Originally Posted by You
i'm planning to go on the Norwegian Gem in June, which stops at Valleta, Civitavecchia, Naples, Livorno and Villefrance. for Valetta, i already know that i'm going to take a taxi to Mdina and explore there myself; for Villefrance, i'm going to take the rail to Monaco. however, i don't know what to do for Civitavecchia (Rome), Naples and Livorno.
i've heard that many people go on private tours for Rome, but that is outrageously expensive for my family of 4. would it be possible to explore this city by taking the rail from Civitavecchia to Rome and then walking? and what about Naples/Livorno? i guess i could go on cruise excursions for Naples and Livorno, seeing as they are not as expensive as private tours for Rome. does anyone have any recommendations?
I really do not recommend touring Rome on our own because Rome is a considerable distance from the port of Civitavecchia for at least a couple reasons.
>> 1. You'll lose too much time getting to the train station, buying rail tickets, waiting for a train, etc., and you'll have to leave Roma enough earlier that the ship's tours to reverse the transportation sequence and make it back to the ship on time. The tours have completely seemless transportation from the pier to their destinations downtown, and they can "cut it close" because the ship will wait for a tour that's late. If you go ashore on you miss the ship, you get to pay for your own transportation to the next port of call, your own accommodations and meals ashore until the ship gets there, and any other expenses that you or the ship may incur -- which will cost you a lot more than the price of the ship's tour.
>> 2. Many of the attractions in Rome have very long lines for general admission, so you will spend a fair amount of time waiting to get in if you attempt to visit them on your own. The organized tours all have reserved times at the attractions, so they enter as soon as they arrive.
>> 3. Most of the ship's tours of Rome include a very nice luncheon at a local restaurant, so you will get to sample the local cuisine.
So overall, the tours offer the most "bang for the buck" for the time that you will be there.
A similar situation exists in Firenze ("Florence"), which is a considerable distance from the port of Livorno. Also, I do not recommend the combined tour of Firenze and Pisa because it's too rushed. That tour does not allow enough time to see either city adequately.
Naples is a rather different character. Here, the main attraction is NOT the city of Naples, which most people who have been there regard as a pit. Rather, the main attractions are (1) the isle of Capri, (2) Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, and (3) Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius. All three of these destinations take you far enough from the port and involve transportation arrangements that are dicey enough so the ship's tours are the way to go. Also, it's best to take the tour that spends a whole day on one or another of these destinations and let the others go for another trip. The trips that combine two or more of these destinations tend to be very rushed, so you won't have time to see much at any of them.
Have a great cruise!