Avast, Ahoy, Ay-yi! Disney Cruise Line sailed back to Europe in 2013 (also 2014)! To celebrate their wedding anniversary in grand style, my friend author Robert Medina and his wife recently set sail on the Disney Magic to soak in the Mediterranean. He has now generously put together this overview in breathtaking photos and witty commentary, for me to share with my readers some highlights and tips from a Disney Cruise to the Mediterranean!
Departing from the port in Barcelona, Spain – the Disney Magic was their floating home for the week. They took in the fantastic sites, sounds, and foods of these European ports of call: Nice, France; then on to Italy for Naples, Florence, and a grand finale of Rome.
I’ll let Robert tell you the story from here. It’s a good one… *o* (And don’t miss the great tips at the end!)
Disney Cruise to the Mediterranean ~ Highlights
Greetings. It was an interesting trip to say the least. We began by spending 5 days at Disney World before we went on the Disney Cruise to Europe. This I do not recommend. As much as I love the parks and acting like a 12 year old, I was worn out before we left for the airport. I was however looking forward to my airport breakfast which consisted of a rather spicy Bloody Mary.
9 hours later we were in Barcelona and checked into the Disney recommended hotel. It was now 9:30 A.M. Barcelona time so naturally it was time for more breakfast. And this time I actually had food. There was a celery stalk in my Bloody Mary.
The bus picked us up and we headed for the boat. Not a bad ride. Got to see places in Barcelona that are not on the beaten tourist path. Pretty industrial but it’s what I expected traveling to a dock. You get to watch Disney cartoons on the bus so you really don’t notice. Got to the dock right in the middle of Mickey being caught in a mess. Still don’t know how he got out of it. If I see him on the ship I will ask.
These are the greeters on the Magic. It was our fourth time on a Disney Cruise and we expected to be on a different ship because all of our other cruises were in the Caribbean. They just so happened to move it to Europe just in time for us to be there. How did we get so lucky. The good thing was, we knew our way around the ship.
Leaving the port you can see the whole city. Heading out to sea. We experience more of Barcelona when we get back.
Your bags are brought to your room. It’s great because you don’t have to maneuver them throughout the ship. You just show up and they are outside your door. Each day you are given a Navigator pamphlet so you know what and where the activities are. No one wants to talk about the elephant in the room but I will. They also do art work with your towels.
First port… France. About 90 minutes from Nice. Bus ride and excursion awaits. I couldn’t wait to try some real French food. Very disappointed. Turns out… there are no real “French” fries. Maybe I should have tried French Toast.
These chefs asked me to bring back a few things. For some reason it mostly involved various types of nuts.
This is a photo from a place in Nice called Beau Rivage. Nice place to have a drink and look at the water. O.K…. maybe I should have said a pleasant place. Nice, France…. nice. Spelled the same but totally different. Those French are very tricky.
Another bus ride. This time to Monaco. You can see the Disney ship down below. We were told Elton John has a house up there. He didn’t answer the door.
One of the many narrow side streets in Monaco. Lots of shops. It was the cleanest place I’ve ever been. It’s like they repaint the town every night. The locals were nice. I had a momentary thought about doing the “Do you have Prince Albert in a can” joke but decided against it.
There is a winding path on the edge of the city. Great views. All they need is a couple of cliff divers and this place would be rockin.
Everywhere you go on ship there are screens to let you know where you are. It’s kind of like the YOU ARE HERE sign at the mall only on a much larger scale.
Morning on the Italian coast. Looking at the beaches that morning I had to wonder what would happen if I used olive oil instead of sun tan lotion. Now that’s what I call cooking in the sun.
We actually had an excursion planned and paid for to go to Florence but we were catching colds and had to sacrifice a day and stay on board to rest. It was either miss Florence or Rome. We chose Florence. I would rather let David down than upset Spartacus.
Minnie was out having a meet and greet that afternoon. There are character times all over the ship. So if the kids want to fill their autograph books, this is the place. She smelled nice too. Sort of like Parmesan.
The sunsets were always great. And if you didn’t like the show that night, there is going to be a new one tomorrow. Disney thinks of everything.
Disney Cruise Stop in Rome
This is Rome. You can use a Segway during your tour but the streets are really rocky. So unless you are a former circus performer, just bring some comfortable walking shoes.
Inside the Coliseum. You can feel the history. It’s an amazing piece of architecture. They say Rome wasn’t built in a day and I believe it. It must have taken at least 3 weeks to make this place alone.
I was going to throw 3 coins into the fountain but all I had on me was American change. I figured the wish wouldn’t work unless you use Euros.
The pope just left. It was a huge crowd. I didn’t know what he was saying because I don’t speak Italian. As near as I could figure, it had something to do with football because every once in a while people were cheering and doing something like the wave.
We climbed to the top of Mt. Vesuvius that day too. Brought along some great reading material for the bus ride. The air up there is so thin you can see through it.
After all of the hiking around we had a wine tasting and lunch. It was really really good. There was also a tour of the winery. I wanted to stay for a couple of months but they said no. I guess they already had a taste tester.
Disney Cruise Visit to Pompei
Next we went to Pompei. So much to see in so little time. Our guide pointed out to us that this store was like the McDonald’s of its day. But… just like in France… no fries.
This was a huge market in Pompei where people would meet to eat, drink and be entertained. This place had everything. Shops, theatres, schools. They had baths, fountains, running water but alas… no seismograph.
This is one of the unfortunate members of the population who perished in Pompei. They are still excavating to this day.
Disney Cruise Shows and Restaurants
Back on board ship for the return journey to Spain. This is one of the many restaurants on board. We actually missed out on all of the dining halls because our excursions got back so late. But it was all good. The crew at Topsiders took care of us. I believe we also drank every bottle of Pinot Noir they had aboard. They really need to stock better next time we go.
Heading down to the Walt Disney Theatre. It’s almost showtime.
One of the events happening the last day is ice carving. This guy is really good. I tried ice carving once. I didn’t do all that bad. I made a cube.
The entrance to the Animator’s Palate restaurant. Our favorite of the family places. Starts off with everything in black and white. While the dinner progresses the room starts to slowly transform with color. By the end, it’s like being in a full blown Disney cartoon.
Parrot Cay. The tropical family restaurant. In here you can actually have your cake and eat it too.
Lots of places to hang out while the kids are occupied. This is Sessions. Once again, many bars. And the ship is so big that once the kids are not occupied, they can’t find you.
This is the theatre. It is so beautiful. If I had any breath to be taken away, it would hang out in there.
This is Diversions. It’s a sports bar. Not only can you annoy your wife by watching football at home, now you can do it on a ship at sea. Isn’t technology wonderful.
We had a little time in Spain so we decided to go see the Gaudy Church. It was so elaborate that the word gaudy actually comes from the guy who designed it. I never made it inside but I understand there is an Elvis at Graceland section complete with velvet paintings and leopard couches.
We finally left Europe and headed back to Orlando. We also decided to stay a couple of days at Disneyworld to get some rest before we headed home. As you can probably guess…. that didn’t happen. How can we be in Disney without hitting the parks. I mean.. it had been a week since we were there. That’s a lifetime in some places.
Disney Mediterranean Cruise ~ Tips
We are back home now. It’s been a month and I’m still resting. In all of that time I have come up with some tips should you decide to take this trip.
- Pace yourself. Don’t take all of the excursions unless you are in great shape. Leave some ship time in there to enjoy what they have to offer aboard.
- Get Euros before you leave the ship. Exchanging U.S. funds for Euro’s is tricky once you get ashore. Everyone has their own exchange rate.
- Be prepared to pay for something to use the restrooms. Most places have a 4 digit code on your receipt that will let you in. And you ladies should note, there are very few if any places with toilet seats.
- Don’t eat anywhere near the Vatican on days when the pope has an audience.
- Many places are under construction so check before you book excursions. Nothing like getting to Nice and finding out it’s being renovated.
- Bring an umbrella. I didn’t think it rained in Europe…. who knew.
- Get really good street maps. I mean… it’s Europe. It’s old. A lot of places are not marked very well so don’t be afraid to ask.
- If you are going to a hotel before you return to the U.S., don’t take the Disney bus. We waited two hours for one. Take a taxi. They were plentiful. If you’re heading straight to the airport, good luck.
- Don’t miss out on a completely adult night at Palo. Awesome.
- Don’t wear a Where’s The Booty T shirt on Pirates night.
- Don’t wear Croc’s to climb Mt. Vesuvius.
- And if you see the pope, tell him he still owes me twenty bucks.
*o* *o* *o*
Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us, Robert!
When he’s not visiting Disney World or cruising the Mediterranean, Robert is also a chef, retired firefighter, and cookbook author. If you enjoy Robert’s writing style, and would like to try some New Orleans firefighter cooking… you’re gonna love his cookbook If You Can’t Stand The Heat! I have it. I love it.
Here’s my cookbook review, if you’d like to read more. Best fish tacos I’ve ever tasted (the key is his amazing cilantro dressing recipe). And just wait til you try the Flashover Seasoning (he’ll give you the recipe to mix your own, or you can buy some from Fireitup Foods LLC).