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Mediterranean shore excursions from Ruby Princess

Mediterranean shore excursions from Ruby Princess

Old Jan 1st, 2010, 12:40 PM
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Mediterranean shore excursions from Ruby Princess

Taking a 12 nite Mediterranean cruise in July 2010 with my wife and 2 teen daughters on the Ruby Princess. Can anyone recommend which of the ships shore excursions we should take at each port? Ports include Monaco, Naples, Athens, Mykonos, Rome, Venice, Istanbul, Kudasi, and Livorno. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
travelnut4005 is offline  
Old Jan 1st, 2010, 10:16 PM
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My first recommendation is not to do any ship excursions. With four people, and some good homework you can arrange you own excursions which probably will be a better experience at a much lower cost to you.

Second,since no one knows what excursions are offered, it is hard to recommend any excursions. A nearly impossible question.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2010, 12:57 PM
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I agree completely with fmpden on the ship's excursions. More expensive and not as good quality as arranging your own has been my experience. You don't say how long you have in each port. Makes a big difference on what we can recommend.

I'll address the ones I have visited:

Mykonos - we found it very easy to just walk the town up to the windmills and do on your own.

Athens - we used a taxi with a driver for just my husband and myself and did a full day tour of Athens and even went out to the Cape. Very enjoyable day and I highly recommend them. E-mail [email protected]

Venice - another do it yourself port. It is so easy to walk around on your own and take a vaporatta (sp?) down the grand canel.

Istanbul - We used a private tour company here too and they were excellent. Tailored what we wanted to see and arranged everything my e-mail. http://www.transbalkan.net/

Kusadai - We used Ekol Travel - www.ekoltravel.com and did a five hour tour of Ephesus. Excellent

We headed for Monaco and Livorno in Aug 10. Right now our plans are to go to Nice from Monaco - we have a large amount of time in port. In Livorno we are renting a car and going to Pisa and Lucca.

If you want more info, click on my user i.d. and e-mail me.
patandhank is offline  
Old Jan 2nd, 2010, 02:15 PM
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Hi tn,

>Ports include Monaco, Naples, Athens, Mykonos, Rome, Venice, Istanbul, Kudasi, and Livorno. <

No need to take the ships cruises, at least for:

Naples, you will be in Naples - (1)
Athens - you will arrive in Piraeus. Taxi fare to downtown Athens is about 12E. (1)
Rome - you arrive in Civitavecchia. It's aboout 1 km from the docks to the train station - about 1 hr to Rome. (1)
Venice - you will be in the city. (1)
Kusadasi - most folks go to Ephesus.
Check out http://ephesustours.biz/ephesustours...urs_cruise.htm
Livorno is the port for Florence. Train station is about 1 km from the docks.

A DAY IN FLORENCE:

Train to Florence SMN:
The Luggage Office is to your left as you leave the train.

From Piazza d' Stazione, walk up via Nazionale to via d'Ariento and the Mercato Centrale, wander through.

Take any street going NE to Via Degli Alfani and go right to the Accademia for The David.

Take via Ricasoli SE to the Duomo, the Baptistry and the Opera Museum (Originals of the bronzes on the doors)

From the Campanile, take via Calzaiuoli S (do some window shopping) to the Piazza d' Signoria. Look around, take a break.

Continue S to the Uffizi. Visit.

From the Uffizi, walk W along the Arno River to the Ponte Vecchio.

(You can walk up to the Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens if there is time. Great views of Florence from the top of the Gardens)

If you have time, walk E along the S bank of the river to Ponte alle grazie and cross over to visit Santa Croce.

If not, go W along the Arno from Ponte Vecchio to Ponte S. Trinita and go right. Go left on Via d'Spada to via d'Fossi and go right to Santa Maria Novella. Look around.

SMN is across the square from the train station.

If you have time, take the no. 7 bus (you can find it at the SMN train station) up to Fiesole (0:20 hr 1E) to watch the sunset from the terrace of the Bar Bleu.

Be sure to have lots of gelato (in a cup, not a cone), take some wine breaks and a light lunch.

Train schedules, prices and tickets are at http://www.trenitalia.com/en/index.html
Call center from outside Italy is 39-06-68475475

Bus routes are at http://www.ataf.net/
Buy your ticket before you get on the bus. Stamp it in the yellow box on the bus.

Uffizi and Academia Museum Reservations
You can purchase tickets online at http://www.polomuseale.firenze.it/english/musei/uffizi/
Or call the museum booking line on +39 055 294883, open during Italian hours from 8.15 am to 5.50 pm Tuesday to Sunday for the English-speaking operator.

Have a nice trip.



(1) check it out under "Destinations"
ira is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2010, 01:07 PM
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Just a general observation about which line to choose: if your interested in high end luxury book on high end ships at their lowest rates. If you're looking for economy, book on a mid-range line and go for the cheaper decks.

I've seen lots of complaints from people who booked the luxury suites on mid-range cruiselines, but never a complaint from someone who books on a upper price range line.

If I could afford it I'd book Oceania. On my budget I've been happy with NCL. Celebrity is a little more expensive than NCL but I'm not sure if I found it to be worth the extra cost to me.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2010, 01:08 PM
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OOps - meant above post for a different thread - sorry!
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Old Jan 3rd, 2010, 06:42 PM
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I agree with patandhank and the other

Mykonos ....take the shuttle bus into town and just walk around.

Naples :.... Take are lot of nice taxi/guide driverright by the cruise ship.
You will need one if you want to go down the Almafi Coast(gorgeous drive) and also to Pompeii.

Athens: yes, get a taxi driver and see the Acropolis first and then have him tour you to all the other major sites.
he will know the best places.

Venice .. you can walk around on your own see the main places and take a Gondola ride.

For Ephesus and Istanbul you can get the same tour company for both, as patandhank have mentioned,www.elkotravel .com is good.

Livorno personally I would tahe a taxi/guide into Livorno and have him take you to all the places tourist want to see..
then
on the way back to the cruise ship , leave as little earlier and have the driver take you to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

If you get a ticket ahead of time , you can climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
and don't forget you have to get back to the cruise ship on time.

Rome is 53 miles from where the cruise ship docks.
If you want to mamimize your time ,get a taxi driver,( also if you book with anyone over the Internet, ask if he can get tickets for you ahead of time for some of the places, he will know the places.)

Having someone take you from point A to point B will reduce your own travel time ....plus there is that nagging feeling when you are a long ways away from the cruise ship.....

the driver/guide will know when to head back.

A tour guide is more expensive and not really needed in many places.

A taxi driver/guide can point out many of the places and tell you about each one ,BUT he cannot be a tour guide because of Italian law.

There will be line ups for the Vatican,but it goes quickly.

I had tickets ahead of time for David in Florence ( Livorno)
and for the leaning tower of Pisa,and for two museums one in Rome and one in Florence.
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Old Nov 18th, 2010, 09:02 AM
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We are booked on the same cruise in June 2011. What did you end up doing? Any other recommendations?
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Old Dec 6th, 2010, 11:57 AM
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We took this same cruise in September 2010 and booked an inside cabin on the Ruby Princess. The deck plan indicated a blank space above our cabin. As it turned out, it was a galley kitchen and we heard banging above us at all hours of the night and morning. We never got a good night's sleep. It was so bad Princess gave us a $400 credit for the inconvenience. Never again. Always check what is going to be above you on a cruise ship. Don't trust a blank space or any public area.

We arrived a day early in Venice and should have given ourselves two days. Get tickets ahead of time for the attractions in St. Mark's square which is mobbed when the ships are in port. Walk the back streets behind the square for the real Venice. Lots of shops and little cafes. You can ride the water bus up the grand canal for 6.50E or buy a pass for the day or days. It is a great, cheap way to see Venice.

We took a lot of the ship's tours which were expensive, but we thought it was worth it. Normally, we take very few but this cruise was the exception. We talked to people who toured on their own in Rome and Istanbul and they didn't see half of what we saw. Remember, in Europe the tours bypass the long lines and get into the attractions first. You can waste a lot of time in line especially in those two cities. The wait to get into St. Peters in the Vatican was 1 & 1/2 hours. Our tour walked to the front of the line and went right in. Even if you have tickets in advance, you will still wait in line. The traffic coming out of Rome is extremely heavy. Just remember you won't be saving any money if you miss the ship.

You can take a taxi in Kushdashi to Ephesus which is only 5 miles from the dock. Buy a guide book once there for your own guided tour. Ask the taxi price before you go and make sure you can get back. Otherwise, there is a market right where the ship docs which was fun to shop around in.

Instead of going into Florence, we took a tour to the Cinque Terre, which was wonderful. It wasn't too crowded and we enjoyed a half mile walk on the famous path along the coast. One of the best places we visited.

In Naples, Pompeii is amazing. Skip going up Mt. Vesuvius as it was very hazy and we hardly saw anything.

We had an overnight stay in Barcelona so we took the tour from the ship. Well worth it. They dropped us back at the airport and walked us to the shuttle pickup to the hotel. Stayed at the Marriot airport which was very convenient.
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Old Apr 15th, 2011, 12:16 PM
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HI
My husband and are booked on this same cruise on June 9th.
So far I have only booked Aldo Limos on Naples because they came highly recommended to visit Pompeii, Positano and Sorrento. I hired a private car and driver for the whole day. I am sure they will be wonderful.
I am doing plenty of research in all shore excursions, and I have been in Barcelona, Monaco, Florence, Rome and Naples many times. I do know the places very well, but my husband has not, so I am trying to organize our visits as best as possible for him. I will write back and let you know what else I booked.

I am also searching for fellow travelers that would be interested in sharing the expenses of a private car with driver-guide in Rome and Florence because they tend to be a bit more expensive when only two people travel.

My husband and I are traveling alone and speak fluent English and Spanish.
If interested please write to [email protected]
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Old Apr 15th, 2011, 04:48 PM
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The OP took the trip in JULY 2010 -- you are responding to 16 month old question. Instead of hijacking this thread start your own. You will get better answers and make more sense.
fmpden is offline  
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