My family and I are planning on embarking on a 7-day Mediterranean cruise aboard the Liberty of the Seas. This will be the first ever European cruise for all of us. I am excited and looking forward to it. I just need a little advice and recommendations in advance.
The cruise is a 7-day round trip from Barcelona, Spain. The ports of call include: -Toulon, France -Villefandie-Sur-Mer, France -La Spezia, Italy -Civitavecchia(Rome), Italy -Naples, Italy .
I was wondering if anyone has been on this cruise ship before and/or been to those ports of call?
Should I exchange my dollars for Euros before the cruise?
Any help or advice would be really appreciated. Thank you in advance.
I spent half of this past December on Liberty Of The Seas, then was back a month later for 4 nights. The crew and I were on a first name basis.
As much as I like the Oasis class, I think I prefer the Freedom class ships more. The size just 'feels' right and you don't have to walk so far to get to places.
I haven't been to La Spezia in 30 years. We were there in the winter and it is really a summer town as part of the Italian Riviera, so a lot of places were closed back then. I clearly remember the best food I had anywhere in Italy was at a restaurant with blue awnings. I don't remember the name of the place. It is an easy town to walk around.
Naples...consider it as a stopping point to go to other places and don't waste time actually in Naples. Look at the various messages in our Europe Port section and pay particular attention to anything from Hank and also Jim C. Hank is an expert on travel in Europe who pops in every now and then.
We took a marvelous tour out of Naples. NCL called it Flavors of Sorrento & Pompeii. It took us south to the Sorrentine Peninsula (to visit the coastal village of Sorrento and a family-owned farm in the hills above the village), the ruins of Pompeii, and a cameo factory. It was a long day, yet well worth it. Pompeii is a must.
You can also do this on your own (see the Europe section, as Dave suggested).
We did a walking tour in Rome, again through the cruise line. But, you can do this on your own, too.
The most important suggestion I have for a Med cruise is to bring very comfortable walking shoes.
We exchanged dollars for euros before leaving home. We also used ATMs in port, if needed. (Let your bank know in advance as they will have advice on using your PIN overseas.) Get some small bills for tips.
check out Frommers - they have a great walking guide for Rome that takes you through the ruins among other things. You can take the train into Rome, there is a good post for that on here. Just watch out for pickpockets and purse/bag snatchers. They will distract you and walk off with your belongings.
We have booked with the Liberty on the july 7th sailing from Barcelona and are excited to try the freedom class.
We are first and foremost cruising because of the ships and the ports become second priority when booking a cruise.
Last year we went on the Grandeur out of Palma and visited amon other ports Naples which we will be returning to this year. As Dave and Lisa say, Naples is a gateway to other, more interesting sites like Capri or Pompeii / Vesuv. OR you can take a taxi to one of Naples' famous pizza places since the city is home of the pizza.
Like Naples, Civitaveccia is a gateway to Rome. We are not sure if we are going to Rome on this cruise since Rome in july can be a H O T experience when it comes to temperature. Im not sure if i like to spend a vacation day walking with a five year old son in crowded streets with a million other tourists when I instead can stay by an empty pool onboard
Villefranche takes you to this beautiful village or to Monaco or Nice on the french riviera. Always lots to there.
The other ports I know little about. Would like to see the tower in Pisa though
I practically lived on the Liberty Of The Seas this past December and January, doing 3 cruises. Great crew of course, and a nice ship. I like the Freedom class, perhaps even more than the Oasis class. The crew was awesome and they were very much 'in sync' not missing a beat.
When I was in the Navy many years ago, my ship stopped in Livorno and my buddies and I went to Pisa. At the time you could enter the Leaning Tower and climb to the top. Very claustrophobic experience during the transit in the narrow stairway, with people going in both directions. The top was a bit scary since the safety rails were quite inadequate. The adjacent cathedral was very beautiful. Lunch was wonderful at some little place with a handful of tables nearby.
I see on google maps that the distance from Livorno to Pisa is just 25 km, so I'm sure we will take the trip up to see the tower and find a nice place for lunch
Did I mention we are "ditching" RCCL for our 2014 cruise?
We want to do eastern med out of Venice and the offer from NCL (Jade) is about USD 2000 below RCCL's Splendour. That is even with a mini suite on the Jade and a D1 balcony on Splendour.
Im not sure what makes the big price difference, but for us in Norway, NCL operates with Euro and RCCL in norwegian kroner. So it has probably to do with the exchange rate which at the moment is quite good for us who want to spend money in the Euro zone.
Looking at the prices for U.S. bookings it is the same thing with the price difference. I looked at the July 2014 sailings from Venice for both ships. Given the air fare from the U.S., that price difference would make me all the more likely to go with the Jade.
Strange. How could that be? Both lines are "in the same league" when it comes to service/luxury level. The Splendour is getting close to 20 years old. Can RCCL operate with these fares just because their popularity and loyal returning cruisers? I actually wrote an email to their office here in Norway and pointed out the big gap in pricing, but haven't heard anything yet.