Bebe, Your question is a bit too general for me to post some answers (we know all these ports quite well). Whether you decide to take ships tours, private tours, or go on your own (all good options) depends on your level of comfort, budget, and personal travel style. My suggestion would be that you look at the tours provided in the ports by your ship (this will give you a great idea of the options) and take advantage of the internet and Google to educate yourself about each port and its surrounding region. Keep in mind that on Med cruises it is not uncommon for folks to venture hours away from a port to see certain places (such as Livorno to Florence) so there are always lots of options. Also keep in mind that Europe is a very expensive place for Americans now because of the very weak dollar.