We will be taking this cruise. i would like to hear from others who have taken this or similar cruises. Several issues I am most interested. How are the lower level inside cabin rooms? How do you pack for a thirteen day cruise as laundry facilities are not available? I know the cruise arranged escursions tend to be costlier than arranging exursions off the boat or directly. How would you suggest we proceed with this in the various ports? Can you exchange dollars for Euros on the ship, using travelers checks. If so, do you pay an additional fee? Also, we are planning on staying at the Gioberti Hotel in Rome one night before the cruise. What would be the best way to get from the airport to to this hotel and from the hotel the cruise ship. If we take a taxi, what should we expect to pay. The hotel is located about a block away from the train station. Finally, can you suggest a good outfit for arranging a tour of the Vatican?
Thanks in advance
Welcome to Cruise-Chat! A lot of questions but I'll tackle a few. I see on this sailing inside cabins are a lot more affordable (about 25% less than OV) right now than anything higher. I'd probably opt to save the difference and spend it on the high costs of other things in Europe.
There are no self serve laundray facilities so you won't get away with packing light unless you pay for the ships services. I think I'd pack as I would for a week sailing and expect to have them do a major load for me when I got low.
Unless you're familliar with the ports you're visiting, stick with cruiseline arranged excursions. The difference is not worth the down side of booking outside with unknown providers and risking a breakdown, traffic or other issue that may make getting back to the ship on time a bigger concern than the cost saved.
I believe your dollars will be fine at most tourist attractions and for shopping in the tourist centers. If you're going to go it alone and get outside the mainstream areas to soak up the culture they will exchane currency onboard the ship at the going exchange rate.
Transportaion from pier to Rome, for getting around and back to the ship is costly by taxi and even the transfers are quite pricey. I'd investigate the train system, I believe there is a station within walking distance of the pier.
I'm not sure you choice of a hotel near the Rome train station is the best choice. The trains are a place you'll want to keep a close eye and tight grip on anything of value (laptop case, camera equipment, purses, etc.) The trains are a common place for those praying on tourists and the area around the station is also a magnet for pick-pockets and the like.
Look at rates in the area around the Spanish Steps, I've had better reports from that area. There are many here who have been to Rome and other European destinations many times and should be able to give you add'l and probably better advice.
Thanks for your quick reply.
And I thought being near the train station was an advantage. Actually, we are staying only one night so I don't think it should be a problem. Besides the hotel is cheap and received some pretty good reviews.
I was on that ship twice this year in the mediterranean. I will touch on a couple of issues. You have a great itinerary for that sailing. The only thing I don't like about it is starting and finishing in Civitavecchia. I am fond of ports that are within 5 minutes of the closest major city. You will enjoy Split. You will tender in right across the street from Diocletian's Palace. The restaurant by the pier has some of the best lasagna and shrimp bisque that I have ever eaten. While in Split, sample some of their native cherries (delicious) and buy a necktie (originated in Croatia). Be careful if you order coca cola in a restaurant and they bring you "bambus". It is almost imperceptible from coke but it is mixed with an almost flavorless wine that packs a potent kick. I recommend the "Highlights of Split" excursion for a first time visitor. You will see an abundance of local culture and you will see some amazing sites. The dollar is very weak versus the Euro right now so if you are shopping for gifts you might want to consider shopping in Croatia. The dollar does much better against the Kuna. (Croatia is the only stop on your itinerary who's economy is not based on the Euro.) When you disembark in Venice, bring bottled water with you. Beverages and food are very expensive in Venice and the water you bring will be almost as important as the comfortable walking shoes that you are going to need. If you are allergic to pigeons, do not venture to San Marco's Square. Make sure to see St. Mark's Basilica (where St. Mark is entombed), the Doge's Palace, and the Bridge of Sighs. If you want to take a gondola ride, I suggest you do it during the day. After dark, the price of the gondola rides nearly triples. In Naples, eat a pizza since it is the birthplace of the delicious treat. There is a fabulous pizzeria within walking distance of the pier. (there is also a bar that serves 1 euro shots of jagermeister but I will save that for another post) Like Neil said, when it comes to security, always be aware of your surroundings. As far as money is concerned, I hate traveller's checks. They are a hassle and I just have a problem with them. You can use an atm card (bank atm's are plentiful in Europe and the fees are not large) to withdraw euros from an american account. You will get the current exchange rate without the surcharges that most exchange places will hit you with. Also, get as much cash as you will need at one time to avoid extra transaction fees. Sorry to ramble and feel free to ask any questions that you want.
How is the ship as far as exchanging money? Also, what did you think of the Legend. We are taking an interior cabin to save money for the excursions. I've heard a lot of dirrent recommendations on how to get from Rome to the port. Do you suggest the train?
I used the train system to get around town but from the pier to our hotel and from our hotel to the airport, I rented a private car. We had a lot of luggage and it made us a little less anxious to not have to worry about our belongings. The Legend is still a nice ship. All of her glass is clean and her brass is still gleaming. Your cabin will not be unlike any other inside cabin that you have had before.