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?Possible to use Public transp to see David in Florence-from a cruise ship?

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Aug 2nd, 2012, 10:52 PM
  #1
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?Possible to use Public transp to see David in Florence-from a cruise ship?

Ok, this is our first big cruise and first trip to Europe!! We would like to use local buses, if possible/feasible to try and see the statue of David, and whatever else is possible, as a high point of this stop. Theoretically, the ship arrives at 8 AM and leaves at 7 PM. Is this enough time to Bus into Florence and see the high points of art and culture there? How does one find out about local transportation, and will it get us back on time?? I can speak a little Italian and have a decent sense of direction. We were wondering about this as the paid excursions from the ship are so expensive, and you don't seem to get much for your money. Other stops will be Portofino, Monte Carlo, and Marseille, Any suggestions for navigating this challenge would be well appreciated, and please say if taxi or train might be better, or other alternatives? Thank you!
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Aug 2nd, 2012, 11:36 PM
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Where does your ship dock? Train timetables can be found at www.trenitalia.com. I've found trains generally run on time in Italy but not always so don't cut it too fine on your return journey. No need to book local trains in advance. I think buses have individual timetables (often online), depending on the bus company but could be wrong. Probably taxi to bus or train station but have never done this.

Depending on time of year, queues to major museums in Florence are lengthy so book ahead if needed. Also consider visiting Lucca instead of Florence as it's closer to the coast.
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Aug 3rd, 2012, 01:42 AM
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If you will type "Livorno to Florence" in the search box, you will get all the info you need, plus lots of opinions and ideas for your time there.

Basically, you take a taxi from the port to the train station (or ten minute walk to bus to train station), then train to Florence, 1/&1/2 hrs, so altogether, allow 2 hours from ship to Florence city center.

Have you joined the roll call for your cruise on cruisecritic.com? If not, do join and you will most likely find many people forming their own groups to do shore excursions.

You will have about 6 hours of good sight seeing time. You should be able to see the David, the Duomo and Baptistery, at least one other church or museum, plus walk around a bit and see Ponte Vecchio.

Florence center is quite small, but often super crowded. You should make a reservation for the Accademia to see David. Lines can be really long. If you plan on any other museums, you should also make a reservation. Plan well. Check times of everything.

Alternatives:
See Pisa and visit the lovely walled city of Lucca - by train
Join a tour of some Tuscan towns - perhaps beautiful Siena
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Aug 3rd, 2012, 04:37 AM
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If you have not done so have a look at the ports at which the ship docks and their proximity to the city they "serve". Florence is nowhere near the coast. The ship docks in Livorno - about 1.5 hours from florence by train.

You can take public transit (multiple steps) to get to Florence - but you should probably consider the tours organized by the ship. If you take the latter they will definitely get you back to the ship before departure. If you organize the travel yourself - YOU are responsible for figuring that out - and train delays while not likely are possible.
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Aug 3rd, 2012, 05:26 PM
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I was on a cruise ship that docked in Livorno. I did not take the tour organized by the ship that went into Florence (and was glad that I didn't, because friends who did were very disappointed in the tour, which was also quite expensive). I had a driver meet the ship (Luca Garappa of hillsandroads.com) and had a wonderful day. There were four of us and the cost was much less than if we had taken the ship tour. We went to Siena, several hill towns, had a fantastic lunch at a place we would never have found, etc. I'm sure that Luca could also take you to Florence.
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Aug 4th, 2012, 07:26 AM
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Invest $20 on a copy of Rick Steves' "Mediterranean Cruise Ports" guidebook which has a section on Port of Livorno and how to get to its central train station from cruise port, as well as various methods and cost of getting to Florence, or Pisa, or Lucca.

As some one has already posted above, check your train timetable on http://www.trenitalia.com, enter "Livorno Centrale" in the FROM box and "Firenze S.M. Novella" in the TO box (the boxes will display all possible choices after a few key strokes) to search on your date and time to see a list of possible trains. Do the same for the return direction, so that you know what your options are. But don't cut it too close on the return, because a train may be delayed or totally cancelled (then you'd take the next train).

If you have 4 people, then pre-book a car/driver or hiring a taxi at the port to split the cost will be very reasonable and convenient. Rick's guidebook lists ballpark taxi fares to various destinations from port.
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Aug 5th, 2012, 12:54 PM
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We had friends take the cruise tour. They used a bus and it was long and uncomfortable. He still wonders why they didn't train. While you're "on your own" as someone just said, you'll have plenty of time. However, having seen David as well as Siena and hill towns, I really love what Lynn did.
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Aug 17th, 2012, 09:40 PM
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Gosh, you Fodorites are a gold mine of information!! I feel much more empowered and confident now to have such good resources available. Sometimes I think we (that is I) overthink the worry part of this, instead of getting into it and discovering good resources like above. Thank you all!!!
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Aug 18th, 2012, 03:17 AM
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First of all, the port of Livorno has more than one dock so the ship could be anywhere there.

Take a TAXI from the ship to the train station; don't even think about trying to use any other mode for that segment. I've done it and it is not worth the timer and trouble.

Same thing with return; take a taxi from the train station back to the ship.
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