Was reading your post about the Blue Grotto. I completely agree with Hank that the Blue Grotto is overrated and a tourist trap. We arrived at the port if Naples and did as he mentioned, took the ferry to Capri. Upon arrovong there were many taxis waiting to take you around the island. Instead we headed for the boats to take us to the Blue Grotto. Over Priced and then the small boat operator makes it well known that he expects a tip for taking you in the Grotto after paying for the ticket. We did not go into the town of Capri, big mistake, but took the ferry from Capri to Sorrento. From there we paid about 1.60 for a bus ticket. took the bus to the train station and using the same ticket, boarded a train to Pompeii. Got off the train to see Pompeii then reboarded, using the same ticket, and arroived in Naples in plenty of time to get back on the ship. I must admit that it was exciting traveling all around, but do believe I would have rather seen Capri. My recommendation is to pass on the Blue Grotto and enjoy Capri.
In Venice you can buy an 24 hour ticket for the water taxis. Cheaper than paying for each trip. We went into Venice and roamed around. St. Marks closes around 4 or 5, so head there if you wish to go inside. We paid 120.00, including gratuity for a gondola ride (4 people), much cheaper than the ship charges.
Then spent the evning near the Rialto bridge, drinking glasses of wine and watching the gondolas go by. A great way to spend the evening. The next day we headed to Murano by water taxi ( same 24 hour ticket) and watched the foring of glass and shopped the factories. Another fun day.
In Rome you mentioned that you had a private tour set up already. We used Romelimostours (www.romelimostour.com
). The contacts name is Anna Fontana. They were great with all our needs. Very professional and reliable. I highly recommend.
Have a great trip.