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What to do with the grandkids in Seville & Ceuta, Spanish Morrocco Spain

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Hi.  We are going to do a cruise with my grandkids.  We have an 11, 13, 14 and 16 YO that I'm sure don't want to spend their whole time looking at ruins the shopping.  Does anyone have ideas of what we can do in these locations?  Can you include a tour company that might do it.  I'm trying to work with Barcelona Day Tours and Spain Day Tours but they gave me the same spiel they give everyone.  I am 100% sure the kids don't want to go so a quaint little town and go shopping for three hours.  I also don't/can't walk for three hours.  I have no clue what to ask for.  Is there anyone that can give me clues?  Barcelona Day Tours came up with a Chocolate Museum.  That was a perfect idea.  I need help.  We are also going to Sardinia, Italy and have no clue who to use or where to go there either.  Any suggestions or ideas are welcome.

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Posted (edited)

I would give them the itinerary and ask them if they have any ideas.  Perhaps give them some choices.  

 

I have travelled with kids of that age.  They do get tired easily and they have no concept of how much a cruise costs so they have no idea about being grateful.  

 

My now 27 yr old who went to Paris with us several times, on Med cruises, on  a Baltic cruise and 3 weeks on the E coast of US as a teenager now says she had no idea of the effort it took to put together the itinerary.  She can’t even recall what countries we went to!!  She has since lived in Switzerland for nine months, DC for 3 months and solo travelled for a total of 9 months.  Now she gets the work involved in putting a trip together.  

 

Now I smile as I recall that the US trip was arranged around securing tickets to see the Redsox.  That was the only thing she asked to do, I think because of some Disney TV prog she watched.  We had to stay up all night in the January to get the tickets.  Then we knew when we had to be in Boston and arranged the dates of the trip.  Four of us went in.  Eldest daughter who was 16 at the time was bored after about 30 minutes.  She and DH went off to do something else!!   Youngest and I loved it.  She purchased one of those foam hands.  That was her motivation for going apparently.  

 

At the time it has to be about having fun together and still liking each other on the journey home.  

 

Looking at your itinerary, assuming that it is in the summer, my advice for Sardinia would be to get to the beach.    Barcelona advice would be to get a taxi (you might need 2 for 6 people) to Park Geull  and to get back to the centre to walk along the Ramblas, and consider if they want to see the football ground.  Think about doing the Ho Ho bus routes in some of the ports - they are not as restricted as guided tours.  

 

Touring in Europe like the rest of the world might be a little different post-Covid so who actually knows if you will make it off the ship!!

Edited by ollienbertsmum
Left info out.

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Posted (edited)

OMG three hours in Sevilla will just fly as a minute!! It's the most beautiful city in the world!! no kidding, I really adore it! The Giralda and the Cathedral, the Alcazar are absolutly must sees! If you don't want to walk all the time you can ride a horse carriage around the park as we did.  Your kids are old enough to admire with you 🙂

Edited by Lagerta

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We did a private tour in Sardinia when my kids were 12, 15, 18, and 18.  We went up into the mountains to learn a bit about the flora and fauna, had lunch at an agritourissimo and learned about the local culture, then had 3 hours at a local pocket beach that the kids loved.  We used Secrets of Sardinia.  The owner is Dirk, a somewhat crusty German expat.  I'd definitely recommend him for a tour.  We had a great day, and were also able to stop for coffee, snacks, and refreshments whenever the kids started to lag.

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Posted (edited)

I'd add that at that age, I don't expect gratitude per se with the kids, just that they try to enjoy what we do.  We do try to include something for everyone balancing out museums with food tours and more kid friendly activities.  I have to say that my kids like to eat, so we include a food tour on every trip we take.  

 

If you trust the younger kids on bikes, we did a Steel Donkey bike tour in Barcelona.  It was fabulous.  Barcelona is basically flat with many wide pedestrian/bike only boulevards.  It was a really nice way to see a huge chunk of the city. If you don't want to pedal you can get an eBike as well.  

 

I can't edit the above post, but the beach we went to had umbrellas, tables, and chairs so the grandparents didn't have to just sit in the sun as well.  And it had a food truck, which, like I said, made my kids happy. 

Edited by ljandgb

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Thanks for the comments so far.  I will check out the guy in Sardinia.

 

My grandkids love to be together with each other and with us so I am very lucky that way. They all are appreciative of what I do for them.  I have a few payment plans.  Grandma dollars is a kiss, hug and "I love you Grandma". 

 

Both sets have been raised to have manners and understand the value of money.  The two youngest (not as much) have both parents that have struggled financially even now that they are both remarried.  The oldest have a dad that works two jobs.  One for their education the other for a good retirement plan.  Mom works two jobs.  One is her regular office day job and job number two is so that the kids get "scholarships" for the theater group they are involved in.  My oldest already has two apprenticeships lined up for when he turns 16 because he wants a car and knows that he is responsible for insurance, gas etc.  He is learning lighting and sound for theater and for outside lighting like the Emmys.  He goes to a performing arts school so it falls into his education as well.  He'll be starting at what I finished making (heavy sigh).

 

I gave them a choice: Premium Economy or Economy.  One has enough money left over for a good shore excursion.  The other doesn't.  Economy is just fine they all agreed.  I am making them tell me something they are interested in doing and seeing.  No so easy for the little ones but Michael did awesome research for Barcelona.  In Italy I have hired RomeInLimo for both Rome and Livorno.  I have used them before and they are awesome.  Rome is history and there is no two ways about it.  I have hired an additional guide for the Coliseum etc so that it can come alive for them.  For Livorno we are skipping Florence and going to Pisa and San Gimignano.    For Barcelona I have hired Barcelona Day Tours which I have also used before.  We have a full day there including Park Geull, the Fort and a Chocolate Museum where they will actually get to make a chocolate dessert.

 

I am struggling with the rest of the ports though.  Marseilles, Sardinia/Cagliari, Cadiz/Seville and Ceuta are my challenge.  I was told Spain Day Tours for Cadiz/Seville who is the sister or parent of Barcelona Day Tours.  I was not happy with my first contact with them as they gave me the boiler plate tour and didn't come up with any kid or handicap friendly ideas.

 

If you trust the younger kids on bikes, we did a Steel Donkey bike tour in Barcelona - riding bikes is out.  Not only is my 76 yo DH too overweight for that we haven't been on bikes for almost 50 years LOL.  News at 11 - American tourists cause traffic issue because of all the laughter of locals just watching them in action.  Plus, I am not physically able to do that because of my feet.  I would be in tears in minutes.  I do however appreciate the idea.  It would normally have been a good one.

 

I am just stumped on the four locations left: Marseilles seems to be mostly shopping and walking.  I'm not interested in shopping and a lot of walking is out.  The two Spain and the other Italy I am just drawing blanks in  finding private tour guides.

 

I am happy that I realized this morning that Stonehedge is on the way to the port from London.  Well, a little out of the way but not much.  It will be a great stop over on the way.

 

 

 

 

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Good idea skipping Florence.  I did not love it, but San Gimignano is one of my favorite places.  We went all the way up to the park in the abandoned fortifications at the top and talked to a painter up there.  I have a sweet little watercolor from him.  We really, really enjoyed Sardinia, unexpectedly.  I hope you can contact Dirk.  It was nice to get away from all the other tourists and see more of the island, but still have time for an amazing beach.

 

I'm sure chocolate in Barcelona will be a lot of fun. 

 

I agree with Marseilles.  We were there overnight before leaving for home and it seems to be mostly soap shops and souvenirs.  Maybe make that a beach day?  Or take a tour to Aix en Provence.

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17 hours ago, ljandgb said:

Good idea skipping Florence.  I did not love it, but San Gimignano is one of my favorite places.  We went all the way up to the park in the abandoned fortifications at the top and talked to a painter up there.  I have a sweet little watercolor from him.  That sounds fun.  I will ask our guide to find us something like that.  The last one basically dropped us off and said meet me at the bottom of the hill.  He didn't give us any direction.

 

 

We really, really enjoyed Sardinia, unexpectedly.  I hope you can contact Dirk.  It was nice to get away from all the other tourists and see more of the island, but still have time for an amazing beach.  I am looking into Dirk.

 

 

17 hours ago, ljandgb said:

 

I'm sure chocolate in Barcelona will be a lot of fun. 

 

I agree with Marseilles.  We were there overnight before leaving for home and it seems to be mostly soap shops and souvenirs.  Maybe make that a beach day?  Or take a tour to Aix en Provence.

 

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http://www.calanques13.com/en/boat-excursions.html

 

I cannot recall what time of the year you are going, but if I were going to Marseille again in summer (Last time we went was in April so for just the two of us we went on ship tour to Avignon which I loved) I would go to Cassis and take a boat trip to the Calanques.  

 

Seville is special but some walking is required to see the best of it.  I wonder if you might like to go to Donana National Park.  You can get a river boat or 4x4 trips.  Again, I am not sure about the time of the year so not sure what wildlife you would see/if it would be hot.    Jerez and the horse show is a good trip, I am sure you could go on a ship tour and enjoy it.  

 

I have never been to Ceuta but when I consisdered a day trip with some friends it seemed to offer some pretty standard Tours that looked interesting but I am sure that you could get a private guide to arrange some arabic food tasting in addition.  

 

Make sure that you look into going into the tower in Pisa.  You have to book your tickets in advance, just not sure if the kids can go unaccompanied.  San Gimingano is lovely.  We had the best icecream there.  We went to a winery near there.  Eldest was 18 so she liked wine.  The spread they put on for just us in the Tuscan country house was great.  

 

Sardinia - has to be countryside and beaches.  

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On 7/26/2020 at 5:58 AM, ljandgb said:

 We really, really enjoyed Sardinia, unexpectedly.  I hope you can contact Dirk.  It was nice to get away from all the other tourists and see more of the island, but still have time for an amazing beach.

 

 

 

Well, I contacted Dirk.  His response was quick and he listened to what I said.  He actually listened.  How unusual! He set up a tour for us that sounds  perfect and at a decent price.  I have booked him for our cruise.  Thanks for the recommendation.  I just can't see my way to book through TripAdvisor or Viator.  I want to deal directly with the tour company and I want my issues addressed.  I want to know the name of the company and look  them up for myself to see what people think.  I gave him your user name since I didn't know your actual name.

 

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Posted (edited)

I'm really glad to hear it.  We had a really nice day with him.  You'll love Sardinia.  It's gorgeous.

 

When looking for things to do on any trip, I scour TripAdvisor, google searches, etc, then always contact several companies directly.  I go with the one who is responsive with communications and, like you said, listens.  We usually travel with 8 of us, ages 15-79, so have specific requests.  We've had very good luck so far with the companies or individuals we finally choose.

 

I tried to message you my real name but it says that feature is disabled.  ??

Edited by ljandgb

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I really like his responses.  I asked about the cancellation policy and he told me not to worry about it (if the ship didn't make port).  He said that we would even do a last minute talk before we left port in case the kids wanted to give input.  If the ship arrived early then he would adjust the tour times and text me with the update.  If his tour is even close to his beforehand customer service then it will be an awesome day.

 

The problem I have with travel websites is they often don't give the name of the actual tour company or I can't contact them directly.  If I am paying for a private tour I want to give input.  I don't want an hour of free time for shopping.  I don't want to go to the beach unless we are getting out on the water, type thing. They are great for suggestions but to clinche the deal I want direct contact.  Like you I often travel with groups.  Our Aus/NZ cruise was 26 of us ranging from 6 months to 84.  Just getting off the plane and to the hotel is a huge deal.  Everyone always leaves it to me.   The only thing they want to know is how much do I owe you.

 

Yet another thing I am going to cancel with Princess and wait for the refund.  I feel better though.  I can't stand it not being done.  I worry that if the company is a really good that waiting too late will get me nothing because others on the cruise will have gathered them up.

 

Now - if you have a suggestion for Marseilles  .....  or Seville/Cadiz or the really elusive Ceuta, Spanish Morocco, Spain I'm all ears.  The frustrating part for me is that I know little of these ports and can't seem to really find much.  Marseilles seems to center around shopping.  The guide that was recommended wanted to drop us off so we could walk the streets, shop at the Farmer's Market and they would pick us up only to take us to yet another location where we could walk on our own.  If I wanted to do the tour on my own I wouldn't need to hire you, right?  When I brought this up I was told to just book them and when I arrived at the pier we could meet up, I could tell them what I wanted to do and IF - IF - it was available we could do it.  Umm, why hire you when I could just hire a driver?  Which is what I told them.  They didn't address one single item about walking, kids, no shopping etc.  That's why I value the input of CC users giving an actual name.

 

My biggest challenge will be London and Paris.  Hotels, transportation during, to and from and actual things to do.  As cruisers we know that time is limited and you have to have some idea of what you want to do.  You can't just show up and magic will happen. 

 

My husband disagrees.  We arrived at the airport.  I put my binder on the counter.  My husband giggles at me.  I said, "What?  You think you just show up at the counter and the agents magically know where you are going and when?"  He says that's how it works for him.

 

I don't think we are allowed to contact that way.  You can always go through Dirk and he can pass it along. 

 

 

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Marseilles has lots to offer in terms of trips into Provence.  I would still consider Cassis and the Calanques - have you thought about that?

 

Cadiz/Seville - depends on the time of the Year.  My kids enjoyed the horse show in Jerez.  I have spent several day trips and weekend in Jerez and loved it.  I need to go again but this darned virus.....

 

Ceuta.  Hmm still think you might do best considering what the ship have to offer.  

 

And why are London and Paris challenges?   We have had lovely family trips there - Paris was with 3 generations including my parents’ 80th birthday.    Choosing the hotel is crucial.  You need to think what you want to do and choose an appropriately located hotel.  Location is more important than the number of stars the hotel has (within reason) in my opinion.  

Edited by ollienbertsmum

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Marseilles has lots to offer in terms of trips into Provence.  I would still consider Cassis and the Calanques - have you thought about that?

 

Out of 17 excursions that Princess offers – 6 are private cars.  At a huge price tag.  Take away another 4 which are wineries.  That brings us down to 7.  One is a kayak trip, so no.  The other three are just walking, two are 4 hour of driving (2 each way) with on your own time.  So, really Princess has nothing to offer. 

 

Cadiz/Seville - depends on the time of the Year.  My kids enjoyed the horse show in Jerez.  I have spent several day trips and weekend in Jerez and loved it.  I need to go again but this darned virus.....

 

We are going July 24 returning August 7.  Our kids would love the horse show.  Can you give me more info.

 

 

Ceuta.  Hmm still think you might do best considering what the ship have to offer.  

 

Princess may be what I end up with here.  I have to wait and see if I can do better.

 

 

And why are London and Paris challenges?   We have had lovely family trips there - Paris was with 3 generations including my parents’ 80th birthday.    Choosing the hotel is crucial.  You need to think what you want to do and choose an appropriately located hotel.  Location is more important than the number of stars the hotel has (within reason) in my opinion.  

 

They are a challenge because I’ve only been to Paris and London once when the company paid for everything.  I have no idea where to stay.  Yes, choosing a hotel is crucial and if you have no clue where to start is it a challenge.  I don’t need fancy.  I need a reasonable price in a good location. 

 

But, then I need to get us from Point A to Point B to see the sites.  Transfers to and from the hotel/ship.  What to see and do.  Buying tickets in advance. 

 

In Paris we want to see the usual plus go to the Palace of Versailles.   I need to figure out how to get us to Paris and Versailles.  I have to make the flights based on the city traveling with 20 pieces of luggage, four kids (one which is autistic) and maybe a scooter.  That might not sound like a challenge to you but going to a strange city with those issues is for me.

 

We can’t exactly walk off the plane, go to the taxi stand and go.  I need to have transportation waiting for us.  I don’t know that we’ll be back there again with the grandkids so I need to make sure we see and do as much as we can. 

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LOL – all the work I went to to address my answers and I screwed up.  For Marseilles – I have to check out their offerings.  They now have more than they did before.  I am off on my cities apparently.  We all know, though, that ship’s tours are less than stellar.  A lot more money for half the value.  There is a lot of waiting around for that one shopper who didn’t listen to the time or they just remembered they have to go to the bathroom.  Plus, putting half an hour or more of shopping into an excursion isn’t necessarily something I want to do.  Most of these tours are also not for people with mobility issues, which I have.

 

My Marseille answer is really for Seville. 

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Yes, ship's tours are the pits.  Our first cruise, my family was hesitant to branch out and we did half with the ship and half tours I arranged.  They unanimously agreed to never do a ship tour again.

 

Sometimes on TripAdvisor, you can access the company's website and then contact them that way.  I never arrange tours thru a third company as it makes communication, or disputes if necessary, very difficult.

 

How long will you be in Paris?  We used a local company, https://www.france-justforyou.com who I would recommend without hesitation.  They arranged a one week trip for our family that included Paris and Provence before we boarded our MSC cruise in Marseilles.  I don't think I could speak highly enough of them and were poised to use them again for northern France this June (which obviously did not happen.)  They arranged all transportation (airport pick up, trains, and rental cars,) lodging, and guides as we wanted (we had one the first day in Paris.)  We got a 100 page bound book of all the details we needed, suggested off time things to do, restaurants, etc.  We got maps, Paris metro tickets, and more.  The lodging was perfect, from the sweet small boutique Paris hotel to the B&B in Provence.  I'm sure they would be happy to arrange even just a few days for you, especially since travel companies are hurting, like much of the economy, and any business would be appreciated.  Their prices were very reasonable also.

 

I can't comment on any of the Spain locations as I've not been to any of the ones you mention besides Sardinia.

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I'll add I'm the travel coordinator for our family and it can be stressful.  I, too, have a binder with info for each stop, contact info, envelopes of money for payments, etc.  I've begun to enjoy package tours since I can just show up and let someone else do all the work. LOL  I do those with friends, and leave my family at home.  I love time with my family, but those other tours have become my true vacations as far as relaxation goes.

 

Have you been to London before?  You might want to check the TripAdvisor travel forum there and get suggestions on a good location for a large group.  Someplace with easy access to the tube and restaurants would be good.  I got a good suggestion on the forum for a car service to Heathrow, though I can't remember the name right now, but that would make transporting all those people easier.

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2 hours ago, ljandgb said:

 

 

We will be in Paris for max 3 days.  The way schools are right now makes everything screwed up.  I have the two youngest who live in Seattle and they have what I consider a more normal school year.  At least, when I was a kid.  They start school the Monday after Labor Day.  My oldest two, they live in Los Angeles County.  They start school in the middle of August.  My 16 YO grandson goes to a Performing Arts School.  The first week of school is critical for him to get the proper vocations.  That might put us smack dab in the middle of the first week.

 

So, we plan on arriving Wednesday in London.  The cruise leaves and comes back on a Saturday, we head to the airport, fly to Paris, then fly home on the Wednesday afterwards.  This will make for a three week trip.

 

I don’t find being the coordinator stressful.  I’m super anal and love to organize whatever it happens to be.  I love Excel.  If it can’t be done in Excel you just don’t need it.  I have been our family and friends travel coordinator for the past 30 years.  We would have an on board party where I made everyone wear a group t-shirt.  Yes, those dreaded t-shirts.  I don’t care if you ever wear them again, but for the photo – we are wearing them. 

 

Funny story: we were leaving out of San Juan.  We were all wearing our t-shirts as we boarded.  There were around 22 of us.  One of group was smuggling alcohol on board.  We kept getting on and off the ship to bring more on.  There was a small store after check in and before the ship.  Back then you could bring on bottles.  Just not THAT many.  We made so many trips that the guy allowing people on board finally asked my brother how many were in our group and he told him.  Twenty two people he says.  The guy says, that can’t be.  I’ve counted at least 50 of you!  Funny, the photographers said the same thing when I asked him if they could keep our photos together.  Yes, we know! 

 

My DH and I have spent a few days in London many years ago.  I think Di and Charles were getting divorced LOL.  So, it’s been a while.  London is easy to research for things to do but I still need to know some ins and outs.  I am going to find out if the car to the pier can make a stop at Stonehenge.  That would make a good travel day.  I’m thinking about using an Airbnb for our stay.  If I stay at a hotel I’m looking at a lot of money.

 

If you can remember your car service I’ll be happy to check them out.

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Ah I now see more of what you are planning for.  

 

One piece of advice is - can you cut down on any luggage???   Princess ships have laundry facilities.  It really does make a difference. 

 

One of the kids has autism - what challenges does that present?  E.g. if the schedule changes/transitions/needing movement breaks?

 

I am thinking that your location in London is so important as you really have very little time once you have started to come to terms with jet lag.  

 

I want to make suggestions but right now paid employment responsibilities  are calling.  Give me time to think....  

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I'm glad someone likes Excel.  Not my cup of tea!  My daughter loves it too, enough that her degree uses it heavily.

 

I really don't remember the London car service, and it was 2 years ago.  I'd just ask over on the TA London forum.

 

 It sounds like you have a really nice trip planned. I understand the time crunch.  With our kids and their responsibilities there was usually a 2 week window in July that everyone was free to travel.  This is actually the first July in over a decade that I've been home for the entire month.

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I am still looking at London and Paris.   I know that you say walking is an issue, but these are cities where walking around is just such a good way of seeing the place.  You can use subways to get around between sites.  Private transport is expensive. So just how far are you prepared to walk?   

 

Both London and Paris have lovely rivers to walk along or to get a river cruise.  I didn’t really find my kids loved river cruises that much. 

 

You have to identify your Airbnb - think about staying near the Tower of London, Kensington, Bloomsbury.   Either you identify what you want to do - and choose the area because of that, or you choose accomodation and then plan what is near.  3 days in either Paris or London will only scratch the surface.  

 

We have stayed in hotels a 30 mins walk away from Sacre Coeur, we have stayed within the sound of Notre Dame and very near to the Eiffel Tower.  All have worked out well, but I do always check that there is a subway station near by.  

 

 It is actually quite good fun to get the kids to go into boulangeries in Paris and use some French.  The French expect you to say ‘bonjour’ and you can easily get them to say Je voudrais un crossaint - or something like it.  Get some picnic food and you may well find a spot by the river.   

 

https://www.vogue.com/article/perfect-paris-picnic-guides

 

You can (should) also use half a day in London to go to one of the parks.  

 

Will you have time for Versailles?  You Clearly want to go so you should.  As a group of 4 adults we got an early train and had been given advice where to get tickets from.  It was a really full day and if I recall we got supper in Paris directly off the train rather than going back to the hotel to change.  The gardens would be lovely on a summers day (we went in May and it was beautiful).  Seeing everything means a lot of walking, with 4 kids I would say ‘less is more’ but I am sure that they would love the gardens.  Check which days the Chateau is open.  

 

Ports:  

 

Marseilles: Have you considered Cassis and the Calanques?  That would be my first choice if I was going in summer.    I think it works best if you take a train to Cassis, however  I would recommend you asking on Trip Advisor for the best form of transport for the 6 of you.  There are Calanques tours from Marseilles Old Port (great for a coffee/croissant and people watching) that you might prefer, just a shame to miss a cute Provencale beach opportunity. 

 

https://www.ourescapeclause.com/things-to-do-in-cassis-france/

 

Cadiz:  you may find that the jerez horse show does not work for your dates https://www.realescuela.org/en/visits-shows/calendar-of-events/shows-calendar/

 

I am sure that you do not want expensive tours daily.  If we keep Seville out of the mix (it is unbearably hot in the summer, and walking is hard to avoid), I think that Cadiz could well be a day where you spend a bit of time walking around the old town.  Have a coffee or some tapas.  There is a nice tower I went up with lovely views.  

 

In Cadiz you can also remember Christopher Columbus and the views he would have had.  I know that the early explorers have recently lost their allure, but I have stood looking at the views they would have had, tried to get in the mindset of someone boarding one of those ships and thought how scary it must have been going into what was for them the unknown.  You could then go to the beach - I think taking a smallish parasol would make that more comfortable.   With a couple of taxis each way you do not need to have an expensive guide.  DIY is best if you can leave the ship early and keep a careful eye on the time.  

 

Ceuta:  keep thinking about a ship tour.  

 

Barcelona and Livorno - these are the places you are doing the big sightseeing tours.  Check the ages for going up Pisa tower.  Both grandparents do not need to go. Don’t forget the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona even though it is really expensive to get in. 

 

Sardinia:  Getting to the beach is essential.  

 

Do you need any more help?

 

Edited by ollienbertsmum
I missed out vital info

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I can only slightly cut down on luggage.  A minimum of 7 suitcases – 1 large each.  A share one for my DH and I and maybe each kid.  Then 1 carry on each with electronics and things like that.  My DH and I will also need an extra carry on each for medication and for our CPAP machines.  One thing Covid has taught me is that I am not getting caught on a trip with just our basic medication needs.  We are going to have at least 2 extra weeks each.  We both take quite a bit of those.  Then I am going to have the extra medications.  Like band aids, aspirin, Neosporin, suntan lotion etc.  If the kids get sick or hurt I need to have the stuff.  I can’t afford to buy it on board even if they have it.

 

I am also worried about going over the weight limit and would rather have an extra barely packed one to throw the over weight stuff into then pay the expensive fees.  While there is stuff I won’t be bringing back I hope we can buy some souvenirs.  Plus, we will be spending a lot of time at the airport and in the air.  The kids will need the under the seat suitcases with stuff to do.  The two youngest are at the age where their special pillow and stuffed animals (the youngest) need to go too.

 

The autistic one is high functioning but is very naïve and will be easily distracted so needs a lot of watching, as will the other young ones.  I can’t say to her: go over there and get a candy bar.  One thing most people don’t realize with autistic people is they can’t always process more than one order.  Like someone with Alzheimer’s you can’t say go over there and sit and wait for me.  Get a glass of milk.  They hear: go over there OR sit and wait for me OR get a glass of milk.  Just one of the list.  So, I can’t give her two things to do.  Just one more thing to add to the travel challenge. 

 

While the two oldest have spent much time going to Disneyland, have been on a couple of cruises and other tourist areas, the two youngest have only traveled with us on a cruise to Alaska so their travel experience is next to nothing.  There will be a lot of stress involved.  My DH is also the worst traveler ever.  He is fine when we get there but the getting there makes him a jerk.

 

Yes, that is why location is important.  It is easy to say don’t stress but I don’t have much time to arrive, pick up luggage, get to hotel, and can we see something that day?  Everything needs to be planned meticulously.  Unless we arrive early enough Wednesday will be a waste. That leaves Thursday and Friday and we head to the ship on Saturday.  Two full days to see London.  I can’t waste time trying to figure out what to do first.  I also must have any tickets we need set up in advance. 

 

One thing for sure is the London Eye.  I plan on buying our own Pod.  That gives us front of the line and an exact time. Plus, we need to see the Tower of London and the Beefeaters.  Another front of the line and planning the day.  My grandson has requested to see Baker Street and Fleet Street.  On the way to somewhere, I’m sure.  We will try to fit it in. 

 

If we can fit in a London Show that would be cool too.  That means we don’t have time for a HoHo bus. 

 

I can walk and I can stand.  If I don’t get off my feet for quick reprieves then I am in massive pain.  I know I will have to suck it up A LOT.  Add to that, I have back issues.  I’m a hot mess LOL!  I can’t decide whether or not to take my scooter.  Add that to the packing list.  I have decided to leave my service dog at home.  While I would like to bring her it is becoming too much with the tour companies and just trying to figure out how to get into each country.  That, at least, cuts down one suitcase.

 

For London transfers to the port, both Blackberry Cars and Smith For Airports are fantastic.  I do believe I’ve heard the Smith name before and I will check them both out.  Thanks.  Any and all recommendations are appreciated.  Has anyone ever used the englishbus?  They do a trip from London to Southampton and I was thinking maybe they could stop at Stonehenge on the way.  I sent them an email but haven’t heard back from them yet.

 

I do understand that both London and Paris are walking cities.  I know that we don’t have a choice.  We can’t exactly take a cab for one mile.  However, I can’t walk that either so we won’t have a choice unless I do tons and tons of research.  That’s why I need so much help.  I’m hoping I can figure out the subway system.  Frankly, that would be fun for the kids so I’m not against it.  I just need to take lots of pain medication (heavy sigh).  What we do for our kids and grandkids.

 

Yes, I believe I have already decided that we need to stay near the Tower of London.  That seemed really central.  However, I have no idea where to stay in Paris that won’t cost me an arm and a leg.  That is one of the questions I need answered.  I will head to that board eventually but so far my priorities have been the cruise ports.  Also because both London and Paris are really massive projects.

 

I would love to stay near the Eiffel Tower.  That’s an awesome area.  One thing I haven’t figure out which is best is: how to see the Palace of Versailles.  Should we spend the night there or just make it a day trip.  That gives us two days in Paris.  Now, we get there on Saturday, fit something in, all day Sunday and Monday, Tuesday to the Palace and home on Wednesday.

 

We very much might end up doing a picnic.  Food for those 9 days is going to cost me a fortune for 7 people.  I’m hoping the hotel will include breakfast or if we can a bnb we will be able to cook a few meals ourselves.  I have one kid that is VERY picky.  Kidney beans is her main food item.  Another that will try but not adventuresome and yet the other two that eat plainly.  No sauces.  Not even ketchup with their fries. 

 

Check which days the Chateau is open.  Thanks, I will do that.  Yes, we really want to go to the Palace.

 

I have considered nothing for Marseilles.  I know nothing and seem to not be learning anything.  I just know I don’t want to spend 3 to 4 hours walking down streets looking at stores or the Farmers Market.  I want to see something not spend my day shopping.  I will check out your leads – thanks.

 

Seville is done.  I went with an earlier recommendation and I think it will be a fun day.  I loved when he said he could make it like being Indiana Jones.

 

Ceuta Morocco:  Yes, hopefully the ship will come up with one that is something that is not simply walking around town and shopping.  Surely there must be SOMETHING to do there.

 

You have given me much to work on.  I will do some more homework and come back with questions.  Again, let me state that CC members are the best ever.  I tell people: you ask them for some obsolete item in a town where you know nothing and someone will come on and say, you take a taxi 1.2 miles than turn left, go past the blue mailbox and on your right is a small corner store owned by a guy with a peg leg and an eye patch.  Tell the taxi to wait and the guy will have your item and off you go.

 

Time is my worst enemy in London and Paris.  I have to plan those cities meticulously.  I’m also trying not to have to mortgage the house for this trip.  Please, Princess, get me back my refund so when it comes time to book the air I have the money.

 

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I love the London Tube, but be careful of walking distances TO the stations. Search hotels very carefully with this in mind.  The buses are also very easy.  My dd's favorite thing of our entire London trip was sitting in the front row of the top of the bus.  The app Moovit can give you VERY specific directions on bus/subway details.

 

You can get an Oyster card for each person from the airport, which works as a bus/train/subway pass.

 

 

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13 hours ago, notentirelynormal said:

 

I can only slightly cut down on luggage.  A minimum of 7 suitcases – 1 large each.  A share one for my DH and I and maybe each kid.  Then 1 carry on each with electronics and things like that.  My DH and I will also need an extra carry on each for medication and for our CPAP machines.  One thing Covid has taught me is that I am not getting caught on a trip with just our basic medication needs.  We are going to have at least 2 extra weeks each.  We both take quite a bit of those.  Then I am going to have the extra medications.  Like band aids, aspirin, Neosporin, suntan lotion etc.  If the kids get sick or hurt I need to have the stuff.  I can’t afford to buy it on board even if they have it.

 

I am not suggesting that you cut down on things that you need (like Meds and first aid kits).  If you can cut down a couple of bags it will make a huge difference.   Remember the ship has a laundry and so will your accommodation if you get an airbnb.  

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I am also worried about going over the weight limit and would rather have an extra barely packed one to throw the over weight stuff into then pay the expensive fees.  While there is stuff I won’t be bringing back I hope we can buy some souvenirs.  Plus, we will be spending a lot of time at the airport and in the air.  The kids will need the under the seat suitcases with stuff to do.  The two youngest are at the age where their special pillow and stuffed animals (the youngest) need to go too.

 

The autistic one is high functioning but is very naïve and will be easily distracted so needs a lot of watching, as will the other young ones.  I can’t say to her: go over there and get a candy bar.  One thing most people don’t realize with autistic people is they can’t always process more than one order.  Like someone with Alzheimer’s you can’t say go over there and sit and wait for me.  Get a glass of milk.  They hear: go over there OR sit and wait for me OR get a glass of milk.  Just one of the list.  So, I can’t give her two things to do.  Just one more thing to add to the travel challenge. 

 

I work with kids with various communication disorders.  I understand the processing difficulties.  It sounds as if meltdowns are not likely.

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While the two oldest have spent much time going to Disneyland, have been on a couple of cruises and other tourist areas, the two youngest have only traveled with us on a cruise to Alaska so their travel experience is next to nothing.  There will be a lot of stress involved.  My DH is also the worst traveler ever.  He is fine when we get there but the getting there makes him a jerk.

 

Give hubby a particular role - like looking after one of the kids.  The kids will also need to buddy up.  

Quote

 

Yes, that is why location is important.  It is easy to say don’t stress but I don’t have much time to arrive, pick up luggage, get to hotel, and can we see something that day?  Everything needs to be planned meticulously.  Unless we arrive early enough Wednesday will be a waste. That leaves Thursday and Friday and we head to the ship on Saturday.  Two full days to see London.  I can’t waste time trying to figure out what to do first.  I also must have any tickets we need set up in advance. 

 

I do think location is important and I do think you should stress about that.  You need somewhere near to the Tube - and the tube that you intend using regularly.  If you plan on going to the Tower, consider getting there when it opens (and going straight to the Crown Jewels and then coming back to see the Beefeaters).  So bear that in mind when planning where you will stay.  

 

One thing for sure is the London Eye.  I plan on buying our own Pod.  That gives us front of the line and an exact time. Plus, we need to see the Tower of London and the Beefeaters.  Another front of the line and planning the day.  My grandson has requested to see Baker Street and Fleet Street.  On the way to somewhere, I’m sure.  We will try to fit it in. 

 

For me Fleet Street, which I walked along when going from St PAul’s to Covent Garden was an anticlimax.  The press have moved away.  Middle Temple lane was cute though - like a cross between something out of a Dickens’ novel and Harry Potter.  

 

St Katharine’s Dock, beside the Tower is worth a wander.  Walking along the river is lovely and free.  

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If we can fit in a London Show that would be cool too.  That means we don’t have time for a HoHo bus. 

 

Leave the idea of a show quite flexible.  You never know when the West end will open again.  

 

I would consider Day One, when you will be jetlagged, that you go to Hyde Park https://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/hyde-park  Get some fresh air and go to bed early.  

 

You then have 4 half days left:  The Tower and environs; a walk to see (from the outside) Trafalgar square, Buckingham Palace, Westminster and Big Ben; a walk to Covent Garden/Fleet street; a riverside walk/ London Eye. Oh and because I think it would be fun, but you don’t really have time 

 

With kids, as long as the weather is reasonable I wonder if you would consider Greenwich.  There is lots to do and it does not cost the earth.   I know that it is not at the top of most lists, but I do think it would be fun. 

 

https://www.rmg.co.uk/visit-greenwich/top-free-things-to-do

 

We had a great time at the Sky Garden.  I will try to add a photo.  It had great views and we had breakfast there.  You had to book but it was free.  

 

Also if you are anywhere near the Alchemist Beavis Marks, take the kids in the afternoon for a drink.  It is a cocktail bar but they do mocktails and the kids will love it.  In the evening it gets very busy and very noisy so don’t try going for a meal.  

 

 

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I can walk and I can stand.  If I don’t get off my feet for quick reprieves then I am in massive pain.  I know I will have to suck it up A LOT.  Add to that, I have back issues.  I’m a hot mess LOL!  I can’t decide whether or not to take my scooter.  Add that to the packing list.  I have decided to leave my service dog at home.  While I would like to bring her it is becoming too much with the tour companies and just trying to figure out how to get into each country.  That, at least, cuts down one suitcase.

 

 

 

For London transfers to the port, both Blackberry Cars and Smith For Airports are fantastic.  I do believe I’ve heard the Smith name before and I will check them both out.  Thanks.  Any and all recommendations are appreciated.  Has anyone ever used the englishbus?  They do a trip from London to Southampton and I was thinking maybe they could stop at Stonehenge on the way.  I sent them an email but haven’t heard back from them yet.

 

 

 

I do understand that both London and Paris are walking cities.  I know that we don’t have a choice.  We can’t exactly take a cab for one mile.  However, I can’t walk that either so we won’t have a choice unless I do tons and tons of research.  That’s why I need so much help.  I’m hoping I can figure out the subway system.  Frankly, that would be fun for the kids so I’m not against it.  I just need to take lots of pain medication (heavy sigh).  What we do for our kids and grandkids.

 

Have you considered one of those walking sticks that you can sit on (for queues etc).  I am not the best person to ask though.  There are lists for ‘disability’ that I think you would get good advice from - thinking about coping with the Tube, best places to stay etc.. 

 

Quote

 

 

 

Yes, I believe I have already decided that we need to stay near the Tower of London.  That seemed really central.  However, I have no idea where to stay in Paris that won’t cost me an arm and a leg.  That is one of the questions I need answered.  I will head to that board eventually but so far my priorities have been the cruise ports.  Also because both London and Paris are really massive projects.

 

 

 

I would love to stay near the Eiffel Tower.  That’s an awesome area.  One thing I haven’t figure out which is best is: how to see the Palace of Versailles.  Should we spend the night there or just make it a day trip.  That gives us two days in Paris.  Now, we get there on Saturday, fit something in, all day Sunday and Monday, Tuesday to the Palace and home on Wednesday.

You can get to Versailles by train.  Get advice about how to get tickets.  We went about 10 years ago and what we did may be out of date.  

 

Just by looking Paris Airbnb I found some good well-located options.  Just make sure what you choose is cancellable because this virus is not going away soon.  

Quote

 

We very much might end up doing a picnic.  Food for those 9 days is going to cost me a fortune for 7 people.  I’m hoping the hotel will include breakfast or if we can a bnb we will be able to cook a few meals ourselves.  I have one kid that is VERY picky.  Kidney beans is her main food item.  Another that will try but not adventuresome and yet the other two that eat plainly.  No sauces.  Not even ketchup with their fries. 

 

Oh I have the t shirt when it comes to picky eaters.  I found that in Paris even if you used the word ‘plain’ and listed everything you did not want on a burger or sandwich, they popped a cornichon in the darned thing.  That is not plain!!!  

They do grow out of it, but not in time for your trip!

 

Youngest spent a 12 day cruise eating chicken and mashed potatoes every night. She was fine, but the waiters got frustrated.     Not sure how you will get kidney beans in Paris.  I am sure they cook them but in salads and stews.  Another reason for getting your own kitchen 

 

Quote

Check which days the Chateau is open.  Thanks, I will do that.  Yes, we really want to go to the Palace.

 

 

 

I have considered nothing for Marseilles.  I know nothing and seem to not be learning anything.  I just know I don’t want to spend 3 to 4 hours walking down streets looking at stores or the Farmers Market.  I want to see something not spend my day shopping.  I will check out your leads – thanks.

 

 

 

Seville is done.  I went with an earlier recommendation and I think it will be a fun day.  I loved when he said he could make it like being Indiana Jones.

 

 

 

Ceuta Morocco:  Yes, hopefully the ship will come up with one that is something that is not simply walking around town and shopping.  Surely there must be SOMETHING to do there.

 

I don’t think it is just shopping, but if you really cannot find something to do from what the ship has to offer, this might be the port you skip and you stay on the ship!!

Quote

 

You have given me much to work on.  I will do some more homework and come back with questions.  Again, let me state that CC members are the best ever.  I tell people: you ask them for some obsolete item in a town where you know nothing and someone will come on and say, you take a taxi 1.2 miles than turn left, go past the blue mailbox and on your right is a small corner store owned by a guy with a peg leg and an eye patch.  Tell the taxi to wait and the guy will have your item and off you go.

 

 

 

Time is my worst enemy in London and Paris.  I have to plan those cities meticulously.  I’m also trying not to have to mortgage the house for this trip.  Please, Princess, get me back my refund so when it comes time to book the air I have the money.

Plan meticulously but remember that the kids are there to have fun. You do not have to see everything, they will surely go back to both cities if they enjoy travelling.  Less is more when you have kids.  Make sure that they have time to watch the squirrels, the ducks and the pigeons.  

 

I have been to London a dozen times and still have things to see (like Greenwich and Kew).  I have spent a total of 6 weeks in Paris.  Seen it all ??  Nope.  Go back tomorrow? In a heartbeat! 

Quote

 

Photo below was the Sky Garden.  You can see the views and me in my poshest dress ready to watch my daughter get called to the Bar.  

 

 

F6B00567-190E-40E7-B530-8D2368066901.jpeg

Edited by ollienbertsmum
I forgot something

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