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Old 08-08-2005, 01:14 PM
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Hello

I know its very early days but I have booked today for the 14 day med cruise out of Southampton next June 2006.

Can someone help me out or point me in the right direction. Whilst talking with the travel agent, I was advised not to book any excursions since they were very expensive but to just get off the boat and basically DIY for instance take a train into the Vatican, etc. Are there any web sites which recommend trains etc??? HUbby and I also do not like to be herded, hence another reason why we would prefer to go alone (or with another couple) but def not with half the ship.
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Old 08-09-2005, 07:39 AM
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I am actually surprised that your travel agent would suggest you just hop off the ship and explore on your own. Many of the sites and cities you want to visit while in port, are quite a distance from where the ship docks. Public transportation can be a great way to explore an area - but only if you are somewhat familiar with the area. Language, distance and time factors are all variables that need to be considered. If you really want to make the best of your time in port, but do not wish to be herded with the masses - check out private tours from independent operators and book their services in advance.
Nancy
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Old 08-09-2005, 10:42 AM
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I am also surprised to hear a travel agent recommend doing excursions on your own. I took the Legend of the Seas 12-day Med cruise a couple of years back and in ports like Rome for example the city of Rome is almost two hours away from where the ship docks. The cruise line offers several different excursions into Rome including one called "Rome on your own" which basically just provides bus transportation into and out of the city. I took the half day tour that took us to the Vatican and Colisseum then provided us with a map and left us to explore the rest of the city on our own for 4 ours - sites such as the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Parthenon, etc. were all within walking distance of where we were left off. (The Vatican and Colisseum were a bit far for walking so it was nice to have the transportation there.) With the language barrier - I speak French and English with a bit of Spanish so most Italian was easy enough to pick up on but not to actually speak it in a bargaining conversation as to cab fares, etc., I found paying the cruise line to do it was much much easier! (My peace of mind is worth the extra couple of dollars.) It isn't like the Caribbean where everyone can speak English and as soon as you get off the ship there are lots of people there willing to ferry you wherever you want to go.

If you have any questions regarding any of the ports please let me know and I will happily answer what I can or offer my advice.
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Old 08-09-2005, 12:06 PM
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Thanks Barbara and Nancy for your advice. Both hubby and I go to Spain every year, hiring a car at the airport and set out on our own. I thought that by being familiar with Europe it would be easy to get around without being herded about. We tend to prefer to go it alone rather than with a group. I will take your advice though, I just think that the ship charges so very very much for an excursion whereas if you do it alone, you save almost 95%.

I have not researched enough into exactly where we want to go once we get off the ship, its 10 months away but I shall def post some questions when I do.

When we were on the RC Explorer crusing Caribeean a coupld a our table worked for RC1 and as their ship was being refitted were offered a week's free hol on Explorer. They were photographers and said that although they had visited the ports several times they never had time to do so without working but they recommended we get off the ship and would see different tour companies offering their services for a far far better price than RC1, hence another reason to do it alone.
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Old 08-09-2005, 04:18 PM
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Jarronwood,
While on many itineraries, tour companies offering their services dockside at better prices than the cruiseline is certainly in evidence. However, due to the distance from the port to the major attractions you will find many ports on this itinerary - where there will be no tour companies lying in wait.

I would recommend you do a bit of research on the ports you will be visiting. Once you have a better idea of what things are of interest and we know which specific ports are on your itinerary - we may be able to give you more detailed and helpful suggestions.

Nancy
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