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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 08-02-2009, 02:44 PM
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Hank,
You have excellent information so hopefully you can advise me on this! We've narrowed our sightseeing from Naples port down to two options. They are both for half day (5 hrs) rather than full day. The first service would pick us up at the port (2 people) and drive us to Positano and Sorrento. They would then drop us at the hydrofoil for the return trip. The second service would do the same trip but would return us to the ship rather than us taking the hydrofoil. The first service charges 180E, the second 250E. What is your opinion and do you have any other suggestions? Many thanks!
  #12 (permalink)  
Old 08-03-2009, 02:14 PM
 
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If choosing between those two tours, and all other things being equal, we would probably opt to take the hydrofoils back to Naples. The boat ride is fun, fast, and will drop you at the ferry terminal right next to the cruise port (easy 10 min walk to the ship). I could write a book on various options from Naples, but your itinerary makes perfect sense if your desire is to drive on the Amalfi Drive and see Positano. The only downside is that I assume your driver will bring you back to Sorrento in early afternoon. Unfortunately, most of the shops and boutiques in Sorrento close during the afternoon hours, so you will not have great shopping opportunities (with the weak dollar you might be thankful). Instead of grabbing a hydrofoil immediately back to Naples, you might want to spend some time in the part of Sorrento that is near the ferry pier and enjoy some time walking and perhaps enjoying a drink in one of the many cafes. Of course, this would leave you having to walk downhill (of down the steps) to the ferry pier. Your driver will know the latest hydrofoil/jetboat schedules and will be able to tell you if you can spend some time in Sorrento and take a later hydrofoil.

Hank
  #13 (permalink)  
Old 08-09-2009, 10:32 AM
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I am so confused about the ports and excursions.Let me tell you,going with 14 people and trying to get everybody together narrowing it down to a decision is exhausting.The new option is to get off at each port and take the train everywhere and see what we want to see on our own.Does this sound like a viable option?The problem lies in having two small children in the group.The cruise lines excursions do not allow children on certain excursions.And given when the children get cranky and tired the plan would be to be able to leave.We are also traveling with four seniors,who would like to limit the walking and driving by coach buses.Can we do the trains,are they easy to navigate,can we see it all this way vs. the cruise excursions?What about waiting on lines at the ports for attractions vs.taking the tour and it's done for you?Can we acquire admission tickets online for attractions?Some of the people in our group are young and of the idea we can just wing it,take it as it comes,others are worried this will cause us to miss important sites,attractions and then the worry about getting back to the ship on time.PLEASE HELP!!!
  #14 (permalink)  
Old 08-09-2009, 11:43 AM
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There isn't much more that can be said about it. Your group is going to have to set some limits on what you want to see and there will have to be some compromising. Trying to accommodate everyone's desires is just an exercise in futility.

"Winging it" with a large group isn't something I'd recommend, especially if you go off in smaller groups all in different directions. That is a scenario for somebody missing the ship.

You'll have to google the places to see if they sell tickets online.

Train stations aren't always convenient so you will encounter some walking to get to them, and then you aren't going to find 14 seats together. Plus you are now a slave to the train schedules. Ever heard the expression "it was like trying to herd cats?"

Taking a tour (either private or with the line) is what I would do. Sometimes the price is worth it just to rid yourself of the frustration with trying to please everyone.
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  #15 (permalink)  
Old 08-09-2009, 02:30 PM
 
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I totally agree with Dave's comments. We have been helping folks, for more than 20 years, do Europe on their own, and there is no way we would ever advise a group of 14 trying to stick together during a port day. The group is just too large to be efficient, and it is unlikely you will find a group that size where everyone wants to do the same thing. Trying to access public transport, taxis, or even eat in a cafe/restaurant does not often work with such a large group. About the only suggestion I can offer that would seem to make some sense is for your group to book private excursions, in some of your ports, that can provide a small bus for transportation. For a group of 14 you almost need a leader carrying a sign or flag so everyone can keep from getting separated.

Hank
  #16 (permalink)  
Old 08-12-2009, 05:46 PM
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Plans have changed yet again.Now thinking about taking the ferries to all places.Is there anyone out there who has done the Royal Caribbean Legend of the Seas 12 night Italy and Croatia?Anyone taken the excursion in Naples,Exclusive Amalfi coast,Sorrento,Positano and Pompeii?
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Old 08-12-2009, 09:05 PM
 
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Your plans have changed and you have really confused me. "Ferries to all places?" What ferries. There are no ferries in Livorno, Messina, Venice, Dubrovnik, but you could take a ferry (actually a jetboat/hydrofoil) in Naples to Capri or Sorento. As to the "exclusive" tour in Naples, that would only cost about $4800 for 14 people! For that price you could buy the port! But seriously, those are similar to hiring a private guide/driver (only the cruise line charges about 800% more than a private guide/driver) and I do not know if their mini-vans even hold 14 people. That type of long tour is certainly not a good fit for young children as its a very long day with quite a lot of walking and long hours in the van.

Hank
  #18 (permalink)  
Old 08-13-2009, 07:49 AM
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You could also stand around by the castle in Naples and within a few moments some seedy character will approach you offering a tour of the cameo factory.

Naples never impressed me as a destination. It is a transfer point to the good places to see.
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  #19 (permalink)  
Old 08-13-2009, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
I am so confused about the ports and excursions.Let me tell you,going with 14 people and trying to get everybody together narrowing it down to a decision is exhausting.
This is a good reason for your group to split up for the day and book different tours. We have cruised with family several times and did just that. This way, everyone does what he/she would like for the appropriate duration. As others have said, I would not recommend long tours for the little ones. (Even our 15-year-old gets bored on them.) Those who want to see a lot can then do so, without forcing the others out of their comfort zones.

I agree with Dave and Hank that organized tours are preferable. I suggest going through the information you've received from Royal Caribbean as well as from Hank, and getting everyone's input as to what each would like to do. Once that's settled, you can look into private versus cruise line tours for each.
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  #20 (permalink)  
Old 08-18-2009, 09:05 AM
 
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Hi Vtbv002,

Wow, 14 people including two kids under 2. Great praise for Hank, Dave and LoryC for all their advise to you Vtvb002. Now to cut to the chase, my opinion, you are trying to do too much in one day with too many people in tow. I have done a med cruise this past May on Princess hitting a lot of your ports of call. We simplify - decide on one or two things and save the rest for another cruise. That way you get to really enjoy and experience rather than rushing around like a chicken with one's head cut off from this to that and back again. The Amalfi coast is CONJESTED with cars, vans, etc. Read: Traffic jam many times. So, renting your own van (yes, there are 14 passenger ones) would be a virtual nightmare and costly too. Your group definitely has to be broken up. The younger people perhaps can take the train from Naples to Pompeii. Hotter than hades there however in the summer so bring water, hats and sunscreen. The walk to the train is a little scary, however, lots of unsavory characters hanging about. Make sure you have men in your group who walk to the train. Also, train to Pompeii takes roughy 35 minutes. Congested once again on that and full of pickpockets so watchout. But Pompeii itself wonderful. They have a map but you should buy yourself a guidebook beforehand and study it or get an English speaking guide at the front of Pompeii. You can continue on train to Sorrento another half hour if you wish to. Nice to see but afternoons can shut down so be aware of that. The older folk in your group could take hydrofoil to Capri for the day (either pay yourself for the ride or do it with the ship). Amalfi truly should be experienced on a stay vacation. Stay at a hotel type of thing for a few days. Not crammed into a cruise line tour. Other places Livorno, you can rent a couple of cars and drive to Florence and Pisa. No ferries in Livorno. The gist of it all is a cruise is a sampler - sample the places you visit and then come back later for a land vacation. Also, get yourself some excellent guidebooks Fodors and Frommers and check out each port. The books specifically tell you the ports you can visit on your own and the ones where a cruise line tour would help you to arrive safe and back to your ship. Hope this helps you. Have a great cruise just remember - not everyone will be able to do everything and you might consider babysitting for the babies on board ( the last cruise I took) parents left the kids in the daycare. Makes more sense, what are they really going to experience in Europe and you will be stressed by having them with you.)
 
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