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Old April 28th, 2006, 05:49 PM
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Default independent travel in ports on Med cruise

This will be our first trip to Europe and first cruise. (12 day Med cruise this summer) We wonder if it is possible to easily take trains (or shuttle or bus) on our own to the following ports: Nice/Monaco, Florence or Luca, Rome, Athens?

The other idea is simply to take the cruise ship tours that say" Florence on your own" etc, however we have late dinner seating in may wish to stay a little longer in some ports. Also, we have the idea not to cram in lots of "must see" sites, but just enjoy and absorb the ambience and see what strikes our fancy.
Any ideas? Thanks,
Lynn
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Old April 28th, 2006, 06:45 PM
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Lynn,

This will be our first trip to Europe and first cruise. (12 day Med cruise this summer) We wonder if it is possible to easily take trains (or shuttle or bus) on our own to the following ports: Nice/Monaco, Florence or Luca, Rome, Athens?

The other idea is simply to take the cruise ship tours that say" Florence on your own" etc, however we have late dinner seating in may wish to stay a little longer in some ports. Also, we have the idea not to cram in lots of "must see" sites, but just enjoy and absorb the ambience and see what strikes our fancy.


Having been to the Mediterranean on a couple cruises, I highly recommend taking the "real" city highlights tours in any city that you have not visited before. Most of the highlights have long lines -- and by "long," I do mean a couple hours -- so you will spend a lot of time waiting for admissoin if you try to go on your own. Also, most of the "real" tours do have some time for shopping, sitting in a sidewalk cafe and taking in the atmosphere, or whatever else strikes your fancy in the city square.

If you are familiar with a European city and wish to go on your own, though, the ship's "... On Your Own" excursons are the way to do it.

>> 1. The "... On Your Own" excursions tend to leave the ship shortly after it arrives in port and return to the ship shortly before it leaves to maximize time in the destination city. You might gain another half hour or so by going on your own, but you probably will squander far more than that getting a taxi to the train station nearest the pier, waiting for the next train, and then having to allow some cushion to get a taxi from the train station to the ship when you return. If the train schedules translate to bad connections, you might even have less time in the destinatoin city.

>> 2. You probably won't save much becasue the train fare probably will be pretty close to the price of the "... On Your Onw" tour and you'll have the additional expense of the taxi to and from the train station.

On the whole, the ship's "... On Your Own" tour generally will be the better arrangement since it leaves from and returns to the pier.

Norm.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 07:53 PM
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I have had good luck booking private excursions with people I have met on the message boards before the cruise.

I have saved a lot of money taking the private excursions that we have booked on line before our cruise. Have used recommendations from other board members and have never gotten stuck or had a bad tour. The tour guide usually picks us up right at the ship. It is not cost effective for two people but with a group it works well!

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Old May 16th, 2006, 05:41 AM
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The only port I am unfamiliar with is Luca. The others can all be easily done on your own.

Nice and Monaco are short bus journeys, 15 minutes and 30 minutes from Villefranche and you can easily do both in the one trip. We took the bus from the centre of Villefranche to Nice and toured the market and the promenade before returning to the bus station and taking the bus to Monaco, where we spent the afternoon before returning to the ship.

In Rome, Livorno and Naples most places can be quite easily reached by train. Buy your regional ticket, at the kiosk which sells newspapers and tobacco, not from the ticket office. It is much cheaper and allows you to unlimited travel within the region, Lazio for Rome.

It is a bit of a walk to the CircumVesuvio station in Naples but from there you can take the train to Pompeii and Herculaneum.

In Athens it is about a 1,5 mile walk to the station but from there you get the train to very close to the Acropolis. It is a bit of a walk up to the top of the hill but once ther it is fantastic. You can then walk down into the market and take the train back to Pireaus where the ship will be berthed.

The big advantage ofd doing these places on your own is that you get to meet the locals, eat where they eat and as well as being maybe quarter of the price of the ships tours you get to choose how long you spend in each place.

Do some reading before you travel and have a good time
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 04:55 PM
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Just returned from the Mediterranean on the NCL Jewel.

We booked the ship excursions Rome on Your Own and Florence of Your Own

This is the way to go. You get a very informative bus ride to a central location, then a walking tour of the highlights. It was at this point we wandered off on our own and thoroughly enjoy both ports at our leisure, but still had the comfort of knowing we would not be left if returning late to ship. And yes the bus was 45 minutes late returning to the port due to traffic.
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Old July 15th, 2006, 05:52 AM
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Just got back from Athens - Rome Cruise.

Here are my impressions of our trip:

PRE CRUISE

Arrived in Athens two days early and very glad we did. It took me a full day to shake the jet lag and I would not have wanted to go directly to the ship from the airport. In any case, the airline "misplaced" one of my bags and the extra time in Athens allowed me to get the bag back before we sailed. We booked the pre cruise hotel thru the cruise line and stayed at the Intercontinental. Nice, clean hotel but a bit of a distance from everything we wanted to see. There was a Metro station about 0.3 miles away but we ended up using the tram which was only about 1 1/2 blocks away. It was cheap, clean, and easy to use. We felt very safe on both the Metro & tram and even rode them late at night. The transfers from the airport were smooth and the only hassle was my lost bag.

We did a lot of sightseeing and exploring on our own in Athens. We also booked a "dinner theatre" tour thru the cruise line for the last night. They bussed us to a restaurant near the port. The food was so-so but the entertainment was fun and varied.


ITINERARY

This is the reason we chose this trip & this ship. The itinerary was exactly what we wanted. Our port of calls are listed below and I'd be happy to answer any questions about any of the ports we visited. We generally explored on our own and used one private tour and one ship's tour. Here's where we went:

Mykonos : explored on our own w/ motor scooters

Rhodes : explored on our own and rented a car for Lindos

Santorini explored on our own w/ motor scooters

Malta rented a taxi for the AM, walked around on our own in the PM

Sicily took ship's tour to Mt Etna and had a great lunch in the port town

Sorrento took the train to Pompeii on our own


Civitivecchia own our own for transport to Rome
Rome We did all this on our own.

Kusadasi : We toured with Shorex Turkey. I found them very courteous, professional, and very quick to respond to my emails. There are many wonderful reviews about this company. They were first class and the guides were helpful, informative and very flexible. The website is http://www.shorexturkey.co.nr


Amalfi/Naples : I had booked a day's tour of the Amalfi Coast with Salvatore months before our cruise. He was personally booked but assured us we would enjoy Adriano. He was right. This tour was the highlight of our cruise. We were scheduled to tender in to Amalfi but weather forced the ship to divert to Naples. Salvatore had stayed in touch thru e mail and in fact I got an email from him that we would probably be diverted before the ship informed us. He assured us Adriano would pick us up in Naples. Drive Amalfi at driveamalfi@hotmail.com

OVERALL

Great time ! We completely enjoyed ourselves, but we're also pretty easy to please. In my mind there is no sense in ruining your day over minor inconveniences.
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