10 Year Anniversary Trip Recap (Part Six – Cruise Excursions Pompeii and Rome)

As you may know, on August 24th, Rachel and I headed out for a 16 day trip to Europe to celebrate 10 years of marriage bliss. Today will be the sixth part of a series of blog posts highlighting this amazing trip. (Check out part onetwo, threefour and five here!) Without further ado…Part Six – Cruise Excursions Pompeii and Rome!

During our Disney Mediterranean Cruise (DMC),  the middle 4 days we were able to port and explore some amazing places. Today’s post covers the first half of the DMC Ports of Call/Excursions, which found us in Pompeii, Naples and Rome!

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The first day off the boat we stopped in Naples, Italy for the day. We ended up booking a 1/2 day Adult Only excursion over to Pompeii, which was roughly a 20 minute bus ride away from the ship.

We ended up with a group of about 20-25 people along with our tour guide. Pompeii, while not the top of our list of things we saw on our trip, ended up being a cool place to visit. This ancient city is now just ruins, but it was really neat to learn more about the history of this area. Plus, seeing Mount Vesuvius in the background was definitely impressive.

We got some great pictures during our time in Pompeii and our tour guide was a really sweet older and very Italian gentleman. All in all, I think we were both glad we were able to see Pompeii.

After spending about 3-4 hours with our group, Rachel and I made our way over to Naples for about an hour or so to explore on our own. While Naples wasn’t necessary my favorite city, it was still cool to walk around for a little bit.

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ROME, ITALY
The next day off the boat took us to the most impressive part of our DMC week, Rome! We booked a full day Adult Only excursion and ended up with roughly 30 or so people in our group. We met up with one of our tour guides who gave us a little bit of commentary as we made the 90 minute journey to Rome. Once we got to the Rome area, we picked up our other tour guide, who ended up leading most of the actual tour while we explored the city.

Friends, I could spend a lot of time talking about our day in Rome. We ended up checking off about 4 major items from the bucket list just in Rome. But as to not spend forever on this post, I’ll hit the highlights…

  • The Colosseum Simply amazing! The Colosseum was as impressive in person as I dreamed it would be. We spent a few minutes exploring the outside, before making our way inside. Our tour guide spent some time giving us commentary and then allowed us a little time to explore on our own. So happy to be able to check this off the bucket list!
  • Pizza in Italy Rachel and I, of course, grabbed lunch at a Italian restaurant where I had easily the best pizza I’ve ever eaten in my life. It was absolutely perfect and why wouldn’t it be in Italy?! My only regret was not getting a picture of the pizza as by the time I thought about it, the pizza was already in my belly.
  • Vatican City Vatican City was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. While it was crazy crowded, it offered a tremendous amount of history and beautiful architecture.
  • Vatican Museums The downside to only having a day in Rome (and being in a larger tour group) was having to navigate the Vatican museums in a timely manner. There was just so much to see and between the other tour groups, in addition to our group, the amount of people was pretty crazy. Still, everything we were able to see was so amazing. Pictures really don’t do justice to the beauty of these museums and buildings.
  • Sistine Chapel Check another thing off the bucket list. While walking into the Sistine Chapel, the first thing that struck me was how historic this room really is. And while the amount of people crammed into a rather small room made it slightly claustrophobic, I couldn’t believe how unbelievable it really was. And while technically you aren’t allowed to take any pictures, I was able to sneak a couple of pictures of Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” painting which, of course, is famously on the ceiling.

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  • St. Peters Basilica St. Peters Basilica is known as the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world. It was breathtakingly beautiful. Rachel and I felt very fortunate to see 3 absolutely stunning churches during our trip, from La Sagrada Familia and Notre Dame to St. Peters Basilica.
  • St. Peters Square And finally, we made our way outside of St. Peters Basilica to St. Peters Square. This was a great end to our day in Rome, where we were able to take in the true beauty of Vatican City and all of the gorgeous architecture it has to offer.

Stay tuned for the final blog post of this amazing 16 day journey, which covers the final 2 Ports of Call, Florence and Nice!

 

 

 

10 Year Anniversary Trip Recap (Part Five – Disney Mediterranean Cruise)

As you may know, on August 24th, Rachel and I headed out for a 16 day trip to Europe to celebrate 10 years of marriage bliss. Today will be the fifth part of a series of blog posts highlighting this amazing trip. (Check out part onetwo, three and four here!) Without further ado…Part Five – Disney Mediterranean Cruise!

As we finished up in Paris and Barcelona, we got to the final week of our trip, the Disney Mediterranean Cruise, with stops in Naples, Rome, Florence and Cannes. In order to do true justice to this final week, today’s post will cover the Disney Cruise as a whole, before using the last few blog posts to break down the 4 Ports of Call and the excursions at each of these places.

To start with the Disney Cruise, it’s important to mention that Rachel and I have only been on one other cruise (and it was not Disney). So to say we were completely spoiled and blown away by the Disney Cruise would be taking it lightly. As you can imagine, Disney absolutely does everything first class/top notch. We had an amazing experience for the 7 days and nights while sailing the Mediterranean Sea.

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The overall agenda for our Disney Cruise week…

Day One: Sail away from Barcelona
Day Two: Day at Sea
Day Three: Naples/Pompeii, Italy
Day Four: Rome, Italy
Day Five: Florence, Italy
Day Six: Cannes/Nice, France
Day Seven: Day at Sea
Day Eight: Arrive back in Barcelona

Instead of spending time talking through every day we were on the boat, here are the highlights. (It’s my hope to have Rachel do a blog post or two on our trip soon and I’m guessing she will hit on the cruise as well.)

Disney Cruise Highlights:

  • Our Travel Agent (and friend) Linda had a bottle of sparkling cider and chocolates waiting for us when we got to our stateroom for the first time. It was a super nice surprise.

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  • The Disney Cruise Staff helped us celebrate our 10 Year Anniversary with little extra surprises, including a special dessert at dinner on the first night.

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  • The evening shows each night were absolutely amazing. We especially enjoyed the Tangled Musical, Welcome Show and Farewell Show!

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  • Food, food and more food. One of the cool things about Disney Cruises is you end up switching to a different dining room each night (there are 3 different dining rooms). And your wait staff comes over with you for each evening. So we were able to experience the different dining rooms and eat a ton of wonderful food. Plus the food on the decks (including unlimited ice cream) made for a lot of eating!
  • Our table mates at dinner each night were 2 absolutely wonderful couples, both from the Southern States! It was like Disney put us together on purpose. We loved getting to know them and hearing about their families. We have even become social media friends so we can continue these new friendships!

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  • Disney magic everywhere. If you are like us, then having Disney basically everywhere is a good thing. From having opportunities to meet characters to Disney movies/music in the rooms, we felt completely immersed in all things Disney.
  • Hanging out, especially the 2 days at sea, by the pool and in the room. After being on the go for first week, it was nice to have a day or two just to hang out and rest.

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  • Finally…the Ports of Call/Excursions were places we have always dreamed about visiting. More details coming up over the last 2 blog posts in this series!

All in all, the cruise was a wonderful time. Easily, the highlight of the trip for me. Honestly, after doing a Disney Cruise, I’m not sure if we would ever go on another cruise line. Of course, as huge Disney people, I feel like this is isn’t much of a surprise to anyone…

Stay tuned for the final 2 blog posts on the 4 different Ports of Call/excursions, including Pompeii, Rome, Florence and Nice!

10 Year Anniversary Trip Recap (Part Four – Barcelona)

As you may know, on August 24th, Rachel and I headed out for a 16 day trip to Europe to celebrate 10 years of marriage bliss. Today will be the fourth part of a series of blog posts highlighting this amazing trip. (Check out part one, two and three here!) Without further ado…Part Four – Barcelona!

On Thursday morning, we took a short regional flight out of Paris over to Barcelona for the next stop on our trip. Now Barcelona wasn’t really on our list of things when we were originally planning our trip. It just so happened to be the port where we would take our Mediterranean cruise. However, as we started to put all of the pieces together for our trip, I was really excited to see Barcelona. In fact, I probably had more people tell me about how much they love Barcelona versus any other city we would be visiting. So I was super excited to see what the buzz was all about.

Once we arrived in Barcelona and checked into our hotel (which was literally right by the Mediterranean Sea), we headed over to our excursion for the day. Our Travel Agent (and friend) Linda highly recommended an Electric Bike Tour that she and her husband did when they were in Barcelona. It took you around a good portion of the city and included a short boat ride and ride on a cable car up to the top of a mountain overlooking the city (Montjuïc).

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Instead of going into too much detail, I’ll just say the bike tour excursion wasn’t our favorite part of the trip. It ended up being us, the tour guide and a group of 10 people from Germany. The Germans were super nice and we ended up connecting with a young couple from the group. However, trying to navigate the city on electric bikes proved to be quite tricky, especially for Rachel. There were several times I thought she might just call it. I was super proud of her as she pushed through all the way to the end.

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I will say, we ended up getting a great tour of the city and got some awesome views of the city.  It just wasn’t the best 4 hours of our trip.

After we finished the tour, it was already dinnertime, so we grabbed some food and walked down the La Rambla towards our hotel, taking in the city.

The next day, I got up a little earlier to get in a quick run. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and brought about some amazing scenery as I got in a few miles.

After getting ready, the biggest thing on our agenda was visiting La Sagrada Familia, which is a beautiful Roman Catholic Church that has been under construction for over 100 years. Antoni Gaudí was the chief architect, and friends, it is absolutely unlike anything I’ve ever seen. They are projecting the church will be completed by the year 2026, but you can already visit this extraordinary masterpiece.

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We ended up in a group with a wonderful tour guide who showed us all of the unique parts of this church. Honestly, you could spend hours looking at all of the details and aspects, from the inside to the outside of La Sagrada Familia, and still feel like you haven’t seen everything. All I can say is it’s 100% worth the trip to Barcelona just to visit this amazing church. 

After our tour, we made our way back down to our hotel, continuing to just take in the city and stopping in a few places along the way.

Once we got back to our hotel later that afternoon, we actually threw some of our dirty clothes in a smaller suitcase and found a laundromat to wash a load. After finishing the laundry, we grabbed dinner and headed back to our hotel to get all of our stuff ready for the next morning, where we would be embarking on our 7-day Disney Mediterranean Cruise!

All in all, we enjoyed our short 2 days in Barcelona and would absolutely love to get back over there one day to see more of this beautiful city. Next stop on our anniversary trip recap…Disney Mediterranean Cruise!