We will be doing a Europe cruise on RCCL in May and I need advice on shore excursions in Livorno (Florence)
I prefer doing the ship shore excursions, however they seem very expensive for Florence, with most of the time being in transit ( 1.5 hours each way). I am hesitant to take the train on our own for fear of missing the ship's departure. Private tour companies for Florence also seem very expensive and there is no provision if they are back to the ship late.
Is time better spent going on a tour to a closer town (e.g. Lucca, Pisa)? We are not big on museums and prefer walking through the streets and viewing the architecture. Has anyone done smaller towns by train successfully?
I would recommend the ships tour to Florence and Pisa. The visit to Florence is a walking tour and you can pretty much do it on your own, except meeting for lunch. The stop in Pisa is short, because there is nothing else to see except the leaning tower. If you choose the hips tour when you get to Florence just ask your guide where to meet you at the end of the tour, although I think you might like the guided tour.
If the ship has transportation to Florence you can do the city on your own. go to an on line site to book entrance to museums. You should book ahead because the lines are usually pretty long, but other things you want to see are all within walking distance. Two years ago we took the bus that the ship offered and then went to to the Iffizzi Museum then wandered the city by ourselves. I cannot remember the booking agency we used but there are a few that specialize in Italy. We used them for Museums in rome, too.