A blog about our holiday to Europe in June/July 2012

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Monday, July 16, 2012

The Nuts and Bolts of our holiday

I booked our flights through Kathy Cowie of Carlson Wagonlit (she's in their Ballito office) - she was lovely to deal with, highly recommended. 

We flew SAA and I was very happy with our flights.

Our Heathrow/Barcelona and Malaga/London flights were with British Airways and they were also fine.

Transfers and tourBarcelona Day Tours  It was very convenient to be picked up at the hotel for the tour and dropped off at the Cruise.

Hotel: Hotel Jazz Very nice hotel, conveniently located.

Cruise ship: Liberty of the Seas, booked directly through Royal Caribbean.  HIGHLY recommended.  It's a good idea to do some research before booking your cruise.  (For example, I found out that the best deck to book your cabin in on Liberty of the Seas is Deck 9)  I used CruiseCritic.com a lot as well as CruiseAdvice.org 

Tours in Ports:
Toulon: We did the excursion to Cassis offered by the cruise ship.  It was great.  If you do this particular tour you MUST book a boat ride to the Calanques the moment you arrive in Cassis.
Nice: Sylvie Di Cristo was our guide, she was very good.
Livorno: We hired a driver/guide from RomeinLimo and with their advice, tailor-made our itinerary beforehand.  Riccardo was our guide and he was excellent
Rome: We hired a driver/guide from RomeinLimo  Sergio was our guide and he was brilliant.  Our vatican guide (booked through RomeinLimo) was Francesca and she was the BEST!
Naples: We hired a driver/guide from RomeinLimo Nichola was our guide and although not as good as the previous two, he was an excellent driver and very kind.

Transfers: Malaga Airport Transfers They were very good.

Accomodation:  Club La Costa booked through Booking.com.  I feel that it is important to get a good apartment here - some apartments are not that great, others are lovely.  I would recommend the apartments in Pueblo Marina if you are wanting 2 bathrooms and a nice big verandah - you need to confirm this in your initial booking.  For one bedroom apartments I would choose the block directly behind Pueblo Marina.

Transfers: Exclusive airports  We had the one bad experience the rest were fine.

Hotel: Luna Simone

Oyster card: We did all our travelling in London using our oyster cards. It's the way to go – you can use the oyster card on tubes, buses and trains – all you do is shove the oyster card against the big yellow disc that is prominently displayed as you enter the tube station/climb onto the bus etc. You can top the oyster card up via ATM-type machines in the tube stations or at many shops. You can buy your oyster card at the visa application centre when you go to apply for your UK visa

London walks: We LOVE the London walks. You don’t need to pre-book, you just pitch up at the start of the walk, pay your £9 and off you go.

The Original Tour: Hop-on hop-off bus tickets bought here. You can also get your Madame Tussauds, Tower of London etc tickets through them

London Eye:  Tickets bought directly from their website 

Tower of London: Tickets bought directly from their website

Eurostar booked directly with Eurostar.com

Paris visite cards (for the metro) and Batobus tickets booked through Hello Paris

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