Notices

Sailing On A Vista

Reply

May 18th, 2016, 02:49 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,009
Sailing On A Vista

In a few days we will be boarding Carnival's latest offering for 10 days of “FUN” around the Mediterranean. Although we are having reservations about exploring our first port of call in Turkey we are definitely excited about all the other ones including Rhodes, Malta, Naples, Rome, Livorno, Marseilles and Barcelona.

This will be our first official Mediterranean cruise although we have previously done some sailing around the Greek Islands.

Feel free to past along any tips if you have visited any of these ports of call. I will try to share our experiences with a follow up trip report.
DMBTraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 18th, 2016, 03:24 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,687
Which port in Turkey?
Eschew is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 18th, 2016, 04:26 PM
  #3
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,009
Eschew,

Kusadasi, Turkey.. Originally we were going to stop in Izmir but it was cancelled for a "Day At Sea" then changed to Kusadasi.

We wanted to visit Ephesus and still can but not to sure about doing so with all the insanity that has recently been going on in Turkey.

Your thoughts?
DMBTraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 18th, 2016, 05:46 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 314
DBMT, I loved Rome, ride the tour bus. Turkey is somewhat scary. I was on the navy base and my cousin didn't do much in Naples. You are still going to some great ports.
tch912 is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 18th, 2016, 06:18 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,721
OMG, do not miss Ephesus! You will be nowhere near problem areas.
One cruise I picked was based just on one port being Ephesus. Fantastic one day port stop.
Ephesus is one of the best archeological sites I have ever seen. It is worth it just for the library, amphitheater and streets. Do see the terrace houses. I missed them and heard they were great! We just found a group of other people as we walked off the ship, got together and hired a van and driver on the spot for the day, about $15.00 pp. Even 4 or 5 people in a taxi would be cheaper than ship's tours.

Rhodes
Walk off ship and tour on your own, easy. Nice port stop for a day.

Naples, so much to see.
To see Pompeii, hop on the train from Naples. Easy and cheap. You might have time to go on to Sorrento for late lunch.
You could also visit Herculaneaum, much smaller site, quite beautiful and closer to Naples, so easier to visit.
You could take a tour of the Amalfi Coast (be sure it goes to Positano) or to Capri.

Rome.
So far from Port, if you have not been, and if sightseeing matters to you, suggest a tour to see the most in a day. IMHO, not a great port stop because it is far from port with too much to see for a day, but you can get a glimpse. Do try to walk a bit. Maybe get transport to and from the ship and book a local guide in Rome for walking. Expect long lines.

Livorno.
This port is also far from most places you want to see.
I am not crazy about tours, but it might be your best bet. You could go to Florence, Pisa and Lucca, Siena, or a wine country tour, depending on your interests. Hard choices. Some people do CT, but if you do, probably best as a ship's excursion because of timing,

Marseilles
1. Aix. Bus to Aix (takes about 30 minutes) absolutely lovely - right out of impressionist paintings. I went for a day from a cruise, was so smitten, I was in tears I had not been before. Beautiful boulevards, narrow winding streets with lovely squares filled with cafes and flower boxes. We returned for two weeks in Provence and stayed several days in an apartment in Aix. Aix center is small. You can see a lot in a day. Nice shopping for gifts, etc.
2. Arles. Take train, about an hour. 10 minute walk from train station to Arles center. Arles is kind of drab and gray, but has fantastic Roman ruins, including a colosseum that is still intact and in use for events! You can also see many places painted by Van Gogh. A note about that. Even though they were gray or tan, Van Gogh painted the cafes and buildings in bright colors. The have now painted some of the cafes to match his paintings. Arles center is small. You can see a lot in a day. Nice little shops for gifts, etc.
3. Marseilles. Friends who stayed thought there was plenty to see and enjoyed it. Pretty port and a new museum that is getting raves for the design of the building.

Barcelona
Be sure to see La Sagrada Familia (inside, not just outside!), Parc Guell if you can, and if you have time, Casa Mila (inside and on the roof!). Lots of other things, but enough for one day. There are busses, but our second trip there, we took a taxi to most things and walked. It cost a little more, but was easy and fast. Do not eat on Las Ramblas.
Sassafrass is online now  
Reply With Quote
May 18th, 2016, 06:33 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,721
An extra reassurance. I have been to Istanbul, Capaddocia, and Ephesus and would go again with any opportunity. Warm, friendly people, great sights, fantastic food! Honestly, I doubt there is any risk at Ephesus.
Naples gets a bad rep. I have been several times. It is a wonderful, vibrant city with good food, kind people, museums and sights nearby like Pompeii, Herculaneaum, Capri, the Amalfi Coast, etc. My only caution is don't be taken in by taxi prices at the port. They will ask twice what they should. There is a bus right from the port to the train station. Takes about 5 to 10 minutes. Of course, a taxi will and should cost more, but not be exorbitant. Just say you will take the bus instead. The price will drop.
Sassafrass is online now  
Reply With Quote
May 18th, 2016, 09:59 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,687
I think Sass had provided very good information already but here is my 2 cents worth, adding to what Sass had suggested.

Make sure you pay extra to see the terrace houses in Ephesus. Talk about luxury in the olden days! If time permits, also visit the St John Basilica ruin and the Mary house. You should have time to do all three. Right by the dock side is a bazaar, make sure you spend some time there and try the Turkish apple tea at one of the many cafes.

For Naples, most will go visit Pompeii, Capri, or the scenic drive through Amalfi coast. I personally prefer Herculean over Pomeii, but it will take longer to get there, and should be less crowded.

Rome as a cruise stop is tough as it takes about an hour to get there and an hour to get back. Not sure how much time you have there. There are so much to see there, with many sites totally free. Expect long line ups on all the destinations. If you want to see Vatican, make sure you get the skip the line tickets. Not that it matters as it will be crowded anyway unless you are there at 7 am in the morning, before the door opens for anyone else.

My suggestion for Rome would be do a private day tour through Rome Cab or Bob's Limo. You pick where you wanted to go and they'll take you there. You will be just "visiting" and won't have much time to really go in and see things though. If you have never been to Rome, it would be a good way to get a "sample" and decide where is worth a return detailed visit some other time.

We have been to Rome a couple of times and we will back there again this July. All previous visits were all at either the beginning or the end of a Med cruises, and stayed a few extra days. This time is no exception. We have booked the catacomb underground tour including San Clement.
They are not "A" list tourist destinations though.

If you end your cruise in Barcelona and have time to stay extra days, other than La Sagrada Familia, look into visiting Montserrat, Girona and Costa Brava if there is enough time.

Good luck and post a trip report when yo are done!
Eschew is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 19th, 2016, 12:25 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,035
Just one comment - taxi / cabs are very inexpensive in Barcelona, and a very easy way to get around particularly if you are going to Parc Guel or La Sagrada. With your limited time, it's not worth the hassle of dealing with unfamiliar trains or buses.
di2315 is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 19th, 2016, 06:32 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,090
Malta has a cottage industry in glass blowing which we found pretty cool and not too expensive. Then there is this.
http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/jesus-tree-malta
jacketwatch is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 19th, 2016, 06:40 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,754
DMB - We are right behind you on June 11 (the opposite itinerary). I have never been to any of the places/ports but here is what we have planned (1 grandma, me, 1 13 yo boy and 1 12 yo girl):

Barcelona : We are there for 5 full days and don't care about Gaudi (no judgement):
Parc Guell
Montjuic (castle, olympic sites, magic fountain)
beach time
self guided Rick Steves walks for La Rambla & Barri Gotic (will visit Sinagoga Mayor, cathedral & museu d'historia de la ciutat)
Parc de la Ciutadella
Sagrada Familia (just a look at the outside)
Montserrat

Marseille: I created a walking tour of sites in the old port area that interest us

Livorno: the only port where we book directly with Carnival for their Florence on your Own excursion. Pricey but the hassle of steps to get to Florence is not one I wanted. We will visit the Duomo area and sites, Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza Michelangelo

Civitavecchia: we booked a shared bus with Cruise Critic/FB roll call members for transportation only. We are going to spend the time at the Vatican Museums and St Peter's only (doing Rome post cruise so will hit the ancient stuff then)

Naples: DIY to Pompeii then back to Naples for pizza (a request of the kids)

Heraklion, Crete: booked a private excursion with CC/FB folks for horseback riding

Rhodes: Walking around old town and maybe the beach

Kusadasi: booked the group shuttle with Ephesus Shuttle that includes a guided tour of the site plus terrace house and a stop at the Temple of Artemission

Athens: DIY on the bus to Acropolis, Ancient Agora, Plaka and Syntagma Square

Rome: We will be here post cruise for 4 nights
Colosseum, Forum, Palatine Hill
Trevi Fountain
Spanish Steps
Pantheon
Largo Argentina (we are cat lovers)
Jewish Museum and Great Synagogue
several other basilicas
Borghese Gardens

Have a wonderful time and come back to let us know how you like Vista.
trvlgirlmq is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 19th, 2016, 07:58 AM
  #11
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,009
Wow.. Thanks for all the tips... I am now convinced we will do Ephesus

We plan car rentals in Naples, Rome and Livorno for some self guide touring and will use your helpful info.

Marseille: We thought about a walking tour or bike rentals.

So excited.. We leave today to spend a few days in Cyprus before beginning the adventure in Athens.
DMBTraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 19th, 2016, 08:00 AM
  #12
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,009
trvlgirlmq,

Can you provide me more info on who you booked your Ephesus tour with.. Thanks
DMBTraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 19th, 2016, 08:05 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,754
Sure. www.ephesusshuttle.com

If you look on the left side of the webpage they have private tours listed and then Group Tours. We booked the group tour because they are guaranteed no matter how many people join and have a max of 20 people.
trvlgirlmq is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 19th, 2016, 08:06 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,090
We used "Hello Ephesus" and it was just fine. If you contact then see if you can get Oya Oran who freelances for them. We used her twice and she is terrific. She speaks great English and is s walking historian about this region.
jacketwatch is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 19th, 2016, 10:02 AM
  #15
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,721
Depending on where you plan to go, renting a car in Naples is generally not a good idea. Roads on the AC are winding, curvy, high on cliffs and can be very slow. The driver cannot be looking at the dramatic landscape, unless you are stopped in traffic. Being caught in traffic returning to port could be problematic. Travel by train is fast and easy to Pompeii, Herculaneum and Sorrento. Travel by ferry is beautiful. Make sure to have accurate schedules. Really does depend on your itinerary for that day. There are busses too. I did that only once and hated it, so can't recommend.

Are you actually going into Rome or Florence? If so, be aware of the ZTL zones where driving is not permitted except with special permits. You don't want big fines later. Car is great for country areas outside Florence, but not in either city.
Sassafrass is online now  
Reply With Quote
May 19th, 2016, 02:15 PM
  #16
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,009
Good info.... Thanks so much..
DMBTraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 19th, 2016, 04:09 PM
  #17
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,090
If you are interested Oya took us to this fab place for lunch. Its all Turkish home made food and there had to be at least 20 selections to choose from an all for around $10.00. I was amazed.
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaura...ean_Coast.html
jacketwatch is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 19th, 2016, 04:10 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,090
Sorry I should have said its near Ephesus.
jacketwatch is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 20th, 2016, 01:13 AM
  #19
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,009
JW...Thanks for lunch tip.. Just sent request to Ephesus Shuttle. Jesus Tree in Malta looks cool.. Kind of stuff we like to check out..
DMBTraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 20th, 2016, 01:20 AM
  #20
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,009
Sassafrass,

Yes.. Thinking about going into Florence and Rome. Drove in Italy before but appreciate heads up about "Special Zones". With ports so far away we thought car would add some flexibility although will probably take your advice and do train in Naples.

Been to Rome before.. so more interested in countryside. May be taking public transportation from outside city maybe a plan.
DMBTraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:44 PM.