You can't see Rome in a day, but our October cruise itinerary gives us only about 12 hours so I'm seeking some advice regarding shore excursions. I've cruised before but always in the Caribbean where I could take or leave some snorkeling excursion. This is sightseeing intensive Europe and I've never been there and neither has my fiance so I'd appreciate any adivce you veteran cruisers may have to offer this cruisemates newbie.
More background info (so you know where we're coming from): I'm more of a "traveler" and like to see some major sights but wouldn't mind finding a quiet cafe and meeting the people. My fiance is more of a "tourist" and wants to cram in all the major tourist attractions. We are looking for a compromise (tour some/go alone some perhaps) but that provides so many alternative options. Our itinerary: arriving in Barcelona 2 days before boarding the Celebrity Constellation, then to Villefranche/Nice, Livorno/Firenze, Civitavicchia/Rome, Naples, Malta, Palermo (Sicily), Malaga and back to Barcelona (then an extra night).
So what to do? I've tried to find as many reviews as possible (as well as do research on the ports and the major cities some of which are an hour or so away). Some say 1)"do the research and go it alone" (and try not to get lost in the wrong part of town), others recommend 2) arrange private tours (though i understand there can be pitfalls here (ripped off), and then there are 3) the seemingly overpriced Celebrity offered tours that should get you back to the boat on time but i've seen some mixed reviews (herded like cattle, waiting and more waiting). We are 28/31 y/o so I'm not concerned with some long walks (we don't NEED a motorcoach though we aren't the type to run any marathon's) but one of my concerns is that my spanish is quite rusty (working on that) and the extent of my french and italian is to ask for the bathroom and order gelato- yummy!
Any advice and/or Constellation reviews are most welcomed. Thanks!