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Deborah_Corrigan Dec 11th, 2011 02:49 PM

Mediterranean Cruise June 2012
Taking a 12 night Mediterranean cruise in June 2012 with my husband on the Ruby Princess. Can anyone recommend what shore excursions are best in each of the ports :include Monaco, Naples, Athens, Mykonos, Rome, Venice, Istanbul, Kudasi, and Livorno. Either private shore excursions or Princess shore excursions. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

qwovadis Dec 12th, 2011 02:50 AM

Did my last one of these with Princess was a nice ride.Found
driver/guide from each port with a like minded couple or 2
saved us a lot.Excursions are good just VERY expensive.The
only wone I did was Livorno for Florence and Pisa distances
were too far and museum ques were too long to do it alone. ship reviews recent.Generally unless
something super special ALWAYS do better hiring driver/guides
out of the port carefully save a tonne have a better experience.

jacketwatch Dec 12th, 2011 03:54 AM

Genreally it is much cheaper to book excursions on your own vs. those offered by the ship. There will be cabs by the dock and you can book one when you get off the ship and just go. Its pretty easy. We almost alsways do private tours. We were just in Ephesus and I recommend a company called "Hello Ephesus." We used them and were very pleased. If you choose them try to ask for a gude named Oya. We had the pleasure of her expertise and were very pleased.

In Istanbul its probably easiest to get a cab or bus to the Sultanamet area where the major attractions are w/i walking distance like the Grand Bazaar, Topkapi, the Hag Sofia, the Blue Mosque and the Justinian cisterns. This is a great cruise. Have fun. :-) Larry

Sassafrass Dec 12th, 2011 06:44 AM

Join the roll call on to hook up with other people and form your own little tour groups. I might do that especially for Rome and Florence because it would be easier, and save time waiting on trains, buses, etc. You can do it for other places too, but most can also be done easily on your own.

In Mykonos and Venice, we just walked around on our own; very easy to do in both places.

In Athens and Istanbul, we took a taxi (with another couple) to the main sights, then walked around on our own.

In Kusadasi, we joined up with three other couples and hired a van for the day to take us to all the places we wanted to go, including Ephesus. We didn't do it ahead of time, just walked a block or so away from the ship to the local taxi stand.

In Naples, walk out of the port area to get taxis much cheaper. You can taxi (or bus - right outside the port area) to the train station and easily visit Pompeii and/or Herculaneum. You could also train to Sorrento and bus or ferry on down the coast. You can also grab a ferry to go down the coast or to Capri. If you want to stay in Naples, get a guide book and you can easily walk to most places.

Aristotle Dec 12th, 2011 07:47 AM

Have not done Princess cruise, but almost identical HAL. If you haven't been there before, you can have a great visit on your own in Venice and Mykonos. For Athens, Istanbul, Ephesus, and Romeyou will need help. I would do some work on the net or other and arrange private tours in advance. They are cheaper and better. Beware anything that offers a shopping opportunity. That means one third to one half of you excursion in a t shirt stand.

skoupithi Dec 12th, 2011 11:40 AM

Remember that you can be penny wise and pound (or dollar) foolish. The cruise excursions may cost a few dollars more, but they also guarantee that you won't miss the ship, they are inspected and insured. I am aware of people that had to pay their own way to the next port to meet the ship because their private excursion was not reliable. Is it really worth it? Anyone that goes all that way and is worried about a couple of bucks, maybe should rethink things.

skoupithi Dec 12th, 2011 11:42 AM

By the way, my husband is from Greece and we still won't even consider taking anything private there, especially Athens. Athens has traffic, strikes and a lot of immigrants who are willing to take your money, since you don't know the roads.

Percy Dec 12th, 2011 01:32 PM

Most people above have given you good advice.

1. For Athens: You can contact Limousine Service
Dennis Kokkotos.
[email protected]
I had him and he was excellent and took us to many place in Athens after we toured the Acroplois on our own ( he dropped us off there).

All reputable tour guides are aware you have to be back at the cruise ship at a certain time and then know the traffic and when they have to start taking you back.

2. Mykonos: You will dock close to the town.
A shuttle will take you from the ship and drop you off as close to town as the bus can go.
Then you have about a 3 block nice walk to town.

Some people walked from the cruise ship to town.
DON'T do this. You may feel like it is not that far.
But in June the temp will be over 90 F.

You will be walking along and asphalt road with cars and buses zipping by you.!!!

3. Venice: You can walk around a lot here and see most of
places that tourists visit.
Take a Gondola ride for sure.

4. jacketwatch already gave you a company for Ephesus

5. Rome: is 53 miles away from where the ship docks.
If you want a guide ahead of time then you can
e-mail [email protected]

6. Naples: There will be lots of good guides as soon as you
get off the ship.
I met a couple of nice ones while I was waiting for my pre-arranged guide to show up .
In fact I said to one of the guides looking for business, "If my fellow does not show up in another 10 minutes, you and I are off ".!!!

7. Livorno: This is a lovely place.
I had a guide and we toured the major places and on the way back we went to Pisa..... he purchased me tickets ahead of time so I could climb the leaning tower of Pisa !!!

8. Istanbul: Other have given you advice on walking in Turkey.

It will not happen , where at any port , you will be left stranded....there is always guides there waiting for passengers.

To me it is just nice to have someone waiting for me as I disembark at each port, that is why I usually arrange for guides ahead of time ,in places where I feel I need one.

jan47ete Dec 15th, 2011 08:17 AM

We went on NCL and stopped at many of the same cities, so my suggestions might include:

general: since we took ours in Nov 2010, Athens on strike, so went to Crete instead. Be aware that Athens, Rome could have strikes and if you book a private tour know how to either get a refund but at least be able to contact them to cancel at the very last minute.

Athens and Rome: follow the crowds and take the train in. Very, very easy. There are very explicit directions to get from the ship to the train station on these travel sites. Rome: definitedly try to get tics ASAP to the Scavi, the area under ST. Peters (the highlight of my 14 day trip). Spots are very limited. Same with Vatican, get tics ASAP. Got the first tic time of the day, did not follow Vatican map, but IMMEDIATELY RAN, to the Sistene Chapel and had the place to ourselves for about 10 minutes-spectacular.

Monaco; I believe only foreigners are allowed in the Casino, so bring your passport to enter. Just the lobby is a treat.

Eschew Dec 15th, 2011 01:18 PM

Go with what Percy said ... at Athens, lunch anywhere at Plaka.

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