An overview of our transatlantic Disney cruise and trip to Europe in 2019. See where we stayed, how we got around, what we did, what we ate, and what we would do differently next time in this quick overview.
Where: Miami, FL, Azores, Portugal, Spain, France, Orlando, FL
Miami: Marriott Biscayne Bay
Azores/Portugal/Spain: Disney Cruise Line, Disney Magic
Paris: Marriott Courtyard Gare de Lyon
Orlando: Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Hotel
Flights/Transportation: American Airlines to Miami; Disney Cruise to Spain; Joon (Air France) from Barcelona to Paris; Norwegian Airlines back to the US; Southwest Airlines to home
When: May 2019
Who: 2 adults, 2 kids (ages 5 and 2)
How Long: 22 days
Itinerary: 1 night in Miami, 13-night transatlantic cruise, 4 nights in Paris, 4 nights at Disney World
What we did:
We flew to Miami the night before, and boarded the Disney Magic the next morning. We then took a cruise across the Atlantic, stopping in the Azores, Lisbon, Cadiz, Malaga, Cartagena, and Barcelona. We disembarked in Barcelona (which we did not get to see at all, other than our bus ride to the airport). From there we flew to Paris and spent the next 4 days in and around Paris. The first day we visited the Eiffel Tower in the morning, then returned to our hotel and walked from Gare de Lyon back to the Eiffel Tower along the Seine, stopping along the way at various sites, including Notre Dame (closed to visitors), the Louvre, and some gardens and historic government buildings. The next day we took the train to Marne-le-Vallee and spent the day at Disneyland Paris. The last day we went to Versaille in the morning, and returned back to the city in the late afternoon for dinner and a little more sightseeing in the Latin Quarter. The next morning we flew back to the US. The only flight configuration we were able to do without spending a fortune took us through Orlando, FL with an overnight layover, so we decided to make a trip of it and spend four days at Disney World. After that, we flew home.
The cruise itself was the highlight of the trip. We saw so many great things, but it is extra special to take a longer cruise and it was a really fun for everyone, and a unique way to travel to Europe.
What I would do differently:
Truthfully, we got a little bit of travel fatigue by the end of this trip. I think it was just a little too long with too many moving parts. As much as I loved our trip to Paris and Orlando, when we got off the ship in Barcelona we were wondering if maybe we were trying to much on one trip. It was convenient (since we were there) and not too expensive to add on those extra trips, but I wonder if it was a little too ambitious. We plan on doing the cruise again next year, and aside from maybe staying a night or two in Barcelona, we’re planning to come straight home and not go anywhere else.
Again, this would have to be the cruise. The dining on the cruise is hard to beat, and truthfully we didn’t eat a lot of places besides on the ship while we were cruising, since the food is included and kid approved (plus, vegetarian options in Portugal and Spain were extremely lacking). In Paris, we had a great meal at Jardin des Pates, which is a pasta restaurant that we first went to 11 years ago on our first trip to Paris, and it made enough of an impression that we sought it out this time around. On the whole though, dining in Paris with young, impatient kids was rough, and we relied heavily on grab-and-go baked goods from the bakery across the street from our hotel, Eric Kayser. I stopped their at least once every day for a bag of bread and croissants, which served as our breakfasts and lunches as we explored.