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Old July 24th, 2007, 11:11 AM
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Default Millenium Shore Excursions - 9/23 Venice to Barcelona

Has anyone taken the Cinque Terre ship's excursion from Livorno? Would appreciate your insights.

How about Capri? Is this a good excursion?

Also, would like to hear from anyone who has used Spiro's taxi in Athens -was this a good/safe alternative to the ship's excursion? He sounds reasonable and it seems the private tour would be much more enjoyable than touring with a huge crowd.

Any input on Ephesus and Rome tours?

Thanks much!!
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Old July 24th, 2007, 05:31 PM
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Default Re: Millenium Shore Excursions - 9/23 Venice to Barcelona

sjnewc,

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Originally Posted by You
Has anyone taken the Cinque Terre ship's excursion from Livorno? Would appreciate your insights.
No, I can't say that I have done that one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
How about Capri? Is this a good excursion?
Yes. If you are talking about the shore excursion that spends the whole day on Capri, with lunch included, it's outstanding! Above all, don't miss either the optional demonstration of the game table in "the department store" or the tour of the doctor's house in Anacapri!

This excursion operates a little differently than most. All of the groups go on the ferry together, all go to Anacapri upon arrival, and all go the city of Capri after seeing the attractions in Anacapri. In Capri, the groups go their separate ways for lunch, then there's independent time for shopping and seeing the town on your own. All of the groups then reassemble to take the tram down to the landing and the ferry back to Naples. When all of the groups are travelling together, the tour guides tend to work as a team with a couple leading the way and the rest guides bringing up the rear and tending to stragglers. The arrangement actually works very well, though it catches people expecting to go with their own guide the whole way off guard.

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Originally Posted by You
Also, would like to hear from anyone who has used Spiro's taxi in Athens -was this a good/safe alternative to the ship's excursion? He sounds reasonable and it seems the private tour would be much more enjoyable than touring with a huge crowd.
Athens is only ten miles or so from Pireaus, so a taxi probably would be a reasonable option. Nonetheless, many of the attractions do tend to be crowded and may have long waits for general admission. The ship's shore excursions have reserved times for group tours conducted in English, so they go right in within a few minutes of arrival. A private tour operator might not have such arrangements.

That said, I have not found the tour groups on the ship's shore excursions to be excessively large.

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Originally Posted by You
Any input on Ephesus and Rome tours?
In Kusadasi, I highly recommend one or another of the shore excursions that visits the excavated ruins of the Roman city. Your interest in Mary's house and the ruins of the Basilica of St. John probably will depend upon your religion, but I recommend them to Christians of all denominations in any case. And when you visit the ruins, be sure to take a small (500 ml) bottle of water from the ship for each person in your party and drink from it frequently while within the ruins to prevent dehydration, as the weather tends to be very hot there throughout the summer.

In Civitavecchia, take one or another of the ship's shore excursions if you want to go to Roma ("Rome") due to the distances involved. Your choice of shore excursions will depend entirely upon your interests, but keep in mind that many of the like the four major basilicas, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museum, which are religious in character, also have tremendous art and architecture. Thus, they are of interest to many people who don't belong to the religion or denomination to which they belong.

If you really want to spend the whole day on your own in Roma, your best option will be the shore excursion called "Rome on Your Own." This shore excursion provides direct transportation between the pier and the city. Upon arrival in Roma, the guide gives a brief orientation and instructions as to where and when to meet for the return to the ship and then sets you loose. Nonetheless, I do not recommend this excursion if you want to visit any of the city's major attractions because most of the major attractions have long queues -- often two to three hours -- for general admission. If you want to visit major attractions, take a shore excursion that includes the attractions that you want to visit instead.

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Thanks much!!
You're welcome!

Norm.
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Old July 26th, 2007, 06:34 PM
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A private tour operator might not have such arrangements.
Have to disagree with Norm here. The private tour operators most often have better access to pre-booking times at major sights than do the larger ship's tours.

I can't tell you how many times our private tours have walked right in, while watching all the ship's tours waiting in line.
That said.. I don't have first hand knowledge of the specific tour guide you were asking about.

You may want to read my recently published article on the subject - ship's tours VS private tours. Here's the link
http://www.cruisemates.com/articles/...ours071307.cfm
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