Getting Excited about Europe!

Well, we’ve booked the flights, the hotels and the cruise. We’ve bought guide books and done research online. We’ve got the backpacks out and the packing lists ready. And tonight, we completed the final major step of booking the rental car. So, we’re set for Europe! In two weeks we’ll be in the air and on our way! Can you tell that I’m really really excited about this?

This will be our first trip outside North America and the longest trip we’ve taken so far as a family. In all, we’ll be gone for 24 nights: one night in transit, four nights in Venice, twelve nights in Tuscany, then seven nights on the MSC Preziosa in the Eastern Mediterranean. We can hardly wait to introduce the kids to Venice and Tuscany, which may be our favourite places in the entire world. I’m hoping to mix a few of our favourite destinations such as Siena and Florence with some new destinations in the area. I’m especially looking forward to trying out a few new places in Umbria since I haven’t seen as much of that region.

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This will also be our first experience with MSC cruises. So far we’ve only cruised Disney and Celebrity as a family, but MSC had by far the best itinerary and pretty great prices as well. It leaves from Venice and stops in Bari, Dubrovnik, Olympia, Ephesus, and another one of my favourite places, Istanbul! We were able to take advantage of a “kids sail free” promotion and get a balcony cabin for around $500 per day for the four of us, which is a pretty good deal for the Mediterranean in summer. The ship looks beautiful, but I’ve heard mixed reviews about the service. I’m hoping that going in with a good attitude and an open mind will work in our favour!

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So now we’re at the place where all the planning and research is finally coming together and the big show is just around the corner. And I can hardly wait! But to be perfectly honest, I’m going to miss all the fun of planning just a wee tiny bit once it’s all over. Then again, I’ve just noticed that I can start making dining reservations for our January Disney trip in a few days, so at least there will still be something to keep me occupied!

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