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Everything posted by teachatthebeach

  1. We will be staying in Paris for a few days post cruise and want to see the Normandy landing beaches. We are two families with high school teenagers. We're trying to decide if we want to do a very long day tour from Paris or stay for a day or two in Bayeaux. Besides Mont Saint-Michel, what else could we see near Bayeaux? Thank you!
  2. La Xula Taperia in the Gracia neighborhood. Agua in the Barceloneta neighborhood. Can Majo also in the Barceloneta neighborhood. We ate at all 3 and loved them! We were in there in June. Sent from my iPhone using Forums
  3. Hotel Arc la Rambla Great location. Close to the port. Friendly staff. Spent 4 nights pre-cruise here in June. Sent from my iPhone using Forums
  4. We visited during the day. My husband wore jeans, a polo shirt, and sneakers and was allowed entry to the casino. The lobby is free, but it costs 17 euros to enter the casino itself. I had on capris, a tunic top, and sneakers and had no problems entering the lobby. As I understand it, the dress code becomes much more strict in the evening. Sent from my iPhone using Forums
  5. Yes, boarding process was very easy. We arrived around 2:00. Ours was the only taxi there. We handed luggage over to the porters(just like in US ports). We walked directly to the ticket counter and there was no line. We onboard in minutes! Sent from my iPhone using Forums
  6. We stayed at the Hotel Arc la Rambla which is located right on La Rambla. We loved it- safe, clean, affordable, great location near the port, and friendly staff. Sent from my iPhone using Forums
  7. We didn’t go to this show, so I’m not familiar with the time. I didn’t save the dailies, so I can’t look it up. Is it listed on the entertainment options on the NCL website? You might be able to find some current dailies on the NCL forum. Safe travels! Sent from my iPhone using Forums
  8. I couldn't find my list that I made on the ship, but I looked at trip advisor and I think these were the 3 on my list: Playa de Cala Mayor Illetas Beach Platja de Palma
  9. Palma! Because of all the tours we had planned, I knew we would be tired by this last port. I knew we just wanted a beach day, so I didn't do too much planning for this port. That morning I went to the internet cafe and looked up a few beaches. When we got off the ship, we approached a few taxi drivers with my list of beaches. These were all beaches right in Palma. Well, these taxis drivers all said these beaches would be crowded, touristy, rocky, or polluted. And, yes, one driver talked this weary traveler into an overpriced trip to a beach about 30 minutes outside of the city. Our driver stayed with us and drove us back. Our taxi driver's name was Santi and he took us to Camp De Mar. It was a lovely beach...soft sand and clear water. My only complaint-no loungers to rent. We had our beach towels and just sat in the sand. After taking a walk along the beach and soaking up some sun, we went to the restaurant at the beach. Illeta is located across a short boardwalk/bridge and sits over the water. We enjoyed a nice pitcher of sangria. DD had the tuna tartar, DH had the sea bass, and I had a salad. After our meal, we stopped for ice cream at one of the shops, got back in our taxi, and headed back to the ship. It was a lovely and relaxing day, just a bit pricey! Disembarkation! Our flight was scheduled for 6:30 PM, so I scheduled a tour to Montserrat with Barcelona Day Tours to help pass the time. Our guide was scheduled to pick us up at 8:30, so we walked off with our luggage and met her outside. For us, disembarking was quick and easy. Montserrat is about a 45 minute drive from Barcelona. It was an adventure on a narrow and winding road up the mountain. And there were plenty of people hiking and biking up the mountain! I was tired just watching them. The views from the top are breathtaking. The air was clear and cool. As it was a Sunday, we visited the church first as mass was scheduled to start at 11:00. The line to see the Black Madonna was very long, so we didn't wait. We also didn't take the cable car to the very top of the mountain. DH and DD are afraid of heights and the cable car went straight up the mountainside which was a little too much for me too! We walked through some of the exhibits, strolled through the gift shops, and grabbed a quick snack at the cafeteria. We rejoined our driver and began our journey down the mountain. We had time for a quick photo stop at the Saint Cecilia church. We arrived at the airport around 2:00. We had to wait in the ticket counter area for about 45 minutes as the check in lines were not open yet. Again, we flew Norwegian. Our gate was SO far away for the ticket counter. I felt like we were walking forever! Also, there were limited food options after the second round of passport control, so if you are hungry, you may want to stop before you get too close to your gate. Yours truly got chosen for "enhanced security" measures and had the pleasure of being swabbed down by Spanish security officers. Other than that, our time at the Barcelona airport was uneventful. We arrived back in the US around 9:00 local time and took a taxi to our hotel and collapsed into bed. We were back up bright and early for our 9:00 flight to Tampa. Our "Epic" European adventure had come to an end...just like this trip report! Thank you all for following along! Again, I'd be happy to answer any questions you have!
  10. From my experience, I can say that you will "see" everything on the group tour in Rome. However, if you have any desire to linger anywhere, to explore any sight in more depth, shop, or find anything special to eat, than I would consider a private tour. If you do tour privately, decide what it most important for you to see and do that first. Even with skip the line tickets, lines for security can be very long at the Colosseum and the Vatican. My neighbor splits her time between Grand Cayman and Tampa. We had a cruise stop there 2 years ago and she gave us a tour of the island. It's lovely!
  11. I don’t think it’s considered fine dining, but we ate at Agua which is on the beach in the Barceloneta area of the city. Lovely meal in a lovely setting. Sent from my iPhone using Forums
  12. The hop on - hop off buses allow you to see a lot of the city without all the walking. Also check out Barcelona Day Tours. Sent from my iPhone using Forums
  13. We used Riviera Premium Tours in June and had a wonderful day. Highly recommend! Sent from my iPhone using Forums
  14. We used Riviera Premium Tours in June and had a wonderful day! Sent from my iPhone using Forums
  15. We used Italy EU Tours and Joe Bananas Limos in Italy and Riviera Premium Tours in Cannes. Great tours and much better prices than NCL. Sent from my iPhone using Forums
  16. My daughter didn't go to the teen club. She's an only child and a bit shy and didn't feel comfortable going on her own. Also, we were up so early and had long days touring. She was content to eat dinner, walk around a little, and go to bed! The dynamics on the Med. cruise were very similar in my opinion to a Caribbean cruise. I saw many groups of teens on their own.
  17. Beach in Nice Best croissants EVER! Where to get the croissants...right by the market! Car Watching Sent from my iPhone using Forums
  18. Cannes! When we booked our trip, I have to admit I wasn't really looking forward to Cannes stop. Well, it ended up being my favorite port! My husband does like to gamble. To ensure he would have some time to play at the famous casino in Monte Carlo, we booked a private tour with Riviera Premium Tours. Our guide was Jerome and he was fantastic! He had a great sense of humor and had lots of interesting information to share. We talked about the history of the area, what the city was like during the film festival and the grand prix, the yachts and their owners, the terror attack in Nice, the Tour de France, food, and the World Cup. Jerome picked us up promptly at 8:30. We drove along the coast of Cannes and passed the Film Festival location. We continued our drive along the coast and first stopped in Nice. We had about an hour to stroll through the market where we picked up some nice soaps, walked along the beach, and had an amazing croissant. Our next stop was the village of Eze. It's a very steep walk to the top of the hill. My arthritis was really acting up, so DD and DH headed to the top to visit the church and take in the views. I stayed at the bottom and did a little shopping. There is a Parfumerie Frangonard shop that kept me entertained. We continued on to Monaco. Jerome drove us around the area and pointed the sights out to us. Then he dropped us off and we had about 1:30 to tour on our own and have lunch. We walked to the palace, took a few pictures, and bought a few more souvenirs. We continued on the church where Princess Grace and Prince Rainier are buried. I'm originally from outside of Philadelphia and grew up hearing about Grace Kelly, so I am glad I got to visit this church. We then stopped for lunch at Fredys. Jerome recommended this restaurant and it was very good. Lunch took an hour as Jerome said it would. We were a few minutes late getting back to Jerome! On our way back to the van, we saw Jacques Cousteau's Oceonographic Museum. I wish we had known about this sooner. I think we would have done lunch differently and spent at least a little time exploring this museum. We next made the short drive to Monte Carlo. We all walked into the Casino. It's free to enter the lobby and your bags will be searched. If you wish to gamble, there is a 17 euro entrance fee. During the day, the dress code is a bit relaxed. DH wore jeans and a polo shirt and was allowed in. If you go at night, the dress code is much more strict--think James Bond here! Sadly, DH was a bit disappointed in the gambling experience. His game is craps, but there is no dice table in this casino. While DH was in the casino, DD and I had dessert at the cafe next door. Yes, the mega ice cream sundae was 18 euros, but the people watching and car watching this cafe provided was worth every penny! I'm not a car person, but the number of Rolls, Lamborghinis, Maseratis, and Ferraris that went by impressed even me! After our Monte Carlo casino adventure, we got back in the van and Jerome drove us along a bit of the Grand Prix route. Then we headed back to the ship. I think I enjoyed this port so much because we toured privately and the pace was much more relaxed. We had fewer stops with more time--less out of the van, back in the van, and so worth. We could enjoy just being in a place and not worrying about the next stop. Up next...Palma!
  19. We got back to the ship around 5:30. Plenty of time to make a 7:00 show!
  20. My husband is 6’9” and his feet hung off the bed. You can pull the bed out from under the headboard to give yourself a few more inches. However, this takes away from the room between the bed and the counter. The bed itself was quite comfy. I think your DH will fit. Sent from my iPhone using Forums
  21. View from the church View from the restaurant Another view from the restaurant Sent from my iPhone using Forums
  22. Florence! In Florence we did a group tour with Joe Banana Limos. This tour was our favorite in Italy. Our driver was Francesco. He was full of information about the various sites, took us to a wonderful restaurant for lunch, and had us laughing the entire time. He also had wifi in the van, so we could all check email and post picutres! Our first stop was Pisa. Francesco dropped us off near the tower and gave us about 20 minutes for pictures. We got there early, so it wasn't very crowded which was nice. No one in our group had tickets to climb the tower, so a photo stop was all we needed. On our way to Florence we stopped along the highway for a cappuccino. Rest areas in Italy are nothing like the ones in the states! This rest stop was a lovely little cafe with great pastries and fresh squeezed orange juice. If your driver suggests stopping, do it! We continued on to Florence. Francesco drove us around the main tourist area and showed us where everything was. No one in our group had tickets to the Uffizi or the Duomo, so we had a lot of flexibility with our time. He gave us the option of having a little less time in Florence and going to a local/untouristy restaurant for lunch. We all agreed to that! After being dropped off, we walked to the bridge. The main street connecting the bridge and the Duomo is lined with jewelry shops and leather goods shops. We weren't in the market for either, so we walked this area rather quickly. We stopped to see the outdoor statue of David and the other statues on display. We're not art people, so this version of the statue was good enough for us. By the time we got to the Duomo, the line to enter was blocks long. We didn't have time to wait and go inside. I wish I would have bought a skip the line ticket or booked a guided tour so we could have seen the inside. It was a lovely day, so we just relaxed in the square by the Duomo and waited for Francesco to pick us up. On our way to the restaurant, Francesco stopped at a scenic overview of the city. Other than a group of students having lunch, we were the only ones there. It was a church and had incredible views of the city. We continued up the mountain to the restaurant. We someone says "Tuscany" to me, the views from this restaurant are what come to my mind. It was absolutely beautiful. The restaurant was Trattoria Omero http://www.ristoranteomero.it Everyone in our group was kind enough to share, so we got to taste a cheese plate, tortellini, ravioli, Florentine steak, fried pigeon, and fried rabbit. I'm not that adventurous of an eater, so I didn't try the rabbit or pigeon, but the steak and pasta dishes were amazing! We were all so glad we opted for this restaurant! After our late lunch, we got back in the van and returned to our ship!
  23. [quote=Arkansas Cruise Family;56475569]Enjoying your review. We do the same cruise in September. We've booked Italy Eu Tours as well. We did not book inside Colosseum tickets. Do you think that is a mistake? I know the day in Rome is going to be rushed, and I'm traveling with my parents, as well as my husband, so, I thought maybe just seeing it from the outside would be ok. Thoughts? Are you the only ones in the group or are you sharing the tour with other people? If you are touring privately, may be you could tour the inside of the Colosseum and spend less time elsewhere? Personally, I could have skipped the stop at the Spanish steps. Also, how mobile are your parents? The entry level to the Colosseum is fairly even, but the steps to the upper level are quite steep. I'm guessing there has to be an elevator, but I'm not sure where it is. The Colosseum is certainly impressive from the outside alone and there's lots to see in the immediate area. Whatever you choose, it will be rushed. Just decide what's important to you. Our daughter is into ancient history, so seeing the inside of the Colosseum was a highlight of the trip for her. Also, can you share a bit about your thoughts on the ship, food, etc? We've never cruised with NCL, so I'm a bit anxious about it. We have cruised on Disney, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Norwegian. I'm guessing you read the Epic staterooms have an unusual layout. The toilet and shower have separate stalls right when you walk in the door. The sink is in the stateroom itself. There's a curtain for privacy, so there is no real bathroom. For us, the main issue with this was if someone came in late (like my husband from the casino), he woke us up while he was brushing his teeth. The pool is small and on the sea day chairs might be difficult to find. Overall, the ship is well maintained and we found all the staff to be friendly and polite. We were so tired from long days of touring that we only made it to one show--Burn the Floor. It was amazing. DD and I also spent a little time at Howl at the Moon which is the dueling piano bar. We always have fun there. I think my favorite thing about Norwegian is NO formal nights. I was already struggling to pack lightly. Having to add formal clothes was one less thing for me to worry about. You can dress up if you want to and many people did, but it was OK to go casual as well. I enjoyed the food on the ship. The buffet is a buffet, but I always found something to eat. We usually ate breakfast in the dining room. The service was prompt and got us in and out pretty quickly. We had the dining package. Our meals at Cagney's and Le Bistro were excellent! We had eaten at Moderno on another ship and loved it, but this trip is was a disappointment. Service was really slow and the servers kept passing by our table and we had to flag them down to stop. Other than the filet, the meat was on the dry side. All of our meals in the main dining room were very good and I thought there was a good selection to chose from. DD and DH ate at the Sushi Bar one night and enjoyed it. We all ate at the Noodle Bar on the last night and thought everything except the fried rice was tasty. And we never had to wait for a table in the dining room. I hope this answers your questions! Let me know if you have any more!
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