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Old August 25th, 2005, 10:34 PM
Jim & Cathy
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Default 1st time cruisers to W. Mediterranean need advice on excursi

My husband and I will be taking our first cruise on the Grand Princess Oct 17 - 29 beginning in Barcelona and ending in Venice. We'll arrive early in Barcelona and stay at the Hotel Colon with a Cathedral view. We will go from there to Marseille, Livorno, Civitavecchia, Naples, Mykonos, Istanbul, Kusadasi, Athens and end in Venice, where we will stay for an extra day.

I've read numerous posts suggesting private tours over cruise ship shore excursions. Because we hope to see as much as possible on our trip, are private tours a better way to go. How do they compare in price?

Can readers please recommend companies they've used? Likewise, please let me know which ones NOT to use.

I realize that we certainly can't see all of Rome in only a day, but we'd love to spend most of our time at the Vatican . . . can private tours be arranged through the Vatican website? Is it difficult to purchase tickets in advance?

If anyone has been on this cruise at this time of the year, please advise us as to the weather and crowds.

Thanks very much!
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old August 27th, 2005, 03:28 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 6
Default Re: 1st time cruisers to W. Mediterranean need advice on exc

We are leaving tomorrow for the same cruise. I can let you know how our private tours work out. We are using Benvenuto Limo Services which Rick Steeve's has recommended. We are using them in Florence, Rome (they set us up with a private tour at the Vatican for 2 hours - 110 euros additonally)) and the Amalfi coast. We are with another couple which helps cut the cost.
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Old August 27th, 2005, 06:09 PM
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Default Re: 1st time cruisers to W. Mediterranean need advice on exc

Yes, most posters are correct-- you can see more in your day with a private tour --

For one, the smaller vehicles can navigate the very narrow streets, which tour buses cannot -- leaving you right at the site, rather than parking quite a distance away. For another, you can see what you want/ and how long -- and not stand around waiting for people.

For 5 of us, the price was cheaper than ship's tours -- i'm not sure how the price would compare for 2 -- most people try to find someone to share, but that has it's downside imo.

I can recommend Executive LImosine for all of your Italy stops -- and George and Dennis Kokotos in Athens, and Revelation Tours in Villefranche.

They will all reply to you promptly with pricing for your tours --

I would recommend the vatican private tour -- but have your driver arrange this if possible.
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Old August 29th, 2005, 05:14 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,045
Default Re: 1st time cruisers to W. Mediterranean need advice on exc

Hey!!! I can't believe I found someone on the same cruise as my Mom. I have been looking for awhile and was beginning to think they were alone.

She and her friend are very excited as they have never been to this region. They have cruise experience but I am trying to find out info for them about the area and ship. I have not be able to find many reviews or facts. Any info that you have that you think they might find useful is appreciated.

Do you know what the weather will be like?


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Old August 29th, 2005, 08:35 PM
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Default Re: 1st time cruisers to W. Mediterranean need advice on exc

Sorry, forgot to add. You can book tour on Vatican website. Don't have all the details. I''m going to be with driverinrome and they have arranged a guide for us.

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