May 2019 EBTA - Taking the Magic eastbound across the Atlantic (and bonus non-DCL Mediterranean cruise!) - Update 2/13

lilsonicfan

<font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
Joined
Jan 20, 2003
Day 12 - Malaga, Spain

Our time in Malaga was not a long day - something like 8am to 4pm. Many people who have a port day in Malaga want to go to Alhambra, a palace in Granada which is a prime example of historical Muslim art dating back to the 9th century or earlier. DCL offers excursions here but they were fairly hot ticket items and many were snapped up by Platinums/Golds before the silver booking window even opened. Some people arranged private excursions. I'm of mixed view, Granada is a long way from Malaga, and I hate spending a ton of time on a bus.

At first then my plan was to spend the day exploring Malaga and seeing some Moorish sites like the Alcazaba.

However, as discussions went on, the excursion that caught my eye was this one - King's Path. (Caminito del Rey, in Spanish) This is a hiking path through a mountainous gorge that was originally used more industrially and then was later abandoned to the point where it became unsafe - and then it became a place that adventurous hikers and rock climbers would go to test their courage... You can still find old videos on Youtube calling it the world's most dangerous hike, etc. For many years it was closed, and apparently fines were levied on anyone who trespassed but that didn't stop people from trying. A few people died in the attempts as well.

In about 2014-2015 the government (region of Andalusia, and Malaga's local government) took on extensive repairs and rebuilding of this pathway and re-opened it as a tourist attraction.

I was prepared to bite the bullet and do this via DCL because it is at least an hour away from the cruise port (the hike itself is like a 3 hour trip or so?) But, some of the Platinum members in our group noticed that this excursion was marked as sold out essentially from Day 1. According to DCL, "sold out" meant that it really was sold out, and not that they just hadn't opened up availability. So we decided to see whether we could gather enough interest to do a private excursion instead. We ended up booking through Malaga Trips which is a local tour agency.

Some caveats: Malaga Trips informed us that they had organized a tour like this before for the previous year's transatlantic guests. However, their insurance does NOT cover transportation to the next port if we miss the ship. They assured me that they had additional vehicles which would pick us up in the event of any issue, and that they would build in enough time so that we would have plenty of time to get back. I mention this because I think everyone has a different comfort level with private excursions and we did have to make sure everyone who was interested, in our group, was aware.

Malaga Trips contracted with their tour operator, in this case Smart Holidays Andalusia to take a group of us on this tour. We tried to keep it quite small, in the end we had about 16 participants, plus 3 people who booked a similar tour through Viator last minute and ended up getting placed with us. I'm not sure about the last 3 guests, but I believe the cost for the rest of us was 65 Euros, so slightly cheaper than DCL's excursion.

Oh, and also, a few weeks before our trip, availability did open up for the DCL excursion.... so we had to make a decision about whether to stick with the private excursion. Happily, everyone agreed that sticking with the private excursion was just fine.

I will just say now that this was 10000% the right decision.

We started our day by waiting for Jose, our guide, and the bus he was on. There was some mixup in terms of time, but in any event he got to us around 8:30am and we were on our way.

We couldn't have picked a better guide if we tried. Jose was so clearly passionate about his job and about this region of Spain. He told us stories and gave us history of the area as we took the bus ride up. Some of the information may have been a bit detailed, but you couldn't argue he didn't know his stuff!

Here are some of the views on the way up - I believe these are man made lakes but are very popular for sunbathing and camping. Actually, I think they are reservoirs for water used by Malaga City.







I was trying to take a picture of the sign to get to the Caminito del Rey but Jose noticed and struck a pose instead :D


I'm not sure if the path entrance is 1.5 km away from this sign - i want to say no, but I can't remember for sure. We did have to go through a dark tunnel (seen behind Jose there) and he warned the taller ones among us to mind their heads. That is NEVER an issue for me.

You can see how the (greenish) river winds below as we ascended.


There are these cave-like formations that are apparently created by wind/sand erosion:




And this 'arch' shape in the distant rock is likely going to be one of these cave formations, given enough time. (sorry, someone's arm got in the way)


At the official entrance, Jose went to arrange the tickets and then we had the pleasure of putting on hairnets and helmets for safety. I can understand this to a degree, but I'm just going to say - helmets would do very little if someone actually fell. That being said, it would be extremely challenging to fall given the safety railings and such.

Part of the purpose to the pathway was to connect two power stations, which I think are still in existence - you can see one in operation here (hydro power):


The pathway is literally built into the side of the mountain, and you can see behind and to the left of my DH that it winds into the gorge itself. Really cool.







The area has a number of vultures that are often seen flying above (waiting for tourists to fall, joked Jose) and they are protected, plus they are counted so that the population can be monitored. I think he said there are about 200-300 in the whole park.


The rock faces are all really cool. Here's one looking down from path to water:


And here you can see how tectonic action has pushed the land together with vertical striations


This isn't a super strenuous hike or anything but I would note it is not suitable for anyone with difficulty walking or ascending/descending stairs.


Lots more to come, but I have to stop for now!
 

lilsonicfan

<font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
Joined
Jan 20, 2003
Day 12 continued

The walk was really beautiful at times and it's neat to see how vegetation survives even in pretty harsh environmental conditions (or so it seems).






Really gives you an idea of scale:



Old bridge structure - thank the stars the hike isn't like this today!







The best part of our tour was that Jose frequently had us stop (it was super hot, so this was really valuable) but he also made sure to give us historical tidbits and stories each time we stopped. I think it made for a much better walk because we got to understand how the path came into existence, what it had been used for (apparently the reason it's called Caminito del Rey is because the king was going to visit - many many years ago; however, he got about a few minutes in and abandoned the hike due to danger!)

Here's some signage showing the type of wildlife you COULD see - but Jose said it is really really rare to see animals. Probably scared off by humans making noise and such.


In many places, the old pathway is still visible below the newly built path we were walking on and often it's crumbling.







There are also times when you are just on a trail without railings (but usually wide-ish paths). I should mention I have a fear of heights, I'm the kind of person that can't stand too close to a window in a highrise, and I strongly dislike Ferris wheels. As long as I keep moving I'm okay - so this hike is definitely manageable for those with issues like me.





There are checkpoints along the way so you can see how much farther you have to go. As you can tell it's really just one way, you start at the north entrance and end at the south exit. All tour buses pick up at the other end. So there really is no backing out halfway through, you just have to keep going! Jose did point out some emergency exit areas, but those looked pretty sketchy and I'm sure are only used in real medical emergencies.



Tunnel for trains. So, Frank Sinatra was in a movie 50+ years ago called Von Ryan's Express and it was filmed in part at the Caminito del Rey. Jose even had some video clips to show us where the train exits this tunnel (I believe). It's hard to imagine that these actors were walking around the (much less safe) path so long ago!



There are some ammonite fossils in the rockfaces, the low ones are preserved like this:


Probably impossible to see but there are two higher up in the middle of this picture:


Now for the money shot, the view I could not wait to see and it was well worth it!




In this pic there is a cable (not in focus) on the left. It goes down into the river and back up the other side. Jose told us this used to be a popular spot for people to kind of 'zipline' down holding a rope or something with a caribiner (maybe?) on either side of the cable; but you needed two people because otherwise there wasn't enough weight and you would get stuck in the middle. Well, some years back (in 1999 or 2000 I think), there were 3 guys who were taking turns to go down and back up and then apparently they decided to try going down all at the same time - but the cable broke and they lost their lives :(


Here is a great blog describing what it was like to hike the Caminito del Rey before it was fully restored. I don't have even 5% of the bravery needed to give this a shot and even looking at the pics makes me feel dizzy!

Anyway, view from the bridge we crossed:





After this bridge there's quite a bit of an uphill trek to get to the end. That was less fun in the baking hot sun lol. Some pics from the rest of the hike:






I'll spare you the rest of the pics but that was hands down the best excursion I have ever done on any cruise. Jose was an amazing guide and we couldn't have asked for better. We ended up spotting some DCL guests on the DCL excursion and they literally were just walking through the path - no explanations, no guide to tell them anything about what they were seeing, etc - and then they had to get back on the 50+ passenger bus to get back. I am so glad we went this route instead of going with DCL because it was "safer".

No surprise, but we were back at the ship with plenty of time to spare (and a few more stories about the area from Jose, including a description of a 'resort' with a 'doctor' that women used to be sent to if they were having fertility issues... they would often come back pregnant but oddly.... all the babies resembled the 'doctor'... hmm...).

In fact, at least one or two of the DCL excursion buses (I believe to Alhambra) broke down that day. So yes, the ship waits for them of course, but I note this didn't happen to any of the private excursions. :D

I'll finish up the night in my next post.

OH and one more thing. As you can see and as I mentioned, we had to leave the kids behind for this excursion. Technically kids 8 and over could do it but we chose to keep our excursion age 16+, same as DCL's. Only one of my kids would have been old enough and frankly he would have likely complained he was tired by about halfway through! I don't think leaving kids behind at kids club is going to work for every family, but for us it worked out for the following reasons:

- I knew my boys would stick together
- they love kids club anyway and are old enough to not really need us
- I didn't give my oldest one signout privileges (he's 10, so I could have) - wanted him to stay with his brothers
- we made them aware they had to eat lunch in the club
- we discussed it with the staff beforehand and they were fine with it
- we made the kids aware it was the only excursion we were doing without them and we still had full port days ahead of us on our next cruise!
 
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Chewbette

Mouseketeer
Joined
Oct 9, 2012
I was on the DCL excursion ;) but we had a guide and she told us many things about the Caminito del Rey (and the region on the way in and back when we were on the bus, we were more like 30-35 in the bus but yeah more than a private), you just had to stay around her and walk with her, but many chose not to do that and go on their own pace. I normally do the excursions privately but yeah this time it wasn't that much cheaper and we liked the "safety" of the DCL one.
It was a wonderful excursion that's for sure!
 

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  • lilsonicfan

    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Joined
    Jan 20, 2003
    I was on the DCL excursion ;) but we had a guide and she told us many things about the Caminito del Rey (and the region on the way in and back when we were on the bus, we were more like 30-35 in the bus but yeah more than a private), you just had to stay around her and walk with her, but many chose not to do that and go on their own pace. I normally do the excursions privately but yeah this time it wasn't that much cheaper and we liked the "safety" of the DCL one.
    It was a wonderful excursion that's for sure!
    We definitely didn't pick this one due to it being cheaper - and had it been available on day 1 of booking, I think we all would have booked with DCL! But that being said I am super glad we stuck to our private excursion.
     

    lilsonicfan

    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Joined
    Jan 20, 2003
    Just in case anyone is still following along, I greatly apologize for my lack of updates. To be honest I'm in a bit of a DCL slump. The itineraries I want to do are really hard to justify cost-wise and I'm feeling kinda bummed... I'll return soon to keep this going!
     

    Deb T.

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 17, 1999
    Awww. I'm sorry you're feeling low right now. We did the 2017 and 2018 EBTA's and are booked on the 2020, so we've been enjoying your trip report immensely! I know all the effort that goes into posting a TR and really appreciate the time you've taken to write this one. Please take care of you first, and when you're feeling like continuing this, we'll be right here reading it! Hugs!
     

    olewnikpe

    Olewnik
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2005
    Just in case anyone is still following along, I greatly apologize for my lack of updates. To be honest I'm in a bit of a DCL slump. The itineraries I want to do are really hard to justify cost-wise and I'm feeling kinda bummed... I'll return soon to keep this going!
    Hope you are coming out of your DCL slump, looking forward to reading/seeing how the rest of your journey turned out.
     

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  • lilsonicfan

    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Joined
    Jan 20, 2003
    Thank you for the kind comments, all - I'm still in a slump and DCL is still holding a whackload of money in our placeholders, but as that money is already 'spent' I am trying not to be bitter about not having a DCL booking. I know I'll get the funds back if I don't use it, I just want to use it! Lol.

    Will come back to write more in this report soon!
     

    BadPinkTink

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 13, 2015
    @lilsonicfan aww sorry to hear you are in a Disney slump. I'm in Lisbon right now for a conference. This morning I did a Hop Hon Hop Off bus tour and was down by the port and saw The 25 de Abril Bridge. I was thinking of you and your family and just how amazing it must have been to be on The Disney Magic sailing up the river and under that bridge.IMG_20191104_104451.jpgIMG_20191104_122015.jpg
     

    monkeydawn

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2019
    I have been following along. I know you are in a DCL slump and I am sorry about that. I too find the cost of Disney hard to justify when it is just DH and me, when we go with friends that have kids or are more into Disney it makes it a little easier to justify. DH and I are going on the same MSC cruise as you did as a kind of memorial to my grandfather, who passed away last summer. I hope you come back and write more!
     
  • lilsonicfan

    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Joined
    Jan 20, 2003
    Day 12 - continued

    I am finally back to continue this trip report, I'm sorry for my complaints about being in a DCL slump. I know I should be grateful we have been able to cruise DCL at all. Sometimes it's just easier to whine and feel like the grass is greener on the other side! Anyway.

    So after our trip to Caminito del Rey, we went to fetch the kids at the Club/Lab. Turns out they had had a pretty great day. They watched a lot of TV (sigh), played a lot of ipad (more sigh), and even managed to eat lunch. Oldest DS won a hat at Bingo inside the clubs and got the club staff to sign it, lol. We contemplated going to the Mega Jackpot Bingo, but decided against it because frankly it's like pouring $50-80 down the drain for us, haha. I don't have pics, but I think we took the kids to the pool before dinner.

    Dinner was at AP for the last time (sniff sniff) and finally it was time for the Animation Magic show. DH had the beef wellington:



    and I had the Grilled Garlic Shrimp with linguini:


    Both mostly solid dishes. I can't say I love any one menu more than another as I can always find something to eat on any menu, but I appreciated the wide variety of menus on this cruise.

    For dessert:

    Chocolate Decadence - I do love chocolate, so this one was a hit:


    And this is the NSA Cappuccino Mousse. I'll give this a 5/10.



    After dinner, we headed to the D Lounge to make "Inside Out Memory Orbs". I'm not sure if this event was offered on the Inside Out day, I don't think so though. This was actually lovely and I'm so glad we went. We were provided with a big plastic clear ornament ball and then there were arts and crafts supplies along with hundreds, and I mean hundreds, of clean paper Navigators from every day of the cruise. The idea was to create an ornament "memory orb" filled with memories of our cruise. The cruise staff even had a polaroid camera to take a family pic so that we could put that inside the orb as well. Honestly, such a great craft idea. I forgot to take a pic of it, but since it's almost Christmas, I will try to dig it out as we need to hang it on our tree anyway.

    For the evening show, we were treated to an excellent event: the Crew Talent Show. Again, this was an absolute delight. Crew from all over the ship participated. One fellow from the Cabanas staff sang "How Far I'll Go" in four languages!! Others sang or danced, one group even did an original song they had written. It takes a lot of guts to be on a stage in front of hundreds of people particularly when your main job on the ship doesn't involve entertainment!!! Gus, my fave, demonstrated his talent of speed drawing Disney characters. And then the cruise director, assistant cruise director, and some other guys did a "man band" performance that brought the house down. I'd gladly watch a version of this again any time.

    When we got back to our room, we found this Transatlantic lithograph waiting for us. What a great reminder of our excellent cruise (though it was not yet over!)




    DH went off to play poker so the kids and I watched some TV in our staterooms and got room service. I hope DCL never takes away this perk, because there's something so enjoyable about ordering food to your room. You cannot ever go wrong with a cheese and cracker plate, or with chicken strips. Mmm.



    Up next: Cartagena, Spain. Original time in port was 7am to 12pm, which was frustrating because most things did not even open until 10am, so DCL changed the all aboard time to 1pm instead. Yay!
     

    lilsonicfan

    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Joined
    Jan 20, 2003
    Day 12 - addition

    Forgot to add some of the pics we had taken on Day 12.

    So glad we took this one with Captain Mickey and Captain Minnie!! (EDIT: JUST realized I already posted this one earlier; apparently I have no idea when we actually took this... hahaha... sorry)



    I have no idea why we took SO MANY pics with Chip & Dale this cruise, but I love them so I guess it's okay lol:


    I could do without the "at dinner" shots though - the lighting is so weird and having other diners in the background is odd (but check out that dapper family behind us!) Also, having half eaten food in the pic is so great :D




    Per usual, I made my family line up for the 'fancy background' shots and got this one which I really like:



    Pretty sure I said this previously, but on a long DCL cruise the photo package is worth it to me for those family shots - it's not substantially more expensive than on a 7 day, and of course there are many more days and times to take advantage of the photo ops.
     
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    lilsonicfan

    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Joined
    Jan 20, 2003
    Day 13 - Cartagena, Spain

    Ohhhhh man - Day 13 was a mixed bag for me emotion-wise since it was essentially the last full day of our cruise. Sob.

    We did not really have a plan for Cartagena. Well, let me rephrase. I had a plan. DH did not. So we ended up doing the "non-plan" which was very frustrating for me. This was the first time DCL was to be in port in Cartagena, Spain (the 2018 EBTA went to Ibiza instead and the Panama Canal cruises go to Cartagena, Colombia). From everything I read, it was said to be an easy walkable port. I had wanted to do the tourist boat which is a short boat ride around the harbor area (and, I think part of the excursion DCL offers called "Cartagena by Land & Sea" but because of DH's insistence at following no plan at all, we literally missed the boat - argh. Oh well. The other thing we missed that was on my plan was a panoramic lift (elevator) that takes you to the top of the city, essentially, from which you could walk down some of the more historically significant parts including a castle ... I'm not doing a great job of describing it, which probably contributed to DH's apathy about the whole thing. Husbands. Sometimes you just gotta shake your head.

    The ship docks SUPER close to the town, which is excellent for being able to walk around. There was this neat artwork which is square, and represents a different important historical figure depending on where you stand. This side was Malala:


    And on this side it's the Dalai Lama:



    We made it off the ship in time to catch the Shutters photographers who took some pics of us in front of the ship. I believe we ate breakfast at Cabanas, our last breakfast there!

    Sadly, the photographers didn't notice that my younger two sons were apparently blinded by sunlight and had their eyes shut. Really too bad because I don't have a great family pic in front of the Magic. Argh. I did take this one of DH and the boys from the top of the square:



    So anyway. I pause to note that I am terrible with history, it was never a subject I was very interested in, so at best I'm glossing over many more important parts of Cartagena ... however, you'll have to do your own research anyway if you come here and I'm certain you'll learn more than I did :) On my list to see was the Museum of the Roman Theatre. Cartagena only "recently" discovered and excavated the Roman Theatre ruins, sometime in the late 1980's, and excavation/restoration was ongoing until the early 2000's.

    On entry to the museum you get to see a lot of the artifacts found when they were excavating, as well as some of the restored colonnades and inscriptions. I seem to be missing some of these pics but probably because I haven't uploaded all of them yet so I'll add more of those as we go along. In any event you move up through the floors of the museum by escalator/stairs until you are at the theatre itself.

    Here is my attempt at getting a panoramic shot:


    As we were going to be visiting Rome on this trip we were pretty excited to check out this fairly pristine and new excavation. It's just amazing to be able to see something that hails back so many hundreds of years and to see what the Roman empire was capable of, even so far from Rome itself.

    To give you an idea of the scale, here are the kids just at the side of or just behind the stage where the theatre shows would have taken place:



    Must run for now but will return ....
     

    Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    The ship docks SUPER close to the town, which is excellent for being able to walk around. There was this neat artwork which is square, and represents a different important historical figure depending on where you stand. This side was Malala:


    And on this side it's the Dalai Lama:

    That's a gorgeous piece of art!
     

    lilsonicfan

    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Joined
    Jan 20, 2003
    Day 13 -Cartagena

    Last night I discovered that indeed I hadn't uploaded all of my Cartagena pics yet so let's start this day over again lol :)

    I thought Cartagena was a very pretty town. It seems to have a warm climate so palm trees do well there.


    And I thought the architecture in the city was beautiful.






    The streets are tiled in a nice clean stone and the entire city was very clean. This area of town seemed to be car-free ... but I'm not certain. I feel like in Europe, it doesn't matter if a street seems too narrow to fit a car - what matters is the driver's determination to get down that street!




    Way back in I think Cadiz we had missed getting churros, so I was determined to do so in Cartagena since this was essentially our last Spanish port. I looked this up ahead of time (I am serious about treats, haha) and found a place that was about a 10-15 min walk away from port. It's called La Churreria de Santa Florentina and was a sort of semi-outdoors cafe. This plate of churros and warm chocolate was 3 Euros, what a great deal :)



    What's not to be loved about fried dough dipped in chocolate?? Delicious.
    On walking around we left the main street because it was rather crowded with DCL tour excursion groups - lol. We found a little playground the kids wanted to check out:


    Look how pretty this town is:


    Eventually we made it back to the Museum of the Roman Theatre. Honestly, if DCL comes back to this town, don't pay the big bucks for an excursion especially if it's one where you walk around and then go to this museum. There is no way you can miss the ship unless you perhaps fall asleep somewhere? It's so close.



    Next, I'll post a few pics from the museum itself. It's really neat how it's built, as you can see you enter on the ground level and each floor has its own exhibits before you get to the top when you are at the theatre itself.
     
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    lilsonicfan

    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Joined
    Jan 20, 2003
    Day 13 - Cartagena cont'd

    Admission to the Museum is very reasonable, it was 6 euros for adults and kids were at a reduced price... I don't remember exactly, but youngest DS was apparently free, so yay! Once you pay for admission to the Museum, you go right into the exhibits themselves. They give you a neat little booklet as well which was a great souvenir. The building isn't huge, so it's easy to navigate.

    A little explanation about the Theatre, its history and subsequent re-discovery:





    Before, during, and after excavation:


    Some of these artifacts were, I believe, found in the excavation - I can't remember whether others were from elsewhere. But this is just so neat to me, the idea of digging downward and finding more and more... and then looking at objects and determining how they were used.

    For example, that pot on the left was a chamber pot:


    Beautiful pottery work:


    some examples of the tops of columns found:






    In other areas, they found items that they pieced together and then formed the missing part so you can see how it would have looked at the time:


    And then at the top you head outside through this hallway to see the theatre itself:


    It's been partially restored but I like how they have left a lot of the original in place as well.


    It was, of course, an actual theatre so they have rebuilt the stage (and I gather school groups come for field trips often):


    For reference, here is a model of how they believe it looked originally:


    I think this archway shows where actors may have emerged from onto the stage. In ancient times, adults were obviously quite a lot smaller than they are today because my kids fit quite well here:


    And lastly some of the column work they have been restoring:



    After the theatre, we did a bit more wandering through the city. We were a little hungry so we found a place that serves Iberian ham sandwiches and bought a few for snacking. OMG, so good.

    Jamon being carved:


    Sandwich making:


    And eating! Oh, side note: on this trip, DS2 discovered he LOVES orange Fanta. Actually, the other two aren't much for fizzy drinks so we rarely have pop in the house, but the only one who craves it is my middle son. He asked for orange Fanta at every port we stopped in, haha.


    If you are wondering why they are holding phones, it's because they were really into Pokemon Go and catching European pokemon was a big hit.

    We looked into a beautiful church, checked out a statue, took our final pics, and headed back to the ship.








    Next up: I'll finish the rest of our day and start our next adventure...
     

    iloveeeyore

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2003
    Just caught up. Amazing! What a blessing for your family to have had such wonderful time together. I never thought I would want to do a TA, but your report is making me rethink...

    I can't believe what they did to you and DH in the painting activity and that rude late woman who wouldn't switch! I would have been so annoyed. Sounds like you kept it all in perspective.

    Can't wait to read more, and also looking forward to your opinion of MSC/Yacht Club!
     

    lilsonicfan

    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Joined
    Jan 20, 2003
    Day 13 continued

    I'm really sorry for the delay in my posts ... DCL slump combined with busy work days and busy home evenings have made it difficult! I'll try to get this back on track :)

    After we returned to the ship, the kids wanted to swim and grab some food, so we headed up to the pool deck. I enjoyed another "build a bowl" from Daisy's Delights and the kids had ice cream. Oh, I meant to say that there were tons of locals at the port to see the Magic sail away - this being DCL's first time in Cartagena. I hope they come back, it is a lovely port and more time could be spent here for sure.

    Calm waters for sailaway:



    While up on the pool deck, we ran into Trent, the cruise director, and he cheerily posed for a pic with the boys. In chatting with him and some other cruisers, we found out that sometimes his family gets to travel with him, and that he was soon to return home for 10 weeks off. He told us that this TA cruise was one of his favourites ever, and I don't know if he says this with every cruise or not, but I nearly teared up!



    Youngest DS and I went to go find characters while the older ones swam. And we found Stitch, who used to be R's fave!



    This evening's dinner was at Rapunzel's again and it was finally time for the lantern show. And for some reason I don't seem to have any pics of this... booo!! I loved it though, that part of Tangled is one of my favourite parts of the movie (now that I've seen it again and can actually remember it).

    I realized that in my last date post for Malaga, I said that DH went to play poker - actually, I was wrong! He and DS1 went to the Prem-ear of Aladdin that showed at 11:45 PM on May 23, 2019! Because of the time difference, they were literally the first people ever to watch Aladdin, which was released on May 24. Okay not the first people EVER, but definitely among the first group. DS1 was chuffed to be able to stay up so late.

    So you know how you're never supposed to leave packing to the last minute - well guess what - we left it to the last minute and were therefore majorly scrambling. DH and I took the kids to the clubs after dinner so that we could literally shove everything into our suitcases and clear out our room. I can't remember exactly, but I believe I also was doing some laundry, not because I wanted to wait till the last day but because the machines were super busy. On the last day or so, the dryers kept conking out so they ended up being free. We saw some near fights about the laundry, so if I could have done this over I would have just not bothered with the laundry. We had pre-purchased a package on MSC anyway, so I don't know why I was in such a rush. Lesson learned!

    Anyway, the younger two wanted to see Aladdin as well so we had to get everything packed and suitcases out so that we could take them to an 8:30 PM showing on our last day. DH and DS1 ended up watching it again with us. Great movie, and so pleased to be able to watch it on board. So on this cruise we saw: Avengers Endgame, Captain Marvel, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Dumbo, Aladdin ... we missed Mary Poppins Returns but based on feedback we didn't miss much. Let's see, to go to the movies here is probably about a $50 evening, so we saved $250 by watching these on board. A bit more when you consider we paid $1.75 for popcorn which is easily $5-7 in theatres. Lol, I love justifying my cruise by using the cost of movies!!!

    After the show, I took the time to fill out the survey including writing an extra couple of pages praising our server, assistant server, head server and room host, all of whom were honestly excellent on this cruise. I also commented on the oddities (movies showing during main show time) and the passport confusion and basically little things that meant a lot to me at the time but have been forgotten in favour of the rose coloured glasses I'm currently wearing about this cruise :)

    That brings us to nearly the end of the DCL portion of our trip. Wow, if I could cruise the Atlantic every year with DCL, I absolutely would. I find it interesting that DCL actually does extra little things on a cruise that is really one of their slower sellers. Special events, special guests, extra food items, more character photo ops, just to name a few. Also, I loved the Magic. I missed the Aqua Duck, but otherwise it is really a beautiful ship that is just the right size to not feel overwhelming nor too small. My kids had a fantastic time as well. I don't think I can say enough good things about this transatlantic cruise - it was truly a delight, and I wish the timing lined up so that I could do this one more often!

    Next up: disembarkation, Barcelona, and the start of our MSC cruise, for anyone still following along :)
     

    Deb T.

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 17, 1999
    Still following along, so keep on writing. :) LOVED and can totally relate to "justifying a cruise cost by factoring in money 'saved' by watching movies onboard." :rotfl2:
     


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