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Old 06-03-2007, 09:17 AM
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Need some help quickly. Will be departing on a seven day RCL in less than two weeks. I have found great advice on most of the ports we will be visiting but am having a difficult time finding information on our last port of Palermo. Has anyone done their own tour of any of these cities: Palermo,Cefalu,Segesta or Erice. Please give me your thoughts on any or all of these as it is my first cruise and I'm not sure as to what is doable in one shore day..Much thanks for any help you can offer.

jetlag44@sbcglobal.net
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Old 06-03-2007, 01:07 PM
 
Join Date: May 2007
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we'll be doing same cruise in october. Perhaps you could let us know what you did when you get back. What are you doing for the other ports of call? Are you doing own excursions or doing organised trips?
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Old 06-03-2007, 01:30 PM
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"Kentishgirl", Yes I'll certainly give you my experiences on the cruise. We will be trying to do all the ports on our own. If you haven't already seen Tom Ogg's posts on touring on your own, take a look at his recommmendations as they are very detailed and concise. I will be departing for London On June 9 and after a few days there will be going to Barcelona to pick up the RCL cruise(Voyager of the Seas)departing June16 for seven days. My ports include Ville-Franche, Livorno,Civitavecchia,Naples, Sicily and then back to Barcelona on June 23. As I said I hope to do these on my own .I'll let you know how it went when I get back. Regards, Andrew...aka..Jetlag
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Old 06-04-2007, 09:45 AM
 
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I am doing exact same cruise in October on VOS. Any tips when you get back will be appreciated.
Have a great holiday!
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Old 06-04-2007, 10:08 AM
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I'll post some notes on my return that hopefully will be useful for your cruise
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Old 07-09-2007, 06:59 AM
 
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Jetlag44, how was the cruise? Any information greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-10-2007, 12:49 PM
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Kentishgirl-- The cruise was generally great but much too short to see everything you might want. As a result we often felt rushed and pressed for time. My suggestion would be for you to do your homework prior to the crusie pick one or two places that you would like to see or explore on each day of your trip and just do those without trying to cram too many sites into one day.

If you are arriving by air I would recommend taking a taxi into town. It is only a 20 minute drive into town and there are plenty of taxis for hire at the curb right outside of BCN airport. If there are two or three in your party with no more than 3 or 4 bags total one taxi will be sufficient. The rate from the airport to town was inexpensive but take care if making arrangements thru the hotel for a taxi to the ship or back to the airport. The prices suddenly seem to jump up quite a bit. Best to flag a taxi yourself. If however you are going directly to the ship from the airport that won't be a problem, just use the taxi..


We arrived in Barcelona two days prior to the cruise just to get time acclimated and do a little sightseeing. The open double decker buses are an inexpensive and a good way to tour the city. They have taped discriptions of the sights along the route.If you haven't booked a hotel as yet, we stayed at the Acacia Aparthotel and found it both affordable and comfortable. The rooms were large by European standards and it was very clean as well as quiet. There are many restaurants in the surrounding area and while just a short distance to the popular Ramblas area it is not as crowded or as noisy.

The VOS itself is a beautiful ship. We were in an inside cabin and although a little clustraphobic without a window it is fine for two people. We had our teenage son with us so it was a little crowded at times for us. The ship is showing a little wear and tear (it was completely booked for our trip in June) because it constantly on the go. Several people had plumbing problems on our deck and that seemed to be a continuing problem throughout the week. My only serious complaint about the ship is that anything at all including bottled water is an extra charge and while they tell you that the tap water on board is potable I would just rather be on the safe side and drink bottled water. And the charges for that are unnecessary and rather annoying since the cost of the cruise itself is rather substanial. It is as if you are being picked at for each little thing that they can charge youfor. If you are not mindful of this you may have quite a large charge at the end of the cruise.

The ship tours are quite expensive and while they have obvious advantageous to me the advantageous did not out weigh the costs. We did all the touring on our own and did not have a problem with it at all. It requires a little preplanning and as I suggested to you in a previous posting the directions and pictures provided by Tom Ogg on this forum is a great place to start and was an invaluble source of inforamtion for directions and costs during out travels (Thanks Tom!). We trained from all the ports to the inland tourist towns without a problem. The train system is reliable but give yourself enough time for unexpected delays to be back at the ship for departure for your own peace of mind. Also make sure that you have your ticket stamped prior to boarding the trains. There are small yellow stamping machines in each station and on the platforms so be sure to get your tickets stamped prior to boarding as there is a substantial fine if they happen to check your ticket when you are on board. As I said earlier I found the trains to be reliable and the costs minimal. The only difficult trip was when an earlier train from Flornce to Livorno was delayed and all the delayed passengers from that train boarded ours and that made for a rather uncomfortable hour plus ride in a crowded car with no air conditioning. Other than that the rides were all comfortable.

Our first stop was Ville-Franche on Sunday and I recommend that you take some time to walk up the hill and around the town. It is a scenic little port and worth the time. There are many small shops and eateries. This is the only port of call that requires you to take a launch from the boat and delays your sightseeing day a little.. We trained from Ville-Franche to Monaco(about a 10 minute ride) but did not go on into the casino as there is an entrance fee just to go take a look. You may also want to spend some time traveling to Eze but that requires a bus trip after you get off the train. Plan ahead as to what you want to see here,Nice,Eze,Monaco etc.

Next stop Livorno on Monday. A quick cab ride to the train station and then quite a long ride into Florence (1+1/2hr.)Also be remined that many places in Florence are closed on Mondays such as the Pitti Palace, the Medici and some museums. That was the graetest disappointment to me as I really wanted to see the statue of David. In any event the shopping is great around the Ponte Vecchio and everything was within walking distance from the train station. Pisa is on the route to Florence but since time is so compressed we chose not to visit this time. Suggest that when ever you have a couple of cities thatyou want to see in the day that you go to furthest one on your itinerary first and work your way back toward the port . That way if you become pressed for time it will not become a panic situation.

Civittevecchia was the next stop on Tuesaday and again a short taxi ride to the station and then about an hour trip into Rome. If you plan to visit St.Peter's Basilica or the Coliseum get tickets prior to your arrival as the lines are very long especially at St. Peter's. Again the train ride was not a problem and contrary to some of the things I have read here on the forum about pickpockets here in Rome and Naples, although a concern ,is not really a problem if you just take normal precautions and are aware of your surroundings. Not to dismiss the cautions but don't be overly concerned.

Wednesday into Naples. We had originally planned a trip to Pompeii but as the weather was very hot that day and we had been cautioned taht there was not a bit od shade in Pompeii and the tour is worth more tahn just a quick walk through we opted instead to take the hydro-foil from the port (right next to the ship ).A quick and comfortable 30 minute trip. to Sorrento. Sorrento proved to be a great choice . A beautiful seaside village with several good restaurants. A nice town to walk around shop and view the beautiful coastline. We found the locals here to be extremely friendly and engaging. For us this was the best stop on our trip. We spent an enjoysble full day here and then back to the ship by hydrofoil in time for dinner.

Thursday into Palermo and since by then we were fairly "toured out" and I was not able to get any information about Segesta, Erice or Cefalu prior to departing we spent the day shopping in Palermo and just sight seeing.

Friday was the sail day to Spain and as I reported the ship was very crowded resulting in very little space around the pools or other outside activities. It's a good opportunity to tour the ship.

Saturday back to Barcelona. If you do not have too many bags. Just grab a taxi from the ship to the airport or Barcelona town as the ship transfer is 27euros per person and for three people a taxi was a lot cheaper.

Hope this gave you some idea of the cruise in general and was of some help.If you have any specific questions, I'll be glad to respond to them as best I can..... Have a great trip and take the time to enjoy the local culture and flavors ......Regards, Andrew a.ka.a.jetlag
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Old 07-10-2007, 02:43 PM
 
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Andrew, Thank you very much for taking the time to do this great review.
It sounds like you had a hectic week.

Unfortunately, we will not have any time in Barcelona. We are flying from London to Barcelona and then straight to the Voyager. Have to do a long weekend stay another time.

Voyager seems to have on going toilet problems. Did this affect all decks? How bad was the problem? Do I need to pack some wellies?

I'm still a bit nervous about doing Florence and Rome excursions on our own using public transport. Might book RCI coaches and then do our own thing once there.
I want to do Sorrento too. That looks quite easy to do.
How long does it take to get off the ship for sightseeing? Can you get off when you like

I am booked on the early seating for dinner, is this going to be a problem getting back in time from tours? How was the food in the main dining room?

Thank you again
Kind regards
Jane(Kentishgirl)
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Old 07-26-2007, 04:27 AM
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I recently got back from a Disney cruise with some of the same ports. Please let me know if you would like more info,
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Old 07-26-2007, 12:53 PM
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Thanks we just got back also but I would like to hear if your thoughts on Segesta, Cefalu and Erice if you visited any of those cities.
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