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Old 08-08-2013, 04:03 AM   #976
tinkertaylor05
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We JUST started looking. Not 100% sure where to start. It's all very overwhelming. We are looking at Rome for sure, want to go to the Vatican, if we can to the coliseum too. There is so much! Is there a specific company you suggest?
Sorry to jump in .... I've already posted our recommendation somewhere I'm sure but cannot praise Rudy's Rome tour highly enough if you are looking for a service from the ship. Our guide Daniel was perfection .... 600 euros for 8 people, qualified tour guides. All tour providers should be able to offer you front of the line access to attractions in Rome and be badged.
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Old 08-08-2013, 08:14 AM   #977
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Originally Posted by tinkertaylor05 View Post
Sorry to jump in .... I've already posted our recommendation somewhere I'm sure but cannot praise Rudy's Rome tour[/URL] highly enough if you are looking for a service from the ship. Our guide Daniel was perfection .... 600 euros for 8 people, qualified tour guides. All tour providers should be able to offer you front of the line access to attractions in Rome and be badged.
+++++++1

We had Rudy and he was amazing, by far the best tour guide we've ever had.
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Old 08-08-2013, 11:29 AM   #978
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We stayed at the Novotel - family room, free wifi & breakfast. Rooftop pool. On HOHO route and 5 mins from Glories Metro station - walk to Sagrada Familia was about 20 minutes.

Our only DCL excursion was Herculaneum and was hugely disappointed. Did other ports DIY or used cruisingexcursions.com. One couple who used that company in Naples ended up just the 2 of them in a mercedes! For Rome it was 4 of us in a mini bus. Saw everything although more of a transport service than a guide, but that was the style of tour we booked as DD finds that preferable. Monaco, Venice, Dubrovnik, Malta & Pisa we did completely independently with no problems

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Old 08-08-2013, 03:00 PM   #979
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Originally Posted by tinkertaylor05 View Post
Sorry to jump in .... I've already posted our recommendation somewhere I'm sure but cannot praise Rudy's Rome tour highly enough if you are looking for a service from the ship. Our guide Daniel was perfection .... 600 euros for 8 people, qualified tour guides. All tour providers should be able to offer you front of the line access to attractions in Rome and be badged.
I looked at Rudy's website, is it just one person? I don't think we'd be lucky enough to get him booked!! I think we'll discuss it tonight for sure and then jump. I liked the looks of his website and his qualifications were there and it looked like he could actually do different ports as well. Have you used him for different ports or just in Rome? It would be kind of cool to have him follow you around Italy as you were cruising the country!! It would be kind of like building a relationship with your RD servers!!! yeah yeah, I'm a nerd....
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Old 08-08-2013, 04:25 PM   #980
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I looked at Rudy's website, is it just one person? I don't think we'd be lucky enough to get him booked!! I think we'll discuss it tonight for sure and then jump. I liked the looks of his website and his qualifications were there and it looked like he could actually do different ports as well. Have you used him for different ports or just in Rome? It would be kind of cool to have him follow you around Italy as you were cruising the country!! It would be kind of like building a relationship with your RD servers!!! yeah yeah, I'm a nerd....
We just used him for Rome, did other ports on our own and 1 DCL half day tour. He has a team of drivers, is very responsive to emails and will build your day for you or just as you go. We specifically chose not to do the Vatican on this trip as we wanted to do the Colosseum. We had Daniel as our driver for the day and he was great, put us at ease straight away. We told him we wanted to go for some good coffee and authentic Italian during the day, our main objective being to spend a good few hours in the Colosseum. We were picked up at the ship, stopped at a great coffee house (I had a buzz all morning ) we hit up the Colosseum .... walked past all the DCL tour groups and Daniel came in with us, it was wonderful to have our own history guide. We then went to a charming Italian restaurant down all these back streets, enjoyed the best pizza and a few beers followed by a trip to a gelato place. We said we'd like some good photo opportunities so spent the afternoon driving around taking in sights, visited the Trevi fountain and went to the Keyhole for some amazing views of the city. We could have easily done more we just wanted a relaxed pace
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:43 PM   #981
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Originally Posted by tinkertaylor05 View Post
We just used him for Rome, did other ports on our own and 1 DCL half day tour. He has a team of drivers, is very responsive to emails and will build your day for you or just as you go. We specifically chose not to do the Vatican on this trip as we wanted to do the Colosseum. We had Daniel as our driver for the day and he was great, put us at ease straight away. We told him we wanted to go for some good coffee and authentic Italian during the day, our main objective being to spend a good few hours in the Colosseum. We were picked up at the ship, stopped at a great coffee house (I had a buzz all morning ) we hit up the Colosseum .... walked past all the DCL tour groups and Daniel came in with us, it was wonderful to have our own history guide. We then went to a charming Italian restaurant down all these back streets, enjoyed the best pizza and a few beers followed by a trip to a gelato place. We said we'd like some good photo opportunities so spent the afternoon driving around taking in sights, visited the Trevi fountain and went to the Keyhole for some amazing views of the city. We could have easily done more we just wanted a relaxed pace
Fantastic!! This is exactly the kind of information we need!! We will be getting ON the boat right after you get off the boat!!
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Old 08-08-2013, 08:38 PM   #982
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They hired a bunch of new people. Some of them were good, some of them were average, some of them couldn't do the job. Just like any endeavor.
We enjoyed most of the tours we booked through DCL, some more than others. The ones in Athens & Rome were two of the best. Our tour guides for both were outstanding. The one we had for Delos Island was the only disappointing one. The tour guide was terrible, gave very confusing directions at the end and lost the whole group when it was time to meet up after free time. Fortunately, we ran into the same tour guide we had from our Athens trip who remembered us and "adopted" us She was amazing! Loved her!
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:41 AM   #983
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Journals

In 201 they gave my boys a lovely journal to fill in at each of the ports anyone know if they have given them out this year?
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Old 08-09-2013, 11:14 AM   #984
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In 201 they gave my boys a lovely journal to fill in at each of the ports anyone know if they have given them out this year?
No journal. There was a kid's handout for every port though that had games, map of the area and information on the port and what to do. We had late dining so we usually reviewed it at dinner the night before.
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Old 08-09-2013, 11:36 AM   #985
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Hello all... My family is cruising out of Barcelona in May 2014 and JUST booked our flights!! Decided to stay 2 extra days in Barcelona.. This cruise is exactly what I was looking for but I must admit, 52 pages of posts is a little overwhelming...:conf used3

I have questions for those who have done private tours. I looked at one today for 4 people and it was upwards of 650 USD. What do you get for that 650? What exactly do the private tours entail? Are they worth it? Does it just include a driver? Do you have to purchase your tickets for museums you may go to?

Seeking general advice on do's and don'ts!!!
We used Smartcruisetours for private tours in both Rome and Naples. Prior to travel Julia the email and admin contact was great at answering questions and amending itineraries to suit our requests and requirements. She also made suggestions to help make the tours meet our needs.

In both ports we were met promptly by cheerful English speaking drivers with air conditioned Mercedes people carriers (I think you call them mini vans) - basically 7 or 8 seat vehicles just for our family so we had plenty of room.

We didn't add in an official guide as we wanted to basically drive around from one attraction or site to the next for either photo stops or interior visits. Both our drivers were professional and shared lots of useful information on the drive so although they weren't tour guides we did find out plenty from them both in terms of historical info and also local information.

In Rome we drove straight to Rome and visited a variety of key sites and stopping for Gelato before heading to the collosseum for our underground tour at 12:20pm. After that we were extremely hot so we arranged with our guide to make the rest of our stops brief photo stops and he stopped nice and close by so we had minimal walking.

In Naples we visited Herculaneum which was much more manageable than Pompeii with younger children and I found to be very interesting and well preserved. From there we drove out towards Sorrento and our guide made suggestions about some amendments based on traffic to minimise our time wasted in traffic. We went to Positano first then back to Sorrento for lunch and shopping.

We would definitely recommend this company. The cost was a lot less than others we looked into but I read good reviews and was glad I went with them. The tours were Euro 310 for four of us for a full day excursion but you get a Euro 10 discount from each tour if you book more than one.

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Old 08-10-2013, 03:36 PM   #986
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Another question...
Did anyone have international roaming added to their cell phone prior to leaving? I'm wondering if it's worth it.
We don't need to stay connected to our jobs. I guess if there's some emergency back home we would need to be reached somehow but really have no intentions of using our cell phones.
I guess perhaps if God forbid, one of our kids gets lost, someone ends up in the hospital, or we miss the all aboard time, we'd use our phones. Really at that point I wouldn't care about my next month's cell phone bill total.

Maybe if we have to call RIL or Barcelona Day Tours if our drivers are a no show. I don't know.

This is AT&T's international talk plan:
AT&T Europe Travel Minutes*

Monthly Charge: $30
Included Minutes: 30 ($1.00/min.)
Per-Minute Overage: $1.00

or

$60
80 ($.75/min.)
$1.00

or

$120
200 ($.60/min.)
$1.00

*One-month minimum required. If you remove the package before your monthly bill cycle ends, the included monthly minute allotment will be reduced proportionately. Package and overage rates apply to calls made and received within applicable region only. Usage outside of the region will be charged at applicable pay-per-use rate.

Pay-Per-Use Calling Rate in Europe Region**: $1.50/min.

** For making and receiving calls in the "Europe Region".


Or maybe we should go to AT&T and get good instructions on how to call Europe & the USA from Europe, print on little cards for each of us including kids. (They're 13 & 16.)

What did you do?
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Old 08-10-2013, 03:38 PM   #987
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We had unlocked triband phones and preordered Sims. When we got there we bought top up cards. It was super easy and I loved having the feeling of having a phone. We always had our drivers' numbers too, so that was nice.

If you don't preorder, you can usually head into a phone store or a tabac and they sell Sims and cards. In Italy I believe you need to have your Passport with you to buy one. Good luck.
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Old 08-10-2013, 08:34 PM   #988
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We had unlocked triband phones and preordered Sims. When we got there we bought top up cards. It was super easy and I loved having the feeling of having a phone. We always had our drivers' numbers too, so that was nice.

If you don't preorder, you can usually head into a phone store or a tabac and they sell Sims and cards. In Italy I believe you need to have your Passport with you to buy one. Good luck.
Do you mean the phones you already had were triband?
I'm trying to find the overall cheapest way. Do standard cell phones not work there? I figured we'd just be paying some outrageous rate per min but as long as it's only a couple mins here & there it still won't be a lot out of pocket.
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Old 08-10-2013, 10:18 PM   #989
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Do you mean the phones you already had were triband?
I'm trying to find the overall cheapest way. Do standard cell phones not work there? I figured we'd just be paying some outrageous rate per min but as long as it's only a couple mins here & there it still won't be a lot out of pocket.
We already had phones that were unlocked triband.

I didn't bring any "regular" phones with our home SIMs, but I bet those are fine.

I had problems once or twice calling out in past Europe trips on AT&T but that was probably a fluke.

We did pre & post cruise stays this time, so we felt that the Europe Sims were necessary since we actually ran out of minutes on 2 of our phones (we had 4 total for 9 family members). We split up at 2 ports as well.
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Old 08-10-2013, 10:19 PM   #990
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Sorry to jump in .... I've already posted our recommendation somewhere I'm sure but cannot praise Rudy's Rome tour highly enough if you are looking for a service from the ship. Our guide Daniel was perfection .... 600 euros for 8 people, qualified tour guides. All tour providers should be able to offer you front of the line access to attractions in Rome and be badged.
Did that price include a minivan? Thanks.
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