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Philip Cali 08-07-2009 06:31 AM

We're going on the 7 day Western Med cruise. How necessary is it to book the quite expensive escorted tours? Is it easy enough to tour on one's own? Specifically Valetta, Cannes, and Pisa/Lucca? Thanks!

billybuzzy 08-07-2009 08:21 AM

Philip Cali - Let me start off by saying to you- Welcome Aboard to Cruise-Chat!! You have picked an excellent starting point in planning your next cruise you spend time with us...the more you will prepare for the great adventure.

In cruising the Meditteranean Region it is helpful to be somewhat conversant with the languages of the region or to be traveling with someone who is! You see a lot of different countries in a very short time- and the ship only gives you a limited number of hours in port! If this is your first time in these areas you cannot afford to be left behind (it happens to someone all the time) - It will turn your rest into a nightmare!! Being pennywise turns into Pound foolish in the blink of an eye!

Study the cruise brochures, read the travel guides, check out tour operators and compare prices. Surprisingly the cruiseline tours may not turn out to be too bad! And comeback here often with your questions and ideas!!

Welcome Aboard and....Bon Voyage!!!!


penny3333 08-07-2009 08:45 AM

Hi Philip Cali, welcome to Cruise-Chat! Congratulations on your up-coming cruise. You can use your "find" feature in the upper left hand corner, type in your ports, and it will pull up all the posts made about them. There is also a FAQ section a little further down the page that has some great information in it as well. Wish I could help you more, but have not had the pleasure of taking that itinerary. Best wishes!

Philip Cali 08-07-2009 12:43 PM

Thanks for your help. I'll check the sources you suggested. P Cali

penny3333 08-07-2009 01:37 PM

I tried to send you a PM to let you know I moved your post here. I'm hoping you'll get some great responses. It sounds like a fantastic itinerary, I can keep dreaming that one day I'll get to go

pink845 08-08-2009 05:44 PM

Hey Philip Cali,

I second the advice already given. Your best bet is to first get yourself some good cruise port guidebooks - Fodors and Frommers European Ports. These guides will spell out which ports are easily visited one your own and which ones the tours make more sense. Yes, if you venture out on your own minus the ship's tour, language may be a problem. Pisa, you can reach on your own via train or car if you also want to hit Lucca. But bear in mind, if there is a traffic issue, you are stuck missing the ship. I personally budget money for tours when I embark on a new itinerary. We were on Crown for 12 days in May and hit Italy and Greece. We are planning now for next summer and I this time because I know what to expect and I have a lay of the land so to speak, I will be doing some excursions on my own - The Acropolis no problem because I saw how far the subway stop is from the port. Ephesus we will rent a car because the I know where it is located now in the mountains - these things I learned from the tour I took from PRincess. So, I guess, if you are comfortable with the language of each place you are visiting, and are up for adventure, then forgo the tours and do it on your own. But make sure if you rent a car, that you get the most comprehensive car insurance - collision, upset that is offered. In Florence someone hit our car when we were parked in the parking garage and we were completely covered - I mean the car agent told us the insurance would cover us for the car even if we failed to return it - so that is the mostest of the mostest. I was noticing for instance in the Princess tours for MonteCarlo as an example that Princess was charging somewhere like $40 US per person to go on a tour of the palace and then view the casino and a little ride around the city. Let's just say that I knew that was ridiculously priced when I read in my guidebooks that we could literally walk to the palace and then take a $1 euro bus ride to the casino. So there you go, read all you can and take tours to those places that you would not be comfortable getting to the first time round. My advice - hope it helps.

geordie 08-10-2009 04:38 AM

I have been to Valleta
The ship docks in town and it is easy to do your own thing
Do not be frightened to use the buses from the station in Valletta
A lot of them are lovely old British buses which are maintained to a high standard and cost very little
I got details by putting in something like "busus malta" into google
English is spoken by all as well which helps
Hope you have a great time in Europe

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