5 Day - Short Western Med Cruise
I will be boarding my 1st Royal Caribbean & Europen Cruise in May leaving from BARCELONA! (spending 1 day prior to boarding there & 1 day when we return from cruise) While I am so excited, I am nervous about the fact that I only have 10-12 hours at the 3 port stops.
Has anyone been on this particular cruise?
If so, or if you are familiar with the itinerary listed below - can you please suggest a company to take an excursion/tour with at each stop or just some MUST SEES before going back on the ship.
Stop 1: Cannes, France (10 hour stop)
Stop 2: Civitavecchia(Rome), Italy (12 hour stop)
Stop 3: Livorno (Florence/Pisa) (12 hour stop)
Congratulations on booking your first Med cruise. You need to understand that booking private excursions in France and Italy are very expensive (hundreds of Euros) unless you are part of a larger group. Your cruise line will offer multiple excursions in each of your ports. Another option (which we have been doing for over forty years) is to simply do things on our own. But independent touring requires a lot of pre-trip homework and some "travel common sense." All of your ports do lend themselves to independent travel...which can save you hundreds of dollars per day over expensive excursions. My suggestion, as a starter, is to buy Rick Steves new book "Mediterranean Cruise Ports" which does cover your ports. All of these ports offer pretty inexpensive regional train options to exciting places. For example, from Civitavecchia its easy to take a train into Rome, from Livorno you could train to Florence and/or Pisa, and Cannes gives you access to the regional TER train line that connects lots of fascinating places between Cannes and Monte Carlo.
I will also be going on this cruise.
With regards to travelling from Livorno to Florence/Pisa, I have seen people mention that trains from Livorno to Florence stop in Pisa. So, do you just need to book a ticket from Livorno to Florence and are able to get off and back on a later train in Pisa? Or do you need to book separate tickets in order to visit Pisa on the way back to port from Florence?
Good question and despite having spend nearly a year (total)in Italy I am not sure of the answer. The train ticket you buy to Florence does have a time limit (I thought it used to be about 2 hours) which might not be long enough to stop in Pisa, get all the way over to the Tower and later back to the train station (there is actually another smaller station closer to the tower which is not used by most of the trains). You might have a port lecturer on your ship that will no for sure, but on RCI the port lecturers usually want to only sell their own excursions (they usually work for a franchiser which handles all the tours). Personally, we love Florence so much it is hard to recommend that any first-time visitor cut a visit to Florence short to visit Pisa. Even a full port day does not begin to do Florence justice (we never loved that city until we spent a few nights there at a local hotel).
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