Pisa/Florence and Naples/Pompeii questions

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Jul 12th, 2017, 08:26 PM
  #1
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Pisa/Florence and Naples/Pompeii questions

Hey everyone,
I posted this in the Italy forum, but figured I would try here, too. I just booked a two-week trip to Italy for August. It'll be my first time there and I'm traveling solo. Can't wait to go. Anyway, one week will be spent on a cruise. Two of the stops are Livorno and Naples, and I have a couple of questions.

-- For Livorno, I would like to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa (not just snap a picture) and spend time in Naples if possible. Is it realistic to do both on my own by taking the train? Or would I need to choose one over the other? The ship's tours are pretty expensive. The one that goes to Pisa and Florence basically stops near the Leaning Tower for like a 15-minute photo op and then heads onto Florence. There is also a four-hour Pisa-only tour in which you can climb the tower. I've also looked at a local tour company recommended by Fodors, and the options are similar.

_ For Naples, a similar sort of question. If I take the train to Pompeii, will I have time to visit the ruins and then grab some pizza in Naples before heading back to the ship? The ship has a five-hour Pompeii excursion for $129. That would get me back around 1:30, which would give me time to head into town. But I'm wondering if I would be better off going on my own or if there are good cheaper options with a local company.

At both stops the ship docks at 7 a.m. and leaves at 7 p.m. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Jul 13th, 2017, 05:24 AM
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You might look for a copy of Rick Steves' "Mediterranean Cruise Ports". He covers how to do independent sightseeing in cruise ports in considerable detail.
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Jul 13th, 2017, 09:46 AM
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For Livorno-- you can do Pisa from Livorno by train, make reservations if you want to go up the Tower; otherwise pay a tour company to arrange it. Then, for 9€ get on the train and head out to Florence, you will perhaps have enough time to shot a couple of pics at some of the Piazzas and had back to the ship, which is not really close to neither Florence nor Pisa. I have done it independently and had to hustled to get back in the ship on time. Forget about Naples from Livorno (that MUST have been a typo, right?).

For Naples-- plenty time to get on the R2 Bus to Napoli Centrale Station, go downstairs and get on the Circumvesuviana Line, direction Sorrento, get off the station Pompeii Scavi, pretty close to the door to the ruins. Have cash on hand, no credit card on ticket booth, explore Pompeii, do same reverse, plenty time to have pizza as cruise terminal is very close to bus lines, etc....
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Jul 14th, 2017, 06:47 AM
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For Pisa and Florence, your best option is to do a customized private tour. Just remember that it is quite a distance from the dock. Just be aware that even if you bought front of the line ticket to see David, you still have to line up for almost half hour.

I like Herculean more than Pompeii and both worth a visit. Again, book a private tour to maximize your time in port. The town is interesting and very walk-able.
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Jul 15th, 2017, 04:05 AM
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Join cruisecritic.com and find the roll call for your cruise. There are other roll calls on Facebook and other sites and fewer people join them now a days, but you can sometimes find people who have already put a private tour together and are looking for other people to join them or will let you join them if they still have room. We have done that many times. It was always great.
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Jul 16th, 2017, 12:29 PM
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One caution about joining others private tour: just make they stop at places that you wanted to stop and the pace is at a pace you are comfortable with. Whoever organizes and book the private controls everything.

I am gong to say something that is going to sound terrible and not politically correct. There might be people on the private tour group that you don't like or get along, or they keep a pace that is totally different from yours. You are stuck with them as private tour are typically small and there is no getting away.

Example: If you need frequent bathroom breaks or need walking aid or move slow, you shouldn't join a group that is going to be very fast paced. At St Petersburg, our group made at least 4 extra attraction stops over 2 days compare to other groups. We also skipped a sit down lunch (ate boxed lunch sandwich one day), everyone is on time and not waste a lot of time waiting for people who have no respect for other people's time. We even ran (as a group) to catch a subway train (an impromptu add), and walked longer distance so we don't have to fight with tour buses at parking lots to drop off.
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Jul 18th, 2017, 07:05 PM
  #7
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Thanks for all the suggestions.
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Jul 20th, 2017, 04:57 PM
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Very specific info:

Naples--exit cruise area and directly across the street is a newspaper kiosk. Buy bus tickets for bus to train station. You'll then cross the street again and take the bus to the train station.

Check trenitalia or rome2rio.com for train times RT so you can plan your excursion and still have time for pizza. You could also consider walking back from the station hitting sites on the way back to the port. I would say at least 2-3 hours on site. New areas open periodically so check the website for updates.

Livorno: the way out of the port is by taxi or ship's bus only, both to the train station. There is no pedestrian way out of the port. You must buy the bus ticket on board the ship. The bus leaves when bus is full and we found it very tight in regard to the train schedule, so had to take a taxi. To do Pisa/Florence you will need to check the train schedule and as you are leaving next month, that should be fairly easy.

I have a problem with people's voices, so joining a group w/o prior acquaintance, posses a potential problem for me. A short taxi ride-OK, a hours long tour, no, so really consider what you would like to do and who to be with.
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