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Amalfi honeymoon in August - OK or not OK?

Amalfi honeymoon in August - OK or not OK?

Jan 28th, 2009, 12:17 PM
  #21  
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Cheryllj: I know, September would be ideal, it's my birthday then too! But we are planning on moving apartments then, and I am also trying to take off from work in one huge chunk (wedding + honeymoon). We're thinking of going from July 29 - August 7th, and are just hoping for the best. I think we are set on splitting between Positano and Capri, so thanks for seconding that!

Eksrunchy: That is a much better price, but we do actually want someone who speaks English and can give some commentary on the areas. Neither of us speak a word of Italian.
Suzy_Q is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 12:41 PM
  #22  
 
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If budget is an issue, I would use the lovely bus service from Naples Airport. It goes at least as far as Sorrento as we took it there. Nice Greyhound style buses, easy to find outside the Naples airport, I think it was 6 euros per person. They put the luggage in storage compartments under the bus. You can check on bus or taxi from there to Positano. We took one day more like a city bus from Sorrento to Positano which was easy enough. Then you can use buses or ferrys to get around the coast. Or if you want to splurge hire a driver for a day of sightseeing rather than for your basic transportation from the airport.
laurie_ann is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 01:41 PM
  #23  
 
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Suzy Q -

Just a PS regarding Francesco. He speaks English very well (but charmingly says he doesn't and that he learned from watching MTVs) and flirted with every young woman we passed in the towns along the AC - as well as with our wives. Go figure why they thought about kidnapping him.

He cannot be your guide in Pompeii. Guides there are licensed specifically for Pompeii. Francesco speaks English very well (as do other private drivers recommended by others here on Fodors) and did arrange a guide for us in Pompeii (get Enzo if you can and if he's still among the living - you'll think at first he's your grandpa but then realize he's really a charming Lothario). As I recall for a private guide for Pompeii we paid on the order of 50 €.

And you certainly can take a bus from Naples to Sorrento and then a different bus (SITA) to Positano and other AC towns. However, it will be crowded, not particularly well AC-ed, and you "may not" get your first choice in seating. If you can afford a private driver/limo who speaks English on your honeymoon, it will/would enhance your experience I think.

Happy Marraige!

Sam
knoxvillecouple is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 01:47 PM
  #24  
 
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Another budget choice for transportation from Naples to Positano that might be more pleasant than a bus: The Metro del Mare runs directly from the port in Naples (Molo Beverello?) directly to the dock in Positano. It stops once or twice, but it's a pretty quick trip and a lovely way to see the coast from the water.

IIRC, it was something like 12 euros when we did it a couple of years ago (I may be wrong but it wasn't that much).
cheryllj is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 02:10 PM
  #25  
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I think we're going to splurge for the driver for the airport transfer, just to be safe, and because of when we're going (temperature wise)

Sam, we're not even sure we'll do Pompeii, so for just touring the coastal towns, Francesco may be good - I will contact him.

One more question for you all: We're flying into and out of Naples. What order should we do the trip. Positano, then Capri , or the other way around. And why?
Suzy_Q is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 02:27 PM
  #26  
 
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Unless you plan on seeing some out of the way towns on the AC, I wouldn't spend the money on a driver, especially in August, because traffic can be absolutely terrible and you can wind up inching along the Amalfi Drive and not having time to see and do what you had planned on. If you want to splurge, hire a boat with captain to take you up and down the coast. You can visit the Grotta Esmeralda and stop in at some beaches or just anchor and swim offshore. I think the Go family did this so you may want to look at their trip report. I like taking the hydrofoil between Positano and Amalfi. It's 15 minutes, pretty cheap, and great scenery. From Amalfi, you can take a bus up to Ravello, or spulge on a taxi (around 30 Euro).
Grinisa is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 02:39 PM
  #27  
 
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Anywhere along the Amafi or Positano coast will be great in August, but do get a room with a terrace view and 24hr air conditioning... Dress lite, walk slowly and soak in an unforgetable experience...
LBev769375 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 02:46 PM
  #28  
 
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Suzy Q -

Grinisa makes a valid point about the traffic congestion that time of year on the AC. I know I certainly would never drive it myself, and you would need to be prepared for going more slowly than you'd like at some points during the day. The professional drivers, however, are professional and will do their best to get you around the congestion (perhaps sometimes scaring the p*** out of you?), and the good ones will keep you entertained during the day.

Our "only" boat rides were from Positano to Capri and then Capri to Naples at the end of our trip. But you can take various hydrofoils/ferries up and down the AC and to and from Capri. Probably more relaxing! And although we went to Ravello with our driver, I knew in advance that you could take the bus from Positano. I assume that it takes only 20 minutes in congested traffic.

As far as which place when? One thing you might consider is checking out the schedule of cruise ships in Naples and Sorrento while you're in the area. Unfortunately, both places WILL be more crowded during the daylight hours due to the visiting hordes from the larger ships. I believe only a few smaller ships stay overnight (in Sorrento I think) so that limits the number of cruisers in these places after 4:30 or so. And once those people leave, the towns are really different. In fact, Capri is a totally different place - really enchanting. cruisecal.com provides a mechanism to find out when ships will be in different ports, and with a little more digging you can figure out which ones are the mega-cruisers disgorging thousands of passengers.

Our order was Positano first, then Capri. Capri didn't seem quite as hectic, although even Positano wasn't really hectic. It's just that both places ARE tourist magnets for Italians as well as the rest of us, so they can't be totally avoided.

By the way, our second time in Naples and the AC, we were among those thousands, but we decided to use a private driver a second time as well (sister and daughter joined us this time and they hadn't seen any of it before).

Hope this helps.

Sam
knoxvillecouple is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 02:53 PM
  #29  
 
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Actually, our taxi ride from Amalfi up to Ravello took almost 20 minutes with NO traffic. Very winding and slow road. I've driven the route from Positano to Amalfi a couple of times. With no traffic, it takes about 25 minutes. One Sunday afteroon at the end of July, it took 2 hours. If you hire a driver, do it on a weekday.
Grinisa is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 11:50 AM
  #30  
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Ok so you guys are saying, don't hire a driver to see Amalfi and Sorrento when we are staying in Positano? Just use a ferry/hydrofoil and then walk around?

But it is still a good idea to use a hired driver for the airport to the Positano hotel? If we stay in Capri last and take a boat to Naples for the flight back, can we easily catch a taxi to the airport? Or should we hire the driver for that too?

We don't mind spending the money for a driver for both the airport transfers and 1 day in Amalfi, but if the traffic is so bad that it doesn't make sense, then of course we will use the water option. Want to make the most of our time. We spend enough time in traffic in NY.

Great tip about cruisecal.com. We will check that out, thanks!
Suzy_Q is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 12:04 PM
  #31  
 
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Right--take the bus or ferry from Positano to Amalfi and walk around. It would be quite a waste of money to hire a driver for that, as the center of Amalfi, which consists of only a few streets and covered walkways, is not open to through traffic.

Hire a driver from the airport to your hotel; get a taxi from the Naples dock to the airport.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 12:18 PM
  #32  
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Thank you. You may have saved us a lot of money. I decided to use this board after initially working with an agent who quoted us something ridiculous, which included drivers for everything because she insisted it was a must.

So I went on some cruise calendars but the schedules for July/Aug are not up yet. Basically, for the order of the trip, - which to do first: Positano vs. Capri - really depends on where we want to spend a full weekend (because that's how the dates work out). IYO, where do you think the weekend nights are better? Capri or Positano?

Suzy_Q is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 01:26 PM
  #33  
 
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Every place will be so packed at that time of year, I don't think it will matter much. On weekends you will have the long-stay tourists AND the local day trippers.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 05:30 PM
  #34  
 
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Let's see -

1. I agree - no absolute need for a driver when you're IN Positano. We found it helpful because Francesco also took us to Pompeii and arranged a very nice tour guide there, but if you're not going to Pompeii, no need. You can get to Ravello on the bus.

2. Yes, do get a driver Naples airport to Positano and something (driver or taxi) from ferry to airport after Capri. When I told Francesco our plans after Positano (i.e., 2 nights on Capri, back to train station to go back to Rome), he offered to pick us up at the ferry and get us to the train station. We fit his schedule - and it was 20 € as I recall. He had some concern, I think, about 4 middle-aged Americans with LOTS of luggage getting a cab to the train station. Once he got us to the train station, he also helped us with our bags into the station, found us a waiting room where we had our picnic (wine, cheese, salami, bread) before our train arrived. He was very protective towards us. We appreciated it. The women loved it!

3. I'm surprised that cruiscal isn't showing your dates - I thought I even looked them up - oh well. Given ekscrunchy's comments about the weekend, I'd vote to be in Positano then, not Capri. You have daytrippers in both places, but my feeling is that Capri changed much more "after dark" than Positano. Both were less crowded then, but Capri seemed like a very well-heeled village then. I recall we sat at one of the outdoor bars on the piazetta after dinner one night and it was just magical. Of course, the lemoncello and grappa may have had something to do with it. Of course after I let one of the friendly puppies have some of our nibbles and a second one appeared and a dog fight ensued practically in our lap, it wasn't quite so romantic but it was certainly hilarious. The waiter, dressed in his finery, didn't find it quite as amusing.

If you guys have half as much fun on your honeymoon as we did there for our 30th anniversary, you'll have a blast!

Sam
knoxvillecouple is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 07:25 PM
  #35  
 
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Suzy Q - I don't know why you couldn't get the cruise ship schedule info. Here it is from cruisecal.com regarding your dates. The first table is for the Port of Naples; the second is for the Port of Sorrento. I got the number of passengers for each ship from standard sources. Note that passengers will be getting out of Positano or Capri at least a couple of hours before ships scheduled to depart, so they won't be around you nearly as late as this table makes it look.

Naples

Date Ship Passengers Arrive Depart
7-29 Norwegian Gem 2800 8:00 AM 7:00 PM
7-31 RCL Bllnce of Seas 3360 7:00 AM 7:00 PM
7-31 MSC Sinfonia 2087 10:00 AM 6:00 PM
8-3 MSC Fantasia 3959 11:00 AM 7:00 PM
8-4 RCLV'ger of Seas 3844 7:00 AM 7:00 PM
8-5 Norwegian Gem 2800 8:00 AM 7:00 PM
8-6 RCL llnce of Seas 3360 7:00 AM 7:00 PM
8-6 Celeb Soltice 2852 7:00 AM 6:00 PM
8-7 MSC Sinfonia 2087 10:00 AM 6:00 PM
8-7 HAL Oosterdam 2400 9:00 AM 6:00 PM
8-7 Prns Ruby Princess 3120 7:00 AM 6:00 PM

Sorrento

Date Ship Passengers Arrive Depart
7-31 Oceania Insignia 702 8:00 AM 11:30 PM
8-4 Azamara Quest 710 7:00 AM overnight
8-5 Azamara Quest 710 6:00 PM
8-5 MSC Rhapsody 812 1:30 PM 6:30 PM
8-5 Regent 7 Seas Nav. 490 8:00 AM 6:00 PM
8-7 Seabourn Spirit 212 8:00 AM 6:00 PM


Sam

knoxvillecouple is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 08:25 PM
  #36  
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Sam, thank you so much. You have really been a great help. I don't know why I couldn't find the calendar. I wrote to Francesco and he replied within 3 hours! He seems like a great guy. I hope when we finalize our days, he's available.

I finally showed my fiancee what I have been up to the last few days and he is really impressed with everyone's knowledge and willingness to help here.

Ok, time to start booking. I will keep you all posted.

Thank you everyone again.
Suzy_Q is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 01:59 PM
  #37  
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We booked our flight and hotels! Here's the trip:
1. Fly July 28 to arrive on July 29 in Naples: Transfer to Capri
2. July 29 - Aug 2: Capri at La Minerva Hotel
3. Aug 2 - August 7: Positano at Le Sirenuse (we decided to splurge)
4. Aug 7: Back to Naples airport to fly back

So, what do you guys think? Hopefully it's long enough so that we can see a bit and relax too.

I again have a few logistical questions on transportation:
1. Should we book a car to take us from the Naples Airport to the Capri ferry dock? Or just get a taxi (cost)?

2. Can we easily buy tickets for the hydrofoil or is it worth booking a driver/hotel who will buy them for us in advance? (We are getting there around noon.) La Minerva said it would charge us 115 euro per person for the complete transfer. That's a lot right? They would only charge us 65 euro total for the airport to the dock ride, but then we are on our own for buying tickets and getting to the hotel from the dock in Capri.

3. How much in advance should we get our ferry tickets to go to Positano from Capri?
Suzy_Q is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 01:41 PM
  #38  
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Anyone?

Especially on the ease of buying ferry / hydrofoil tickets midday during the summer? Is it worth it to have the hotel do it for you?

Suzy_Q is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 07:42 PM
  #39  
 
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Suzy Q -

I think you'll really enjoy La Minerva on Capri - I know that we did. We had a deluxe double, with a huge terrace where we had breakfast each morning, and a large bathroom with a jacuzzi tub with a window facing the terrace/view.

Although we didn't take the hydrofoil - we took just the ferry - I think the cost La Minerva is telling you seems very high. Getting from the airport to the dock for your hydrofoil/ferry ride shouldn't be more than 25-30 € I'd think - in any case I think their quote of 65€ seems high. Of course we were traveling from the train station to the ferry dock, but I think that was about 25€.

According to a web site for Capri, the cost for the hydrofoil or ferry from Naples to Capri is 17€ per person. This is quite a bit less than La Minerva is quoting you? And there are several ships that leave Naples for Capri "around noon" most days - the web site I checked was http://www.capri.com/en/orari-traghetti.

Although I doubt that you'd have a problem buying your tickets once you're there, if you're concerned, I guess you could ask La Minerva to do it for you (pretty pricey) or make arrangements with a private driver to get them for you. For instance, if you plan on using Marrapese (or some other private driver) during some part of your stay there, see if he'd be willing to add a couple of "tasks" to your original order - that is, transport you from the airport to the ferry dock and procure your tickets for you. I'm relatively sure that they would, and might not charge you much of a service charge if you're planning on using them for additional services while you're in the area. I know that Francesco was quite concerned about our welfare and went out of his way to help us.

Sam
knoxvillecouple is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 01:34 AM
  #40  
 
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Suzy, I was married on July 26 (gosh, almost six years ago) and we had the exact same honeymoon -- Capri and Positano -- AND we stayed at La Minerva, which I loved. In fact, my husband and I want to go back to Capri/La Minerva this year -- I bought a pair of handmade sandals on the island and the guy told me I would need to come back every five years to get a new pair!

You will love La Minerva. I still remember being so hot and exhausted and dirty from the long journey and entering the cool, tiled hotel room, drawing up the shade and gasping when I saw the view of the sea. Enchanting!

Good choice also to stay at Le Sirenuse in Positano. We spent our time there in a rental apartment and it was not a very nice experience (think: ants + overcharging us). I think you will enjoy the hotel, and if you have time, do have dinner on the terrace. At sunset, they serenade the tables with guitar music and it is simply achingly romantic.

We explored the coast by public transport -- went to Sorrento, Ravello, Amalfi, even went to Pompeii for the day, from Positano, so that's totally do-able.

One tip: be sure to find out how much the taxi transport from the Naples airport to the port should cost. We got totally ripped off by a rogue taxi driver (a licensed taxi, I might add) -- he claimed we owed him 100 Euros! Later we found out there's a fixed price for transfer from the airport to port -- something like 15 Euros. Anyway, do find out this piece of info and stick to your guns.

Enjoy -- you will have a beautiful honeymoon. That first week of August was hot and bustling, but not overwhelmed with people. I loved Capri more than Positano, but that's just me.
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