A very intersting excursion for a first-time visitor. We actually tried to hike the entire way (all 5 towns) but came-up short because it was so darn hot that day and my DW was still recovering from some minor surgery. Its a very ambitious trip from Livorno since your are talking about at least 1 1/2 hours to train to the Southern point and another half hour to the Northern city. You also need to get from the ship to the Livorno train station which is not always easy since most of the taxis will refuse the short trip (its not walkable). Of course getting between the 5 towns is the fun, and you can use train, boats, or hike (you would have time limitations for hiking). I would be a little ruluctant to recommend doing this on your own since its your first trip to Europe and hiring a private driver is a lot of money to have somebody just waiting around since you cannot drive to all 5 towns. When we went we had a rental car (we were spending a few weeks driving around Italy) and parked at one end, planned to hike to the other end and than take the train back to our car. Princess does normally offer a tour ($109) which used to take you to 3 of the 5 villages (Riomaggiore, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare). Getting to all 5 is impossible on a bus.