I am having trouble choosing Naples port excursions.Cruise is Sept 5,2009 12 night Italy and Croatia cruise.What is the nicest, must see excursions for the area?I was leaning toward the exclusive,but it is the most expensive.Definitely want to see Pompeii.Other choices are Amalfi with Pompeii or Sorrento with Pompeii.Any ideas would be appreciated.Thanks.
We know the area very well and are familiar with all the options. But, which is best is a totally personal thing. If you are interested in ruins Pompeii and/or Herculanium are great options. The Amalfi Coast is a wonderful place (we have spent two extended vacations on the coast in Praiano) but we are not big fans of the cruise line bus tours since they are not permitted to enter into Positano with a bus (they can just look from above). Sorrento would not be very high on our list although it does have some charm and is worth a visit if it fits into your itinerary. You failed to mention Capri which is another option. As to excursions, we have been to Naples about a dozen times on cruises, spent more than two weeks in hotels on the coast, and have never taken an excursion. We prefer to do our own thing. But, for a first time visitor, if you really want to see the Amalfi coast you should consider booking a private tour that is done in either a car or van so that you can actually drive into Positano and walk around the city. For Pompeii, you could take an excursion, or simply go to the Naples train station and take a train to the ruins where you could get an audio tour or join an English speaking tour (much cheaper than a cruise line excursion). Capri is very easy to do on your own since the ferry pier is only a short (about 10 min) walk from the cruise ships.
I think the Amalfi coast,Pompeii and Positano sound good.Can I get off the ship and take a taxi and do it all on my own in one day?How reliable are the taxi's?I don't want to be late getting back to the ship.
I would not depend on a taxi for that kind of trip. Many of the taxi drivers do not speak much English, and are taxi drivers, not professional guides. You could get lucky, but it would be a gamble. You are also going to find that the taxis want at least 300 Euros, which is a lot if you are not getting a professional guide. If you hire a decent professional driver/guide you would be able to do Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast..although you might find yourself rushing at Pompeii. Since we do not use drivers/guides (we drive ourselves) I cannot personally recommend a guide. But, there are quite a few highly recommended guides who work the Naples port (you can try google). The downside is that a private guide can cost up to 500 Euros so you do need to shop around.
Our cruise offers an excursion:Exclusive Amalfi coast,Positano,Sorrento,Pompeii,total 9 hours for $345. USD.The description is depart pier at Naples,in small minivans, on coastal drive to Pompeii.Then Drive to Sorrento,explore and have lunch.Proceed along Amalfi coast to Positano,explore.Then take trip back to ship,possibly stopping at a cameo factory time permitting.Is that doable in 9 hrs or does it sound rushed and is it worth the money?And if not, which is better to see,if you had to choose, Sorrento or Amalfi with Pompeii?
Well, you need to understand that if you are going to pay $690 per couple, it would not cost any more (might even cost less) to simply hire a private car/driver/tour. That being said, we have looked at some of these new "exclusive tours" offered by several cruise lines and they do look interesting but also seem quite costly. As to that itinerary, it would be a busy day but it is quite doable in 9 hours. The route lends itself to tht itinerary since Pompeii is on the way to Sorrento from where the Amalfi Drive has its start. As to whether its worth the money, that depends on how bad you want to see all those places. We could rent a car for about $100 and do the same thing (for 4 people). What really bothers me about these tours is that assuming they get 6 in a van, they are charging over $2000 for a simple driving tour. Of course they do cover your admission to Pompeii (about 11 Euros) and probably cover your lunch, but this sure sounds expensive. It is pretty normal for private tours to do similar itineraries for about 600 Euros which would be total cost for 6 folks not including lunch. Although I do not personally recommend specific tour companies I will push the board rules and give you a web site to look at with a similar tour. This particular company is often mentioned on this board, but we have no personal experience and just give you this info for comparison purposes. www.amalfi-drive.com There are many other tour companies and individual guides that offer similar options.
Lisa, This Positano thing has long been an issue with me because we feel that the cruise lines often mislead passengers with their description of Amalfi Coast tours. Positano is a town in a spectacular setting and also has some very nice shops, restaurants and cafes. But, there is only a single road (it is one-way) that snakes through the town (the entrance and exits are nearly a mile apart). Because the road is narrow and can get very congested, the government does not permit any buses to enter that road other than the local buses (Orange buses) and some SITA buses. All tour buses can only drive or park along the Amalfi Drive which is above the town. Theoretically, passengers could walk down into the town (if they had enough time) or use the local Orange buses, but the reality is that they are not given enough time (they would need at least 2 hours). So, the buses stop at some viewing areas along the Amalfi Coast and usually allow the passengers to exit the bus so they can take pictures. To me, this is similar to a to that lets you see New York City from the Jersey side and advertises that the tour will "let you see NYC." We first noticed these new "Exclusive Tours" about 2 years ago on Princess cruises. They are very expensive, but since they use vans they can enter Positano and other places not accessible to buses. But, the pricing of these tours seems to border on the outrageous. There is a way to do the Amalfi Coast on your own by using the train from Naples to Sorrento and than the regional SITA bus line that runs from Sorrento along the Amalfi Coast to Amalfi. But, this is a bit scary for many novice travelers.
This cruise is with a group of 14 people.Two are small children and four are seniors.I just need someone to give me the best option of excursion for this port as i have no experience cruising at all.The seniors in the group are limited to the amount of walking they can do,and a lot of excursions do not take children that young(two children two and under).Some people say go on our
own guided tour,others say don't chance it go with the cruise lines tour.How do you make a decision?It is all so very confusing and frustrating.HELP!!!
I cannot even begin to address cruising in the Med with two children under two. We never considered taking our children on a cruise till they were 5, and did not start our children on Europe trips until 9. Many ship excursions involve lots of walking or long days on buses (neither good options with infants). Going to places like Pompeii can involve 2 or more hours in extreme heat with virtually no shelter. As to groups of 14 people, trying to arrange private tours for 14 is very difficult since most private tours are in cars or vans....none of which would hold 14. In some places you might be able to arrange for private tours with mini-buses, but we have no personal knowledge of good companies that provide these services. My best advice would be that you consider splitting-up into smaller groups during some of your port days. You definitely need to check with your cruise line as to whether they will even accept kids under 2. Other than that, I have no solution for your issues.