It's our first cruise ever. We don't necessarily have to see all the sights but definitely want to not worry about the limited time we have at each port.
We're thinking of doing Villefranche, Livorno and Palermo on our own - public transportation and all. Any thoughts as to whether this is do-able? The key sites to check out?
For Citavecchia, our cruise offers a "Rome On Your Own" excursion whereby we're dropped off in the city for the day to venture off ourselves. Given none of us has ever been to Rome, does anyone think seeing all the major sights while still being able to check out some of the shops and cafes is do-able? On the other hand, we can hire a private guide. Would this be better?
As for Naples, the excursions offered by our cruiseline don't really meet our needs. We'd like very much to see the Amalfi coast, Positano and Pompeii. Would we be able to get to those sites on our own? Or would we be better off with a private guide?
Would appreciate as much info as anyone can share.
I don't know about the Amalfi Coast or Positano, but it should be very easy to visit Pompeii on your own. Take the train, about a mile from the port, but walking to the train station is considered unsafe. Take a taxi to the train station. Take the Circumvesuviana Line to Pompeii Scavi & Ercoliano Scavi where the stops are close to the ruins. Buy a combination ticket, app 18 euros. This is admission to both Pompeii and Herculanium. Pompeii is big and you can spend a lot of time walking around.
It is very easy to get to either Florence or Rome by train from the port. Take a taxi from the port to the train station for Rome. It will leave you in the center of Rome. You could never do all the sites in one day whether you have a guide or not. You can purchase tickets in advance for many sites (collasiuem etc. ) Prioritize your list and leave some time for lunch in the Piazza Norvano (I don't know if I spelled that right). In Florence get tickets in advance to see the David or the Uffazi museum or you'll spend your day on line. Leave some time to shop great buys on leather and gorgeous jewelry. Don't know about palermo, but Monoco is definetly one you can do on your own.
As the previous poster said, you cannot see all the major sites of Rome in one day. You will have to read up and decide which sites are most important for you to see. I don't know how many hours you have in Rome but remember it will take a bus about 1 to 1 1/2 hours to go from Civitavecchia to the center of Rome. A train might be faster (and cheaper). But there goes more valuable sightseeing and shopping time. If you want to see the Vatican, I would say to allow a few hours to see the church, museums and Sistine Chapel. I think we saw the Colloseum in about 1 1/2 hours with a self guided tour. Then there's the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. With Lunch and considering you have to get to all these places either by foot or public transportation, the day goes fast. Plan well but don't try to cram too much into a day, you will be exhausted and maybe even disappointed. Consider a few days in Rome on another vacation. Have a good trip.
Have you decided on what to do for your Rome visit? Been there on own many times. Upon arrival at train station, in rear parking lot pick-up Hop on/Hop Off bus and you will see all sites. Can send name and info if interested. Have a great time, Italy is the best place to visit.
I can give you very detailed info on all of those ports but will limit myself to the Amalfi question and leave the others to other board members for now. Can you do Pompeii and the Amalfi coast on your own? Given you level of European travel experience the quick answer is NO. Pompeii can easily be done on your own, but the Amalfi Coast is pretty long trip that must be made by car or bus. Although we will often just rent a car and drive ourselves (cheapest option) this is not a good idea for those unfamilier with the region and not used to driving in Italy). If you do not want to take a cruise line tour you might consider arranging for a private car/driver on-line. There are quite a few local companies that will accomodate your request of you can simply negotiate with a taxi when you arrive at the port. Expect to pay about 300 Euros (this is very negotiable) for a taxi for the entire day, but this is a pretty good deal if you can find another couple to share the cost. I would suggest stopping in Pompeii on your way to the Amalfi coast and than you can plan on having lunch in Positano or even Ravello (great view above Amalfi). All the other ports can be managed on your own, but you will need to do your pre-trip homework.
Ref: Rome on-off bus....Mamma.com has info re this bus use words: 110 rome tourist bus or lookup www.trambusopen.com. Advised two others to use and were thrilled about it. Buy ticket at train station or on board for a small surcharge.Cost is US$16 per day on-off unlimited or US$10 for staying on bus for 1-1/2 hour sightsee ride around Rome. Pay in cash or creditcard, cashier speaks English at termini kisok; guide on board to advise which way to sight you want to see (must ask). After orientation, you'll go back day after day.Bus is only tourists unlike public trans, pickpockets galore.DO NOT CARRY PURSE,KEEP BACK POCKETS EMPTY AND SAFETY PIN FRONT POCKETS WITH WALLET; USE MONEY BELT NEXT TO SKIN AS TIGHT AS POSSIBLE AND PINNED. THIEVES TRIED BUT GOT NOTHING FROM ME.
Your post was interesting. We are going to look into it. We've both been to Rome but this tends to put things in an entirely different perspective. Price seems very reasonable. The on-off all day thing is very attractive. Saves shoe leather.
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