside Tour town of Cefalu on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Cefalu is one of Sicily’s most charming Leisurely resorts with narrow streets and elaborate architecture. Be prepared to explore All ages on foot to fully appreciate the town. Visit a 12th-century Norman cathedral $50/$25 built during the reign of Roger II and discover the beautiful mosaic coverings 4 hours and surprising Byzantine art. A fascinating slice of Sicilian history is revealed during your exploration. The rocky coast, mountains, and quaint street scenes make for a captivating, picturesque destination. You’ll have time for a cappuccino or an authentic Italian pastry—Cefalu is famous for its fine food—before returning to the pier on your tour bus. Look for Pietro Serio’s on Via Giuseppe Giglio—it’s the best confectionery shop in town! For more in-depth information on this town, visit http://www.cefalu.it.

Dining

Disney Cruise Line has yet to announce its roundup of shore excursions—we expect it to do so in spring 2007. We provide these listings to acquaint you with the possibilities based on typical offerings by other cruise lines.

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Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

Topic: Palermo Shore Excursions

Embarking on Shore Excursions in Palermo, Sicily (continued) Panoramic Palermo City Tour Rating: n/a At a relaxed pace, this tour offers the best of Palermo’s sights by motorcoach. Tour Start off with a drive to the center of town to see the Norman Palace built Leisurely during the Saracen period. You’ll also stop at the famous cathedral (Duomo) All ages built in the 12th century by an archbishop and later turned into a mosque $45/$25 under Muslim rule and eventually returned to the hands of Christianity by the 3 hours Normans. The cathedral now houses six royal tombs and a silver urn containing the remains of St. Rosalia. You may also see and/or visit the famous Massimo Theater (one of the largest opera houses in Europe), San Felice Gate, and the main thoroughfare of Corso Vittorio Emanuele. You may also visit the Garibaldi Gardens (check out the fig trees) and Mondello Beach. A stop at the main square wraps up the tour. Solunto and Bagheria Rating: n/a Discover Sicily’s ruins and rural inland with jaunts to the old towns of Solunto Tour and Bagheria. Explore ruins and excavations in Solunto, which was once an Leisurely ancient Phoenician town later ruled by the Romans. The floors and lower All ages portions of most buildings remain, along with some mosaics and paintings. $60/$30 Then venture to the export center of Bagheria, well known for its production 4 hours of lemons. This town is also filled with the remnants of aristrocratic villas and mansions from the 18th century, including the “Villa of the Monsters,” named for its 62 statues depicting mythological monsters and other whimsical creatures.

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Palermo and Monreale Rating: n/a Visit the center of downtown Palermo and discover its origins as a Phoenician Tour stronghold and Roman trading center. Roman, Arab, and Norman monuments Moderate serve as reminders of all that once conquered this city. You’ll see most of the All ages main sights described in the city tour excursion above. After your review $50/$25 of the city, you’ll set out on the short trip to Monreale (Royal Mountain). 4 hours This small town on the slope of a mountain is famous for its cathedral, a breathtaking mix of Arab, Byzantine, and Norman influences. Some consider the cathedral’s mosaics to be the most beautiful in the world. The nearby cloister boasts 28 columns, some even inlaid with more mosaics. Be sure you wear conservative clothing on this tour so that you may enter the cathedral. Also note that this excursion involves 10 minutes of uphill walking in Monreale. Monreale cloisters

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Size: 45 sq. mi. (117 sq. km.) Climate: Mediterranean Temperatures: 72°F (22°C) to 85°F (29°C) Population: 1,000,000 (city) Busy Season: Summer Language: Italian, Neopolitan Money: Euro (€) Time Zone: Central European Transportation: Walking, taxis Phones: Dial 011-39 from U.S., dial 112 for emergencies

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Naples, or Napoli in Italian (NA-po-lee), means new city. It was founded between the 7th and 6th centuries B.C. by the Greeks, not far from the older town of Partenope. The original city center was located on the site of Castel dell’Ovo (see page 263). Greek culture reigned early on, even during the Roman Empire’s domination of the city. This period was followed by an influx of Spaniards, Byzantines, Goths, and Normans. Eventually the King of Sicily added Naples to his territory in 1139, and shortly thereafter it became the capital. The city flourished and prospered, creating the University of Naples in 1224. After a period of rule by both the Spaniards and the Austrians, Naples became autonomous in the 18th century. Today the city is a commerical and cultural center with an active port.

HISTORY

Located halfway between the Vesuvius and Campi Flegrei volcanoes, the legendary city of Naples lies on the Mediterranean coast, tucked away in a natural bay. Its majestic scenery has inspired art throughout the ages. The city is rife with underground layers and catacombs beneath its Greco-Roman avenues. There are hotels and spas there that have been operating for thousands of years; you can feel the history seep into you as you walk along the streets. Yet, thanks to Naples’ dense population, frenetic pace, and slightly grimy appearance, we predict you’ll either love it or hate it.

AMBIENCE

The ever-present Mt. Vesuvius

FACTS

Exuberant, chaotic, and a little shaggy around the edges is the best way to describe Naples, the largest city in Southern It aly. This historically rich, gastronomically famous, and incredibly crowded urban center is a gateway to ancient wonders and inspiring beauty.

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(Mediterranean Itineraries)

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Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

Tip: Look for the µ camera symbol throughout the text to indicate when additonal photos are available online along with our trip report at http://www.passporter.com/dcl/mediterranean.asp


Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

GETTING THERE GETTING AROUND STAYING SAFE

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Your ship docks in Molo Angionio at Maritime Stationµ(Stazione Marittima) in Naples, smack dab in the center of the city’s bustling waterfront. From the pier, Naples’ city center is about 1/2 mile away, so while you can walk you may also prefer to take a taxi or tour bus. You can get a taxi outside the large cruise terminal building, which houses a few souvenir shops and an information booth. (Tip: There are several elevators here, but they are tucked out of the way—look for signs indicating the acensore.) For more information on the port, visit http://www.porto.napoli.it/en. Disembarkation time is typically 8:30 am with an all-aboard time around 6:30 pm. If you’re not doing an excursion, which we strongly recommend in Naples, you’ll probably take a taxi into the city or to another location. Taxis µ are plentiful, but do try to get an “official” licensed taxi (white with the Naples symbol on their front doors, a taxi number, and a meter) by using a taxi stand found in most piazzas. Be aware that Naples traffic is crazy, so your trip may take longer than you expect. Tip: If your driver tries to tell you the taxi’s meter is not working, ask that they switch it on anyway and don’t rely on their guesstimate, which will undoubtedly be higher than necessary. • If you’re exploring the city on your own, consider a funicular (as in the famous “Funiculi-Funicula” song), a cable car that goes up the steep hill of Vómero. You can catch one at the Piazetta Duca d’Aosta—just make sure you leave enough time to get down and back to the ship. • Right next to the cruise pier is Molo Beverello, where you can board ferries and hydrofoils to Capri, Sorrento, and Amalfi. • Hoping to rent a car or moped (a la “Roman Holiday”)? Don’t bother. The traffic is not conducive to pleasure driving, and mopeds shouldn’t be rented. Buses are available (most leave from Piazza Garibaldi—not a nice area), but they aren’t convenient or very clean. Naples is a dense, highly populated urban area and pickpocketing is a serious issue. Keep those valuables back on the ship in your safe, carry minimal cash, and keep the cash in a wallet secured in a front pocket or under your clothing. Try to travel in groups when possible, like on a Disney shore excursion. If you’ve got an expensive camera, keep it under wraps when not in use and don’t carry it around your neck or arm. Be wary of gypsies and grifters, and watch out for suspicious behavior. Women, ignore “flirtatious” men altogether. It’s best to just not make eye contact at all with questionable characters.

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263 Introduction

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Castel Nuovo µ—This gloomy, colossal castle is considered one of the best works of Renaissance honorary architecture. Inside are 14th- and 15th-century sculptures and frescoes. Admission is €5. Address: Piazza Municipio. Phone: 081 795 5877. Castel dell’Ovo (Castle of the Egg)—A 12th-century fortress built directly over the ruins of an ancient Roman villa, overlooking the harbor. Free admission. Address: Santa Lucia Waterfront, Via Partenope. Phone: 081 240 0055.

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Museo Archeologico Nazionale—If one of the world’s most extensive collections of Roman and Greek artifacts interests you, make a beeline for this huge museum. You’ll find many items from Pompeii and Herculaneum here. Admission is €6,50. Address: Piazza Museo 19, Spaccanapoli. Web: http://www.archeona.arti.beniculturali.it.

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Normally we devote this space to a “do it yourself” walking tour. In the case of Naples, we really don’t recommend it—the city is chaotic, dirty, and not particularly easy to get around. If you’re feeling adventuresome, however, your best bet is to take a taxi to Spaccanapoli for the best representation of Naples. If you’re interested in shopping, you can take a 10-minute walk from Stazione Marittima north to the pedestrian shopping street of Via Chiaia.

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Playing in Naples

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You’re most likely to see these attractions while on shore excursions, but we include them to give you additional background. Pompeii µ—Lost for 1,600 years under volcanic ash, this Roman city offers extraordinary insight into the height of civilization during the Roman Empire. Most of the city has been excavated at this point, and offers an awe-inspiring look at the doomed city and its occupants. Dave chose to visit Pompeii because it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions near Naples. Herculaneum µ—Like Pompeii, Herculaneum was a victim of Mt. Vesuvius. This Roman resort was buried under 75 feet of superheated volcanic mud and lava, protecting and preserving its architecture, wood, fabric, and even food! Jennifer chose to visit Herculaneum because the nature of its devastation offers a unique glimpse into the everyday life of ancient Romans. Mt. Vesuvius (Mons Vesuvio) µ—This famous stratovolcano is about 6 mi. (9 km.) east of Naples. In addition to its famous eruption on August 24, 79 A.D., which covered Pompeii and Herculaneum, Vesuvius has erupted three more times—its most recent eruption was in 1913 and 1914. There are no current signs of volcanic unrest. Even if you don’t visit this historic volcano up close, you can see it from most everywhere in Naples. Capri µ—The isle of Capri is a celebrated resort near Sorrento about 40 minutes from Naples by boat. It is a charming town of narrow streets and elegant villas clinging to limestone cliffs. Sorrento and the Amalfi Coastµ—The stunning, rocky coastline of Amalfi leads to the resort town of Sorrento, filled with museums and churches. Sorrento is famous for Limoncello, an apertif. Pizza Margherita—This taste of Naples is indeed a top attraction for many visitors. Naples is the birthplace of pizza, specifically pizza margherita, which is made with just tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, basil, and mozzarella on the crust. Famous places to sample this yummy treat include Da Michele (Via Cesare Sersale 1/3), Trianon (Via P. Colletta 46), and Di Matteo (Via del Tribunali 94). If these are too far off your path, just look for a pizzeria with a wood-burning oven for the most authentic flavor.

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Embarking on Shore Excursions in Naples Disney Cruise Line has yet to announce its roundup of shore excursions—we expect it to do so in spring 2007. We provide these listings to acquaint you with the possibilities based on typical offerings by other cruise lines.

See page 168 for a key to the shore excursion description charts and their icons.

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Magic Index

Naples Archeological Museum and Pizza Tasting Rating: n/a The Naples Archeological Museum is classified as one of the most important Tour archeological museums in Europe. The museum is home to artifacts and murals Leisurely from Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as other Roman and Greek sites in All ages the area. In fact, the museum itself is an artifact, originally built as a cavalry $75/$65 building. Charles of Boudon established the museum in the 18th century to 4 hours house the Farnese collection that he inherited from his mother. A short drive around Naples will highlight the notable sights of the city. Visit Castel Nuovo, San Carlo Opera House, Umberto Gallery, the former Royal Palace, and the Castle of the Egg. Before heading back to the pier, your tour bus will stop at a Neopolitan pizzeria for a sample of pizza in the land where it was born.

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MediaMarx, Inc.

The Ruins of Herculaneum Rating: 10 This excursion takes you to Herculaneum and back, and you’ll probably stop Tour at a cameo factory along the way. Herculaneum is a fascinating alternative to Leisurely Pompeii—you’ll find fewer crowds here and a more complete look at life in Roman All ages times thanks to Herculaneum’s better preservation. Jennifer and Alexander $60/$45 went on this half-day excursion and feel it was the best shore excursion of the 3.5 hours entire cruise. Walking amidst the ruins, knowing that you were walking on the same paving stones as people nearly 2,000 years ago, was simply mind-blowing. We were able to go into many of the structures, where we marvelled at what the little rooms may have been used for. We did have a tour guide with us who led our group around and explained the function of many of the buildings, but halfway through, we set off on our own to explore. We could easily have spent the entire day here, completely fascinated. Our best recommendations are to do some research into Herculaneum or pick up a book with good descriptions so you can better appreciate the visit. Also, while this is not a wheelchair- or stroller-friendly place, there is a ramp into Herculaneum and Jennifer was able to push a sleeping Alexander in his stroller by sticking to the “sidewalks,” but it wasn’t easy. We highly recommend this excursion! Seaside Herculaneum

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Tour Leisurely All ages $60/$45 4 hours

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Exploration of Pompeii Rating: n/a As you travel to the famous city of Pompeii by tour bus, you’ll see Mt. Vesuvius in the distance. When Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D., it covered Pompeii in 30 feet of volcanic ash and pumice stone. The town has since been excavated and provides a look into how the original inhabitants of Pompeii lived. See the many mansions, temples, and porticoes. Note that you must be able to walk 1.5 miles over cobblestones, as well as climb 20–25 steps. You’ll probably stop at a cameo factory along the way, which is true of many excursions in Naples.

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Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

Topic: Naples Shore Excursions

Embarking on Shore Excursions in Naples (continued) Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii Hike Rating: n/a A short drive to the west coast marks the beginning of your trek. Footpaths Tour lead 1,000 feet up to the crater rim of Mt. Vesuvius, Europe’s only active Active volcano. A guided tour through this natural wonder provides breathtaking Ages 10 & up views of Naples and its bays. You’ll also have the opportunity to explore the $90/$70 ancient city of Pompeii. This excursion requires strenuous up and down climbing 6.5 hours and hiking over five miles. Guests should wear comfortable shoes and be in good health. Bring your own bottled water to stay hydrated. Guests ages 10–15 must be accompanied by a parent. Unexplored Pompeii and Its Wine Rating: n/a Travel to Pompeii to the Mastroberardino winery, which produces wine from Tour grapes grown within the ruins of Pompeii and uses methods that were used Leisurely more than 2,000 years ago. The winery has a special permit from the Italian All ages Government for use of Pompeii land that produces about 1,800 bottles of wine $170/$135 each year. A guided tour through the vineyard and a demonstration of how 8 hours the wine was produced in ancient times will have your taste buds “whining.” A tour of the lesser-known areas of Pompeii will end in a visit to the winery itself, where you will be shown the different methods of modern wine-making accompanied by a lunch buffet and trio of wine samplings. Capri, Sorrento, and Pompeii Rating: 9 Hop aboard a hydrofoil boat for a 40-minute ride to the isle of Capri. In Capri Tour you’ll take the funicular up to the town for spectacular views and upscale Leisurely shopping among the picturesque, narrow streets. Travel by boat to nearby All ages Sorrento where you can explore the streets of Sorrento, shop in its quaint stores, $130/$100 and dine at one of the outdoor cafes (lunch is included). After lunch, travel 9 hours the scenic Amalfi coast eastward to Pompeii. Your group may visit a cameo factory, or a rustic farm to observe olive oil and cheese production (and maybe nibble some samples). That’s followed by a guided tour of Pompeii to see its many restored buildings and architecture once covered by 30 feet of volcanic ash. Dave took this full-day excursion and thoroughly enjoyed himself. This excursion seems unbelievably ambitious at first glance. However, by the time you deduct the time you spend traveling and waiting, you’ve got about 3.5 hours of “meat” in this excursion, including lunch. It’s still quite efficient. There’s no retracing steps. You’ll travel either by boat from Naples to Capri across the full expanse of the Bay of Naples, boat from Capri to nearby Sorrento, bus northeast along the scenic coastline to Pompeii, and bus back to Naples, or vice versa. Half the excursion groups go one way, half the other, to ensure that the bus and boats are filled going both ways. Dave has written a much longer review of this shore excursion at http://www. passporter.com/dcl/mediterranean.asp. Highly recommended! Pompeii and the looming Vesuvius

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Olbia, Sardinia

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HISTORY

Size (Olbia): 145 sq. mi. (376 sq. km.) Climate: Mediterranean Temperatures: 72°F (22°C) to 84°F (29°C) Population: 50,000 (Olbia) Busy Season: Summer Language: Italian, Sardinian Money: Euro (€) Time Zone: Central European Transportation: Walking, taxis Phones: Dial 011-39 from U.S., dial 112 for emergencies

Magic

Sardinia’s first human settlements date back to 6,000 B.C. The island’s name is thought to be derived from the Shardona “sea pirates.” Around 1,500 B.C., tribes banded together into villages around fortresses known as nuraghe, of which thousands still exist today. The Phoenicians arrived around 1,000 B.C., followed by the Carthaginians in 500 B.C. After the Punic War, Sardinia fell into Roman hands. After the fall of the Roman empire, the island endured a series of raids and invasions by many cultures, forcing the population to move inland. It wasn’t until the last century that inhabitants have shifted back to the coasts, spurred by tourism and technical advances.

FACTS

While Sardinia is officially a part of Italy, it has special autonomous status similar to Sicily. Sardinia’s distance from the rest of Italy (120 mi./193 km. away) gives the island a wholly unique look and feel. Rather than pizza and pasta, you’ll discover unique seafood dishes, roasted pig, sheep’s milk cheese, and exotic mushrooms. While Italian is the official language, residents speak Sardinian, an unusual Romance language with hints of ancient Latin and Greek. Festivals are a common occurrence—more than 1,000 festivals yearly—and are an important aspect of Sardinian life. The Sardinian people are strong and proud of their rituals, yet friendly to visitors.

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© Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast)

AMBIENCE

Sardinia is a big island with an equally big personality. Its spectacular coastline leads to rugged mountains, with archeological and architectural wonders to behold. Sardinia’s 6,000year history reveals itself in long-held traditions, regional dialects, coastal cuisines, and handicrafts.

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Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

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Your ship docks at the Isola Bianca Wharf in the town of Olbia, located on the northeast coast of Sardinia. The city center is approximately one mile from the dock. A free shuttle should be available to take you from the dock to the city, but expect long waits to board. You may find it faster to walk into town—you can get there in about 20 minutes. Taxis are also available at the dock. Disembarkation time is typically 8:00 am with an all-aboard time around 6:00 pm. The 10night itinerary arrives in Sardinia on a Sunday; the 11-night itinerary arrives on a Wednesday. Taxis are the quickest way to get around the region. Taxis can be found at the dock and at taxi stands scattered throughout the cities; you cannot hail taxis on the street. Ask to see the rate sheet and agree on the price before using the taxi. Expect to pay about €15–20 for a one-way taxi ride from the dock to the city center. If you’d like to arrange for a taxi in advance, visit http://www.olbiataxi.com. • Sardinia’s trains (Ferrovie dello Stato) are a bit slow, but they do connect the entire island. You can purchase tickets at automated ticket machines in the stations, which have instructions in English. • Car rentals are available in Sardinia, but without highways, travel along the narrow, winding roads is slow and we don’t recommend it for the limited time you’re in port. If you feel confident renting a car anyway, both Hertz and Europcar have agencies in Olbia. Staying safe in Sardinia isn’t too difficult. Pickpockets are about in the major cities (including Olbia) and at the beaches and resorts along the Emerald Coast. Use our advice on safeguarding your valuables mentioned in other Mediterranean port sections. If you insist on driving a rental car, be very careful of other drivers, many of whom may put a greater emphasis on speed than skill. Shopping is particularly rewarding in Sardinia because their handicrafts continue to be made from ancient techniques that have been passed down through the generations virtually unchanged. Look for wood carvings, copper, iron, cork, pottery, and baskets. The best shopping district in Olbia is Via Umberto, which is within walking distance of the dock (see map). You’ll find a variety of different shops here. Note that it is acceptable (and sometimes expected) to bargain for lower prices. Most shops are open from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, and then from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

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If you have time for a nice lunch in Olbia, you’ll find many quaint, open-air cafes nestled along the narrow streets. Items to look for on menus include strong and salty pecorino sheep’s milk cheese (an important food in Sardinia’s sheepherding culture), salame (phenomenal salami that tastes nothing like the stuff you get at home), bottarga (mullet eggs with salt), porcini and dittula mushrooms, pane carasau flatbread, pesce alla crosta di sale (fish in salt), cannonau (red wine), panada (eel pie), mirto (a digestive alcoholic drink made from wild myrtle), and candelaus (an almond dessert). Of course, sardines are named after Sardinia—you can get them at most eateries. One word of advice: Avoid the cheese called casu marzu—while it’s a Sardinian delicacy, it’s also riddled with live insect larvae.

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We suspect many of you will take a Disney shore excursion, but if you decide to set off on your own, we highly recommend you pick up a copy of “Authentic Sardinia” by the Touring Club of Italy (ISBN-13: 978-88365-3768-6)—it offers invaluable insider advice on Sardinia’s treasures. If you’re thinking of staying in Olbia, the shopping is reasonable, but this industrial city is pretty thin on places to visit and you’ll be missing the beauty of the land. Olbia’s best feature is that it is within easy distance of the resorts of Costa Smeralda, the natural wonders of the island of La Maddalena, and various archeological sites.

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Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

Topic: Sardinia Shore Excursions

Embarking on Shore Excursions in Sardinia Disney Cruise Line has yet to announce its roundup of shore excursions—we expect it to do so in spring 2007. We provide these listings to acquaint you with the possibilities based on typical offerings by other cruise lines. Costa Smeralda Rating: n/a A tour bus ride along Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast) provides a panoramic view Tour of one of the Mediterranean’s most breathtaking coastlines. Along the drive, see Leisurely the village of San Pantaleo, a popular destination surrounded by granite peaks. All ages You’ll also pass through the resort town of Baia Sardinia. Your tour includes a $40/$20 visit to Porto Cervo, the center of Costa Smeralda and one of the most popular 4 hours destinations on Sardinia’s northwest coast. You’ll receive a guided tour of Porto Cervo, which ends in one of the numerous shops or the Sardinian handicraft center. La Maddalena Rating: n/a Journey through the villages of San Pantaleo and Arzchena to the city of Palau, where you’ll board a ferry to La Maddalena island. Along the way, enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of Sardinia as well La Maddalena and nearby Corsica. Once in Maddalena, stroll down the center of town to Garibaldi Square, browse the many shops, and stop by one of the local cafes for a flavor unique to Sardinia. Tour lasts about five hours.

Tour Leisurely All ages $70/$45

Moon Valley Rating: n/a What is one item Sardinia is famous for? Cork! And where do you find it? Tour In Calangianus, of course! This excursion takes you across the Sardinian Leisurely countryside to the village of Calangianus. Learn what goes into the All ages production of cork and find out its many different uses. Visit the city of Tempio $50/$25 Pausania, known for its elegant architecture. A guided tour of the city gives 4.5 hours the opportunity to see the wonders of Sardinia and visit the shops that are noted for their hand-crafted goods. Hop back on the tour bus for a visit in Aggius before the final stop at Moon Valley. Moon Valley is home to an unearthly collection of natural granite outcroppings. La Cinta Beach Rating: n/a Tired of the tour bus? How about a day at the beach? A shuttle service transports you to La Cinta Beach for a day of fun in the sun. La Cinta Beach is known for its clean, sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, perfect for taking a dip or relaxing on shore. Lounge chairs and umbrellas are available for rent; you can also buy refreshments here. Changing facilities are not available. Jeep Safari Rating: n/a Get up close and personal in areas that the tour buses cannot go. Take a Land Rover to San Pantaleo for photo opportunities, then head over to the Giant Tombs of Coddu Vecchiu. These tombs date back to 2300 B.C. On the return to the ship, you’ll travel through the Gallura region, a rugged countryside dotted with harbors and beaches, and make a short stop at the San Giacomo church.

Beach Leisurely All ages $40/$20 4.5 hours

Tour Leisurely Ages 16 & up $140 4 hours

See page 168 for a key to the shore excursion description charts and their icons.

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Topic: Rome Introduction

271 Introduction Activities Ports of Call

Size: 496 sq. mi. (1285 sq. km.) Climate: Mediterranean Temperatures: 72°F (22°C) to 84°F (29°C) Population: 2.55 million Busy Season: Summer Language: Italian Money: Euro (€) Time Zone: Central European Transportation: Walking, taxis Phones: Dial 011-34 from U.S., dial 112 for emergencies

Magic

AMBIENCE

Rome, founded by Romulus and Remus (or so goes the legend), was capital of the Roman Republic and the Empire that followed. When Rome fell, the capital of the Roman Catholic Church rose from its ashes. The power and wealth of the church attracted the greatest architects and artists of the Renaissance and as the capital of the modern Italian state, a century’s worth of newer monumental works lies layer upon layer with more than 2,500 years of history. This is Rome, described (accurately) by countless clichés, a city that put its imperial and ecclesiastical stamp so firmly on its conquests that even today its language, culture, architecture, and intellectual impact dominates half of all world culture. This is the city where it all happened and continues to happen on a daily basis.

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Staterooms

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There’s nothing else quite like the power and glory of Rome, a city where “awe” takes on a whole new meaning, whether looking skyward inside the dome of St. Peter’sµor deep into the earth at the Roman Forumµ. Pagan temples are converted to churches, palaces of all eras greet you at every turn, and a single snapshot can capture monuments from every age. Ancient columns and pediments are recycled for newer building facades, and all but the recently restored sights are covered by the everyday grime of a thriving metropolis. This is a city of landmarks, history, and faith, and if none of that excites you at the moment, your mood will change once you arrive.

HISTORY

Rome’s Colosseum

FACTS

Your brief day in Rome can only scratch the surface of one of the world’s greatest cities. Plan to spend your entire day on an intensive tour—the extra effort and expense will be more than worthwhile. And by all means, toss coins in the Trevi Fountain—you will return!

MediaMarx, Inc.

(Mediterranean Itineraries)

Reservations

Rome

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Index

Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

Tip: Look for the µ camera symbol throughout the text to indicate when additonal photos are available online along with our trip report at http://www.passporter.com/dcl/mediterranean.asp


Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

Tour buses µ are your principal option, with private tour guides providing a pricey but rational alternative if you’ve got the right-sized group. Research and book a guide in advance, rather than taking your risk at the dock. Tour guides are licensed, but that hardly narrows your choices. For do-it-yourselfers, look for a shore excursion option that supplies basic transportation into and out of Rome. • Taxisµ are easy to come by if you get one from the cruise terminal or a taxi stand. Taxis in Rome are white with a “Taxi” sign on the roof, a sign on the door, and a meter. Plan to pay your fare in Euros and expect to tip about 5–10% of the fare. • There are currently no car rental agencies at the dock—you may need a taxi to pick up a car, and as we’ve said several times regarding European ports, we really don’t recommend driving on your own unless you’ve got plenty of A typical Rome taxi and tour driving experience in the area. bus near St. Peter’s Square Rome is busy, Rome’s tourist sites are crowded, and you’ll be more than a little bit distracted by everything around you. Pickpockets are undoubtedly the greatest risk, so try to be alert. Queues in spots like St. Peter’s Square are long and crowded, so stay securely within your group or be especially watchful. When you shop for souvenirs, consider buying only very compact items that can be stowed out of sight in your day pack. Overall, try to travel very light—the more you carry, the more distracted and the more of a target you’ll be.

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Your ship docks in Civitavecchia, an ancient port 90 minutes from the heart of Rome by bus (longer in rush hour traffic). Fortunately, that long trip is fairly picturesque, following the coast for some distance before heading inland. Cruise ship facilities pierside are minimal, little more than tents at the moment, although the new cruise terminal may be finished in time for the Magic’s visit. The new building can’t hold a candle to older port facilities you can see across the harbor, designed by the likes of Michelangelo and Bernini. There will undoubtedly be some shopping available in the new terminal. Otherwise, just expect a lineup of taxis and tour guides for hire, and a parking lot full of tour buses. There are no recreational or tourist facilities within walking distance. The 10-night cruise visits on Mondays and the 11-night on Thursdays. All ashore is at 7:30 am and all aboard is 9:30 pm in all cases.

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GETTING THERE GETTING AROUND STAYING SAFE

Magic Index

Topic: Rome Tips and Notes

Making the Most of Rome

Ports of Call

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Central Rome is just large enough that one walking tour just won’t do. You’ll need transportation—a taxi ride will do it. Vatican City µdoesn’t need so much of a planned walking tour as a visit (with itinerary). A more structured plan is needed for the sprawling Roman Forumµ, where there are more sites than you can visit in a day (we’ll focus on the most practical choices). These are the top two visitor destinations, and your choice of activities at either will determine if you can spend much time at the other. Rule of thumb—if you include a museum in your plans, expect to spend two-thirds of your day at either the Vatican or Forum. The Spanish Steps and nearby shopping district are more for wandering than touring—take a taxi. Adjacent to the Spanish Steps is the Villa Borghese (park) and its famed museum (alas, it’s closed Mondays when the 10-night cruise is in town). The museum is a long way from the Steps, though—you’ll want a taxi. Reservations are required for the museum. Stranded between these three major destinations are two sights that are on everyone’s mustsee list—the Pantheon, the remarkable domed temple to the gods, and the cascading waters of the Trevi Fountainµ. The two are separated by about eight city blocks, and are roughly eight blocks from either the Forum or the Spanish Steps. If you want to visit everything, all in the same day, hope you can book a tour that visits them all. Your guide gets you past most of the ticket lines and queues, you’ll have the needed transportation, and no time will be lost studying your map.

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Touring Rome

Reservations

Introduction

Topic: Rome Map

Index

Chapter 6: Putting Into Port


Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

Topic: Rome Activities

MediaMarx, Inc.

©

The Vatican—If your heart yearns for the heart of religious Rome, spend most of your day here. St. Peter’s Square is immense and amazing, and the interior of the basilica is breathtaking, regardless of your faith. The Vatican museums are an art-lover’s dream. Entrance to St. Peter’s Basilicaµis free, but the Vatican Museums— including the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Historical Museum— require admission (€12/€8 available only at the door, audio guide €5,50). The Vatican Gardens (€13,50/€9) tour must be reserved in advance by fax. See the Vatican Museum web site at http//mv.vatican.va for information on this and other hard-to-get tours. Add the museums and that’ll be the bulk of your day. Everything will be open on the days the Disney Magic is in port, but Papal Audiences are Wednesdays, so you’re out of luck on that. Be sure to check the Vatican web site for the 2007 museum schedule—it’s typically closed a couple weekdays every month. Dress for the occasion—bare shoulders and/or bare knees will keep you from The Vatican’s Swiss Guard entering the basilica and museums.

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VATICAN

Playing in Rome

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St. Peter’s Square teems with humanity

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Staterooms Ports of Call Magic Index

Halfway between Piazza Venezia and the Colosseum is the entrance to the Foro Romano/Roman Forum (free admission), where you can descend into its deep vale. The visitor center offers audio tours (€4), live tours, maps, and other resources. Down in the heart of the Forum you’ll find the Arch of Severus, the famous triple columns of the Temple of Castor and Polux, the Temple of Vesta, Caesar’s Senate, streets trampled by countless armies and statesmen, and the Arch of Titus with its depictions of the sack of Jerusalem’s temple, among many other sights.

Activities

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Ancient Rome—The heart of ancient Rome is a fairly compact rectangle, roughly ¾ mile square. You can spend days exploring the sights. An optional walk to the Pantheon and/or the Trevi Fountainµadds another half mile or so to the tour. We suggest you start at one end, and work your way to the other end to minimize backtracking. There are many more sights than can be covered in this guide—a comprehensive Rome or Italy guidebook or a visit to the official web site (http://www.capitolium.org) in advance of your visit is a must. The web site includes an interactive map of the entire area, which will greatly aid your plans. At the northwest corner, Piazza Veneziaµis an expansive crossroads dominated by the monument to Victor Emmanuel II, who united modern Italy. The broad Via dei Fori Imperialiµ(Street of the Imperial Forums) heads southeast from here, skirting the edge of the excavated Foro Romano (Roman Forum) on the right, leading to the Colosseumµat its far end. Five additional forums line this road, added as the empire outgrew the original. As you walk this way, look back toward the Victor Emmanuel m o n u m e n t . I t ’s the “topper” to an amazing wedding cake of buildings and ruins piled one above the other that span Victor Emmanuel monument at Piazza Venizia the millennia.

ANCIENT ROME

Playing in Rome

Reservations

Introduction

Topic: Rome Activities

Dining

Chapter 6: Putting Into Port


Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

Index

Magic

Ports of Call

Activities

Topic: Rome Activities

Ancient Rome (continued)—Across the street from the Roman Forum entrance is Trajan’s Forum and Market (€6,20), including what is perhaps the first multistory urban shopping mall. It’s worth a quick walk-by, even if you don’t enter. Overlooking the Foro Romano on the northwest is Capitoline Hill, noteworthy today for its museums (€6,20, closed Mondays when the 10-night cruisers are in town) and the plaza and steps designed by Michelangelo. To the southwest of the valley is Palatine Hillµ (included with Colosseum admission of €10), ancient Rome’s answer to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Versailles, and Buckingham Palace, combined. Beyond that to the far southwest is the Circus Maximus (free), where the charioteers raced. The Colosseum µ (€10) is in the southeast, and the attractive Arch of Constantine is nearby. Lines for the Colosseum are long, even if you reserve tickets in advance, but you can’t not venture inside for the sheer spectacle, even though the curtain rang down 1,600 years ago. Across the road to the northeast is the Domus Aurea, which hides the amazing buried chambers of the palace of Nero (€5) and nearby Baths of Caracalla (€5). These are probably too much to include in a oneThe Forum and Palatine Hill day visit. Tickets—There’s no central ticket source for these sights, but http:// www.pierreci.it comes closest. It’s a cultural/ticket agency that represents many cultural institutions and provides phone numbers for many others. The site also offers the Roma Pass, which supplies admission to the first two participating sites visited, discounts on other sites visited subsequently, and free public transit, all for €18. The Colosseum, Capitoline Museums, Baths of Caracalla, Trajan’s Forum, and the Villa Borghese museum are all included. It’s good for three days, but you can easily break even in one day if used wisely, and an advance purchase will save you a lot of time in queues.

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ANCIENT ROME

Playing in Rome

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Dining

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Introduction

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277

Embarking on Shore Excursions in Rome

See page 168 for a key to the shore excursion description charts and their icons.

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Activities Ports of Call

The Eternal City of Rome Rating: n/a Your first stop is the Vatican Museum, which contains thousands of amazing Tour treasures and pieces of art collected by popes over the centuries. As there are Leisurely time restraints, you will only see a small portion of the museum before heading All ages off to the Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel contains famous works of art by $190/$150 Michelangelo, including the “Last Judgment.” Next stop is the largest church 10.5 hours in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica. This church is home to Michelangelo’s work, “Pieta,” and the beautiful Bernini Pulpit. After lunch (included in excursion price) and before returning to the ship, your tour bus will drive past the Colosseum. Please note that a strict dress code is enforced at the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica—shorts, tank tops, and revealing clothing are not permitted. (This includes anything that shows knees or shoulders.) You may be required to check large bags and backpacks, video cameras, and water bottles at security checkpoints. Also, flash photography is prohibited at the Vatican Museum. Video and photography are also prohibited at the Sistine Chapel.

Dining

MediaMarx, Inc.

Tour Leisurely All ages $75/$60 9.5 hours

Magic

Rome on Your Own Rating: n/a The perfect excursion for those who have visited Rome in the past or just want to see Rome without so much structure. A 90-minute tour bus ride to Rome sets you on your way. Upon reaching Rome, you’ll have the day to spend as you wish (we recommend you get yourself a good Rome guidebook if you plan to spend the day here on your own). Remember your bus pickup location and time—if you miss the bus, your transportation back will be your own responsiblity. This tour does not include lunch or entrance fees.

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Panoramic Rome Rating: 3 A 90-minute tour bus ride to Rome passes through the Etruscan countryside. Tour Upon reaching Rome, you’ll see the Vatican walls, which encompass Vatican Leisurely City. You’ll also glimpse the old Roman walls, the famous Villa Borghese, and All ages Porta Pinciana. A short drive takes you by Via Veneto, Piazza Venezia, the Arch $55/$45 of Constantine, the Circus Maximus, and the Colosseum. A stop at St. Peter’s 5 hours Basilica offers a short time to explore on your own before returning to the ship. Jennifer and Alexander took this excursion because it was really the only half-day excursion offered. Alas, it was quite disappointing. Most of the time was spent getting to or from Rome, and in Rome, we whizzed by the sights so fast that we would have missed them if we blinked. Also, we were supposed to have 45 minutes at St. Peter’s Basilica, but instead were only given 25 minutes—barely enough time to get off the bus, walk down to the square, and get back. Frankly, we think it’s best to book a full-day excursion rather than shortchange yourself with this fly-by tour. The Fly-By Bus Tour

Staterooms

Disney Cruise Line has yet to announce its roundup of shore excursions—we expect it to do so in spring 2007. We provide these listings to acquaint you with the possibilities based on typical offerings by other cruise lines.

Reservations

Introduction

Topic: Rome Shore Excursions

Index

Chapter 6: Putting Into Port


Index

Magic

Ports of Call

Activities

Dining

Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

Topic: Rome Shore Excursions

Imperial Rome Rating: 9 Discover 12 centuries of cultural, political, and religious history of “The Tour Imperial City.” Your tour begins at the Trevi Fountain (toss in a coin to ensure Leisurely your return to Rome) then continues on to the Roman Forum, the heart of All ages ancient Rome. You’ll walk through Via Sacra and go inside the Colosseum $90/$74 (see photo on page 271). You’ll also see the Arch of Constantine. Lunch is 9 hours at a first-class restaurant or hotel (included in excursion price). After lunch, you’ll venture to Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica, with the opportunity to view Michelangelo’s “Pieta” and the 85–foot-tall, Bernini Pulpit. You will also have some time to explore and perhaps buy a trinket in the Vatican gift shop. Dave took this excursion and felt it was well worth his time. While there’s still just too much to see in Rome in one day, it did provide a satisfying overview of this magnificent city. Trevi Fountain

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Embarking on Shore Excursions in Rome (continued)

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Staterooms

Reservations

Introduction

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Rome: The Renaissance Period Rating: n/a Upon arriving in Rome, you’re greeted by your group’s official Roman tour guide Tour and set out together on a walking tour of the less-frequented yet important Active sights. The tour visits the famous Spanish Steps, one of Rome’s most dramatic All ages landmarks. From there you go to the Trevi Fountain and then walk through $100/$90 Piazza Navona, which is said to be one of the most beautiful squares in Rome. 10 hours Here you’ll see Fontana dei Quattro Flumi, a fountain sculpted by Bernini, as well as the Pantheon and the tomb of Raphael. You’ll then be directed to St. Peter’s Basilica. Before entering, your guide will provide detailed information regarding St. Peter’s Basilica, including key points of interest on the exterior. The Best of Rome Rating: n/a A stop at St. Peter’s Basilica is first on the list for this deluxe, small group, Tour full-day excursion. St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world, rests Leisurely on 800 pillars and took more than 100 years to build. You’ll then move on to All ages the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. The chapel is home to the ceiling $350 painting by Michelangelo titled “Creation of the World.” Enjoy lunch (included 10 hours in the price) upon leaving Vatican City. Take some time to visit the beautiful Trevi Fountain and toss in a coin or two. The tour bus will proceed through Rome seeing Circus Maximus, the Colosseum, and many more sights before returning to the ship. Biking in Tarquinia and Olive Oil Tasting Rating: n/a Looking for something different? Take a tour bus ride to the ancient city of Sports Tarquinia, just north of Civitavecchia, and hop on a bike for a tour. Your first Very active stop will be at the church of San Francesco—it’s known for its extravagant Ages 8 & up arches and is the largest church in Tarquinia. Next you’ll see Palazzo dei Priori, a $100/$90 massive urban fortification built in the first half of the 15th century by Cardinal 4 hours Vitelleschi, who was a supreme strategist of the Roman Curia. Continue on to the southern part of Tarquinia, where you can choose between an easy or more difficult bicycle route. Everyone ends up at a farmhouse to explore the history of olive oil production and enjoy the sampling of many different types of the olive oils produced here. Take some time to relax and take in the culture before heading back to the ship. See page 168 for a key to the shore excursion description charts and their icons.

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Topic: Florence and Pisa Introduction

279 Introduction Staterooms

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Size: 9216 sq. mi. (23871 sq. km.) Climate: Temperate Temperatures: 74°F (23°C) to 87°F (31°C) Population: 3,750,000 Busy Season: Summer Language: Italian Money: Euro (€) Time Zone: Central European Transportation: Walking, taxis Phones: Dial 011-39 from U.S., dial 112 for emergencies

Dining Activities Ports of Call Magic

This home to the ancient Etruscans is located astride the key land route between both Imperial and Papal Rome and the rest of Europe. Sprinkle in medieval sea power and productive agricultural lands. Trade brought great riches and the Medici princes brought enlightened leadership—enough fuel to fire an artistic and intellectual Renaissance that spread throughout Europe. Pasta? With pesto, of course. Pizza (the rhyme with Pisa notwithstanding)? That’s another Italy, but foccacia will certainly do! This region’s agricultural bounty dishes up red wine (Chianti and Brunello), grilled steaks, and golden olive oil. Just slightly more distant, the cities of Parma and Modena add fabulous cured ham and balsamic vinegar to the feast.

HISTORY

Travelers may visit Rome, but they dream of settling down in a rural villa in this region elevated by the Renaissance’s greatest artists and architects and nourished by some of Italy’s most prized agricultural bounty. The rolling Tuscan countryside µ with its vineyards, fields, and olive groves divided by ancient stone walls and winding roads, makes way for small cities that seem little changed in 500 years (although they’re undoubtedly more tourist-friendly). Galileo, Dante, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Bruneleschi, Medici, Savanarola, Rossini … The never-ending roll call of cultural giants is staggering, enhanced by expatriate British luminaries like Byron and Shelley.

AMBIENCE

The famous Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence

FACTS

With the possible exception of Rome, no other port on Disney’s Mediterranean itineraries offers more bewildering choices than La Spezia, gateway to the Renaissance art and architecture of Florence and Pisa, the luscious Tuscan countryside, the charming villages and rugged coastline of Cinque Terre, and a hint of the glamorous Italian Riviera.

MediaMarx, Inc.

(Mediterranean Itineraries)

Reservations

Florence and Pisa (La Spezia)

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Index

Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

Tip: Look for the µ camera symbol throughout the text to indicate when additonal photos are available online along with our trip report at http://www.passporter.com/dcl/mediterranean.asp


Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

GETTING THERE GETTING AROUND SAFETY

Magic Index

Topic: Florence and Pisa Tips and Notes

Making the Most of Florence and Pisa

Ports of Call

Activities

Dining

Staterooms

Reservations

Introduction

280

The Disney Magic docks in the commercial and naval port of La Spezia, the southeastern corner of the coastal province of Liguria. The long, narrow, Molo Italia pier mostly serves ferries and excursion boats, and has few (if any) amenities. You should expect to take a tender to and from the shore at this port. All ashore is at 7:30 am, all aboard at 6:30 pm. You’ll be in port on a Tuesday on the 11-night itinerary or a Saturday for the 10-night itinerary. You should be aware that it is a bit unusual for a cruise ship to dock in La Spezia when visiting Florence and Pisa; normally a cruise ship docks in Livornoµ, 50 miles to the south. Nearly everyone will board tour buses to inland destinations or tour boats to nearby Cinque Terre. • The rail station is about a halfmile inland, offering alternate transit to the Cinque Terre. • A stroll around the port area may yield attractive neighborhoods, a nearby park, and waterfront promenade. If you plan a do-it-yourself walking tour, add a few more guidebooks to your collection. Inexpensive “on your own” bus excursions will get you to Florence, Pisa, and (perhaps) Lucca if you’d rather not be guided. The city centers are mostly pedestrian-only. Footing (and wheeling) on cobblestone streets can be a challenge, and there are often stairs to climb. Parking is on the periphery, with the preference going to buses over cars. Admission tickets are needed for many sights and, when possible, is best prearranged (this is one of the advantages of the guided tours). • Most major car rental agencies are present, but not pierside—we do not recommend you rent a car. • Taxis are ill-advised due to the distances involved, but a car hire with driver/guide may be an excellent alternative to shore excursions or rental only. The official tourism web site at http://www.turismoliguria.it includes a search engine for registered private tour guides. Driving distances: Florence is 90 mi. (85 min.), Pisa is 53 mi. (55 min.), Lucca is 50 mi. (50 min.), Portofino is 55 mi. (1 hr.), Parma is 80 mi. (80 min.), and Siena is 130 mi. (2 hrs.) Want to drive to a winery? Bring a designated driver! Sharp operators have been fleecing tourists here for well over 2,000 years. In crowded tourist towns, take standard pickpocket precautions: sturdy straps on shoulder bags, slung diagonally, with the bag under your arm. Wallets are safer in front pants pockets. Be discrete when opening wallets, and guard purchases carefully. Carry the absolute minimum, in case the worst happens.

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Decisions, decisions…. Almost everyone agrees that first-timers must visit Florenceµ. Pisaµis an easy stopover along the way, but other than roaming that town’s plaza with its famous tower, hardcore art buffs will do better to skip that stop in favor of Florence. If you’ve been there, done that (or really don’t relish the idea of viewing old buildings and trekking through museums), a visit to the more manageable town of Lucca (Siena, alas, is more than a two-hour drive from La Spezia), a winery tour, or a jaunt to Cinque Terre or Portofino offer further, hard choices. Disney promises to offer beach excursions to nearby Cinque Terre, with watersport rentals available. Cinque Terre is also perfect for hikers, with its five villages and hillside vistas connected by footpath. A hiking permit is required (see page 284). There is no beach in La Spezia.

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La Spezia and Tuscany (Florence and Pisa)

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FLORENCE/PISA MAP

Touring Florence and Pisa

Reservations

Introduction

Topic: Florence and Pisa Map

Index

Chapter 6: Putting Into Port


Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

Index

Magic

Ports of Call

Activities

Dining

Staterooms

Topic: Florence Activities

Exploring Florence

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Florence (Firenze) µ is the capital city of Tuscany and capital of the Italian Renaissance. Florence is a must for lovers of art and architecture, and for shoppers in search of fine jewelry, antiques, and leather goods. Even if art and architecture normally bores you silly, famous sights like the Ponte Vecchio µ, Michelangelo’s David µ, and the famed Duomo (cathedral)µare on everyone’s list. Guided tours may seem uncool, but with admission required at nearly every turn, a tour guide can whisk you into more places with less hassle than you can manage on your own. If you want to savor your visit, pick just a few choice destinations and tour on your own. Tour buses will undoubtedly deposit you near the heart of the city, by the Duomo (cathedral). Brunelleschi’s famous dome is a work of architectural and engineering genius. Tours of the dome are offered (€6), but most day visitors don’t bother to go inside (free). The cathedral’s museum (€6) houses a worthy collection of religious art by the great masters. Next to the Duomo is the Battistero (baptistry), noted for its history, glorious interior decorations, and Ghiberti’s bronze doors (€3 to enter). Web: http://www.duomofirenze.it/index-eng.htm. A couple of blocks southwest of the Duomo, Piazza della Repubblica, the center of Roman Florence, has all the cafes you could ever enjoy. For lovers of religious art, the Medici Chapels (€4), just a block north of the Duomo, and Santa Croce cathedral, on the southeast side of town (burial place of just about everybody), are worthy stops. Of the many galleries, the Uffizi (€6,50) tops the list. Due south of the Duomo on the banks of the Arno, the gallery was first opened to the public in 1591 and houses an unbelievable collection of paintings. The Bargello (€4), north of the Ufizzi, has a fabled sculpture collection, and the Accademia Museum (€6,50), at the far north end of town, ranks third, mostly due to Michelangelo’s David and other sculptures by that master. Right outside the Ufizzi is Piazza della Signoria. This plaza has enough sculpture and fountains to satisfy most casual sightseers. From there, Ponte Vecchioµis just a stone’s throw away. This “new bridge,” built in 1345, is lined from end to end with gold and jewelry shops. Cross the Ponte Vecchio for Boboli Gardens—as glorious a formal garden as you’ll see on this cruise (€8). Tip: The State Museums of Florence web site located at http://www. polomuseale.firenze.it covers nearly every museum mentioned above. Admission to the Ufizzi and Accademia museums is a challenge. Phone in advance at 39 055294883.

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Lucca—The attraction here is the central fortress city. While not world-class in any one aspect, it’s a very attractive and manageably sane cross-section of Tuscan culture. Walk, bicycle, or picnic on the tree-shaded ramparts—a full circuit is about 3 mi./5 km. Piazza del Anfiteatro Romano, built over the Roman amphitheater, is lined with cafes and shops. Climb to the top of Torre Guinigi—it doesn’t lean, but the view is still worth it. If that’s not enough, visit the Duomo, several other churches (San Frediano features the mummified remains of St. Zita and closes at noon), or the Villa Guinigi Museum. Lucchese olive oil is famous (buy a bottle or two), soup may include emmer, a barley-like grain, and rabbit finds its way into several stews and sauces. (Did we mention that lunch should be part of your plans?) Tourist information offices are found in Piazzale Verdi and Piazza Santa Maria. Web: http://www.welcometuscany.it/tuscany/lucca.

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Pisa µ—We have our own slant on this famous town. The fact that shore excursions to Pisa last four hours, with two of those dedicated to driving, should give you a hint. Pisa offers similar architectural glories as Florence, at a far more relaxed pace. If Florence is a cup of espresso, then Pisa is café misto (latte). Most visits begin and end in Pisa’s “Miracle Square,”µthe open expanse that houses the Duomo (cathedral), Baptistry, and the famed Leaning Tower. These go hand in hand with Camposanto cemetery, the Duomo’s museum, and a tour of the The famous leaning tower of Pisa city walls. Admission is charged for (and Alexander’s leaning all, from €2 for the walls, to €15 to bottle of water!) climb the Leaning Tower (yes, since recent work to prevent the tower’s fall, you can climb to its top, but you must secure tickets early as they are quite limited). Online booking of Tower tickets (€17) up to 45 days in advance is available at http://www.opapisa.it. Note: Jennifer and Alexander took a halfday excursion to Pisa, but were disappointed by how most of the time was spent riding on a tour bus through boring terrain. If you do Pisa, we recommend you make it part of a longer excursion.

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Exploring Pisa and Lucca

Reservations

Introduction

Topic: Pisa and Lucca Activities

Index

Chapter 6: Putting Into Port


Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

Index

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Ports of Call

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Topic: Cinque Terre and Portofino Activities

Portofino—About an hour up the coastal highway A12 (or the even more picturesque route S1, which may be crowded with summer traffic), Portofino is the quintessential “rich and famous” destination. Small, picturesque, with a yacht-filled harbor, it is said to be the cleanest town in Italy. You’ll have to drive (no direct rail service), and once here, it’s a place to stroll, dine, and shop. If your stop in Monte Carlo isn’t enough to sate your Grace Kelly/James Bond-in-a-sports-car appetite, this trip may do the trick. Walk up the hill to medieval Castello (castle) di San Giorgio and stroll out to the lighthouse on Punta Portofino for a fine view, and you’ll have covered most of the sights. Dining and shopping will not be bargainpriced, but if you have to ask, you can’t afford it, right?

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Cinque Terre—Just around a coastal bend from La Spezia, this UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Park preserves tiny villages perched between sea and cliff, hidden beaches and grottoes, impossible mountainside vineyards, and breathtaking vistas. Cinque Terre Easy access by rail and tour boat make this a busy spot during the summer, but by all reports, it’s still quite worthwhile. Hikers in for the day can “roll their own” by catching a train in La Spezia, which stops at all five villages. The necessary hiking permit plus unlimited day rail fare and shuttle bus service within the reserve is included in a Cinque Terre Card (€6) available at any station, which also comes with a map, rail and ferry timetables, and tourist guide. The same card with ferry (within the reserve only) is €15. Boat service from La Spezia is €21–23. Most of these boats stop en route in Portovenere, a favored haunt of Lord Byron. The coastal hiking path is most practical for the day, stitching together all five villages if you have the time and stamina (the full distance is 8 mi./13 km.). The steepest portion is the climb up to the village of Corniglia, but you can take a short shuttle bus ride instead (included in the Cinque Terre Card). Of course, you may just linger at one of the villages when the mood strikes. The most practical beach is at Monterosso, at the far end of the district (small fee). Learn much more at http://www.parconazionale5terre. it (including links to train timetables) and the official tourism site at http://www.cinqueterre.it/en/index.asp.

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Exploring Cinque Terre and Portofino

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Florence by Segway Rating: n/a Have a blast cruising the streets of Florence aboard your own Segway, a twoTour wheeled personal transporter. Upon arrival in Florence, you’ll receive a short Moderate Segway orientation session and then you’re off. Navigate your Segway to the Ages 16 & up center of town and see the highlights while you listen to your guide through a $150 headset in your helmet. Once your tour has ended you will have the opportunity 9 hours to explore the shops and restaurants of downtown Florence. Note: You must be 16 years of age to operate a Segway, which has a 250 lb. maximum weight limit. Cinque Terre Rating: n/a Begin your tour with a scenic boat cruise and admire the beautiful views of the Tour coast and the island of Palmaria before arriving at the protected area of Cinque Leisurely Terre. Cinque Terre is a national park featuring steep slopes with vine-covered All ages terraces. Sheer cliffs rise from the sea, with small creeks and enchanting beaches $130/$100 squeezed among the rocks. The first stop is the “Street of Love,” a beautiful 9 hours path that follows the seashore and travels to Manarola. Once in Manarola, board a boat for a short ride to Vernazza. This seaside village gives you the opportunity to sit back and relax for a bit. Before returning to the ship, visit Monterosso al Mare to explore the historical center, browse the tiny shops, and peek into the local eateries.

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A Taste of Florence (or Historical Florence) Rating: 9 A 90-minute shuttle ride to Florence will start your 2.5- to 4-hour walking tour. Tour You’ll see Piazza del Duomo, home of the Cathedral with Brunelleschi’s landmark Leisurely dome, Giotto’s Bell Tower, and the Baptistry with Ghiberti’s breathtaking bronze All ages doors. Moving on, you’ll visit the city’s largest town square, the Piazza della $90/$70 Signoria, famous for its copy of Michelangelo’s “David” and the Loggia dei 9 hours Lanzi, a sheltered collection of impressive statuary. You can window shop for gold and jewels on the famous Ponte Vecchio and visit the church of Santa Croce, where Italian greats are buried. Its white, green, and pink marble facade is a beautiful example of Florentine Gothic style. Lunch should be included, as well as a bit of free time to shop and explore. Dave did a version of this excursion called Historical Florence that also visited the Accademia Museum, home of the original “David” statue and other Michelangelos. With all the copies around town it’s hard to believe the original can still be breathtaking, but it is! Dave’s tour also included a stop at Piazzale Michelangelo, a hilltop overlook with a fantastic view of the city. Despite the fact that this tour and others like it generally don’t take you inside the city’s famed galleries and museums, a first-time visitor will still feel the day was very well spent. Recommended! Dave and “David” in Piazza del Signoria

Ports of Call

Disney Cruise Line has yet to announce its roundup of shore excursions—we expect it to do so in spring 2007. We provide these listings to acquaint you with the possibilities based on typical offerings by other cruise lines.

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Embarking on Shore Excursions in Florence and Pisa

See page 168 for a key to the shore excursion description charts and their icons.

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Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

Topic: Florence/Pisa Shore Excursions

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Pisa Rating: 3 A 60-minute bus ride to Pisa begins the excursion. Upon reaching Pisa, you’ll Tour walk about 15 minutes to the walled “Miracle Square” of Pisa. Inside you’ll Leisurely receive a brief guided tour of the Leaning Tower, cathedral, and baptistry, All ages but your admission to actually go into these buildings is not included in $50/$35 the excursion. You can purchase admission to the buildings (other than the 3.5 hours Tower) for €5 (one building), €6 (two buildings), or €8 (three buildings). Tower admission is €15 on-site (but it’s really unlikely you’d be able to do this on such a short excursion) or €17 in advance online at http://www.opapisa.it. While the square is beautiful, it is also crowded with both tourists and merchants selling questionable goods. In fact, you’ll need to “run the gauntlet” on the way in and out of the square by passing through a relatively narrow alley filled with slightly seedy merchants pushing fake Gucci handbags. Jennifer and Alexander did this excursion and did not feel it was worth the time or money. The best part of the excursion was the 15 minutes we had to relax on the lawn. If you want to see Pisa, do it as part of another excursion—many excursions Making the most of the include Pisa on their itineraries. Miracle Square

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Embarking on Shore Excursions in Florence and Pisa (continued)

Tour Leisurely All ages $130/$100 9 hours

Italian Beach and Pisa Rating: n/a Enjoy the sights of Pisa, then sit back and relax on a beach that has all the Beach/Tour amenities you would expect, plus a swimming pool. Ride on the tour bus to Pisa Leisurely to view the Leaning Tower and the cathedral, and browse the souvenir stands. All ages Then get back on the bus and go to a local beach, where you should have about $75/$60 four hours to relax on the beach and/or in the pool. Changing facilities will be 8 hours provided, as will a beach chair with umbrella. Highlights of Lucca Rating: n/a Take a drive through the Tuscan countryside by bus to Lucca. Start your walking Tour tour by learning the town’s history. See Piazza San Michel, the Via Fillilungo, Leisurely Torre delle Ore, Piazza Dell’Anfiteatro, and the Duomo. Lucca’s Cathedral All ages dates from the 12th century and features a facade with elaborate reliefs $60/$50 and columns. The Gothic interior boasts a devotional Volto Santo, an image 9 hours of Christ on the cross, and is thought to have been carved by Nicodemus, a witness to the crucifixion. After this, you’ll have free time to browse the shops of Lucca and to have lunch at a local cafe.

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Pisa and Florence on Your Own Rating: n/a This is an excellent excursion for those of you who have already been to Pisa and Florence, or who just want something a little less structured. A tour bus to Florence starts the day as you are dropped off at Lungarno dell Zecca, from which an escort takes you to Santa Croce Square. You’ll be given about four hours to explore and grab lunch (not included in excursion price). After lunch, you’ll be taken to Pisa for exploration and photo opportunities. You’ll return to the ship via tour bus.

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See page 168 for a key to the shore excursion description charts and their icons.

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Topic: Marseille Introduction

287 Introduction Ports of Call

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Size: 92 sq. mi. (240 sq. km.) Climate: Mediterranean Temperatures: 70°F (21°C) to 84°F (29°C) Population: 100,000 Busy Season: Winter Language: French Money: Euro (€) Time Zone: Central European Transportation: Walking, taxis Phones: Dial 011-34 from U.S., dial 112 for emergencies

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Like so many Mediterranean ports, Marseille’s history extends over 2,000 years, first emerging as a trading post. The Greeks were the first to hang their shingle here (calling it Massalia), and later it fell under Roman rule. As a Roman port town, it thrived—it was even the first French town to have a public sewer system! Alas, its status as a major port during the Middle Ages meant it was one of the towns most ravaged by the black plague. After its population slowly reestablished itself, the port officially become a city. Later, the Duke of Anjou had the city fortified and used it as a strategic base.

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As France’s largest port, life in Marseille revolves around the sea. Many of the current-day residents arrived as immigrants through the port, and the port itself is a gateway through which goods and culture are traded. Marseille’s old city, Vieux Portµ, embodies this rich history with its quaint harbor, colorful buildings, and narrow streets. If you’ve seen the 2002 remake of “The Count of Monte Cristo,” the storyline is set in Marseille (the Count’s home) and the Chateau d’If is just off the coast of Marseille.

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Palais de Longchamp

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Welcome to Provence—land of lavender fields, olive groves, majestic mountains, and impressionist painters. Marseille is the capital of this beautiful region and the second largest city in France. Marseille is also the gateway to many quaint towns that dot the landscape, such as historic Arles, the mountaintop village Les Baux, the fishing port Cassis, and the university town Aix-en-Provence. Marseille is along the stunning Cote d’Azur (the blue coast), also known as the French Riviera. The entire region is blessed with balmy breezes, deep blue skies, and a magical, luminous light.

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(Mediterranean Itineraries)

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Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

Tip: Look for the µ camera symbol throughout the text to indicate when additonal photos are available online along with our trip report at http://www.passporter.com/dcl/mediterranean.asp


Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

Transportation is an important consideration in Marseille if you’re not planning to take a Disney shore excursion. The simplest but priciest option is a taxi. If you’re thinking of hiring a taxi for several hours to do touring, consider booking one in advance with a service such as http://www.taxidurand.com. • At Vieux Port, you’ll find the Petit Train Touristiques µ (little tourist train), which offers two tours of the town center—cost is €5/adult and €3/child (more information at http://www.petit-train-marseille.com. • The Marseille train station is about a 15–20 minute walk from Vieux Port and it has trains to Aix-enProvence (only 40 minutes away) and Arles (about an hour away). • Car rentals are possible, but we do not recommend it due to the difficult driving conditions— drivers often disregard The little tourist train in Vieux Port common sense. How about staying safe in Marseille? Yep, you guessed it—the big issue here, as in so many other Mediterranean ports, is pickpocketing. In fact, we saw more “gypsies” and “beggars” (the terms our tour guides used) hanging about Vieux Port in Marseille than in any other port we visited. Use the standard precautions against pickpocketing mentioned in other Mediterranean port sections of this book. Also avoid the begging women with babies in their arms—if you stop to admire the baby in one arm, the other (hidden) arm relieves you of your wallet.

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The Disney Magic docks at the Port de Marseille (most likely berth 163), a commercial port to the north of Vieux Port (the center of the old town). A small, modular cruise terminal offers a cafe and a few souvenir stands. More information on the port is at http://www.marseille-port.fr. Taxis and tour buses leave from the wharf—it’s not practical to walk into town from here. Inquire about a shuttle into the city for about €5–6. Disembarkation time is typically 8:00 am with an all-aboard time around 7:00 pm. Cruisers on the 10-night itinerary arrive on a Wednesday; cruisers on the 11-night itinerary arrive on a Sunday.

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GETTING THERE GETTING AROUND STAYING SAFE

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Walking Around Marseille’s Vieux Port: The old city center of Vieux Port offers a charming, picturesque walk. Begin at Vieux Port (take a taxi or shuttle), which is situated at the end of La Canebiere (road). The Tourism Office is on La Canebiere, too. Begin by walking along the waterfrontµ(Quai des Belges), taking in the fishmongers and souvenir stalls µ. Small streets surrounding the port offer plenty of shopping and dining. Continue walking north around the harbor into the city’s oldest district (Le Paniers). If you make your way north up one of the picturesque sloping streets, you’ll be on the site of the ancient Greek town of Massalia (the heart of it is Place de Lenche). Make your way back down to the port and head east to Rue Saint Ferreot, which runs perpendicular to La Canebiere on its north side—this is the main shopping boulevard and is lined with familiar and not-so-familiar shops. If you’re in the mood for a museum, the excellent Marseille Natural History Museum (Musee d’Histoire Naturelle) is located here—hours are 10:00 am to 5:00 pm; admission is €3/adults and €1,50/kids ages 10–18. There’s also the nearly Musee de la Marine, which documents Marseille’s seafaring history—hours are 10:00 am to noon and 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm; admission is €2.

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Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

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Playing in Marseille

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Basilique Notre Dame de la Gardeµpresides over the city on its highest natural point. Climbing the 200+ steps to the top terrace affords excellent views of the city and sea, particularly at sunset. The cathedral’s interior is covered in inlaid marble, mosaics, and murals. There’s a small gift shop and cafe here as well. Free admission. More information at http://www.notredamedelagarde.com. Palais de Longchamp µ is a grand building and fountain (see photo on page 287) built to commemorate the arrival of Durance canal water to Marseille, relieving a long, mid-1800s drought. The palace’s north wing houses the Musee des Beaux-Arts (Museum of the Art Schools of Marseille) with many paintings from the 16th to 19th centuries. Museum admission is €2. (Tip: admission is free on Sunday mornings.) Aix-en-Provence (20 mi./32 km. north of Marseille) is the former capital of Provence and a scenic university town, rich in culture and history. Aix-en-Provence is also the birthplace of French impressionist painter Paul Cezanne, and many of his works are based on the nearby countryside. Arles µ (55 mi./90 km. northwest of Marseille) is a delightful town on the Rhone river. It’s probably best known for Van Gogh, who spent several years and painted many scenes around the area. Don’t miss the Eglise St-Trophime and its cloisters—open from 9:00 am to 6:30 pm; admission to the cloisters is €3,50/adults and €2,60 kids (church admission is free). Les Bauxµ(50 mi./80 km. north of Marseille) is called the “nesting place of eagles” because of its perch on a plateau above the Alpilles mountains. Its narrow streets are picturesque, and the views are incredible. The churchµis quite charming with luminous stained glass windows. Expect to do a lot of walking/climbing steps here. Cassis (13 mi./20 km. east of Marseille) is a seaside resort famous for its cliffs and calanques (deep, narrow inlets in limestone cliffs). In fact, if you’ve seen the “Impressions de France” movie at Epcot, the swimmers jumping off the yacht below the tall cliffs and calanques were filmed near here. Many quaint cafés and shops line the waterfront, and there are well-marked trails if you want to explore the area further.

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Embarking on Shore Excursions in Marseille Disney Cruise Line has yet to announce its roundup of shore excursions—we expect it to do so in spring 2007. We provide these listings to acquaint you with the possibilities based on typical offerings by other cruise lines.

Avignon and Wine Tasting at Palace of the Popes Rating: n/a Take in beautiful country landscapes as you’re shuttled to Avignon. Avignon became the capital of Christianity when the pope moved from Vatican City during a time of war. The first stop is at the Palace of the Popes. This was the center of Avignon and to this day remains a major focal point of interest. Avignon is home to some of the most famous wines of the world and you’ll have an opportunity to taste some. You’ll also stop at the Pont St-Benezet Bridge, a very romantic and picturesque medieval bridge across the Rhone River. See page 168 for a key to the shore excursion description charts and their icons.

Activities Ports of Call

Tour Leisurely All ages $50/$40 6 hours

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Aix-en-Provence on Your Own Rating: n/a If you have been to Aix-en-Provence before or would like to see the town at your own pace, consider this excursion. You’ll pass through the beautiful French countryside onboard a tour bus. Should you have any questions prior to your arrival at Aix-en-Provence, the onboard guide is happy to help. You’ll be dropped off near the city’s center for about 4.5 hours to explore on your own. Then it’s back on the bus for your return to the ship.

Tour Leisurely All ages $50/$30 4 hours

Tour Leisurely All ages $130/$115 8 hours

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Tour of Aix-en-Provence Rating: n/a Your tour bus ride to Aix-en-Provence passes through the rolling French countryside. Upon arriving at Aix-en-Provence, you’ll begin a 1.5-mile guided walk through this pedestrian-only city center. You’ll see Rotonde Square and its beautiful fountain. From here, walk through Quarter Mazarin, with its checkerboard patterned homes and their Baroque facades and beautifully carved wooden doors. Now see Vieil Aix with winding streets that lead to the 17th-century town hall, the Archbishop’s Palace, and St. Sauveur Cathedral.

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Marseille City Tour Rating: 6 Discover the historical and maritime past of the city of Marseille on this tour Tour bus excursion. As you head toward the center of the city, you’ll pass Vieux Port Leisurely and get great views of the St. John and St. Nicholas forts. Next you will go All ages to Notre Dame de la Garde, a basilica set on top the hill overlooking the old $45/$30 harbor (you’ll need to climb about 200 steps here). The basilica is decorated with 3 hours multi-colored mosaics throughout. From the basilica, you’ll go to Palais de Longchamp (pictured on page 287), which is decorated with beautiful fountains, waterfalls, and gardens. If time permits, you may also get some time for shopping and/or free exploration at Vieux Port. Note also that these destinations may be visited in a different order, as they were when Jennifer and Alexander took this city tour. We thought the tour was okay, but nothing special. Our favorite stop was at Vieux Port when we had some time to look about by ourselves. To see a longer description of this excursion, please visit our Mediterranean Scouting Trip Report Conquering Notre Dame at http://www.passporter.com/dcl/mediterranean.asp.

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Topic: Marseille Shore Excursions

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Chapter 6: Putting Into Port


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Ports of Call

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Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

Topic: Marseille Shore Excursions

Embarking on Shore Excursions in Marseille (continued)

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Arles and Les Baux Rating: 8 A 90-minute tour bus ride brings you to charming Arles. Arles lies between the Tour Camargue ranchlands and the scenic groves and fields of Provence. Once in Arles, Leisurely you’ll set out on a walking tour that highlights the areas where Van Gogh lived All ages and worked. From here, you’ll see Cafe du Forum, Place de la Republique, Arles $145/$125 Arena, and the 17th-century town hall. Next, it’s on to Les Baux for a walking 8 hours tour through the cobblestone streets. You’ll explore the exterior of the Citadel and its fortifications. You’ll get free time to explore shops that offer local soaps, fragrances, pottery art, and handicrafts. Lunch is included. Dave took this excursion and greatly enjoyed the breathtaking views and historic sights. In Arles, Dave’s tour group examined the fascinating church facade in Place de la Republique, admired the remarkable vaulted ceiling in city hall, and walked on through the charming, near-empty streets. You’re going to love the Cloister of St-Trophime’s medieval colonnaded courtyard and the accompanying exhibits (including some fine tapestries). Dave also visited the Roman Coliseum—it’s currently under restoration and missing lots of the original stone (hijacked over the ages for use in “newer” buildings) but still in active use as the city bullring. They sure built things to last, didn’t they? Les Baux gave its name to bauxite (aluminum ore), first mined here in les Alpilles (the “Little Alps”). Closed to vehicles, this is a perfect, preserved hilltop fortress town—picturesque shops, cobbled streets, beaucoups bistros, and awesome views of the fields, vineyards, groves, mountains, and plains du Provence from the remains of the ancient chateau. A full report of the excursion is online at http://www.passporter.com/dcl/mediterranean. Arles’ Coliseum/Bullring

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Les Baux de Provence Rating: n/a A 90-minute shuttle ride brings you to Les Baux. On your way, you’ll see rice plantations, olive groves, and sunflower fields. The village of Les Baux is delightful, dotted with shops supporting local crafts. In Les Baux, you’ll begin a guided walking tour to see the exterior of the Citadel and its fortifications. This is a great time for a photo opportunity of the breathtaking landscape below. After your tour, you’ll have some time to browse the shops before your return. Cassis Rating: n/a A one–hour tour bus ride to Cassis passes sharp ridges, overhanging limestone cliffs, and fields of grapevines. Cassis is an old fishing port, and thanks to its beautiful scenery, many famous painters have come here to paint. Cassis is famous for its high, white cliffs—it is situated at the base of Europe’s highest cliff. You’ll have time to explore the numerous quaint shops, view a 14th-century castle, and dine at one of the numerous cafes.

Tour Leisurely All Ages $50/$30 5 hours

Tour Leisurely All Ages $50/$30 4 hours

See page 168 for a key to the shore excursion description charts and their icons.

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Topic: Villefranche Introduction

293 Introduction Activities Ports of Call

HISTORY

Size: 2 sq. mi. (5 sq. km.) Climate: Mediterranean Temperatures: 67°F (19°C) to 80°F (27°C) Population: 8,000 (island) Busy Season: Summer Language: French Money: Euro (€) Time Zone: Central European Transportation: Walking, taxis Phones: Dial 011-34 from U.S., dial 112 for emergencies

Magic

Villefranche (pronounced Veala-fransh) literally means “town without taxes,” so named in the 13th century when King Charles II gave the town tax-free status to encourage the villagers from the hills to live in the town. The area’s history begins long before this with prehistoric settlements. Farming communities sprouted up in the surrounding hills. The Greeks and Romans enjoyed the deepwater harbor. Fast-forward to the 14th century and we find the area in a tug-of-war between the Holy Roman Empire and France. Franco-Turkish armies occupied the city in 1543, prompting the construction of the large Citadel. The area changed hands several times, belonging to Savoy, then France, then Sardinia. In 1860, it returned to the French and became a favored spot for the wealthy to winter. Today it is France’s most popular cruise ship port.

FACTS

Villefranche is nestled in a natural harbor between Nice µ and Monaco µ. It’s famous for its warm, luminous light, which we experienced on our visit. The three “Corniches” (the main roads between Nice and Italy, just beyond Monaco) pass through Villefranche. For our friends who enjoy the “Impressions de France” film at Epcot: Do you recall the waterfront scene of Villefrancheµ or the sunbathers and Bugatti race cars in Cannes? You can see these magical vistas through your own eyes near this port!

Dining

Staterooms

© The enchanting Villefranche waterfront

AMBIENCE

Ahhh, the French Riviera! Its azure waters, terraced hills, and sun-bleached buildings are what many of us picture when we imagine the Mediterranean. The charming, small town of Villefranche is the gateway to the jet-set glitter of Monaco and Monte Carlo, the big city of Nice, and the sunny beaches of Cannes.

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(Mediterranean Itineraries)

Reservations

Villefranche (Nice and Cannes)

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Index

Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

Tip: Look for the µ camera symbol throughout the text to indicate when additonal photos are available online along with our trip report at http://www.passporter.com/dcl/mediterranean.asp


Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

GETTING THERE GETTING AROUND STAYING SAFE

Magic Index

Topic: Villefranche Tips and Notes

Making the Most of Villefranche (Nice and Cannes)

Ports of Call

Activities

Dining

Staterooms

Reservations

Introduction

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The Disney Magic anchors in the Bay de Villefranche µand tenders you ashore in boats (expect a boat ride of about 15 minutes). You arrive at a very nice terminalµthat has an information booth and restrooms—the wharf is also an excellent spot to take a picture of Villefranche as we did (see photo on previous page). Taxis are available at the pier, but you can walk to just about every attraction in Villefranche or take the nearby train to Nice (see below for details). Disembarkation time is typically 8:30 am with an allaboard time of 5:30 pm. On the 10-night cruise, you will arrive on a Thursday; on the 11-night cruise, you will arrive on a Monday. Villefranche is one of those happy ports you can explore without booking a shore excursion. It’s not large and it’s best to walk through the picturesque townµto see its charm (see our walking tour on the next page). This is a very hilly area, however, so wear your most comfortable shoes. • Another option is the Pequeno Tren Turistico (Little Tourist Train) µ, which takes you around Villefranche. Cost is €5 for a 25-minute tour in the morning, or €6,50 for an hour tour in the afternoon. Get more information at the terminal’s information booth. • If you want to visit Nice or Monaco, there’s a convenient train going in both directions. You can see the red train station (Gare SNCF) a 15-minute walk from the wharf—just follow the harbor around to the beach area (the stairs to the station are just beyond the Carpaccio restaurant). Purchase your tickets before you board—a round-trip to either Nice or Monaco is about €5. The train makes several stops in Nice—you’ll want the “Nice-Ville” stop. Tip: The terminal’s information desk has the train schedule. • Taxis are available—expect to pay about €25 for a one-way trip to Nice. • A rental car agency is available at the cruise terminal if you’re feeling up to exploring the area on your own. There’s also a Hertz agency in nearby Beaulieu-Sur-Mer (a 20-minute walk away). Of all the ports on your Mediterranean cruise, Villefranche may be the safest. That said, if you exercise the same precautions you would in any other tourist area, you can feel secure in walking about here. If you do decide to rent a car, keep your doors locked and your windows rolled up—“traffic light muggers” are infamous in Nice and Cannes, according to the U.S. Department of State. But for the most part, your biggest worries will probably be avoiding blisters with all the walking, and keeping sunscreen on your skin.

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Walking Around Villefranche (Old Town): Start by heading toward the Citadel µ, the massive stone fortress. Inside the Citadel is the town hall, a chapel, and several free museums, including the Musée Voltiµand the Goetz Boumeester Museum. Walk along the ramparts and look for the open-air theatre. Head back to the village passing through Place Philibert and walking north past the Jardin des Chasseurs. Continue along the Rue du Poilu, turning left on the Rue de l’Eglise to pass the St. Michel churchµ. Turn right on Rue de May and left back onto Rue du Poilu. At the end of this street, turn right and right again to reach Rue Obscureµ, a delightful “covered” street that has a “Phantom of the Opera” feel to it. Turn left to get back to Rue de l’Eglise and a view of the waterfront and pier. Continue south and you’ll arrive at the Chapel of St. Pierre µ, a charming church decorated with frescoes by Jean Cocteau (€2 to enter). If you’re hungry, look nearby for the Souris Gourmande sidewalk café µ—excellent food and prices! Also consider the seaside walkway µthat goes under the Citadel, leading to the yacht harbor. It’s a particularly romantic walk with much atmosphere, especially at twilight. You can walk along the waterfront in the other direction, toward Beaulieu-sur-Mer—it offers many colorful vistas to enjoy. If you’d like a guided walking tour, the Tourist Office offers one for a nominal charge—book in advance through http://www.villefranchesur-mer.com or e-mail ot@villefranche-sur-mer.com.

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VILLEFRANCHE MAP

Touring Villefranche, (Nice and Cannes)

Reservations

Introduction

Topic: Villefranche Map

Index

Chapter 6: Putting Into Port


Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

Index

Magic

Ports of Call

Activities

Dining

Staterooms

Topic: Villefranche Activities

Cannes—Southwest of Nice is Cannes (pronounced “kahn”), home to the most famous film festival in the world. It’s also supposedly the place that the “suntan” trend started (by Coco Chanel), a testament to the popularity of its beaches. Miles of beaches are the big draw here—people come to see and be seen on these beaches. Most beaches are private, but there are public beaches as well. Web: http://www.cannes.fr Monaco and Monte Carloµ—The second smallest independent country in the world is a 45-minute drive from Villefranche, making it a popular spot to visit. This principality is a mere 1.95 sq. km. (482 acres, or smaller than Disney’s Animal Kingdom), but it’s full of interesting things to see and do. The Prince’s Palace (€6, 9:30 am–6:00 pm) is delightful, and the Monaco Cathedral (free admission) houses the tombs of the former princes of Monaco, as well as Grace Kelly. The famous Monte-Carlo Casino is not your daddy’s casino—it’s absolutely gorgeous inside with soaring ceilings and onyx columns. If you want to visit the casino outside of a tour, be aware that it opens in the afternoon, you’ll need to be 18, show your passport, pay admission (€10), and wear proper dress (no jeans or tennis shoes). Web: http://www.visitmonaco.com

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Nice and Eze µ—Nice (sounds like “nees” or “niece”) is a delightful city brimming with sidewalk cafés, art museums, and a famous flower market. Despite its relative size (Nice is France’s fifth largest city), the city is eminently walkable. Must-see attractions include the The Promenade in Nice Promenade des Anglais, Castle Hill, the Russian Cathedral, and several museums, including the Chagall Museum (€5,50) and the Matisse Museum (€4). Eze is jeast of both Nice and Villefranche. The main attraction in Eze is its picturesque, medieval village perched high atop a cliff. The village is so pretty you may think you’ve stepped onto a movie set, or perhaps the newest “land” at Walt Disney World. In Eze, be sure to visit the gardens (Jardins d’Eze), the chateau (Eze Chateau), and the church. If you can see beyond the tourists here, you’ll enjoy the magnificant views.

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Playing in Villefranche (Nice and Cannes) ACTIVITIES

Reservations

Introduction

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Grande Corniche, Eze, and Monaco Rating: n/a Board a tour bus for a drive to Monaco along the famous Grande Corniche, a Tour road that was originally built by Napoleon. Once in Monaco, the tour bus stops at Leisurely the centerpiece of Monte Carlo, the Grand Casino. Here you can try your luck at All ages the tables, shop at its exclusive shops, or have lunch at the café. Next your guide $160/$125 takes you on a walking tour, where you will see portions of old Monaco. You’ll see 8 hours the Oceanographic Museum, the 19th-century Romanesque cathedral, and the prince’s palace. Next, you’ll travel farther along the coast to the mountaintop village of Eze. Perched on a cliff high above the sea, Eze offers spectacular views of Beaulieu and Villfranche. This village can only be explored on foot and offers many opportunities to shop for art and local crafts. After you’re done here, the tour bus will take you back to the ship.

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Staterooms Index

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Monaco and Monte Carlo Rating: 9 Experience the city of Monaco in all its glory. From Villefranche, you’ll be driven Tour along the St. Jean Cap Ferrat peninsula enroute to Monaco. In Monaco, you’ll Leisurely visit the Rock of Monaco and begin your guided walking tour through the old All ages quarter. Along your tour, you’ll see the prince’s palace and the 19th-century $145/$125 cathedral that is the resting place of the Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly. 8 hours As you leave Monaco, the tour bus drives along portions of the Grand Prix Motor Circuit on your way to Monte Carlo. A stop at the Grand Casino (for guests ages 18 and over) gives you time to explore the casino and the areas surrounding. Note that while a passport is not required to enter the casino as you’re with a tour, you will need a passport to collect any gaming winnings. Additionally, beachwear, jeans, and tennis shoes are not allowed in the casino. The tour bus returns you to the ship. Dave took a version of this shore excursion and really enjoyed it. He observed: “The layer cake that is Monaco is fascinating—built up, built down, parking garages for tour buses, roofed over by public gardens. Elevators up, elevators down, tunnels under, layer after layer.” For more details on his excursion experiences, visit our trip report at http://www.passporter.com/dcl/mediterranean.asp. Overlooking Monaco

Dining

Best of the French Riviera Rating: n/a While being bused along the coast, you’ll pass through the town of Nice, before Tour stopping in Cannes, the French town famous for its annual international film Leisurely festival. You’ll be able to walk along the Cannes charming seafront, La Croisette. All ages Next it’s on to the village of Grasse, where you’ll tour a perfume manufacturer $155/$100 to see firsthand how perfumes are created. After a brief stop for lunch (included 8 hours in the price), you’ll travel to the town of St. Paul-de-Vence. Since the 16th century, this town has intrigued visitors with its ancient walls and medieval stone buildings. Along its many narrow walkways, you’ll find shops featuring craft shops and art galleries. The tour bus will then take you on a scenic drive back to the ship.

Activities

Disney Cruise Line has yet to announce its roundup of shore excursions—we expect it to do so in spring 2007. We provide these listings to acquaint you with the possibilities based on typical offerings by other cruise lines.

Ports of Call

Embarking on Shore Excursions in Villefranche (Nice and Cannes)

Reservations

Introduction

Topic: Villefranche Shore Excursions

Magic

Chapter 6: Putting Into Port


Index

Magic

Ports of Call

Activities

Dining

Chapter 6: Putting Into Port

Topic: Villefranche Shore Excursions

Nice and Eze Rating: 8 Board a tour bus for a drive along the Lower Corniche Road as you make your way Tour to the city of Nice. There you’ll drive along the Park Imperial, a sophisticated section Leisurely of Nice dotted with many large, old houses. You’ll see the Franciscan Monastery, All ages its gardens, and an old Roman arena. Moving on, take in locations of the Old City $55/$35 by bus and on foot. See the many tall houses with their colorful floral gardens and 4 hours quaint streets. While in the Old City, take a walk along the Promenade des Anglais. This picturesque street stretches for more than three miles along the Baie des Anges. Reboard the tour bus for a scenic ride to the village of Eze. Eze offers a look back to simpler times with its cobblestone streets and many small shops. This medieval village is only accessible by foot, and it is long uphill walk to the town proper. Jennifer and Alexander took a version of this excursion and recommend it for those who don’t want to spend a full day. Look for the old double-decker carousel (€2) in a park along the promenade in Nice. Eze was very charming, although the shops were pricey. Eze is perfect for photos! The view from Eze

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Embarking on Shore Excursions in Villefranche (Nice and Cannes) (continued)

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Staterooms

Reservations

Introduction

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Nice and Monaco on Your Own Rating: n/a If you’ve already been to Nice and Monaco, or just like to take things at your Tour own pace, this excursion is for you. You’ll be bused along the Corniche Road, Leisurely where you’ll pass small medieval villages and million-dollar yachts. You’ll stop All ages for a couple of hours in Nice, where you can visit the Old City, the beautiful $70/$50 flower gardens, or take a walk along the Promenade des Anglais. Then go on 7 hours to Monaco for a few hours, where you can choose to visit Palace Square, the Oceanographic Museum, or the 19th-century cathedral that is the final resting place of Grace Kelly. Note that lunch is not included, nor is admission to the casino (€10). Nice and St. Paul-De-Vence Rating: n/a This half-day excursion starts in Nice, which you’ll reach by tour bus. You’ll explore many of the major tourist destinations in Nice before setting off for St. Paul-deVence. This walled, medieval village was founded in the 16th century and is one of the most beautiful villages in Provence. Your tour guide will take you to the village entrance and then you’ll have time to explore the cobblestone streets and many shops and boutiques. Much of the village remains in appearance as it did in medieval times. After your time, the tour bus takes you back to the pier.

Tour Leisurely All ages $55/$35 4 hours

Scenic French Riviera Rating: n/a One of the most beautiful drives in the French Riviera is yours as you travel Tour along the Lower Corniche Road, passing through the village of Roquebrune. Leisurely You’ll stop near the Vista Hotel for photo opportunities. At this stop, from a All ages 1,600-ft. vantage point, you can enjoy spectacular views of Italy, Cap Martin, $145/$125 and Monaco. Next you’ll stop in Eze, a charming village 1,400 feet above the 8 hours Mediterranean. You’ll have time to explore Eze and its shops. On your way back to the pier, you’ll pass through Villefranche-sur-Mer and see its beautiful views of Beaulieu, Cap Ferrat, Cap d’Antibes, and Nice. See page 168 for a key to the shore excursion description charts and their icons.

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PassPorterMediterraneanPorts