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Old 01-18-2013, 07:00 AM   #91
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Originally Posted by Four Swampers View Post
I don't remember any shuttles at all. I think we walked from the ship all the way to the train station, which took about 15 minutes, tops. I'm cheap.
When my girls and I did Rome on our own in 2007, we walked from the ship all the way to the train station, too . . . didn't want to take the time to wait for a shuttle. The dock area is less than scenic, to say the least, but it's perfectly walkable.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:06 AM   #92
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Would anyone recommend Lucca?

Florence is 2.5 hours away from the port. My kids can't sit that long in a car. They'll go nuts and drive everyone else nuts. Lucca is closer. Is it worth the trip? There's a DCL combo excursion for Lucca and Pisa...
I was just in Italy this past March (non-cruise!) and spent one day in Lucca and definitely said it was a place I want to go back to. Very beautiful and walkable, lots of little shops and cafes. BTW, Pisa is fine for the obligatory pic in front of the leaning tower, but there's not much to do outside the tower area. The surrounding area is just full of little touristy shops and vendors.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:31 AM   #93
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Florence:
So much to see and do here, it would be very hard to do it justice on a day that was bookended by two hour train rides. Still, you can visit the Uffizi Museum, which houses Boticelli’s “Birth of Venus” and thousands of other paintings, and the Galleria dell’ Accademia, which houses Michelangelo’s “David.” The architecture is amazing, the food is marvelous. Grab a taxi and go across the river to “Olio et Convivium” for lunch. Walk back across the Arno river via the Ponte Vecchio, or “Old Bridge” and marvel at the jewelry shops on the bridge.

After visiting Pisa or Florence or both, head back to the ship. Or don't. (What??) Well, you can take the long train ride back to the ship, or you can spend some more time in Florence and let the Magic sail off without you. Enjoy dinner at a nice restaurant, see some more sights, and catch a late train to Rome. Sleep in a hotel in Rome, then wake up ready to see the city.

The train from Florence to the ship takes two hours, and you have to be back to the ship by 7:30, which means you need to be leaving Florence by 4:30 to play things safe. Then tomorrow, in Rome, you will dock at 7 am, so after getting to the train station, waiting for a train, and riding into Rome, you will reach the city at 9:00 am.

Your alternative is to stay in Florence late, perhaps until 8 pm. Then catch a two hour train to Rome. Check into a hotel, see a couple fountains in the evening (beautiful), and get a good night's sleep. Wake at 8 am, and be touring the city by 8:30.

NOTE: you must warn Disney if you plan to spend the night off the boat. They will not be pleased if you don't tell them. They are perfectly happy to let you spend the night off the ship if you do tell them in advance.
Ok, this really intrigued me
I have often thought about "what if I don't make it back to the ship on time?" and I confess to thinking it actually sounded exciting...as long as I had my passport.
My DH's first thought was it would be too expensive, ...so I started looking on Trip Advisor for Rome hotels.
Did you do this and if so where did you stay?

'm also wondering if this would allow us to see the Vatican museum as our cruise arrives on the last Sunday of the month (entrance is free and thus no reservations) and we had thought we would never be able to get into the Vatican without wasting several hours in line.

Trying to crunch the numbers to see if this is doable for us
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:03 AM   #94
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Pisa Lucca

We plan to do Pisa and Lucca on our own. From what I've read,the train is very easy to use out of the La Spezia port and I'm sure there will be many DIS cruisers on it heading to Pisa.

The Lucca stop is on the way, but I plan to go to Pisa first and look around, take the obligatory photo with the tower and get back on the train heading back the direction of the ship, but get off at Lucca and rent bikes for the day.

I have 11 and 13 yr olds so the bikes sound much more fun for them than Disney's 2 hr walking tour. Lucca's Guinigi Tower is said to have a great view and is less of a hassle to climb than Pisa so we will do that in Lucca and hopefully find some little pizza places, gelato, and take some photos of stray cats. I think my 11 yr old is more interested in the stray animals than the any of the architecture or history so I hope we actually spot one.

Then it's back on the train to the ship. Fingers crossed it goes as smoothly as I am envisioning it in my head!
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:26 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by MrsScooby View Post
Ok, this really intrigued me
I have often thought about "what if I don't make it back to the ship on time?" and I confess to thinking it actually sounded exciting...as long as I had my passport.
My DH's first thought was it would be too expensive, ...so I started looking on Trip Advisor for Rome hotels.
Did you do this and if so where did you stay?

'm also wondering if this would allow us to see the Vatican museum as our cruise arrives on the last Sunday of the month (entrance is free and thus no reservations) and we had thought we would never be able to get into the Vatican without wasting several hours in line.

Trying to crunch the numbers to see if this is doable for us

Well, we used www.hotwire.com for a hotel in Rome. It was inexpensive because it was off the beaten path. It was a four star hotel and probably deserve five stars. I can't remember the name!! Still, www.hotwire.com always comes through for me; I trust their star ratings, and I am always pleased with the hotel and the price.
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:27 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by kikids View Post
We plan to do Pisa and Lucca on our own. From what I've read,the train is very easy to use out of the La Spezia port and I'm sure there will be many DIS cruisers on it heading to Pisa.

The Lucca stop is on the way, but I plan to go to Pisa first and look around, take the obligatory photo with the tower and get back on the train heading back the direction of the ship, but get off at Lucca and rent bikes for the day.

I have 11 and 13 yr olds so the bikes sound much more fun for them than Disney's 2 hr walking tour. Lucca's Guinigi Tower is said to have a great view and is less of a hassle to climb than Pisa so we will do that in Lucca and hopefully find some little pizza places, gelato, and take some photos of stray cats. I think my 11 yr old is more interested in the stray animals than the any of the architecture or history so I hope we actually spot one.

Then it's back on the train to the ship. Fingers crossed it goes as smoothly as I am envisioning it in my head!
It should go very smoothly. Just remember to time/date stamp your train ticket as you head to the train!
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:07 PM   #97
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Hi Heather ... Thanks for the extra info!!!
Your other info was very popular .. Hence why I stole it!! Ha
You know me Joa, happy to share.

For those looking for cheap places to eat in the UK. Try Marks and Spencer's for take out sandwiches, drinks, cakes etc. quality food at reasonable prices. One can be found on most high streets. Plus check out a website called Money Saving Expert, where you can find vouchers for money off Pizza and Restuarant chains. I will try a link hotel sales http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/deals/hotel-sales

Restaurant deals http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/dea...staurant-deals

Days out deals http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/deals/cheap-days-out

And something I didn't know until my DS was too old kids under 11 travel for free on London Public transport http://www.visitlondon.com/traveller...ndon-transport
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:17 PM   #98
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[QUOTE=lilpooh108;47212670]2Princessesintow--thanks for the stroller information. I've seen UppaBaby strollers but I've never thought much about it....I will try it out at the next BabiesRUs we go to and see if the strap will work out for us. Thanks!

Heatherbelle--thanks so much for the PAYG phone info! We've decided to get our phones at Tesco since they are everywhere. Great tip about using O2 over Virgin Mobile, and thanks for the link to your other thread. Will definitely be reading it for planning info.

--One question--Capri....we're skipping Capri during our Naples stop to do a private tour of Sorrento, Positano and Pompeii. Would you skip Sorrento or Positano to try to fit in Capri? I know you have to take a boat, etc. I'm not sure we'll have time. I've wanted to go to Positano ever since I've seen "Under the Tuscan Sun." That Marcello is very convincing.

You are welcome.

When we were in the Med the weather was unbearable over 90 degrees most days and everyone got very tired. It was worse than the sapping heat in Florida during August. Think dessert type heat and you will be along the right lines. I would choose one or the other. Our plan A was Pompeii and Sorrento by train, but it was just hot and by this stage we were shattered from all of the travelling the previous days. So we went with plan B, Capri. I have always dreamed of going to Sorrento, and Positano but I am sooooo glad we went to Capri. This year we plan on catching the hydrofoil to Sorrento and depending upon the how attractive I find the ship ( I am not on DCL) we will head back to the boat, and if I don't like the ship we may stay ashore for longer and go to Herculleum instead of Pompeii. I would love to do the tour you describe, but my DS would probably hate it to be honest. It will have to wait until it's just the 2 of us.


For those who love the village of Positano you haven't seen anything until you have been to Cinque Terre. A must for all those who love Italian Villages. Also really easy to do on your own.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:25 PM   #99
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We did all of our ports on our own in 2011. My trip report is in my blog linked below. If you go to July and August 2011 you'll find it pretty easily.

But I see a lot of questions about La Spezia. We went to Pisa and then Vernazza that day. Here is a link to that particular day. I learned a trick beforehand about where to get off on the train for Pisa to make walking to the tower easier and it was seriously one of the best tips of the trip. However, be sure to purchase your roundtrip tickets in La Spezia

http://thefairygodblogger.blogspot.c...to-cinque.html

I also want to add that we managed to do Capri through lunch, then Sorrento very briefly then Pompeii. It was a very long day (two hydrofoils, two trains and a shuttle thing). We were wiped, but I was so glad we did it!
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:33 PM   #100
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How far is the walk to/from the port to the train station? My understanding is that there is a shuttle that takes you from the actual ship dock to the pier "gates", then you have to walk to the station. Is that right?

Did you guys take the shuttle to the entrance of the pier? Does it cost money? Was there a long line?

We are taking the train from the Vatican back to the port, and I have a good idea of the walk, etc. Would love a first-hand point of view of logistics on how long the walk is, what to do when you get to the pier entrance in order to get to the port.

I can't remember whether we were bused to the port gates or walked, but just around the corner is a ticket booth that sells the train tickets, turn left as you come through the gates. You will see all of the crowds there. Then continue on the road keeping the sea on your left, you will see the station on the opposite side of the road. This is the info I used. http://www.roninrome.com/%20transpor...-for-the-day-2. It takes around 10 mins to walk to the station and it's on the flat, no hills. The shuttle was free if we had one. We never had to pay for a DCL shuttle.

Get off at the Vatican Stop first when going to Rome and coming home I was advised to get on the train at Tremini (main station) to make sure we got a seat. We were there early, we got a seat, but there wasn't even any room to stand the train was chock a block. Make sure you are on the 4.00 one at the latest in case of delays. Our train was delayed around an hour on our visit. I am sure we just walked to the boat on the return.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:49 PM   #101
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Well, we used www.hotwire.com for a hotel in Rome. It was inexpensive because it was off the beaten path. It was a four star hotel and probably deserve five stars. I can't remember the name!! Still, www.hotwire.com always comes through for me; I trust their star ratings, and I am always pleased with the hotel and the price.
Thanks

This hotel was highly rated on Trip Advisor and theyare also off the beaten path
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev...ome_Lazio.html

The reviews for the service are very good. Could this have been where you stayed ?
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:35 PM   #102
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Get off at the Vatican Stop first when going to Rome and coming home I was advised to get on the train at Tremini (main station) to make sure we got a seat. We were there early, we got a seat, but there wasn't even any room to stand the train was chock a block. Make sure you are on the 4.00 one at the latest in case of delays. Our train was delayed around an hour on our visit. I am sure we just walked to the boat on the return.
Thanks for all the info! For the train, do you know if you happened to be on the "commuter" train or something? I've been reading about it and apparently there are different types of trains. I wasn't sure if ALL of them are this crowded, or not.

For the Tube in London, do children need to show ID or anything to ride free. My kids are only 1 and 4.

I thought I read somewhere that at some age, kids need to have an ID for the Oyster card. We are skipping the Oyster card and only plan on buying the 1-day Travelcard each day that we're there. Thanks!

In other words, can my kids just be carried through the turnstile or do I need to stop by a ticket window and get some kind of pass?
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:36 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by bibbidibobbidibecky View Post
We did all of our ports on our own in 2011. My trip report is in my blog linked below. If you go to July and August 2011 you'll find it pretty easily.

But I see a lot of questions about La Spezia. We went to Pisa and then Vernazza that day. Here is a link to that particular day. I learned a trick beforehand about where to get off on the train for Pisa to make walking to the tower easier and it was seriously one of the best tips of the trip. However, be sure to purchase your roundtrip tickets in La Spezia

http://thefairygodblogger.blogspot.c...to-cinque.html

I also want to add that we managed to do Capri through lunch, then Sorrento very briefly then Pompeii. It was a very long day (two hydrofoils, two trains and a shuttle thing). We were wiped, but I was so glad we did it!
Thanks! That gives me perspective. The hydrofoil plus a day of traveling will be too much for our group. Guess we'll have to skip Capri this time.
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:37 PM   #104
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Originally Posted by kikids View Post
We plan to do Pisa and Lucca on our own. From what I've read,the train is very easy to use out of the La Spezia port and I'm sure there will be many DIS cruisers on it heading to Pisa.

The Lucca stop is on the way, but I plan to go to Pisa first and look around, take the obligatory photo with the tower and get back on the train heading back the direction of the ship, but get off at Lucca and rent bikes for the day.

I have 11 and 13 yr olds so the bikes sound much more fun for them than Disney's 2 hr walking tour. Lucca's Guinigi Tower is said to have a great view and is less of a hassle to climb than Pisa so we will do that in Lucca and hopefully find some little pizza places, gelato, and take some photos of stray cats. I think my 11 yr old is more interested in the stray animals than the any of the architecture or history so I hope we actually spot one.

Then it's back on the train to the ship. Fingers crossed it goes as smoothly as I am envisioning it in my head!
Bellinus and Kikids,

Thanks for this info. Lucca is sounding like a great plan
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:45 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by lilpooh108 View Post
Thanks for all the info! For the train, do you know if you happened to be on the "commuter" train or something? I've been reading about it and apparently there are different types of trains. I wasn't sure if ALL of them are this crowded, or not.

For the Tube in London, do children need to show ID or anything to ride free. My kids are only 1 and 4.

I thought I read somewhere that at some age, kids need to have an ID for the Oyster card. We are skipping the Oyster card and only plan on buying the 1-day Travelcard each day that we're there. Thanks!

In other words, can my kids just be carried through the turnstile or do I need to stop by a ticket window and get some kind of pass?
At your kids' ages, they can just be carried through the turnstiles - see more info here:

http://www.visitlondon.com/traveller...ndon-transport
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