We have never witnessed major problems with folks getting luggage off a train in Italy (or anywhere else in Europe). You just need to keep things close at hand and use some common sense and you will do fine. We have seen some problems on some trains where tourists will leave their luggage at the end of the car (sometimes because there is no room near their seat) and thieves will snatch their luggage as soon as they get in a station. We have sometimes left luggage at the end of cars, but always keep an eye on the stuff and I will generally walk over to the luggage everytime we near a station. We did hear an interesting story last year about Barcelona's airport. A couple of American cruisers stopped at one of the restrooms soon after they arrived and apparently were not watching their carry-on bags as carefully as they should. A few minutes later when they were in the baggage area they were approched by the airport police who took them to their office and gave the lady back some valuables that had been taken out of her carry-on without her knowledge. It turned out that the airport police witnessed the theft on a hidden camera, arrested the thief, and than found the lady....all without her even knowing that her stuff had been stolen. This kind of stuff happens even in the USA, so you need to always be alert.
Don't worry so much about the pickpockets. You need to be vigilant but don't let it spoil your vacation. Just be aware of where your valuables are at any time and who is around you.
We took a Eurail trip for a month two years ago. We went from Italy to Norway and used trains every day for 30 days. I can't say we were overwhelmed with offers of help but we traveled with only carry-on luggage. We had Rick Steves carry-on bags and they are super, expand easily and have all kinds of useful little pockets. Travel light, with a carry-on bag, and you won't have problems. Tough to do if you are taking a cruise too but no one knows you on the cruise and you'll never see them again so it really doesn't matter if you don't have a change of clothes for every occasion.
Thanks for the advice Hank and BritChris. I feel better now and will be sure to keep a watchful eye on luggage/carry-ons. I will also check out the Rick Steves luggage as I will be buying new luggage for trip. I don't plan on taking a lot of luggage, just one check on and a backpack for carry on. don't want to lug around a lot of baggage.
Rocketgirl, I happened to go to the Rick Steves website yesterday and noticed that he is not selling the luggage we bought two years ago. I didn't spend a whole lot of time looking at what was there now. I do know that what we bought was the most practical luggage we've ever had and suspect he has something as good now. Just wanted to alert you to that - didn't want to "lead you up the garden path"
Originally posted by rocket girl:
I am not on your cruise (carnival), however, our cruise is docking in Alexandria. What we are doing is we hired a private tour guide to take us to Giza/Saqqura/Cairo. She is very highly recommended, and we love our contact with her so far. It saved us $200 per person to book with her instead of boat excursion. she is picking us up at boat dock, and transporting us everywhere and back again. We are staying overnight in Cairo, and she arranged for our dinner cruise on the nile. She is also going to go with us to the Khan Khalili Baazar to help us shopping so we don't get ripped off. included in her price is lunch for both days, private limo, and transportation to and from dock. We booked our own hotel. She, of course, will drop us off at end of day to hotel (right next to dinner cruise area) and pick us up on the second day at hotel in a.m. I suggest you go that route. the $400.00 it saved us we can use for shopping and better hotel than what boat excursion offers. I can provide her name and contact info or I can provide you a link to many Egyptian tour guides and a link for reviews regarding each. All the tour guides I looked into (including ours) are licensed by the Egyptian Government and registered with the Egyptian Tour Board.
We returned two days ago from our cruise. It was wonderful. This is what we ended up doing for shore excursions. As an aside, we noticed that the excursion prices were $5-30 higher booking on the ship as opposed to early booking. Quite a difference! It makes sense to book in advance and then back off if you change your mind.
In Naples, we took the hydrofoil to Capri. It docks adjacent to where the ship docks.
In Athens we traveled independently and that was easy. Spent our time on the Acropolis and in the Plaka neighborhood. Not a tremendous amount of information available on the Acropolis once you are up there but the views and atmosphere are totally spectacular.
We took the Ephesus and Terrace Houses shore excursion. Very well worth it. Very good guide and wonderful sights. Someone referenced shopping in the tour in an earlier post. It was restricted to the end where you walk from the historical site to the bus. Adequate time if you want to shop.
In Istanbul we paid $49 for a Discover Istanbul tour from Princess. Again money well spent. We were able to get in St Sophia's on a Monday when it was normally closed. Also visited the Blue Mosque, a carpet store (very brief) and then the Grand Bazaar. Princess doesn't advertise this much but they were running shuttles back all afternoon from the Grand Bazaar to the ship so we were able to stay longer. If you wanted a shuttle without a tour it was $12 round trip. A good deal, I believe.
In Mykonos, we were tendered and the boat dropped us off in the center of town. Glad we didn't bother with a tour. We did see the windmills (referenced in an earlier post).
In Port Said we decided to not visit Cairo as we had spent a couple of days there previously. We shopped locally and took a caleche around town.
In Alexandria we made a bust and took a $99 city tour. We should have walked from the pier and into town. Alexandria has a very modern library and old fort to see, also a recently discovered Roman amphitheater. The problem was that it was a half day tour and we were dropped at the library for two hours. The library's guided tour lasted 20 minutes as the library was closed for Eids, a Moslem holiday. What to do with the remaining 1 hour 40 minutes? Nothing. The rest of the tour was unexceptional. Quality of the guide and his English was very poor. I did complain to Princess, as did many others but that was the last I heard about it. Basically they looked up my shipboard account/shore excursions and decided I hadn't spent enough so they did zero. Given that this was our 15th cruise with Princess, that really isn't very good treatment from them. They told me that they would discuss it with the tour operator and get back to me. They did not.