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Old 11-19-2012, 02:00 PM   #1
nzdisneymom
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Med Port Excursions on your own

Hi everyone. DCL has some of the Med 2013 shore excursions up, so we've started combing through them to see what we'd like to do through the cruise line vs ports we'll book privately or just do something on our own. I'm hoping some of you who have sailed the Med before can help us out with recommendations, helpful hints, and even specific instructions!

Background: We sailed the Med with DCL in 2007, so four of the ports are repeats for us (Villefrance, La Spezia, Civitavecchia, and Naples). We are also doing B2B so we'll have the one that goes to Greece and the one that goes to Venice which means we'll "double dip" at Malta, too.

So here we go - these are ports we want some help with:

1. Villefranche to Eze. We want to go but were thinking of doing it on our own rather than as part of a perfumery excursion or part of an excursion that goes to Monaco (we want to go to Monaco - just don't want to make a full day necessarily). If you've been to Eze from Villefrance, how did you go? Public transportation? Private hire? And if you went Public Transportation, what route did you take?

2. La Spezia. We want to go to Cinque Terre one of the days that we are in port. If you've been to Cinque Terre on your own, please tell us what you did and how you did it, and what things to watch out for (train, bus, boat, etc.). We will be going into Florence on one of the sailings but want to see Cinque Terre on the other.

3. Civitavecchia. We went to Rome and did the Jumping Back into Rome excursion through DCL which took us to the highlights that we wanted to see back in 2007. The available excursions all repeat those sites or take you other places that you only see through the bus window. We want to spend a day in Rome and thought we'd hire a private tour (we're checking with others on our meet thread in case there's someone to join up with) and would love information about who you have used for a private tour and any information you can share with how you booked, what questions you asked, what things you did to ensure you made it back to port on time, etc. And how much were you able to craft your own tour of the city / area. We are thinking that for our second stop at Civitavecchia, we want to see something in the region without going into Rome, so any recommendations for places to go and see, we'd appreciate it. We have Orvieto on our list but the DCL price is nearly the same as a full day in Rome, so it's more than we'd like to pay for it. We are thinking that if we are able to figure out a private tour for the first sailing into Rome, we could use them for the second sailing to take us around the area.

4. Malta. We are considering doing the Island Panoramic tour with DCL on the first stop at Malta to get a good overview. It has the option for dropping off in the city and guests making their way back to the port / ship. And on the second sailing, we'd just do something on our own. What was the port area like and is there transportation from the port to the shopping area in the city? What would you recommend for doing on your own at this stop?

Thanks so much.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:30 PM   #2
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Subscribing on this one. I was looking over the excursions as well. Have some tough decisions to make. This will be our first Med cruise, hopefully not our last. Going to mostly stick with the excursions through DCL just untill I get a better handle on how this one goes.
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:13 PM   #3
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First I would suggest that you visit the ports of call forum on cruise critic as there is lots of great information there on DIY tours in Europe. I used it a lot when we did the Med with DCL in 2010.

In Rome, we used Rome In Limo and shared with another family from our DIS meet. We planned our own day and itinerary.

In Malta, we did a full day private tour and saw absolutely everything: we used maltatravelnet.com and were able to plan our own itinerary -- we were picked up at 9, dropped off at 4 with a fabulous guide for 180E. We saw the Mdina, the blue grotto, and several other sites -- highly recommended!

Good luck and have a great trip!
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:42 PM   #4
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In Rome and Naples we used Rudi from rudy ... rudy@rome-car-tours.com... website is http://www.rome-car-tours.com/

Found he was extremely knowledgable and did NOT require us to have a big lunch like others..he can customize the trip anyway you want..check him out at rudy@rome-car-tours.com
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:34 PM   #5
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My answers in red
Quote:
Originally Posted by nzdisneymom View Post
1. Villefranche to Eze. We want to go but were thinking of doing it on our own rather than as part of a perfumery excursion or part of an excursion that goes to Monaco (we want to go to Monaco - just don't want to make a full day necessarily). If you've been to Eze from Villefrance, how did you go? Public transportation? Private hire? And if you went Public Transportation, what route did you take?

Can't help much here as we used a DCL excursion here

2. La Spezia. We want to go to Cinque Terre one of the days that we are in port. If you've been to Cinque Terre on your own, please tell us what you did and how you did it, and what things to watch out for (train, bus, boat, etc.). We will be going into Florence on one of the sailings but want to see Cinque Terre on the other.

When you get off the tender boat walk up a few hundred feet up the shore and take the ferry boat (tickets at dock, 10 euro each ?)to the last of the 5 towns (Monterosso?). It took aprox an hour and a half. Sun shinning into the cliffs great for picture taking.Here is the ferry link http://www.navigazionegolfodeipoeti....e.asp?lang=eng

We then took the train back while making stops ia few of the towns and then walked the last stretch between town 2 and 1, Via Dámore. The ride back to Laspezia with same trai and took cab to ship. Did not feel like walking the lhe 20 minutes to tender dock. here is the train link
http://www.cinqueterre.eu.com/en/cinque-terre-timetable


3. Civitavecchia. We went to Rome and did the Jumping Back into Rome excursion through DCL which took us to the highlights that we wanted to see back in 2007. The available excursions all repeat those sites or take you other places that you only see through the bus window. We want to spend a day in Rome and thought we'd hire a private tour (we're checking with others on our meet thread in case there's someone to join up with) and would love information about who you have used for a private tour and any information you can share with how you booked, what questions you asked, what things you did to ensure you made it back to port on time, etc. And how much were you able to craft your own tour of the city / area. We are thinking that for our second stop at Civitavecchia, we want to see something in the region without going into Rome, so any recommendations for places to go and see, we'd appreciate it. We have Orvieto on our list but the DCL price is nearly the same as a full day in Rome, so it's more than we'd like to pay for it. We are thinking that if we are able to figure out a private tour for the first sailing into Rome, we could use them for the second sailing to take us around the area.

Here we took a cab off the ship to the train station, 5 minute ride for 15 euro, did not want to wait 30 minutes for free shuttle and miss the 8am train.

At train station purchased BIRG Tickets at 9 euro each, covers all train, subway and bus for 24 hr time. Took train to Rome Termini station (end of the line), aprox 1 hour and walk to subway metro line B and get off at Colloseo station and boom there is the Colleseum across the street. From there we easilly walked the forum, had lunch at a cafe arount the Parthenon and then took cab to Vatican for the museum toor we had booked online. PS you can book your colloseum amd forum tickets online also and save a lot of time. After the vatican we caught a cab to the train station nearby and took the train back to Civitivacchia then the free shuttle back to the ship. total cost with lunch for 4 peopl was about 200 dollars.
here are some links
http://www.ticketclic.it/Gb/index.cfm
http://www.roninrome.com/%20sites-an...y-for-cruisers
http://biglietteriamusei.vatican.va/...sita=26&step=2


4. Malta. We are considering doing the Island Panoramic tour with DCL on the first stop at Malta to get a good overview. It has the option for dropping off in the city and guests making their way back to the port / ship. And on the second sailing, we'd just do something on our own. What was the port area like and is there transportation from the port to the shopping area in the city? What would you recommend for doing on your own at this stop?

Took DCL excursion here also

Thanks so much.
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:37 PM   #6
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We did all the ports on our own in 2011, so feel free to visit my blog and click on the Med Cruise tag at the top to read each one specifically. I explain how to get to the La Spezia train station in detail FYI...things like that.

BUT, I will say it is all very easy to do on your own. For Malta, we did Mdina, which was lovely and I highly recommend it. I'm also happy to answer any questions you have. We are tentatively planning for next year, so it gets me excited to help other people
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:31 PM   #7
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We (myself, DH, DS 9 & DD 3) will be on the Greece cruise with you! We did the Med with Disney in 2010. Some ports we did with Disney and some we did on our own. Now that we have been there, we will do more on our own.

Last time, we did Villefranche on our own taking the train to Monaco and visiting the Oceanographic Museum -amazing! To get to the train you just walk to the right along the water (maybe 3 blocks) and take some stairs up the hill right before the little beach. You can see the train station from the ship before you tender. This time my DH and I are doing Eze on our own in the a.m. And then taking the kids back to Monaco after lunch. From all the research I have done, we will be taking a taxi to Eze - only because we also want to spend time in Monaco. Some of the feedback on taking the bus was that it can take a while as some of the buses are smaller than you would expect and people had to wait for multiple buses. Don't get confused by the train stopping in Eze. It is at the bottom of a very steep cliff and I have heard very fit people say not to try it! I could not find the list on our cruise page to see how many are in your party. Maybe we could share a taxi ther if you want. PM me before the cruise.

In La Spezia we visited Pisa with Disney and loved it! This time we are doing Cinque Terre with the kids. We are planning on using both train and boat so as to get all the amazing views. We will decide when we arrive due to no way to plan for weather. Our current plan is to take a boat from La Spezia to Riomaggiore and then walk the Via Dell'Amore as it is paved and will be great with the kids! We will then take the boat up the coast and visit Vernazza and Monterosso. The boat does not stop in Corniglia. We plan on hanging out at the beach in Monterosso as it is supposed to have the best one before taking the train back to La Spezia. If the weather is not great, we will just take the train.

We did The Best of Rome in 2010 with Disney because we had never been there and had no clue about the layout of the city. This trip we are all taking the train and exploring on our own. The main sights in Rome are actually quite close together and we want to go at our own pace. I can not wait to walk around the outside of the Coloseum this time! We plan to take a taxi to catch the fast train into Rome depending on the schedule.

Malta was explored on our own. There are plenty of taxis, many with a horse to get you to the center of town. Do not miss St. John's Co Cathedral! We almost did as I think there are so many beautiful churches in Europe and I really did not think we needed to see one more. Luckily, on one of my last days of research, I came across a picture of the interior. Carravagio's Beheading of St. John is also here. We walked around the main square and some of the streets, just enjoying our time. We ate lunch at Caffe Cordina in the main square and thoroughly enjoyed it! Their house made wine was the best on our whole trip! This time we are taking a taxi to Tarxiem to see the temples that predate the Pyramids! I do not know how we missed this on our last visit!

Go ahead and PM me if you want any more feed back or have any more question.

Happy planning!

Marni
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:57 AM   #8
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Thank you all so much for the info - this is helpful! We are getting more comfortable with planning and doing things on our own vs. through the cruiseline, especially when what DCL offers isn't what we're wanting exactly. We are happy to be repeating ports we've done (and getting a chance to double-dip with some again) because there is so much to see and do at each stop.

I have been reading over at cruise critic and there is so much information! So I'm happy to have some DISers to help me sort out what there is to do and how to do it logistically.

o&smom, I'm PMing you. We're a family of four, two adults, two teenage boys.

Keep the ideas and experiences coming!
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:01 AM   #9
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We also used Rudy from Rudy Car Tours (link in post above) for all three ports in Italy, we had a different driver at each port and everyone one was absolutely wonderful. We also split the cost with another couple that we meet in our cruise group here on disboards. I am so glad we did this, we had personal attention and were on our own time schedule. We got to see so much and the drivers made sure we were back to the ship on time. We have never booked a dcl excursion, the cost is too much for what you get, you have to wait in other people and you only see where the bus can fit, with a personal driver, you get to go down the small streets where buses aren't allowed. I highly recommend Rudy's guides, not only are they licensed to drive tours, they are also licensed to be guides, which are two different things. Check them out.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoniBoBoni View Post
We also used Rudy from Rudy Car Tours (link in post above) for all three ports in Italy, we had a different driver at each port and everyone one was absolutely wonderful. We also split the cost with another couple that we meet in our cruise group here on disboards. I am so glad we did this, we had personal attention and were on our own time schedule. We got to see so much and the drivers made sure we were back to the ship on time. We have never booked a dcl excursion, the cost is too much for what you get, you have to wait in other people and you only see where the bus can fit, with a personal driver, you get to go down the small streets where buses aren't allowed. I highly recommend Rudy's guides, not only are they licensed to drive tours, they are also licensed to be guides, which are two different things. Check them out.
Thanks for the recommendation - and for the reminder that we need to check for both driver and guide -- I didn't know a driver could serve as a guide as well - I had thought there were restrictions about that, but good to know!
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:41 AM   #11
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Viator.com is a great site... has excursions for many European ports and has great pricing. Have used them twice in the past and was very happy.
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:50 AM   #12
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For one of your Civitavecchia stops, I would recommend trying to go to Tivoli. Has some fantastic views since it is up on a hill and great sites to visit. It is about 19 miles east of Rome, so you would probably have to spend the whole day just going to this one location. Book a private tour to take you.
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Old 11-20-2012, 11:09 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eleblanc
For one of your Civitavecchia stops, I would recommend trying to go to Tivoli. Has some fantastic views since it is up on a hill and great sites to visit. It is about 19 miles east of Rome, so you would probably have to spend the whole day just going to this one location. Book a private tour to take you.
We aren't interested in Rome & would love to hear more about some sites to see around the port stop. Thanks to anyone who can help.

Last edited by tajz90; 11-20-2012 at 11:16 AM.
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