7 Night Med Cruise on the Disney Magic

MissyMouse77

MissyMouse
Joined
Feb 4, 2017
This will be a Trip Report for the 7 night Mediterranean Cruise that started in Civitavecchia, Italy and ended in Barcelona, Spain.

June 19, 2019 - Flying to Rome! Will we actually have seats on the plane?

I booked flights as soon as we booked the cruise, which was just under a year out. I didn’t want to worry about the flight piece and it was important for us that we get direct flights from Logan Airport in Boston, MA to Rome’s FCO. My daughter is eight and this was her first taste of international travel. I wanted to try and get us on Italy time as quickly as possible because I had a jam packed itinerary planned. I felt an overnight direct flight was our best shot at acclimating quickly.

We flew on Alitalia because it was by far the best price for direct. However, at the time I did not realize that Alitalia has been in financial trouble for almost two years and has been in negotiations for new partners. Luckily, everything was fine and we didn’t have to deal with a sudden strike, which is what I was most afraid of. We did have a lot of trouble getting confirmed seats even though I had used their site online and paid the fees to have confirmed extra legroom. It was about a week before the trip that I tried logging into their website and received a message saying that I needed to contact Alitalia because there was an issue with our seats. When I called I spoke to a very curt woman that said the seats I had booked, and paid extra for, were no longer available because “there was a reconfiguration”. I tried inquiring exactly what that meant and she just kept repeating the same line to me. After many more phone calls to Alitalia we were told we finally had confirmed seats but that my husband would have to sit in a different area of the plane. Oh, and we wouldn’t automatically be refunded the money we spent on the seats. We would have to apply for a refund via their website. Let’s just say that we didn’t have a great customer service experience with Alitalia. At that point we were just happy we had seats. We only had two full days in Rome before we left for the cruise and I had a lot of private tours booked for us. We had to get to Rome! We got to the Alitalia check-in counter at Logan nice and early (we live by the rule of always giving ourselves a lot of extra time to get to the airport and wanted to be there three hours early since it was international travel) and wouldn’t you know.....there was a problem with our seats. Again. Luckily the woman working at the desk was very kind and saw we were traveling with an eight year old and took pity on us. She called over a supervisor and managed to score us all seats together with the extra legroom we had originally paid for. She was great, as was the other Alitalia agent working next to her. It seems our luck was changing and I began to feel my blood pressure return to normal again.

We actually breezed through security and passport control quite quickly, so we ended up stopping into a restaurant at Logan to grab a light meal and a drink for Mommy and Daddy, because at that point I needed it. I wanted us to all sleep through the flight as much as possible so it was better to walk onto the plane not feeling hungry. They began the boarding process a full hour before our scheduled take-off. The same woman who was working the check-in desk appeared to help with boarding and she walked through the terminal finding families who had young children to let them line up first. We were excited to find the plane interior seemed to be in great condition and looked very clean. We had a ton of legroom which was awesome since it was an eight hour flight to Rome. From that point on, we actually had a very nice experience on the plane itself. It was an uneventful flight and we tried to sleep. I brought headphones and sleep masks for us and my daughter wore her pajamas on the plane. We took off just before 10pm and around midnight we all began to doze off. Unfortunately none of us really ever got into a deep sleep but we all managed to get maybe 4 hours on and off throughout the course of the flight.

An hour before landing they turned on the cabin lights and started breakfast service, which consisted of a warmed up strawberry pastry of some sort and juice, coffee or tea. We were super tired but also very excited to finally be in Italy. It was a smooth landing and pretty chill disembarkment off of the plane but we were surprised to discover that when getting off of the plane we were outside and had to all get on shuttles to take us into the airport itself. The shuttles took us to passport security and luckily it moved fairly quickly. Our plane landed around 11:30am in Italy time and we were through security, had our baggage, and found our driver I had booked in advance by 12:30pm! We were off to a good start and I was excited to check into our hotel, the Gran Meliá, which was just outside of the Vatican area.

June 20, 2019- Gran Melia Hotel Review

We arrived at our hotel, the Gran Melia, around 1pm. The hotel is about a 10 minute walk to the Vatican area but it is cool because the hotel is extremely quiet even though it’s right in the city. I booked this hotel because it has an outdoor pool and I knew our daughter would like being able to take pool breaks in between all the tours we had planned. It was the best decision and because we used the pool quite a bit. There is a serious heat wave all through Europe right now. Every place we visited on this trip was 90-95 degrees and the locals all kept saying they couldn’t remember a June this hot in years. I was grateful to have a place to cool off and their grounds were really lovely. Overall, we were very pleased with our experience. Our room, while small for a family of three, was nicely appointed. It had a King size bed and they added a single roll away at the foot of the bed for our daughter. The bathroom had a shower with a separate “water closet” that included the toilet and a bidet. The products were all Clarins brand and they have a highly regarded Clarins Spa on site. My daughter got a kick out of the bidets in Europe. She is now a fan. I’m happy to report that the air conditioning worked beautifully! We received turn down service each night and the hotel provided robes and slippers for the adults. Our room didn’t really have a view but we also didn’t pay for an upgraded view, so we weren’t expecting much.

We did choose to have breakfast included in our hotel rate and I’m so glad we did! This spread was awesome. They had an entire room off of their pool/lounge area set up each morning for breakfast. While it was buffet style they had a service team on hand to greet you, show you to a table in the breakfast room or of you preferred you could sit outside in the pool lounge area. The buffet included a large variety of fresh pastries, breads, jams, meats and cheeses, a salad bar that included fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, greens, and a variety of balsamic vinegars. There were cereals, yogurt, waffles with Nutella, an oatmeal station, hard boiled eggs, and mini sandwiches. Beverage choices included a wide variety of fresh squeezed juices and coffee and tea. The servers asked if you’d like an espresso or cappuccino and all was included in the buffet. They also opened bottles of Moët in case people wanted to make mimosas. If you wanted something from the a la carte menu a server would come to take your order. My daughter did end up ordering scrambled eggs one morning and it wasn’t cheap. I think it was 8 Euros but I wanted her to get some protein and she isn’t a fan of hard boiled eggs. We were all extremely happy with the breakfast and I’d definitely recommend adding that to your room package should you choose to stay there.

Back to Rome! So after we got into our room, which was ready for us upon arrival, we changed into swimsuits and took a dip in the pool. It was a nice way to recharge for a busy night ahead. We swam for about an hour and then went back to the room to do a little unpacking, shower, and get ready for our first tour. We had a Private Sunset Walking Tour booked through a company called LivItaly. It included a pick up at 5pm that would drop us off to meet our guide. I’ll work on the next installment that includes a review of this tour soon!

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Private Sunset Walking Tour:
We booked this tour through a company called LivItaly. They were recommended by a friend that had used them for a couple tours last summer. Our driver picked us up at the hotel right on time and had cold bottles of water waiting for us. He was extremely friendly and welcoming. He explained various sites as we drove to meet our tour guide, Melanie. He dropped us off in front of Babbington’s Tea Room, near the Spanish Steps, and Melanie was there with a big smile. We hit it off with her right off the bat. She took us to all the major sites in that area including the Trevi Fountain, inside the Pantheon, and ended in the Piazza Navona. The tour included a stop in a fabulous gelato shop where Melanie taught us the ins and outs of how to shop for quality gelato. While all gelato is yummy, I will admit that after having my first bite of real homemade gelato vs. premixed gelato, I realized very quickly the huge difference. I’m happy to report that this tutorial helped us a ton for the rest of our trip and we had some amazing gelato all throughout Italy. Melanie went to school for architecture and had also studied art history. She was extremely articulate and also warm and personable. She did a great job of engaging our eight year old daughter in conversation and by the end of the tour she was able to tell the difference between buildings designed by Bernini vs. Borromini. We loved this experience from start to finish and would highly recommend this tour. It was the perfect introduction to Rome.

We said goodbye to Melanie and headed off for our first meal in Rome. I had made a reservation for a place close by, Da Francesco. I had heard good things about about it and our driver from earlier said it was definitely one of the better restaurants in that area. We wanted an authentic Roman dining experience and wanted to try and avoid any tourist traps. He assured us Da Francesco was legit and we would find a lot of locals, as well as tourists, dining there. He said they specialized in Roman dishes and their pizza was also excellent. Sold! We were greeted at the door and I was glad I had made a reservation because they were turning people away. It’s a small, cozy little trattoria with maybe 15 tables inside. We only had to wait maybe five minutes and we were given a seat right by the windows. We ordered a margarita pizza, a beef dish, and the spaghetti alla carbonara. Every single dish was excellent and my husband declared the pizza the best he’s ever had. We also ordered two glasses of the house red. Our server was lovely. He did not really speak any English but he was great at interpreting what we were saying and we tried using the few phrases of Italian we had learned. Our daughter was exhausted, as she was going on fumes at that point, and actually fell asleep at the table. We paid our bill and boxed up our leftover pizza because there was no way we were leaving that deliciousness behind. We woke up the sleeping beauty and went off to find a taxi to take us back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep. We arrived back at the hotel right around 10pm, which was perfect because we would hopefully all be used to the time change by the morning.

June 21, 2019- Conquering Rome in 24 hrs!

We had a great sleep and woke up around 7:30am feeling ready to start the day. After showers and dressing, we headed to the breakfast room and enjoyed a leisurely meal out by the pool. We then headed out to the Vatican area because we had a 10am guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica. It was only a
10 minute walk from hotel and super easy to navigate using Goggle Maps. We did have some trouble locating where we were supposed to meet our tour group. We booked this tour through Viator and the directions on the confirmation email said to meet outside of the Vatican Post Office. After asking a few different people where to go, we finally found the correct area which was off to the right hand side. We were told by someone to “look for the men with the blue shirts” and they were direct us from there. Blue shirts found and we were then given a sticker that signified which tour we were on and corralled into a specific holding area. There ended up being about 15 people in our group and we were given a headset so that we could hear our guide more clearly. This guide was less personable than Melanie. I don’t think he actually even introduced himself. That said, he clearly knew his stuff. He knew St. Peter’s inside and out and I felt the pacing of the tour was very good. Despite the crowds, we felt like we got a good viewing of everything and didn’t feel rushed. He allowed time for us to take pictures and he explained all of the details of each area of the Basilica very well. Our daughter was totally in awe, as were we, and this ended up being one of our favorite experiences in Rome. I also thought it was a good value. In total, the tour was 76 Euros for the three of us and was an hour long, although it actually ended up being closer to 75 minutes. We were also told we could stay and explore St. Peter’s more on our own should we wish to do so. I highly recommend doing some sort of guided tour of St. Peter’s.

We had a tour of The Colosseum booked for 3pm and then a night tour of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel at 8pm ( if you are saying to yourself this sounds ambitious, you’d be correct) so we decided to walk back to the hotel and take a dip in the pool and grab a light lunch. It was already in the 90’s and we wanted to chill out while we could. Around 2pm we took a second round of showers and got ready for the second half of our day.

The Colosseum:
We took a taxi to the meeting point and arrived 15 minutes in advance of our reservation. We booked this tour through The Roman Guy. The tour was called the Restricted Access Belvedere Top Levels Colosseum Tour. After checking in with a staff member who was coordinating a few tours for this company, we met our tour guide leader. She was from Rome and was an archeologist. I wish I could tell you her name but she said it very quickly and I was embarrassed to ask her to repeat it. She was witty, warm, and clearly extremely intelligent. Our group had nine people in total, so it was a nice size for a tour of this site. After greeting us she said she had some bad news. Unfortunately she had just received word that they were not allowing anybody on the Top Levels that day apparently due to safety concerns. She was very upset about it but she said this kind of thing happens quite frequently and she would make sure we still got a great tour. They did have a disclaimer on the confirmation email saying that the company had the right to alter itineraries on an as needed basis. We weren’t too concerned and just glad we would still get to tour the site. Our guide had to go check in with a few different security agents because our passes were technically listed for a different thing, so after some back and forth action, we were finally waved through and able to enter at The Gladiator entrance area. Our guide gave us a wealth of information about the site and told us of the history behind the building, the politics involved, what life was like for the gladiators, for the animals, for the citizens coming to watch this spectacle. It was a fantastic tour. We spent about 90 minutes at the Colosseum, including making our way up to the highest level we were allowed to enter at that time. We had an awesome view of the whole arena. Afterwards our guide explained that she could then either continue on there for the last hour or we could go and take a walk through the Roman Forum. We all agreed we’d like to see the Forum so we moved on. We had to pass through a separate security station to access the Forum. By this point my little one was beginning to get super tired from the heat. Honestly, we were all feeling pretty beat by this point. So the guide explained that there were to places to exit and that if anyone was feeling ready we were welcome to part ways at the first exit point. We decided to take advantage of the first exit and go find somewhere to rest and grab dinner. We still had a tour of the Vatican to make it through, and it was close to 6pm. Our guide gave us a recommendation on where to find a good restaurant and we were off on our next adventure!

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Small Group Evening Vatican Tour Review:
After grabbing a bite to eat near The Colosseum we headed back St. Peter’s Square. We had an evening tour of the Vatican booked for 8pm and didn’t want to be late. We booked this tour through LivItaly again. I’m glad we gave ourselves extra time because we did have some difficulty finding our guide. We thought we were meeting them at a restaurant located in a different area of the square but the restaurant was outside of the square near the entrance to the Vatican Museums. We asked at least four different people for help and got conflicting answers. We finally found a gentleman who pointed us in the correct direction and told us to follow the wall all the way to the outside entrance. We made it just in time!

This was one of the most expensive tours we booked, as it is only offered on Fridays and supposedly is a hot ticket because the only people allowed in at that time of night are with tour guides, as the museum is technically closed. I had heard that the crowds were much better if you could do an evening tour. Our group was small with only four other people in our group, so there were eight of us if you included our guide. We did not use headsets on this tour, which I think some of our tour mates were upset by. I didn’t mind, as I did feel we could hear our guide well (but we did need to stick close by her) and I was sort of sick of using headsets at that point in the day. But I can understand how you might want one because acoustics are tricky as you navigating through the different areas. I thought our guide was excellent and extremely professional and knowledgeable. The museum areas are giant and there is so much to see its overwhelming. It was still crowded but it was confirmed by the guide that this was close to 50% less people than that afternoon. She had actually led a tour earlier that same day. She said the early morning tour was also a good time to go but afternoons were always very difficult. It’s also not air conditioned in most of the spaces, so it’s very warm. This tour included the Sistine Chapel. Because talking is not allowed and strictly enforced by the guards in the chapel, the guide gave us a thorough description of what we would see and the history behind various aspects of the chapel before we entered the space. We were then given about 15-20 minutes to walk through/sit in the chapel on our own and we met back up at the exit. No photography or video is allowed in this space either, so just be aware. There were definitely people breaking the rules and the guards were on them immediately. It’s not a job I would want, as I understand it’s their job to enforce that it’s a sacred space and meant to be used as a space for reflection and prayer. It makes it kind of a bizarre experience to be in there having a moment and then hearing the guards begin to yell at the crowds. We then walked out and spent a few minutes in St. Peter’s Square, all beautifully lit up at night, before the guards asked everyone to exit for the evening. Again, they mean business. They were not allowing people to dilly dally once it was closing time.

We enjoyed the tour a lot but this was something we probably won’t do again. I’m glad we had the experience but it’s hard staying totally engaged for the three hours in the Museums. There is so much to see I felt we almost became Di sensitized to all of it after an hour and half. Also, my family are huge modern art fans (my husband actually attended the Museum of Fine Arts school in Boston and is an artist himself) and we were bummed that we were rushed through the areas of the museum (former residence areas of previous Popes) that held more contemporary art pieces by Matisse and other great artists. It would have been refreshing to have more time to look at these works because it felt so different from the rest of the artworks on display. I was also fascinated by the fact that Matisse had made robes for the Pope and other large scale art pieces. If I were to go back, that is what I’d like to spend more time looking at and learning about. It’s understandable that the tour has to be focused in one specific way, as there is so much you could spend days walking around. We felt the tour was worth doing but it’s not a tour we feel we need to repeat.

We walked back to our hotel and we were excited that we could sleep in the next morning and then get ready to board the Disney Magic!

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Scroll down below the comments to read my next installment which includes boarding the Disney Magic and my stateroom review.
 
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lilsonicfan

<font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
Joined
Jan 20, 2003
Thanks for writing this! We are sailing out of Rome next year and it's great to hear what other people are doing in Rome :)
 

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  • BadPinkTink

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 13, 2015
    It was a smooth landing and pretty chill disembarkment off of the plane but we were surprised to discover that when getting off of the plane we were outside and had to all get on shuttles to take us into the airport itself. The shuttles took us to passport security and luckily it moved fairly quickly.
    This is very normal in Europe. European airports are very busy and have a huge amount of flights between countries, similar to the domestic flights in USA. Disembarking using stairs down to the tarmac and shuttle buses into the terminals, allows more planes to land.
     

    MissyMouse77

    MissyMouse
    Joined
    Feb 4, 2017
    This is very normal in Europe. European airports are very busy and have a huge amount of flights between countries, similar to the domestic flights in USA. Disembarking using stairs down to the tarmac and shuttle buses into the terminals, allows more planes to land.
    I was just surprised that I hadn’t read about this in any of my guide books. It happened again in Barcelona where we used a shuttle to get to our plane. I’m not a seasoned international traveler. In fact, the only other trip I’ve taken to Europe was to Paris, and we didn’t experience any shuttles that trip, so I was just taken off guard. I wasn’t alone because there other travelers that didn’t anticipate the shuttles either. Figured it was worth mentioning in case there are others that don’t travel abroad frequently so they know what to expect. :)
     

    fredandkell

    I'd rather be cruising
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2013
    I was just surprised that I hadn’t read about this in any of my guide books. It happened again in Barcelona where we used a shuttle to get to our plane. I’m not a seasoned international traveler. In fact, the only other trip I’ve taken to Europe was to Paris, and we didn’t experience any shuttles that trip, so I was just taken off guard. I wasn’t alone because there other travelers that didn’t anticipate the shuttles either. Figured it was worth mentioning in case there are others that don’t travel abroad frequently so they know what to expect. :)
    Ironically, the only time I've ridden a shuttle bus across the tarmac in Europe WAS in Paris. Ha!
     

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  • MissyMouse77

    MissyMouse
    Joined
    Feb 4, 2017
    I’m beginning my Cruise Installment of my Trip Report here because I’ve run out of room for pics on my previous thread. Figured it might be nice to break into a new thread anyway since this is where the actual cruise begins.

    June 22, 2019- All Aboard the Disney Magic!

    We enjoyed sleeping in and having a nice leisurely breakfast at the Gran Melia. Again, such a beautiful breakfast spread in a perfect setting! We then went to pack up our room and met our driver at 11am sharp. I booked a private transport through LivItaly once again. The driver was awesome. We had a nice big SUV style Mercedes, cold bottles of water, and the driver was super friendly. It took just over an hour to get to the port, so not too bad at all. Our driver parked and there were luggage handlers right there to take our luggage for us. Security and check-in was a total breeze and by the time we checked in (at about 12:15pm) it was open boarding, so we walked right onto the ship! We had a 12:30 boarding slot but clearly it wasn’t really necessary at all. The vibe is definitely low key at this port and while the reps were all very friendly, there is less of a Disney feel than the Port Canaveral terminal. But considering how smooth and quick this process was, I have absolutely no complaints. I love that we were on the ship in about 20 minutes!

    We arrived via Deck 1, so while there are greeters and they do still announce your name, it’s less exciting than when you board via the Atrium deck area. We only had one carry on bag with us, so we used the stairs to head straight to Cabanas for lunch. Cabanas was busy but didn’t feel crazy at all. I think arrival day for the Med cruises is generally more low key and staggered because a lot of people are still trying to get touring time in before getting on the ship. We enjoyed a relaxing lunch, grabbing lots of the yummy peel and eat shrimp, and ordered our first of many cocktails. Then we headed to check out our stateroom right around 1:30pm.

    I was extremely excited because I had booked a “secret verandah” stateroom, which supposedly are kind of hard to get. We were in room 6634. The reason these have been coined by cruisers as “secret” is they are categorized as having navigator style verandahs but it’s actually a partially obstructed view verandah that has the clear plexiglass. So you are paying slightly less (in this case it was a very good savings as I really wanted the plexiglass style verandah but we saved over $500 by booking this category of stateroom. And truthfully, the obstruction is minimal and we actually liked how it made our verandah feel more private. I would most definitely book this room again for a future cruise. I believe there are only four “secret verandah” rooms on each of the classic style ships and you need to book ASAP because they are often go immediately. We booked this cruise just under a year out and I was surprised one was still available. It is located in the aft section of the ship, which some people are weary of. We didn’t have any issues in aft and while there was some noise and vibration felt during docking, it wasn’t anything that bothered us. Because this is an itinerary where you are getting up early each day because it’s so Port intensive, I didn’t mind the wake up call. The room was also in very good condition. Just be aware that these rooms only sleep 3, as there is no pull down bunk bed, only the sleeper sofa in additional to the Queen size bed. A perfect room for a couple or a family of three.
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    I have to say that this room felt so well designed and spacious compared to our room at the Gran Melia. Even though our room at the hotel was nicely appointed it was immediately apparent how much consideration goes into the design of the staterooms on the ships so that every aspect makes sense for you as a traveler. From the split bathrooms, to the storage under the bed, to how nicely the couch converts each evening and the curtain that pulls out to separate the two sleeping areas, we never felt crowded and lived very comfortably in this room the entire week. My family said they could have even spent another two or three nights in this space, whereas we were definitely feeling crowded in our hotel room in Rome.

    My daughter immediately asked to decorate our stateroom door and wanted to go explore the ship and hand out magnets for our magnet exchange group. I didn’t want to join a fish extender group because we would be tight on packing space. However, our awesome Facebook Cruise Group (we had a really phenomenal Facebook group experience for this trip) had also planned a magnet exchange group for people that still wanted to participate in an activity. This was perfect for us. We were in a group of eight staterooms and we all exchanged magnets over the course of the cruise. It was fun coming back to our stateroom and looking to see if any new magnets had appeared. So my husband and daughter went off to leave some surprises for people and I tackled the project of unpacking. We didn’t have a ton of time because we had a Facebook Cruise Group Meet and Greet at the Promenade Lounge scheduled before the mandatory muster drill. We were excited to meet the people we had been interacting with over the last six or so months. I had also organized a Pen Pal group for kids ages 7-10 and the kids in the group were also going to meet at this event. The Pen Pal group idea came about because my daughter had been eager to make new friends on our previous cruise the year before but she felt shy and a bit overwhelmed at the Kids Clubs and never really bonded with anyone. This was a longer cruise and I wanted to find a way for her to go into the cruise feeling like she already had a group of buddies. What started as a small group of 2-3 kids quickly turned into a group of about 15-16 kids. Turns out a lot of other families felt the exact same way. The kids exchanged letters over the course of about six months. Some wrote more often, some less, but it was fun because my daughter felt so excited that she was making friends prior to the cruise. All of the kids were lovely and they had a lot of fun meeting one another that first day. My daughter ended up bonding quickly with three other girls from the group they had fun meeting up at the Kids Clubs almost every night after dinner for an hour or more. One of the girls she connected with immediately and our families ended up hanging out sporadically throughout the cruise. We even ended up staying at the same hotel in Barcelona and enjoyed lots of pool time and a wonderful dinner out together. We are already talking about trying to vacation together again. Making new friends on the cruise was such a gift and totally unexpected. It is definitely one of my favorite parts of this experience. We are kind of shy when it comes to meeting new people so the fact that we had so much fun interacting with new people on the cruise also really speaks to how organized and comfortable the Disney crew makes you feel. We had so many lovely interactions with people throughout our seven days on the ship.

    After our Facebook Group Meet Up, we headed to our stateroom to prepare for the muster drill. We were assigned Animator’s Palette as our station, which was nice because we were out of the sun and heat. By the time this was finished it was time to get ready for dinner. We chose Main Dining after lots of back and forth. We originally had Second Seating which sounded like a good idea because so many of the Port excursions were scheduled to come back right at 6pm. Main Dining began at 6pm and Second Seating at 8:30pm. However, after more thought, I felt there was no way our daughter could wait until 8:30pm to eat. We eat early at home (usually by 5:30pm) so I worked to book excursions that were mostly Half Day outings and would have us back on the boat by 3pm. The only day we were gone all day was our we traveled to Florence from Livorno. We let our serving team know that we weren’t going to get back on the ship until 6pm that day. They said not to worry and just come to dinner whenever we got back on the ship and they could make it work. However, we actually ended up skipping that one dinner because we ate a huge, lovely meal while we were in Florence and none of us was very hungry that evening. We ended up at the pool and just grabbed some slices of pizza later that evening. But I digress...so we switched to Main dining about two months beforehand and it worked well for our family.

    We were assigned to Rapunzel’s Royal Table for our first night. We were all excited to try out this new restaurant which we had heard so much about “Tangled” is one of our favorite Disney movies, so we were really looking forward to this experience. I’ll add my review for it soon!

    Rapunzel’s Royal Table:
    This was probably the restaurant we were all the most excited for on this cruise. We really enjoyed our dinners at Tiana’s Place on the Disney Wonder the year before, so we were curious as to how this experience would compare. We all really enjoyed it. I love the atmosphere, which I find slightly more immersive theme wise over Tiana’s. I think it’s the softer lighting and there are definitely more prop details scattered throughout the restaurant. As other reviews have noted, the addition to the Thugg characters greeting you upon entering and interacting with tables throughout the course of the evening also helps bring the whole theme to life. These characters were really on point and did a fantastic job. Rapunzel makes rounds to tables to say a quick hello to everyone and there is a little show they put on as well in celebration of Rapunzel’s birthday. Because it’s pretty loud and more of a dinner theater type thing, it’s not conducive to lots of dinner conversation but that can actually be perfect after a long day of touring. It’s just worth knowing that going into the dinner.

    The food our first night ranged from okay to outstanding. Our second dinner improved and the food was good to excellent. I imagine that part of this was we ate at Rapunzel’s on our very first night on the ship and I think that first night is a tough one for the serving teams. They are meeting everyone for the first time, trying to make sure everyone’s needs are being met, and finding their new flow. I’m always kind of blown away by how much food is prepared and served in one seating. So considering all of this, we were happy.

    The first night we had the “Thug Menu”. I chose the goat cheese yellow and red beet tower. Flavors were really nice but I feel this dish would come together more if the beets were grilled or something. My husband had the wild mushroom soup and it was outstanding. In general, all of the soups we had at dinner were great. And they were all served at the perfect temperature which is quite impressive. I had the portobello triangoli for my main and I enjoyed it quite a bit. My husband had the turbot dish and he enjoyed it but I remember it was served kind of lukewarm. Our daughter chose to order salmon and asked for French Fries instead of rice. It also came with broccoli which is perfect because my daughter is a huge broccoli fan. We got the white chocolate bread pudding, which was recommended by our server, and I’m glad we did. This was one of our favorite desserts on this cruise. Our daughter got the signature cupcake and was very happy with it. We ordered coffee with our dessert and our assistant server was awesome about bringing the coffee out right before our desserts were served. We had the best serving team and totally fell in love with them. Our head server made a point of coming by almost each night to check in and say hello, our server (shout out to Omar!) was outstanding and always had great recommendations and went out of his way to engage our eight year old even though she was very shy at mealtimes. Our assistant server was so kind and attentive. We only have kudos to give them. They work so hard and bend over backwards to make everyone happy. We were truly sad to say goodbye to them at the end of cruise.

    So we give Rapunzel’s Royal Table a thumbs up! It is awesome theme wise and a fun, interactive dining experience.

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    Last edited:

    lilsonicfan

    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Joined
    Jan 20, 2003
    We originally had Second Seating which sounded like a good idea because so many of the Port excursions were scheduled to come back right at 6pm. Main Dining began at 6pm and Second Seating at 8:30pm. However, after more thought, I felt there was no way our daughter could wait until 8:30pm to eat. We eat early at home (usually by 5:30pm) so I worked to book excursions that were mostly Half Day outings and would have us back on the boat by 3pm. The only day we were gone all day was our we traveled to Florence from Livorno. We let our serving team know that we weren’t going to get back on the ship until 6pm that day. They said not to worry and just come to dinner whenever we got back on the ship and they could make it work. However, we actually ended up skipping that one dinner because we ate a huge, lovely meal while we were in Florence and none of us was very hungry that evening. We ended up at the pool and just grabbed some slices of pizza later that evening. But I digress...so we switched to Main dining about two months beforehand and it worked well for our family.
    When we were on the transatlantic in May, our serving team told us that with Mediterranean port days they know people are sometimes late getting back, and they will therefore tell guests to come at whatever time they are back, not to worry about being a little late. I think that's honestly great they do that!

    Can't wait to read the rest of your report :)
     

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