We are booked on the Grand Mediterranean cruise on the Emeral Princess in September and noticed that many things will be closed in Florence on the day we will be there (Monday). So, we decided to take the excursion to Tuscany Princess offers. Any one done that?
To be so close to Florence and not to see it would be a crime.
Have you been there before? That, to me, would be the only justification for not going there. Even if some sites are closed, my God, it's still Florence; one of the most beautiful cities on Earth. And you will see plenty of Tuscany on your way there and back.
And I'm sure you will love the sparkling new Emerald Princess!
Thank you for your reply. I guess I should clarify, as part of the excursion you get some time in Florence to explore on your own which I am looking forward to even though some of the main museums will be closed. I was interested in knowing if anyone has taken the Tuscany excursion and what they thought of it. Would it be better to rent a car and go on our own?
Sorry I misunderstood your original question; I have not taken the excoursion you refer to, although I have been there twice with Princess.
The roads are quite good so if you feel comfortable driving in Italy by all means rent a car and go at your own pace--you have all day.
On the other hand if you are apprehensive about driving in Europe, be assured the Princess tours are very well organized, punctual, informative and just plain fun!
Thanks for your help. I am sure it will be an adventure either way! One more question, since we will be cruising in mid September I am concerned that the weather will be cool while we are on the ship. Do you know what kind of weather we can expect this time of year?
I know I said only "one more question" but you have been so helpful...
We are considering upgrading to a mini suite on the Emerald Princess (which is similar to the Caribbean princess). I heard there is no privacy on the balcony though and the upper decks look right into your balcony. Any comments?
This is very true; the mini-suite balconies on Dolphin deck are much larger than the balconies above them and consequently people can look down into most of your balcony. We never found this to be a problem, though, because people above were very respectful of our privacy--we never actually saw anybody looking down at us. I can see where this might be of concern to some people, though.
But let me tell you, the other advantages of the mini-suite far outweigh the rather minor privacy issue; the much larger bathroom with tub; much more closet and storage space, which is REALLY handy on longer trips; and of course the extra sitting area.
One other thing you might consider;
there are 12 mini-suites at the very back of Emerald deck which is one down from Dolphin. They are the same size as the ones on Dolphin deck, so the balcony above you acts as a canopy over your balcony. You would have much more privacy; but you might also lose some sunlight. It just depends which is more important to you. Like I said, we were never uncomfortable with the balcony on Dolphin deck.
Have a great trip and let us know what you decide.
Had to chime in on this one. I lived in Tirrenia just minutes from Livorno) for 2 1/2+ years (albeit 30+ years ago.) Florence is a must see and you should maximize your time there.
Don't even think about renting a car if you've never been to Italy. Driving there is a whole new ball game. Get off the ship early and head directly to the train station, catch the first express train (do not take a local) to Florence. That will put you almost in the ceneter of the historic district and within walking distance of most attractions/points of interest.
If you have sturdy legs, walk to the top of Il Duomo. Fantastic view. My wife and I did it 38+ years ago when we first met and plan to do it again in late June of this year.
Radiance of the Seas - Nov 2006
Legend of the Seas - Jun 2007
Costa Fortuna - Mar 2008
Legend of the Seas - Oct 2008
Celebrity Constellation - July 2009
MSC Orchestra - Jan 2009
Navigator of the Seas - March 2009
MSC Poesia - November 2009
Jewel of the Seas - June 2010
I was reading this post and now I am reconsidering my shore excursion choices. perhaps you can now help me with a dilemma.
I will be cruising in June on Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas. I know that Florence is awesome and I would love to see it, BUT for many years now one of my dreams has been to see the Tuscan countryside and it's quaint villages. I found an excursion on RC that offers just such a thing and even included lunch at a local farmhouse. I have been longing to see the countryside of Tuscany and even though I know FLorence would be wonderful too (the Ufizzi especially interests me) I thought for sure the countryside would be what we should do while we're there.
BUT....if you guys are saying that Florence is an absolute MUST SEE and that it is incomparable better than the Tuscan countryside even for someone who dreams of seeing the Tuscan countryside......then perhaps I should change my excursion choice.
Please give me any and all input possible on this. The excursion I booked includes San Gimignano and Volterra.