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Old 02-24-2011, 06:20 AM   #31
K8T
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Great thread!

We have done the Med twice now with DCL and lots of other times with other cruiselines.

We too would book an excursion back in the early days, but then realised that the cost for two of us, then for three when dd came along, was more than hiring a cab. We have been doing our own thing with our dd, since her first cruise at just over a year old.

What you need to remember is that all the ports are frequented by large cruise ships almost everyday of the week, the cabbies know the fares they should charge (and those they can get away with!), they also know exactly what a visitor wants to see, it is not a problem with any of the stops to get off and find a cab.

My advice would be to do a little planning, pick out the important things to you and negotiate, if that is what you want. My first criteria is look for a cab that is 'safe' and reasonably recent. I then ask the cab driver a few questions, to see if he has a reasonable grasp of English!! Asking do you speak English is not a good one!! Don't be worried to walk away or negotiate, that is part of the game and will be expected. Have a figure in your mind and stick to it. We usually work out the cost of the tour and keep under that - although you have to remember that the ability to stop when you like and move on again, beating the queues, has a value!! I can't stand waiting for people to get back on a bus after a comfort stop, or unnecessary tastings of horrid wine in a shop that doesn't interest me!

Having said all the above. We often do the ports without a cab.

Malta is easy, you walk up into Valetta (it is a bit steep though), which is a great town interesting, old and good shopping! However, to see Mdina and The Blue Grotto, you will need either a bus or a cab. Buses are at the entrance to the walled city of Valetta, there are lots, clearly marked. However, for time, I would suggest a cab, which will cost about 40 euros to do all the main sights. To get a cab in Malta is very organised. When you get off the ship, walk along the quay to one of the small booths and decide which trip you want - there is a sort of 'tour menu'. You then take the ticket they give you, to the taxi queue and off you go. If you don't want to see something, say, if you want longer somewhere, ask. You have the cab for about four or five hours, we did the Blue Grotto, Mdina, the fishing village and then back to Valletta, he parked up and waited for us in each place. Some times we were finished within 20 mins (fishing village) and wandered back to him, another time we were longer (Mdina, we had a lovely lunch). Take your swimwear to the Blue Grotto, just waiting for the little boats to take us around to the caves, made me want to jump in the crystal clear water.

Naples, cabs will be out in force, there are also people carriers too I noticed, for larger groups. Naples can be a bit hectic, the drivers swamp you as you come off the ship, and it is a bit of a pain negotiating, as they come across quite determined, Remember this is normal for them, they do this everyday and it is their job. They all know the price they want - have a look at some of the previous cruises to get an idea of what you should pay, cruise critic is a good source. Again, it will be all the usual places, a standard tour, unless you have something specific. In which case, if you don't speak Italian, write it down, or have a guide book open to the page. We have had a couple of fantastic drivers, who have been fun informative and helpful. I don't think in all our cruises (14 in Europe), we have had a really bad one. If you do, take the number of the cab and let someone know.

The walk to the train station isn't a good one, it is a very busy road, or you can walk through the buildings - it isn't an exact science unless you have a good map, we ended up getting a bus this time, but you need to buy a ticket before you travel at a newsagent. When you get on the bus, verify it, by clipping it with the yellow machine on board. I would suggest you get a cab there, (I believe there is a bus just outside the port, but we had walked over the main road and into the streets to get ours). From the train station you can go down to the line that takes you to Pompeii, or Herculaneum. Herculanum is great, smaller than Pompeii, much easier to understand and less busy. It is a five minute walk down the hill to the sight from the small station. Outside the station in Herculaneum on the left, is a company that will take you up Vesuvius. This is just amazing. You don't need to book, they go every hour or so. Go into the office, get the time of the next trip up - we have done this twice now and each time a minibus has been there ready to go. I can't remember the cost, but it wasn't a lot of euros (maybe 15 or so each). The bus takes you up the car park on Vesuvius and you walk the rest of the way. It is a steep cinder track (don't wear sandals, the stones get in them!!), takes about 30 mins. to get up. Our six year old did it no problem, with a bit of encouragement. My otherhalf carried her up as a two year old a few years before! I was amazed at how excited she was to be up a volcano!

Coming down is easier, there is a little hut at the car park to buy gifts, drinks and ice creams. The bus took us back and dropped us off at Herculaneum which was good and then he said he would pick us up again in a few hours - he charged us 5 euros for this little extra jaunt, we could have walked it, but it was very hot and well worth the extra euros.

Previously in Naples we have got the Hydrofoil, or ferry over to Capri. This is just a short walk from where the ship comes in and much cheaper than doing an excursion. Capri is a tiny island, walkable, but steep in places. Lot of little shops, stunning views, a perfumery and cafes and restaurants, very pretty. Although I have been to Sorrento many years ago, I have never done it from the Port, but I believe you can get to it easily. I think we may do that this time.

I will post our experiences for the next ports shortly and don't forget, a good way to cut costs, especially for a couple on their own, is to join up with another couple that you may have met. We are still in touch with two couples who we met in a cab on a cruise!!!

Hope this helps.

Kate
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Old 02-24-2011, 06:25 AM   #32
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Great info K8T! My typing skill are too horrid to try and write how we did everything exactly. Thanks for taking the time to help the others. :thumbs up 2
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:07 AM   #33
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Thanks for all the great information!

K8T: In Malta, did you notice if there are taxi vans that would accommodate 9? We are a three generation family group and would love to be able to hire just one taxi.
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Old 02-24-2011, 09:04 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan1 View Post
Villefranche (Monte Carlo / Cannes / Nice)
www.revelation-tours.com/cruise.html Michel LeGrand, Isoline
www.dream-tours.com/layout.php?page=106&lang=us Alain, Frederic, Jean Marc
www.azur-guides-interpretes.com/ Sylvie DiCristo
www.riviera-prestige-tours.com/ Eva Devemy



TIA for any information that others provide.
I can keep the first post updated with all the information so that it will be easier for others so that they don't have to read through pages and pages of threads. Well I hope this becomes a thread with many pages
Thanks for putting this thread together! We're going on the August 13th Med and I THINK we're going to try to do Villefranche on our own but thought it wouldn't hurt to look into some other options. So I just wanted to let you know that I tried all 4 of these links this morning & none of the first 3 worked. (I have not tried to Google them or anything yet.) The last one for Prestige Tours worked but the website was a little vague and didn't list any prices or anything so I have emailed them just to get an idea of a couple of prices... I will report back when I hear back from them...
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Old 02-24-2011, 09:25 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Anal Annie View Post
Thanks for putting this thread together! We're going on the August 13th Med and I THINK we're going to try to do Villefranche on our own but thought it wouldn't hurt to look into some other options. So I just wanted to let you know that I tried all 4 of these links this morning & none of the first 3 worked. (I have not tried to Google them or anything yet.) The last one for Prestige Tours worked but the website was a little vague and didn't list any prices or anything so I have emailed them just to get an idea of a couple of prices... I will report back when I hear back from them...
Thanks - that is why I noted that I didn't know if they worked. It was a post from 2007 that someone else had posted when they were compiling information, link is in the first post of this thread. I haven't had time to click on each one
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Old 02-24-2011, 09:33 AM   #36
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Red face

K8T - Thank you so much for the Malta info. We are a family of 5 - do you recall the cost of the cabs for a 4/5 hour tour - the one you mentioned sounds perfect. But since we are 5 do they have minivans?
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Old 02-24-2011, 09:59 AM   #37
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Does anybodyhere know anything yet about going to Palma, Mallorca? That is a brand new port this year on the 7-night Meds...nothing to go on from the past and DCL still hasn't posted the excursions yet on the website. I keep checking the website for them and I have called a couple of times to ask if they know when...they keep saying any day now. Today, the girl I spoke to said she has the list...there will be about 17 things offered in that port...of those there is only 1 beach excursion (to someplace called Moneello Beach). We were really hoping for more beach type options there. I think after the hectic beginning to the week we will just want to VEG somewhere under an umbrella with a couple of adult beverages!! I have heard that there are some great beaches there...disappointed that DCL will only offer one choice for that. So I am interested in hearing what anybody can tell me about Mallorca!!
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August 2014 - 3 n @ VGC & DL followed by 7 n @ Aulani follwed by 3 n on Maui / Jan 2014 - 5 n @ AKV Jambo House / Aug 2013 - 9 nights @ SSR / Aug 2012 - 9 n @ Boardwalk Villas and HRH / Mar-Apr 2012 6 n @ Bay Lake / August 2011 Disneyland Paris and DCL MED cruise / August 2010 Disney's DVC resort at Hilton Head Island, SC / March 2010 Kidani Village at AKV / August '09 BCV & Vero Beach / May '09 SSR / July '08 AKV & B2B Cruises on The Wonder/ January '08 VWL / August '07 OKW / July '06 Offsite - Waikiki, Kona & Ka'anapali, Hawaii / July '05 Disneyland & Disney Magic West Coast Cruise to the Mexican Riviera / Summer '04 CSR / May '03 Offsite - St. John, USVI / Summer '02 AKL & O.C., MD


















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Old 02-24-2011, 09:59 AM   #38
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We used "tour of italy" for the naples portion of the trip and were able to see the amalfi coast and pompeii. They were a great tour company however there was one thing I would have changed. They have a family owned restaurant that they really "push" you into using. Some loved the food - I thought it was just "OK". The restaurant does have a great view and it is a unique experience so it does stand on its own but I wouldn't do it again.

In retrospect I would have rather eaten in Positano or one of the other little towns down by the beach. I am looking at repeating our med cruise and would definitely use the same tour company BUT I would have a lunch planned for somewhere else.
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Old 02-24-2011, 06:13 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makaylee View Post
Great info K8T! My typing skill are too horrid to try and write how we did everything exactly. Thanks for taking the time to help the others. :thumbs up 2
No probs. I type at around 80wpm, so takes no time to post, I know how daunting it can be arriving in a strange place, not knowing the ropes, so I am just 'passing it on'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by emma2 View Post
K8T - Thank you so much for the Malta info. We are a family of 5 - do you recall the cost of the cabs for a 4/5 hour tour - the one you mentioned sounds perfect. But since we are 5 do they have minivans?
The prices varied, but I think they were from 30euros to 50/60 euros, depending on what you did, ours was 40 euros. I can't recall seeing any people carriers waiting in Malta, but I am sure that they do! I would think if you are a larger group, if you got off earlier, they could arrange for something for you. The alternative is to have two cars following each other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anal Annie View Post
Does anybodyhere know anything yet about going to Palma, Mallorca? That is a brand new port this year on the 7-night Meds...nothing to go on from the past and DCL still hasn't posted the excursions yet on the website. I keep checking the website for them and I have called a couple of times to ask if they know when...they keep saying any day now. Today, the girl I spoke to said she has the list...there will be about 17 things offered in that port...of those there is only 1 beach excursion (to someplace called Moneello Beach). We were really hoping for more beach type options there. I think after the hectic beginning to the week we will just want to VEG somewhere under an umbrella with a couple of adult beverages!! I have heard that there are some great beaches there...disappointed that DCL will only offer one choice for that. So I am interested in hearing what anybody can tell me about Mallorca!!
We have done Palma a few times now, but never to the beach. Some beaches not far away, but I have never been there, only heard about it. There must be some good beaches within reach somewhere, it is very popular with the UK for holidays.

There is usually a shuttle bus from the ship to the bottom of the town and then it is a short walk into the town itself which consists of two parts, the old and new. The Cathedral is a beautiful bulding, well worth a look and then wander through the old streets. We love shopping in Palma and then sitting in one of the many pavement cafes, watching the world go by.

I did post to say that the sand is volcanic - this was wrong!! I was thinking of another similar island - sorry if I mislead anyone (Annie!!).
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Last edited by K8T; 02-25-2011 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 02-24-2011, 06:55 PM   #40
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Having been to Hawaii several times I'm OK with black sand beaches...it seems the volcanic rock clarifies the water & makes it crystal clear - perhaps we could find someplace to snorkel too?! Last time we went to Hawaii we spent 3 nights on the Big Island and took a helicopter ride over the active volcano, Kilauea which was simply AMAZING.



ANYWAY, that was a different trip and I think nothing could compare to seeing a live volcano... But I will be checking DCL's website every day for updates on Mallorca!!


Meanwhile, I heard back from that one tour place in Villefranche. Their reply seemed ummm, full. Overly full or something. I will just copy my email to them and then what they sent below.

Me:
Bonjour - we will have 1 day in the port of Villefranche in August and I am researching our options for the day. I did not see prices on your website for these 2 day trips. Could you tell me please how long the tours last and the pricing for 3 people vs 7 people?! Also, should we decide to use your company how do you request payment? Do you take deposits at time of reservation? Credit cards or only euro at the time of the tour?
Merci,
LeeAnn White

RIVIERA - PROVENCE HIGHLIGHTS
NICE –SAINT PAUL DE VENCE –CANNES

and

BEST of the FRENCH RIVIERA
NICE – MONACO - MONTE CARLO & EZE-VILLAGE by the CORNICHES



Bonjour,

Thank you for this request

It would be a pleasure to organize this excursion for you and your family or friends

I propose you a private sightseeing tour in a luxury Sedan Limousine ( up to 3 people) or in an air-conditioned mini-bus ( maxi 8 guests) with an English speaking guide/driver leaving from VILLEFRANCHE


You have not mentioned the date, I could not check availabilities

Both tours you have asked for are Full Day Tours of 8 hours


Please check all tour descriptions on the new website:
www.riviera-prestige-tours.com
Click on the English/ US flag – click on OUR TOURS – go to SHORE EXCURSIONS or go to FRENCH RIVIERA & MONTE CARLO
There are also tours from MARSEILLE if your cruise ship docks there
You will also see the vehicles we use

PRICE for your PRIVATE PARTY of 3 people in a Sedan:
8 hour Full Day tour: 9am to 5pm ( or to suit you) 445Euro


PRICE for your PRIVATE PARTY of 7 people in a Mini Van:
8 hour Full Day tour: 9am to 5pm ( or to suit you) 595Euro

Rates are all French & Monaco taxes, motorway fees, parking fees, lunch for driver included
Not included: Entrance fees and your lunch

To CONFIRM your booking please send
PORT OF CALL:
Name of your cruise ship:
REQUESTED PICK UP TIME:

Your address:
Phone number :
Fax number :
Email:

To GUARANTEE this booking please send
Your credit card number ( VISA or MASTER CARD), expiry date and last 3 security digits
You will NOT BE CHARGED NOW and you can pay cash to the driver
If you prefer to send the CC information via fax: the number is 00 33 494 546 365 ( while listening to the message send your fax)

When received all information you will get the CONFIRMATION SHEET and USEFUL INFORMATION

Please note that we operate also from following other ports of call: MONTE CARLO – NICE – VILLEFRANCHE – CANNES – ST TROPEZ – TOULON – SANARY sur MER - MARSEILLE

I look forward to hearing from you soon
Eva Devemy

Please reply to contact@provencesightseeing.com
Reply to contact@riviera-prestige-tours.com
And send a copy to eva.devemy@me.com

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Fax : 00 33 4 94 54 63 65
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Sadly, no countdown tickers at the moment.

Come join me for my 2nd ever trip report now in progress for DisneyLAND and Aulani and Maui 2014. http://www.disboards.com/showthread....7#post52179607

My first ever trip report - Disneyland Paris and our DCL Med cruise: http://thewhitehouseblog.weebly.com/ (ALMOST but not quite finished)

August 2014 - 3 n @ VGC & DL followed by 7 n @ Aulani follwed by 3 n on Maui / Jan 2014 - 5 n @ AKV Jambo House / Aug 2013 - 9 nights @ SSR / Aug 2012 - 9 n @ Boardwalk Villas and HRH / Mar-Apr 2012 6 n @ Bay Lake / August 2011 Disneyland Paris and DCL MED cruise / August 2010 Disney's DVC resort at Hilton Head Island, SC / March 2010 Kidani Village at AKV / August '09 BCV & Vero Beach / May '09 SSR / July '08 AKV & B2B Cruises on The Wonder/ January '08 VWL / August '07 OKW / July '06 Offsite - Waikiki, Kona & Ka'anapali, Hawaii / July '05 Disneyland & Disney Magic West Coast Cruise to the Mexican Riviera / Summer '04 CSR / May '03 Offsite - St. John, USVI / Summer '02 AKL & O.C., MD


















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Old 02-25-2011, 06:02 AM   #41
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Loving this thread. it could save us a fortune!
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Old 02-25-2011, 06:57 AM   #42
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Thanks and Villefranche on our own

Thanks for this great thread. We are on the May 28th sailing. We are going to be doing Villefranche on or own and would like to visit Monaco, Monte Carlo and Eze on the train. Is that doable? Please let me know. TIA for your help.
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:13 AM   #43
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Meanwhile, I heard back from that one tour place in Villefranche. Their reply seemed ummm, full. Overly full or something. I will just copy my email to them and then what they sent below.
Thank you for the detailed information. I will update the first post this weekend. Off to work
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:16 PM   #44
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for Barcelona--either as a port stop, or before/after cruise if you have extra time: Fat Tire Bike tours. They are great. 20 of us used them (all booked separately) for a port stop 2 years ago. Big cruiser bikes and kids bikes also. You can book them thru viator.com or directly with FatTire webiste. It is a fun, safe, and interesting way to see many places in Barcelona. It was one of my favorite port excursions.
Also--a tip. If you are in any Italian city prior to your Rome stop, buy your RT train ticket from Civatevechcia (sp?) to Rome at that train station (if they have the BIRG available (used to be 9 euros, get that)--it is RT and also all public transit in Rome--but we never used public transit--we just walked)--many times, esp. if other ships are docked, the line to buy tickets at Civatevecchia is crazy--we bought ours in Pisa for Rome the next day and just walked onto the train--don't forget to validate at the yellow machine. If you don't get ticket ahead, go to the tobacco shop (and maybe the pizza place) at the Civ. station--they sell them there. Even if they only sell one ways--just buy 2--it is worth an extra euros to save the time. Many persons had to wait for the next train b/c the line was so long.
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:52 PM   #45
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I think K8T is confusing Mallorca with the Canary Islands. The beaches are not black volcanic sand, they are normal golden sand!
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