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Old 2 Apr 13, 12:44 PM  
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scarecrow
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A cruise in the Med without the Mouse. - Pre-Trip report

Pre-trip report

Us
Me (49) Obsessive planner and lover of Disney
DH (50) Ė Holder of the purse and curbs my spending
DS (14) Ė Planner in training. He canít wait to get on board, make friends and do his own thing without us!




The planning for this cruise started way back in 2011, whilst I was on the Disney Magic. I had become addicted to cruising. Whilst onboard, I made two dummy bookings and the wait began.

In Jan 2011, the schedules were out. I really, really wanted to do the Venice 12 night cruise, but those prices were just too scary. So instead I booked the DCL Med cruise for the 10/08/13.

In the summer we headed off to WDW again and whilst we were there we went to see the Fantasy depart, how I wished I was on that boat.

So September arrived and flight prices were out for the trip across the pond, I was determined to get on the Fantasy you see. But sadly it was not meant to be, just too expensive.

Ha, ha I thought I can still get my Mickey fix, as I have my Med back up cruise booked. Well the boys moaned and groaned." Weíve done that before, same old thing, letís try a new cruise lineĒ they said. What! No Mickey fix for me. I was gutted; but not for long

After spending ages on the web, I live on the web to be honest. I came across two cruises that stirred my interest. One was with Carnival, which included Venice and Monaco and the other was Princess which included Venice and Istanbul, both on my bucket list of places to see. So off went the quote requests. I had always had visions of grandeur, sat on my balcony slipping my tea and watching the sunrise. So in essence, Carnival won. The Princess cruise was over £5000 with flights in an inside cabin and Carnival came in at just under £4500 with the flights and transfers and I got a balcony. Something I have always wanted to try.

The Sunshine is a refurbished ship and Carnival is investing $155 million dollars on upgrading it. In a nutshell they are gutting the old ship. Plus they are adding some extra cabins.

This is where we are going

Ports of call.

Venice
Dubrovnik
Sea Day
Athens
Izmir
Sea day
Messina (Sicily)
Naples
Civitavecchia
Livorno
Marseilles
Barcelona

As lots of you know I usually do all of our trips DIY. I am however cheating on this cruise and I have booked a tour for Messina. The port time is tight, plus itís a Sunday.


So we were set. All done and dusted, I booked with VC as we needed to fly in the day of the cruise and I was worried in case we got a flight delay. I had blown all of the money on the balcony, so no pre-cruise hotel this time.

Edited at 12:58 PM.
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Old 2 Apr 13, 12:46 PM  
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scarecrow
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I signed up with Cruise Critic and joined the roll call; roll calls over there are not like over here. Less than 2 weeks after joining, I got a message to say that my itinerary had changed. We had lost Monaco and Mallorca. DS was in tears, DH was not happy; he wanted to go to Monaco. So I hit the web, looked at cancellation policies terms and conditions etc etc. No luck, VC said we would lose the lot if I cancelled as their terms and conditions required three port changes, Carnival only required two. So I emailed Miami and let them know how unhappy we were and to my surprise they wrote back. To cut a long story short, they gave us some extra OBC towards the extra cost of tours at the new ports of Izmir and Athens. Well done Carnival, I didnít expect anything to be honest. They even offered to change our cruise to another one which included Monaco; sadly we were tied to these dates due to my sisterís up and coming wedding and school holidays.

So sit back and start planning. The winter months were spent reading large numbers of trip reports over on CC, plus some old favourites on here to work out what we were going to get up to this time.

Towards the end of February the prices on my cruise dropped. I had to endure a bit of a battle with Carnival.UK and involve Miami, but in the end I won and I secured a price reduction in my fare of £577. It took nearly 4 weeks and a ton of stress. So not bad a total price of £3773 for three of us for 12 nights in a balcony cabin.

During my on going battle, Carnival had announced that they had cancelled the first two Sunshine sailings, people appeared to be cancelling and the price of my cruise and lots of other ones across the fleet dropped again! Carnival also had problems with the Triumph and Dream too during this time.

To be honest I am very apprehensive about the whole cruise. Will everything be ship shape when we board? Will the ship break down whilst we are on it? Will it be as enjoyable as DCL? I know it wonít be the same as Disney, but hey, I get 12 nights in the Med, trying to be positive here. As DH sayís if we donít try it we donít know.

Oh and in case you were wondering, when this yearís DCL schedules came out, I moved my Med booking to a Fantasy one next August and I have a 5E secured. But shhhh, donít tell the boys.

To be continued, if I can get photo bucket to work. Does anyone use any other photo hosting website to upload photos?
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Old 2 Apr 13, 05:19 PM  
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What a shame your itinerary has been changed - the small print is always loaded in favour of he cruise lines if you need to cancel. We haven't sailed on Carnival but have sailed on most of he others in the Carnival group and never been disappointed. Most recently, we went on the Celebrity Solstice (30 day Aus/NZ) and that was very good as well.
We too usually do all our trips independently (or with fellow 'Cruisecriticers') but agree with you about Messina tours. Each time we have docked there it has only been for a half day and it was too risky to get to Taormina on our own.
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Old 2 Apr 13, 05:27 PM  
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Hi

Lovely photo of you all.

I am sorry to hear about change place and it is really annoying.

We are cruising from Venice to Greece & Turkey with deaf USA group as it is our first time with deaf group. however, it should be Bari but changed to Dubrovnik I am happy with it as love to see it. It is royal Caribbean Splendour of the Seas.

When we were sailing with Freedom of the Seas for my special birthday and my husband and I do missed DCL but at end of last day we enjoyed it very much and thought the foods was better than DCL. but my heart is DCL..

Also I read lots with cruisecritic and it help me and give me some idea for trip, excursion etc.

But in my heart I do wish to sailing with Disney for Venice..

We are addict with cruise too..

I am so happy when my husband booked Disney cruise next year

Enjoy your trip and we have not told our Teenagers about next year cruise too.
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Edited at 05:32 PM.
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Old 2 Apr 13, 05:42 PM  
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Originally Posted by scottishwee35 View Post
Hi


We are cruising from Venice to Greece & Turkey with deaf USA group as it is our first time with deaf group. however, it should be Bari but changed to Dubrovnik I am happy with it as love to see it. It is royal Caribbean Splendour of the Seas.


Scottishwee35
Venice is a magical sailaway - one of our favourites.
You have probably landed lucky with missing Bari and getting Dubrovnik instead!
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Old 2 Apr 13, 06:12 PM  
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Originally Posted by Omega1 View Post
Venice is a magical sailaway - one of our favourites.
You have probably landed lucky with missing Bari and getting Dubrovnik instead!
Yes, glad about it.

Cannot wait to see Venice for 2 nights before sailing. Our balcony is on another side so we might go up on top to see Venice when sailaway..

Scottishwee35
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Old 17 May 13, 05:00 PM  
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Well final payment has been made, so no more price drops

We now have a FB page for our cruise, so I am chatting to lots of lovely people from all over the world, there is someone from Australia who will be onboard, over 100 folks on our role call.

The Sunshine was not ready on time, but finally set sail for Venice on 05/05/13 for Barcelona, reports are that cabins are not finished, rooms are flooded, the main pool is closed and the slides are out of action. Gosh you don't get this with Disney. That's the difference between ships built in Germany as oppose to Italy I guess. It is reported that guests received $150 OBC.

Reports are being made this week (17/05/13), that the slides are open; some people have been asked if they are willing to cancel their plans and have received a full refund and a free cruise. Their cabins are needed by contractors, who are coming on board to repair the cabins and repair the pool along with anything else that might be broken.

Anyway people are reporting that they are having a good time, so it's not all doom and gloom. One things for sure never ever take an inaugural cruise with carnival. Or even a refurb as was the case with this ship.

Here is a photo of the waterslide taken by Mr Radu of Carnival.




Will it all be ready in 10 weeks, that is the million dollar question?

Edited at 05:07 PM.
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Old 17 May 13, 08:50 PM  
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Sounds good, we are going a Royal Caribbean cruise on 8 Sept stopping at a few of the same places as you, can't wait! Really wanna do DCL in Jan 2015! One week at WDW, one week cruise.
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Old 17 May 13, 09:37 PM  
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I hope everything is sorted for when you board. Even though its not DCL i'm sure you'll still have a fab time.
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Old 17 May 13, 09:37 PM  
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