Taking the Brilliance of the Sea cruise (12 night, June 3)) Barcelona,Nice, Livorno, Civitavecchia, Kusadasi, Santorini, Athens, Naples. I have been to most of these cities but not in the ports. I am pretty travel in foreign places savy, but I would appreciate if anyone has had experiences doing their own excursions on their own and saved money, etc. I have been on other cruised, ie. Baltic cruise, and did most on my own with great results. Any info will be appreciated. I am not questioning Barcelona as I will be spending time there before cruise.
I am one of those travelers who like to know where I'm going. With that said, I know of "many" who go on cruises and just wing it; with great results. I was just recently in Portugal, Spain and did a ship excursion. Over dinner, our table mates described how they took a taxi here, walked over to there, lunch at a cafe etc.
Go for it!!!!! You can bet I will on my next sailing.
Thanks. I have found that finding the bus routes or light rail routes in most cities make it possible to explore and sometimes see what tourists don't get to see. Often the problem is getting out of the port area.
When we did the Med we did all private excursions. We met people on the M&M thread on CC. Of course, I'm not sure that is wise to hook up with anyone from CC anymore.
I won't pay the horrendous prices they ask for to take ships excursions.
As for Rome, you can take the train into the city from the port. Also, the big buses they use from the ship cannot get around the very skinny streets in Rome and the other cities in Europe so you miss a lot of sites.
We were in New Zealand and Australia recently and only did your own thing as well.
Larry, we have done excursions on our own in many places, but also do ship's excursions now and then. (Don't forget the hop on/hop off buses in Rome and other cities like Barcelona!) I can tell you that almost w/out question, you can usually do the same thing for less on your own, or by arranging for a private guide or even sometimes just getting a cab in the port where you disembark. (Civitaveccia for Rome and Livorno for Florence are two exceptions when it comes to just hooking up w/a cab tour at the port, however. These ports are just too far from the main sights.)
You can find train schedules online, avg. cab prices, do searches online for info. of all types, and just ask on these or other boards (like tripadvisor). People are always willing to share their knowledge.
In Rhodes once, my dh and I got off the ship a bit later than most people. Upon talking to the cabbies, we thought their "tours" were too much for just the 2 of us. We began to ask others still getting off the ship, although they were few by then. The cab drivers kept joking w/us, saying we'd never find anyone, lowering their prices slightly. Finally we met 2 women who agreed to share with us and halved our price! So you just have to be proactive sometimes.
Also, as you may know, hooking up w/other cruisers from your sailing (the Cruiisecritic roll calls are always a way to do this, regardless of other "politics" of that site of late). This can help you save $ by sharing private tours. (We did this in Istanbul and went through the same guide for Ephesus, where he hooked us up w/a collague he sometimes used when he couldn't be in Ephesus himself - where he actually lived. We ended up getting together w/the same group of people for other things several times on the ship and this was lots of fun!)
Good luck and may you not spend more on your shore excursions than you did on your cruise fare! Bon voyage!
Larry-couple suggestions for Nice and Rome. As for Nice, it is easy to get off ship walk around the town a bit---very quaint an then hop on a train to got to Monte Carlo and check that out. Very simple and close.
Rome--whole different game. Get a tour from either the boat or research one before going. Too much to do by yourself that you'll want the experts to efficiently take you around. Coliseum a must!