Yes, we got home last week after 2 months of travel fun. We did the Cinque Terre trip on May 1, which was a major 4 day holiday weekend in Italy. Keep in mind that we have driven thousands of miles in Italy (and other countries of Western Europe) so the drive was nothing new. But, renting a car in Livorno has become somewhat of a hassle because of the increased security surrounding cruise ships. Our rental company was unable to deliver the car to the pier (because of new security precautions) which meant we had to get to the other side of the port (about 1 mile)to the main port terminal building (Maxirent has their offices in that building). The cruise line (Princess) prohibited the shuttle bus from dropping us at the port entrance. The security folks on the pier prohibited us from walking (about a 20 min stroll). In the end our only option was to take a taxi which was about a 5 min ride within the port. The taxis insisted on 20 Euros for the short ride and we finally caved-in and 4 of us spilt the cost. We probably should call this unarmed robbery. When we returned the car that same evening we walked back to the ship (the security folks just smiled and waved). As to getting back to the ship on time, that is under your control. In our case, we did 3 of the villages, drove back to Pisa in mid-afternoon (our passengers had never seen the Leaning Tower), stopped at the Leaning Tower, and got back to the port about 5:15 (our ship was leaving at 7). I have recently heard some rumors (I cannot confirm the rumors) that Hertz has been sucessful in getting to the piers.
The problem with all this is that things never stay the same in Italy (its one of the things we love about the country) so its unpredictable as to what challenges you will face (more fun). We did notice that one major change in Italy is they have added numerous "speed cameras" along some of the "A" roads. Our big question is whether we will get any speeding fines. We did keep our speed under 150 Kph and the bigger cars were still passing us at these speeds. Its hard to imagine Italy enforcing speed limits, but I guess times do change.
Hank: Thanks very much for your info. We also have driven extensively throughout Europe so the driving is no problem. But will be our first cruise so I'm just not sure of times and how things work at the ports, so you were very helpful.
I will contact Hertz and Maxirent and see if we can reserve a car.
I want to go to Cinqueterre next september, for my wife and i it'is expensive to go Cinqueterre with this company, nobody knows how to take a taxi in Livorno port; i think that there will be the taxis next to the ship, but i don't know exactly.
We just returned from our cruise. In Livorno we arrived at 8AM and had to be back at the ship by 7PM. I had reserved a car through Hertz and they were waiting for us right at the ship. It cost about Euro 89. The drive to Cinque Terre was quite easy-- Autostrade 12 to La Spezia and then follow the directions to Cinque Terre. We parked the car at Riomaggiore (indoor car park) about Euro 2 an hour. We walked the trail from Riomaggiore to Manarola, took the train to Monterrosa, swam and ate lunch and took the boat back to Riomaggiore. Well worth the trip, absolutely beautiful views. Got back to our dock just at 7PM.
Look out Cinque Terre - m/m Ftroute will be there - on our own self-tour on 10/7/2008! You best believe I'm going to take lots of pics and document the entire self-excursion for the benefit of those that may choose to follow!
Radiance of the Seas - Nov 2006
Legend of the Seas - Jun 2007
Costa Fortuna - Mar 2008
Legend of the Seas - Oct 2008
Celebrity Constellation - July 2009
MSC Orchestra - Jan 2009
Navigator of the Seas - March 2009
MSC Poesia - November 2009
Jewel of the Seas - June 2010
You ask if there were taxis at the port and the answer is yes. There will be quite a few taxis right next to your ship, and they will be looking for more expensive full-day or half-day hires. Keep in mind that most of these taxis will want several hundred Euros for a full day. Cinque Terre is about 1 1/2 hour each way (to Riomaggiore) and these taxis would be happy to drive you, wait, and bring you back. For those of us comfortable driving in Italy, it usually costs about $100 - $120 to rent a car for the entire day, plus about another $15 to park at Riomaggiore. I only mention this since its exactly what we did on May 1, and since we split the cost with another couple our out-of-pocket expense was about $60 per person (we paid a premium to rent a car on May 1 because it was a holiday.
Yes, it will be easy to rent a car, but i hate drive, i'm in holyday. For me, the taxi to Cinqueterre full day it is the best idea. I found other two friends, so we can divide 380 Euros. Less than 100 Euros each.
I think that we reserve with this company.
We are two couples traveling on the Celebrity Century October 20th who definitely want to spend our day in Livorno at Cinque Terra. We do not want to rent a car. We dock at 7am and depart at 7pm. It seems like its very expensive to hire a driver if all he's going to do is drop us at the first town and pick us up at the last. We will still be responsible for getting to each town on our own, whether walking, training or boating? Has anyone done this independently, is there a train from Livorno to the first town? We are fairly active individuals, would love to do some hiking, maybe combining it with trains or boats? Would love some help with this one.Please feel free to contact me directly if you prefer. Cherikm@aol.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, we have done this independently, as recently as this past May 1 (we rented a car and drove to Riomaggiore). I will not tell you what you want to hear, but will try to give you facts. There are only four possible ways to get to Cinque Terre from Livorno on a port day. 1) Take the tour offered by your cruise line. 2) Rent a car and drive yourself. 3) Hire a private car/driver and 4..take trains. You can pretty much rule out 4 unless they drastically overhaul the train schedules. You have already ruled out number 2. So, you either go on the cruise line's tour or hire a private car/driver (quite expensive). I know a company that will provide car/driver for 65 Euros per person (this was the price as of late April) but you would need 5 people. I am not aware of any other options.