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Mediterranean cruise - Ports of Call

We were recently on a Mediterranean cruise with ports of call at: Nice, Corsica, Rome, Naples and Malta. I am posting this message for my friend, Polly, who is leaving this week and anyone else who may be interested in the ports stopped.

Villefranche, France (Nice) - Once you arrive at the port, there is a tourism office to pick up brochures/maps; its wise to pick up a map so that you can point to where you want to go when you are in a taxi. The easiest thing is to take a taxi. We took a taxi to old Nice; the price varies from 20-30 Euros (about 15min)..there are many taxis at the taxi stand at the port so you can negotiate. We found that on the way back to the "Villefranche port" (remember to state that), it was harder to hail a cab; so a tip is to go into a hotel and have them order one for you, which is what we did. In old Nice, thats where you see the French Riviera..everything is walkable..lots of cafes, antique market, & shops. The brochures also state lots of shops along Avenue Jean Medicin, which we did not go to, but can be easily accessible by taxi. We took a tour to Monte Carlo and Monaco, however, you can save some $$ and just take a taxi there...about 25-30 min taxi ride.

Corsica: You can easily walk to the main city areas..some shopping and historical sites. The tour of the city will not take you more than half a day.

Rome - Take a fully guided tour as the port is an hour and a half from the inner city. As well, this is the one place that will have key places that you will want to visit, so take a tour. No time for shopping here if you are on a guided tour.

Naples - We did not tour Naples. We got off the ship and walked to the ferry stops..you will see lots of ferry stops to take you to the Island of Capri. The ferry should cost about 11-13 Euros and take 40 minutes. We paid 11Euros from a company called Navigazione Libera Del Golfo (NLG). Once on the island, take a taxi (convertibles seats 7) to Anacapri (15min; about 18 Euros) and visit the Villa San Michele (tell the taxi driver to take you there)..Villa San Michele is a street with all the shops and nice resort cafes, and at the end you will see a panorama of the gulf of naples. From Anacapri, take a taxi to the Piazetta (10min); there will be more shops. From the Piazetta, you can take a cab back to the port, "Marina Grande" (or a bus at the bus stand booth..can't miss it: costs 1.30 Euros) to take the ferry back to Naples (make sure the Naples port you are returning to is Molo Beverello which is where the cruise ships dock). Other info: On the Capri island, taxi drivers will offer to charge you a one day fee to take you around the key points of interest (<100Euros); you can do that or do what we did. The first ferry to leave Naples for Capri is 7:25am and leave at approx 1hr intervals; the last ferry to return to Naples is 18:25 (for NLG company). Make sure you check ferry schedules for return to Naples.

Malta - You can easily walk to the main part of Malta. Note that shops are closed from 1-4pm, even in the tourist area (some shops will stay open). Good place to buy shoes. Most places take Visa, some Euros, but mostly Lira currency (you don't need to buy Lira currency before leaving home, just go to a bank machine there if you need cash). The rate is about 1Lira=3.44CDN

Other items: You may have heard of crime in Europe; which is not unlike most major cities. We did not experience any problems. The key is to stay aware of your surroundings; be alert of people/groups approaching you or standing close to you (some will pretend to give you flowers, stick a piece of paper in front of you); don't talk/respond to strangers approaching you (they can be aggressive); if anyone touches you, just shake them away and shout; never ask "how much". Wear a money belt in Rome & Naples. Wear comfortable running shoes.

Finally, relax and have fun!!

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