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Old January 1st, 2007, 12:44 AM
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Default European shore excursion advice needed

We're cruising on the Prinsendam in late June 2007, docking in the following ports: Livorno, Monte Carlo, Marseille, Almeria, Cadiz, Lisbon, Bilbao, La Rochelle, Lorient, St. Helier, Zeebrugge and Amsterdam. We understand that excursion choices are personal, but we are new to cruises and welcome any advice from veterans regarding booking shore excursions (book in all ports? explore some on our own? which ports ok to hang out on our own? leave the port area for the larger inland cities? longer vs. shorter excusions? book in advance? anything else?). We welcome both general advice and advice specific to any of these ports. Thanks so much.
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Old January 1st, 2007, 12:22 PM
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St Helier has an excellent bus system . You can buy a day pass that allows you to get off & on many times a day.

http://barnespublishing.com/pocketguideonline/
http://www.jersey.co.uk/
http://www.jerseyisland.com/sthelier/index.html
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Old January 1st, 2007, 06:01 PM
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Default Re: European shore excursion advice needed

lira,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
We're cruising on the Prinsendam in late June 2007, docking in the following ports: Livorno, Monte Carlo, Marseille, Almeria, Cadiz, Lisbon, Bilbao, La Rochelle, Lorient, St. Helier, Zeebrugge and Amsterdam. We understand that excursion choices are personal, but we are new to cruises and welcome any advice from veterans regarding booking shore excursions (book in all ports? explore some on our own? which ports ok to hang out on our own? leave the port area for the larger inland cities? longer vs. shorter excusions? book in advance? anything else?). We welcome both general advice and advice specific to any of these ports. Thanks so much.
In Europe, I strongly recommend booking a shore excursion in any city that you have not visited before for several reasons.

>> 1. The shore excursions are designed to maximize what you can see of the city's attractions in the limited time that you are there. In many European ports, major attractions have queues for general admission that are two to three hours long, but shore excursions have reserved tours and thus bypass the queues.

>> 2. The guides on the shore excursions generally describe the "lay of the land" (areas to avoid, etc.) and explain signficant cultural differences, awareness of which can help you to avoid awkward, or even dangerous, situations.

>> 3. The cruise lines do vet the operators of the shore excursions very carefully, so you can be confident that the transportation is safe and that the drivers act responsibily. Taxi drivers in some European cities are not exactly the sort of drivers with whom I would willingly choose to ride. The cruise lines also check out the restaurants on the tours that include lunch, so you can be sure that the restaurant serves a reasonably good meal.

And if you have visited a destnation city that's some distance from the actual port of call in the past, you might want to look into a "shore excursion" with a name something like "<city> on Your Own" that basically consists of transportation to and from the destination city (the "guide" provides a brief orientation upon arrival and directions as to where and when to meet at the end of the day to return to the ship upon arrival in the destination city), as this will provide the most seamless transportation to and from, and thus also the most free time in, the destination city.

Have a great cruise!

Norm.
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Old January 8th, 2007, 08:53 PM
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Lisbon has a great bus tour system, hop on, hop off with narration along the way. I took the ship shuttle into the city, they stopped by the square and the hop on/hop off buses were right there, very convenient.

Beyond the square is an arch and if you walk through, there are stores, cafes, great area for walking around, shopping, people watching, having a bite to eat.

You could do the city tour but I didn't think it was necessary in this case.
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Old January 19th, 2007, 10:55 AM
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First of all...welcome to cruising,you'll love it.
I strongly suggest you take a pre and post-cruise stay of 1 to 3 days if you can swing it and really do those 2 cities inside and out.
In June of 06 we took a Med. cruise to Barcelona,Marseille,Florence,Naples,Rome,Mykonos,I stanbul,Kusadasi,
Athens and Venice. We loved it soooo much we're going back in 08 to do
other ports of call.
IMO you need to do alot of homework if you want your cruise to be fruit-
ful in the touring aspect.You need to research all avenues open to you if
you want to be knowledgeable about where you're going and what you want to see. Ck out travel magazines and travel guides at ur library or
local book store(national chains r best).Buy or rent videos and tapes, ck
the net for cruise sites and lookup their message boards and destination
sections.You've got alot of time on your hands to do this. You're spending alot of $$$'s on this trip so make it count.

From trial and error we've arrived at doing 95% of the shore time on our
own rather than do organized tours from the ship. We have found they're
cheaper and we can customized them to OUR liking. GO WHERE WE WANT
TO GO AND STAY AS LONG AS WE WANT TO STAY.We found that we aren't able to tolerate the general public as much as we used to. There
are these who just aren't PUNCTIONAL,TAKE FOREVER IN THE"JOHNS",
FORGET THERE R OTHERS ON THE TOUR BUS and on and on and on.
They're using up our time and $$.
Go on the net and u can contract ANY tour guide u want and search for
your deal.

Like researching Marseille..I came across Cassis.We went there and at this
little French fishing village on the Med. we strolled, shopped in little shops
of all kinds at harborside and narrow side streets. Parked at one of the many sidewalk cafe's and people watched-sipped wine w/Fr bread and
took all kinds of pics. Just loved it ! What I always wanted to do for one thing.

I'm rambling on too far...got to get back to work. E-mail us if you like for
any other suggesations.

Have a Great Cruise e CIAO,

Steve......NAS-KARR@msn.com
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Old January 19th, 2007, 12:17 PM
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I suggest you to take a lot of time to visit Lisboa and Marseille, I know very well the Med ports, and in all you're quoting, it's my two favorite.
There're citiess made to greet a lot foreigners, and there're a lot of things organised to them.
I think you should take the necessary time to visit, but not especially all time to visit them (take the time to visit little islands near coasts, not to visit the land because I think isn't the cruise's goal, and if you choose to do that, I suggest you to do that in Britain - "Bretagne" in french - so the land near Lorient).

To be borned in Marseille, I can tell you that I saw Italians, Greeks, Americans, Brazilians, and all other people around the Earth, and all told us what they'd never saw same things.
If you choose Marseille, I can't make your program, but I can just tell you some keywords : "Notre Dame de Lagarde", "Les îles du Frioul", "La corniche", "Les calanques", and overall, a little town just near of Marseille, "Cassis".


I was deceived by Amsterdam, but in my mind, in general, Brittanic and American people loves a lot of "La bretagne" and "Normandie" in France, and Lorient is in Britain.
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Old January 20th, 2007, 05:38 PM
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Something I have learned that I personally do not like is LONG bus trips to get to some site. You spend three hours on a bus, a couple hours "there" and then you have the long bus ride back. It just eats up too much time IMO. If you have a choice between several excursions, try to find one that won't have you on a bus all day. MG
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Old January 20th, 2007, 06:11 PM
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I have found the tourist buses to be a great deal in Europe. These work well when the ship is docked near or in the city center. They tend to go to all the major sites and a reasonably efficient, cost-effective way to get around. The downside is that you need to do a bit of research in advance and may get stuck in long queues.

For ships docking a long way from the central city/desired destination - e.g., Rome - I agree with Rev22:17 in that using the ship's tours cuts down on stress and makes for a better time - unless you know your way around from a prior visit.
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Old March 27th, 2007, 05:53 AM
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Hi,
this message to tell you about our best excursion we took with my family on the french Riviera, and like you are gonna stop in monaco-montecarlo, this a good tip for you.
The name of the company was Riviera Premium Tour and i can tell you that the guide we had (jerome) for the day was just excellent, fun and such a big knowledge of the area, we had lots of fun.
I recommend this company to everyone who stops in Villefranche, Cannes or Monaco. They take you on tour in 8 pers. minivans air-conditioned, excellent service. We found then on the web rivierapremiumtour.com no regrets.
I'm sure that anyone who will take this company will tell the same.
I hope you will enjoy your trip as we did.
Bill
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Old January 30th, 2008, 12:09 PM
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Default Shore excursions from Zeebruges Harbour in Belgium

Hello,

I know you can visit Bruges and Ghent from Zeebruges in Belgium. Maybe Brussels although it's quite a drive! Bruges is a real must see.
Check this website for more info: www.qualiguides.be

Have fun
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Old January 30th, 2008, 06:52 PM
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I've been to Brugges - from Zeebrugge- twice lately, here are some photos of Bruges from a recent short cruise from UK

http://picasaweb.google.com/AuroraPa...derCruiseDec06

This thread is quite old now and the poster - Lira has been on the cruise in June 2007 - wonder how she got on?

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Old February 14th, 2008, 03:25 AM
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Lira,
We were in Florence, Naples, Venice and Rome in November. We used www.romeinlimo.com.
Carlo was our driver and we had a wonderful time in each place (the only place we didn't use them was in Venice.
The company on time, informative, and always fun. We would use them again in a heartbeat.
They showed up at the ship to greet us and are flexible if you want to change it up a little.
Jany in the office is so nice too.
Just e-mail them and tell them what you want and they will accommodate.
Cher
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Old February 15th, 2008, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisenut1
Lira,
We were in Florence, Naples, Venice and Rome in November. We used www.romeinlimo.com.
Carlo was our driver and we had a wonderful time in each place (the only place we didn't use them was in Venice.
The company on time, informative, and always fun. We would use them again in a heartbeat.
They showed up at the ship to greet us and are flexible if you want to change it up a little.
Jany in the office is so nice too.
Just e-mail them and tell them what you want and they will accommodate.
Cher
Another vote for romeinlimo.com
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 12:32 PM
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Default Re: European shore excursion advice needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by lira
We're cruising on the Prinsendam in late June 2007, docking in the following ports: Livorno, Monte Carlo, Marseille, Almeria, Cadiz, Lisbon, Bilbao, La Rochelle, Lorient, St. Helier, Zeebrugge and Amsterdam. We understand that excursion choices are personal, but we are new to cruises and welcome any advice from veterans regarding booking shore excursions (book in all ports? explore some on our own? which ports ok to hang out on our own? leave the port area for the larger inland cities? longer vs. shorter excusions? book in advance? anything else?). We welcome both general advice and advice specific to any of these ports. Thanks so much.
Lira,

You can do most of these ports on your own. Research each port before you go. The train and bus system is Europe is terrific and economical. My husband and I did all the cities on our own, except for Barcelona. We booked a tour there and were very disappointed with it. We could have seen much more on our own.

Have a great time!!

Libragirl
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