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mediterranean shore excursions-advice

Old May 10th, 2007, 05:33 AM
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mediterranean shore excursions-advice

are there any must see/don't miss excursions from these ports? can we do them cheaper than what the ship offers? we have 4aduls, 1-12yr and 2-8yr olds. How easy is it to get from ship to places of interests? are there trains fairly close to most ports?any morsels of info, and tips are a treasure! thanks in advance!the ports arealermo-Naples(Pompeii)-Olbia-Civitavecchia(Rome)-LaSpezia(florence,pisa)I did gleen tons from previous blog from Sonneke' W.Med info. Can anyone add to that? We are on the new disney 11 day med. cruise. seems like their offerings r wonderful and true to their excellent attention to detail but I'm hoping to do it on our own for much less IS THIS POSSIBLE? help!
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Old May 10th, 2007, 06:01 AM
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This is one of the most frequently asked question on this site. Lots of good prior advice. Do a search for shore excurions, reading the postings and then come back with your specific questions.
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Old May 10th, 2007, 09:02 AM
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hey there I've searched the forum for past advice and most of it is several yrs old. 2000-'01-'03 while some of it still applies tons of it does not. Has anyone taken a recent cruise w/ these ports and experiences? this is the 1st=inagural cruise offered by Disney. I'm sure it is simular to the rest of the cruises but w/ much younger (families w/ kids) clientel. I am most grateful for your time and advise. anyone out there with any to give???
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Old May 10th, 2007, 04:24 PM
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Hi there bondie,
Check out cruise critic. Alot more information on cruises than here on Fodors. You can even sign up on the Roll Call for your particular cruise and hook up with others for tours. Good luck. I'm currently working on our Med cruise for Sept and have joined up with others on at least three tours. Pam
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Old May 11th, 2007, 05:11 AM
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We, like many cruisers, did the Med on our own and it wa our 1st ever cruise too. It seem slike you will need two vehicles or one big one. Now what we did was simply do some research to see what we wanted to do in each port, then cut a deal with one of the many cabs or private tour operators waiting at the docks. we were on our own time and asved tones of $$$. Yes, you can do the same. Just know what you want to see. Also the cabbies have some ideas too as thisis what they do for a living. It should be no problem. Ciao!
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Old May 11th, 2007, 01:38 PM
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Private tours will be more expensive, you pay in Euros. Ship tours in Europe are a better deal, you pay in US dollars. Having said this, we have used and enjoyed private tour guides. Go to Cruise critic, Europe boards, tons of posts about private guides and do it yourself trips that would definitely be less expensive . But if you are first timers, not sure I would venture out on my own
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Old May 12th, 2007, 07:33 AM
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thanks so much 4 the info! great point about the $ vs the euro pricing. I must factor this in too.
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Old May 12th, 2007, 11:18 AM
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When we did the Med in 2002 the USD was 1:1 to the Euro but let me be specific as to what we paid vs. the ships offerings:
Livorno: We did Florence and Pisa for $300.00 USD vs. a similar tour by the ship which waould have cost $450.00
Rome: Private $200.00 vs. Ship $510.00 ($170.00 X 3)
Naples: Private $50.00 vs. $150.00 from the ship.
So even if the USD has fallen similar ratios now would still be less. Don't forget to bargain a bit if you choose this route.
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Old May 12th, 2007, 07:26 PM
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I am not sure Hida's advice is accurate. I have never known a ship excursion to be a good value or lesser cost. Maybe for one but two or more is always cheaper and most likely a better sightseeing experience. However, if you are not willing to do your homework prior to arrival, then a ship excursion maybe your only choice.
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Old May 13th, 2007, 12:34 PM
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This year private excursions are pricier than ship excursions, d/t the value of the dollar and us only having 4 to split the expenses. we calculated carefully then decided to splurge anyway on some private tours . We thought the HAL excursions we booked were very reasonably priced and we paid in American dollars.. We are not interested in trying to find 2 more people to join private tours. The best value in private tours appeared to be for 6 people . we fully expect the private tours to be great.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 05:40 AM
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I still think Hilda is working for the cruise line to kill the common idea that ship's excursions are over priced and under served. But lets make sure we are comparing apples to apples. Comparing a bus excursion of 30 to 50 to a private guide is not the same. But for three or four people a private guide may not be any more expensive. BUT -- apples to apples -- Hidla brought up HAL where will be in three weeks. An example -- a four hour tour of Ephesus offer by HAL is $101. This will be a tour bus of 30 to 50 people and probably more than one bus going to the same places. At least that is our prior experience. We have booked a private excusion with a recommended local company using a van limited to 8 people going to the same places for 50E ($68). For two people that is a savings of $66 and should be a much better and relaxing tour. Even with the weaker dollar it is still a better deal.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 06:59 AM
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I have to agree with fmpden.

I have never taken a ship tour but Ihave checked them out thoroughly.

I also was on a private tour of Ephesus Turkey.

There were six of us in a private van.

Not only is it more informative to have the tour guide right next to you but you can alter a plan at the spur of the moment.

I would even pay more (than the ship tour) to have a private tour guide.
My opinion only.
Percy
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Old May 14th, 2007, 12:59 PM
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Rome from Civitavecchia is very easy by public transport, take a cab from ship to Railway station about 10 euros then take the train to Rome, about 1 hour and 20 euros return, this ticket includes free travel on buses and underground train in Rome.

Total cost about 160 euros against probable 1000 euros by the ships organised tour, use cabs in Rome to save time where necessary.
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Old May 15th, 2007, 11:34 AM
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thanks 4 sharing all the valuable experiences! I will be better equipped thanks to all your input. We are traveling 4 adults 1-12yr, 2-8yrs, that makes 7 in our group. sounds like this is a perfect bunch to make up our own tours and save $$ & euros. Rome has been my biggest challenge to plan. I really want to do it right. Especially 4 my home schooled kids, who have worked hard in their studies of ancient Rome. Now steping into history, WOW! I don't think the kids would enjoy Rome's museum marathon, but we want to see the sistine, the colosseum, trevi, & spanish steps area. For a price example,the ship offers Rome on your own=$79A/$59C. then hi-lights of Rome-colosseum, arch of Const., scenic drive thru "Eternal City" & Vatican city-Sistine, St.peter's & Vatican museum=$189A/$139C. some things seem to be high like $79 for trans port into the city, but the guided tour"highlights" seems reasonable. Just entrance into the sistine will cost us E21.50A/17.50C. Any thoughts?
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Old May 15th, 2007, 04:27 PM
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I definitely do not work for a cruise line. I book both ship and private tours. Just sharing my most recent experience the ship tours were a little less expensive than the private tours we booked for 4 people. We will also have to pay admissions separate from the private tour guide fee and 2 of our guides are handing us off to museum guides which we will pay separately for. The math worked out best for 6 people, we only have 4. It is an apples and oranges comparison as someone said. We expect our private tours to be better and will pay the extra.
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Old May 16th, 2007, 03:32 AM
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It looks like you are doing your homework. We are doing a mixture of ship tours and independent ( on our own with our tour book ) as well as local tours. we did this on our last cruise and were fairly pleased. In my opinion you should look at several factors:
1. How long will you be in port - we have one port where we are there for 1/2 day and so will do ship cruise so as not to have issues getting back to ship. That great suggestion came from a very experienced cruiser on Cruise Critic.
2. What is offered on the tour - regardless of who offers it - the words "you will see" - may mean a drive by - fine if that is all you want - but take in to consideration.
3. intro tours. - In most ports you are there for the entire day so you can take some kind of tour for part of the time and leave some time for wandering.
4. Where does ship dock - best answer for that is portreveiws.com - excellent source - tells you where the ships dock or if they tender - all which must be considered in your time frames, how far it is to the actual city and other good bits of information - one they said to be aware of is the taxi drivers in Athens - see site for details - has to do with them collecting money from youmore than once.

Good luck - do your homework and you will be fine. To those of you who have never taken a tour from a ship - how can you judge and for those who are picking on Hilda - give it a break - everyone is entitled to an opinion. I think the money issue is valid. one of my friends is doing a private van tour on one of the islands and had to do a deposit - would not accept crfedit card - long story short- by the time she was finished there was an additional cost of 30 euros to get the money transfer of 50 euros - an unexpected cost.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 05:44 AM
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thank u! did u mean portreviews.com? I tried portreveiws.com w// no luck. help!
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