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Need help with Planning

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Please help! 1st time traveling to Italy and want to make the best out of the short time we will be there. I would like to see the "MUST SEE" things. Various things I have questions about:

Flying from LAX to Venice(since the cruise departs from Venice) but willing to fly from any where else in Italy back to LAX.

If my cruise departs on Saturday what is the safest day to arrive?( departs @ 5pm so need to be @ dock by 2:00pm. Don’t want to miss the boat.

Before the cruise or after I would like to visit Florence and Rome, each for a day. What's the best way to get to there (train, car or air).

When is the best time to purchase my airline tickets to travel to Italy? 10 months, 6 months or 3 months out?

Please assist me!



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