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prebook shore excusions or get one upon docking in europe?

prebook shore excusions or get one upon docking in europe?

Jun 13th, 2007, 09:31 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 487
prebook shore excusions or get one upon docking in europe?

Hello all,

My family and I are going on the Celebrity Millenium for a 12 day European cruise. I looked up private guided tours of Florence and Rome and thought the price was pretty steep (550 euros/4 people). I was wondering if anyone has any experience getting a private guide for these cities upon docking? Is it cheaper?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
africatravel is offline  
Jun 13th, 2007, 10:48 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 94

There are several companies that offer shore excursions from cruise ships that are often 25-50% of the cost of cruise ship excursions. These excursions are very similar, but are often longer and more reasonably priced. The cruise lines make a lot of their money on their shore excursion programs.

You don't have to do a pre-set guided tour of Florence or Rome. The private guided tours are created as an option, but you can work with them to create your own, based on your preferred length of tour, your interests and preferences. The price also depends on what type of vehicle the company is using for your group.

There are lots of shore excursions options that can be arranged prior to your departure. The pier areas are often filled with tour guides that are not reputable, don't have insurance, reliable vehicles, etc. I wouldn't recommend that option.

Best Regards,
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Julia_E is offline  
Jun 13th, 2007, 01:03 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,022
go to the slowtravel.com message boards type in guide\tours or what you want there are zillions of tour operators in Rome and Florence from quite reasonable to higher than the ships tours. With a little homework you can save some bucko's.
JoanneH is offline  
Jun 13th, 2007, 04:07 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 559
We've been on numerous cruises, the latest the last of May, Western Mediterranean on HA Westerdam. We saw several SUVs, larger cars at most of the docks and they were awaiting people from our cruise ships(we also saw rental cars with company reps)...I do think it could be a great idea if the budget permits. At least you could move along alot more quickly, seeing more or skipping places that are too crowded or not of interest. I actually think you wouldn't waste as much time and the smaller cars could get you closer to the places you want to see. Our buses had to park quite aways from various areas and we had LOADS of walking everywhere.
desertduds is offline  
Jun 14th, 2007, 12:46 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Most tours are reserved in advance, you will not find many tours offered at the docks.
Apart from some taxi-drivers that are willing to drive you around. Make up the rate first, check how his english is and donot forget a cabidriver is NO guide, so you might miss some good information.
Ida101 is offline  
Jun 18th, 2007, 10:15 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 10,085
That's a pretty typical price for a private driver and tour in either Rome or Florence. You need to realize that in each case you are well over an hour's drive from the city when you dock, and you are doing a full-day tour. With gas at $6+ per gallon in Europe, do the math. You will do much, much better if you do your own tour in Rome; you don't really need a guide and driver unless someone can't walk well. Rome is very easy to get around, and the train is relatively inexpensive and takes less time than a car into town.

In Florence, you have fewer options, but consider going to Pisa or into Tuscany from Livorno rather than into Florence itself. This might be cheaper, but you are still going to pay a premium price for a full day's tour with a car and driver in any European port.
doug_stallings is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 11:16 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 13
Speaking from experience on cruises I dont know your itinerary for the cruise but one point worth mentioning is that if you pre-book the ship's tours the people booked on these trips get off the ship first if it is by tender.
smudger43 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 01:15 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,598
<<if you pre-book the ship's tours the people booked on these trips get off the ship first if it is by tender.>>

How much longer does it take if you book a private tour? There will be six of us traveling together so it is considerably less to book a private tour than to pay individually for the ship's excursion.

When the ship is in port (Livorno, Civit.) how long does it take to disembark?

Thank you.
Luisah is offline  
Jun 29th, 2007, 08:02 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 141
Just back from a month in Europe which included a 10 day cruise in which we did some ports on our own, some with the cruise ship, and some independent. This is something that I have not seen suggested to date. While we were doing our independent travels we usually did an on off bus tour to get acquainted with the area - in Rome and Florence - we rode the entire round before choosing our first jumping off point. That way we had a feel of the area - took some great photos and saw the crowd levels in different places. This may be a reasonable way to see both cities if you combine the ships transfer to the city - then all you have to do it be back to the transfer at the correct time and then your day is free. With four people you must have diverse tastes and the expense for the group could be considerable less. The bus stopped at all of the major sites every 20 - 40 minutes depending on the line and one even gave a discount if you used the same line in the next city. The price was about 22 Eu per person and the transfers were usually pretty reasonable. I found that in both Rome and Florence the crowds were immense in some areas but changed with the day. We saw Florence in a day and spent time in the Duomo museum ( no lines there and very interesting ). The line for Duomo was kind of long but only took 10 minutes to get in. We were in Rome 4 days but used the bus for one and loved it. On the other days we walked with no problems. Since both of the ports are not close to the cities , that would be the biggest concern for me - making sure I made it back to the ship- do not know the rules with using just the transfers - you would want to check that out - but it may be something to consider in order to cover that ship needs to wait for me agenda. On the other hand we liked all of our ship tours and in many case HAL trips were not any more expensive than some of the independent that I considered. Your biggest issues would be that there are four of you - there were only two of us so private was pricey. Good luck and enjoy. Europe was great - save time to sit back and savor the experience - have a beer - Italian is good, sip some wine - cheap and good -and do not miss out on the Limoncello liquor-yum. I also admit that the gelato is to die for - nothing here like it - don't look at the price - just close your eyes and savor. Oh yes - if you are going to Greece try out the liquor which is made from Cumquots- finally a use for those funny little fruits!
bcirish is offline  
Jul 1st, 2007, 05:36 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 136
I have a similar question concerning my Ocober Eastern Europe cruise. Our ports are Athens, Ephesus (Turkey), Santorini and Mykonos. We are traveling with another couple and would like to book private tours in Athens and Ephesus both to save money and avoid the large tourbus scene, but I'm having trouble finding sources to book private tours in these places. Any suggestions?
cherikm is offline  

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