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cdncruiser
January 9th, 2005, 03:32 PM
I have received email quotes from two different private companies for our Naples port excursions on the 15th of June. (Brilliance June 5 05 sailing). One is from Salvatore at driveamalfie and one is from Sorentolimo. They both seem to be highly recommended on this site and both seem to agree to take us where we want to go. Salvatore is 100 Euro higher for the 4 of us (or 50 Euro higher if we find another couple to join us) than Sorentolimo. I know it will be a personal "thing" but do those of you who have used the services of these companies have any pros or cons to either one? Thanks so much in advance. Laurey

wwinfl91
January 9th, 2005, 03:44 PM
We used Sorrentolimo in 2003 when we were on the Golden and visted Naples. We went to Pompeii, Herculaneum, the Museum of Archeology in Naples and also went to several scenic overlooks in Naples during our all day tour. The deal we had was a driver and a van. He told us up front he wasn't technically a guide although he did some "guiding" during our time with him. We had an excellent time, the van was clean and the A/C worked which given we were over there during the heat spell in July that summer was important. We had been going to try to see some of the Amalfi coast but the driver suggested if we wanted to see Pompeii and Herculaneum we would not have time to go very far down the coast road and we would be in heavy traffic (it was a Sunday) the whole way. He suggested instead the Museum and a tour of some of the areas around Naples instead. It worked out better for us especially since there was an accident with two buses that day on the highway leading back from the Amalfi coast that caused the ship to leave later than planned because one of the ship's tours hadn't made it back on time. I would also suggest trying to get the extra couple to share the cost no matter which service you decide on. That was how we ended up on our tour and it turned out great. We hooked up from the Cruise Critic boards.

Have a great trip.

sondi 14
January 9th, 2005, 04:59 PM
Hi,

We used a benvenuto limos while in Naples. (Just to confuse the issue).
Their website is benvenutolimos.com. You may want to compare their
prices. We had the best full day tour with Giovanni and plan to use
him again this year in Livorno.

Sondi
PS Also from BC

juliejoe
January 9th, 2005, 07:08 PM
We are booked with http://www.driverinrome.com for transport from Civitavecchia to Rome with full day tour. We have also booked them for Naples and have seen many recommendations for Daniele, Remo, or Aldo. They too will customize your day. All of the tour guides mentioned here sound good and you would probably be safe going with the lowest price amongst them.

Julie

Mike Andrews
January 10th, 2005, 02:43 AM
If you get the opportunity to tour with Salvatore of DriveAmalfi (*********************) then take it.We have used him twice and I would rate him as the best driver and guide out of Naples and being from Amalfi his local knowledge is superb.Make sure you get to visit Positano and Ravello and a village called Pontone which is a great stop for lunch.

Bruin Steve
January 10th, 2005, 03:31 AM
I know a lot of folks on this board consider it blasphemous to suggest a ship-sponsored shore excursion as an option...But, I will anyway...

One thing many folks never quite learn about private guides in Italy is that they are NOT allowed to be "guides"...There is a specific license one needs to be a "guide"...So most of the private drivers folks hire can NOT go into Pompei with you and explain what you are seeing...They can only drop you off outside and allow you to pay your admission and go in and explore on your own...Or you may hire an additional guide at Pompei for an additional fee...

The other problem with private guides in Naples is that you are tied to one guy with a car...which actually limits you...If you want to go to Capri--which is an island--you need to take a hydrofoil over, leaving the car in Naples...which means you have to return via Naples to collect the car before continuing on to Pompei or Sorrento or wherever...which in turn, limits what you have time to do...

Due to these problems, and due to our desire to see both Capri and Pompei, we opted for the ship's tour of Capri, Sorrento and Pompei--something a couple of private guides had told me they'd be unable to fit into a single day...The cost through Celebrity was $177 per person and included lunch and all admissions charges, cost of the hydrofoil legs, etc.

The excursion took us first to Capri by Hydrofoil and, after a guided tour of Capri and some free time in town, by Hydrofoil directly to Sorrento...lunch there and some shopping time, then met by bus and on to Pompei where our guide led us on a very informative and interesting tour of the ruins...

The only real negatives were a worthless stop at a cameo factory on the way back to the ship and the fact that we ran about an hour over, just making it back to the ship in time to beat the clock on getting seated for our Main Seating dinner...Obviously, also, we were in a bus with about 25-30 people, it wasn't as personalized as a private guide...but, at least it was a guide and not just a driver...

Since we had an ample opportunity to visit all three sites...and we had an excellent guide--and I mean a real, licensed guide...and we had the comfort and convenience of doing it all through the ship, we were extremely satisfied...and therefore, I recommend you at leeast consider it...

Andym
January 10th, 2005, 07:30 AM
Steve,
Another important thing to mention here is that had you been an hour late back with a private driver, there wouldn't have been any ship waiting for you.
In 2003 the ship left 2 couples in Rome and 1 couple in Naples.

RxTexan
January 10th, 2005, 09:33 AM
We used Gennaro at Sorrentolimo and were extremely happy with his services. He took us on a spectacular tour of the Amalfi Coast and got us a reservation in a spectacular restaurant overlooking the water at Ravello. We also did a lot of little things like stop at the Emerald Grotto and a beautiful villa. Fabulous trip and fabulous driver. You will love it. Would use him again if we went back.

cdncruiser
January 10th, 2005, 11:47 AM
I totally appreciate your input here. My husband is a firm and staunch supporter of cruise line excursions for the exact reason set out in Andym's post ... but RCI wants US$182. now for the tour you took or US$120 just for the Amalfi Drive and Pompeii. With the Canuck buck against the Euro against the US $ the exchange is killing me here. LOL Last time we were in the Caribbean we tried a taxi on our own (4 of us) and found that we could see more, do more and enjoy more without 38 other people to worry about. There is always that someone who is on their own timetable and insists on making everyone else wait. When we are finished seeing what interests us, we go ... not wait for the rest. I am still mulling this all over and may take your suggestion in the end. Thanks Laurey

RxTexan
January 10th, 2005, 04:46 PM
One thing you may want to consider is that during crowded periods the big tour buses are not allowed to stop in some of the smaller towns along the Amalfi Coast. It is an incredibly crowded place and finding a place to stop and park big buses can be a very challenging thing. I think the Amalfi area is one of the places where I found a private tour to be most justified. That said, Amalfi Coast would be beautiful no matter when or how you went. Be sure and go to Ravello and Villa Cimbrone, if you get a chance.

kirky
January 10th, 2005, 05:37 PM
I am also toying with the idea of using private excusions as I am also getting a double whammy with the Canadian dollar. We are on the Brilliance on August 16/05. I have tried starting a thread for that cruise a couple of times thinking that we might find someone to share an excursion with, however it would appear that we have the ship to ourselves based on the number of responses. lol.

clofty
January 21st, 2005, 08:03 PM
I would like to hear how you decide as we are on your cruise and have just joined M and M Roll Call. We are a family but would probably do this tour as a couple so if you need an extra couple maybe we could 'fit the bill'. Check my posting on the Brilliance Roll Call.

kdowneymd
January 25th, 2005, 10:03 PM
We also used Gennaro with Sorrento limo and he was wonderful. We were six in total and the ship's prices were prohibitive. We had a wonderful day seeing Pompeii, Sorrento and the Amalfi coast with a wonderful lunch in Ravello, that two years later my children still talk about. It was a very magical day in an incredibly beautiful location. We loved th ability to tailor the time to our needs. By the way, we used Sorrento Limo for tours in Florence and Rome and were as equally pleased. I owuld highly recommend them. In each instance we had no problems returning on time.

Crusier98
January 31st, 2005, 07:20 AM
We're also booked with Salvatore ********************* and can't wait for our trip and especially interested in Pompei and Ravello and the coast towns.

AIRLINES BRAT
March 18th, 2005, 09:34 PM
We also booked with Salvatore of Drive Amalfi.

We are on the Grand Princess ~ June 19, 2005 cruise.

We will be docked in Naples on Wednesday, June 22.

If anyone is interested in joining us on our private

full day tour of the Amalfi Coast, kindly leave us a

message on the thread.

drarill
March 19th, 2005, 06:17 AM
Laurey:

Hi. We are on your same cruise and were originally booked with driveamalfi also. Salvatore couldnt be our driver because he was booked with someone else. Although they were willing to share the tour they wanted to go to Herculaneum rather than Pompeii. I thought that I booked my private tours early, but believe it or not most of the top drivers recommended here are booked really early, so its important that you ask whos going to be your driver and that way you wont be disappointed if you dont get the one that you asked for. The cost for the two of us was 400Euros so we decided to do the Capri, Sorrento and Pompeii tour thru RCCL, the same Bruin Steve took. This is our first time on Naples, and really want to see Capri.
See you on our roll call, have a good day. And Steve thanks again for your help with the RCCL tour.
Lydia

didi7
March 19th, 2005, 11:19 AM
Hi. Has anyone out there used Marcello of seesorrento.com? He is also recommended on the boards very highly? My concern (not with him but with any of these guides) is that I've also read people have booked and then found they did not have the driver they heard so much about. Any negative comments about any of the guides or companies? Also, does anyone know if there is a difference in touring from different ports, i.e. Naples versus, Amalfi versus Sorrento? Thank you!

CruiseTraveler101
April 12th, 2005, 01:43 AM
Hi,
How many people can join? What is the itinerary and how much would it cost? We are 5 adults.


We also booked with Salvatore of Drive Amalfi.

We are on the Grand Princess ~ June 19, 2005 cruise.

We will be docked in Naples on Wednesday, June 22.

If anyone is interested in joining us on our private

full day tour of the Amalfi Coast, kindly leave us a

message on the thread.

drwong
April 12th, 2005, 02:19 AM
We used Salvatore last year during on our stop in Naples. We had started with just four of us, and had advertised for another 2-3 persons to fill the van. By the time word got around the ship that we were taking a "private tour" that would cover much more territory than any of the ship's tours were offering, we had about a dozen people anxious to join us. I e-mailed Salvatore as we were enroute to Naples, asking him if he could provide a mini-bus. He offered a second van to be driven by an associate, which we gladly accepted.

The associate was nothing like Salvatore. Admittedly, both were drivers and not licensed "guides," but Salvatore took the time to point out areas of interest to us and to answer any questions we had (to his credit, he handed us off to a tourguide when he dropped us off at Pompeii). The other driver followed our van, and we didn't find out until we got to Positano that he took his guide restrictions far too seriously - he didn't talk to the passengers on his van, and when he felt they had asked too many questions, he turned on the radio! One might say this was for ambiance, but it wasn't Dean Martin, Perry Como, or Tony Bennett they were listening to.

If reserve a van, make sure you know who the driver will be, and that the driver will communicate with the passengers - otherwise, you might be advised to read up on Rick Steves before getting into the vehicle to know what you're looking at!

Sammy1
April 12th, 2005, 10:39 AM
Hi "drwong",
Do you remember the name of the associate.
Thanks.

drwong
April 12th, 2005, 01:12 PM
Hi "drwong",
Do you remember the name of the associate.
Thanks.

I think his name was Salvatore also. Given how little he spoke, however, it really wasn't critical to the persons in van.

When you book, get the proper assurances from Salvatore or whomever you book with that the driver will provide narration during the tour - Sal did give us the disclaimer that they're all "drivers" (as opposed to "guides"), but based on what we picked up on these boards, we expected a little more treatment.

If you're unhappy with the driver, I suppose your only recourse is to give the driver a de minimus tip, and to request a price adjustment from the operator afterwards. Does anyone know of any dissatisfied cruisers who have tried this method and what was the result?

sondi 14
April 12th, 2005, 03:07 PM
I posted before on this site mentioning that we used Benvenuto Limos
when in Naples and in Rome. Both of the drivers we had were very
knowledgeable about the area and gave us a great deal of information
on the area. In Naples, the price of the tour also included our own
guide in Pompeii who was with us for two hours while we toured and
she was very informative.

Sondi

MJfromCA
April 12th, 2005, 05:55 PM
We (family of 4) have booked the Salvatore who is owner/senior guide of DriveAmalfi for August 4th for the Pompeii/Amalfi Coast tour - after reading the previous posts, I'm glad he was still personally available. Do I need to do anything more to ensure I actually get him that day?

P.S. If anyone from Splendour or Galaxy would like to share the tour on August 4th, please post our Galaxy 7/25/05 Roll Call thread.

drwong
April 12th, 2005, 06:53 PM
We (family of 4) have booked the Salvatore who is owner/senior guide of DriveAmalfi for August 4th for the Pompeii/Amalfi Coast tour - after reading the previous posts, I'm glad he was still personally available. Do I need to do anything more to ensure I actually get him that day?

His verbal commitment is probably the best that you can get. Most of them are pretty good about keeping their word, knowing that these kinds of boards exist.

Note that your "tour" probably doesn't include the admission fees to Pompeii or the Emerald Grotto (a poor substitute for the Blue Grotto). You'll need to pay separately for those attractions, and lunch is on your own as well. Salvatore offered a restaurant option - other CC members have enjoyed it, but we wanted to see as much of the region as possible so we grabbed some focaccia and fresh-squeezed orange juice from a roadside stand and ate as he drove.

Speaking of oranges, I noticed a distinct lack of fresh citrus onboard our ship - I should have had Salvatore stop at a roadside stand and bought a big bag of fresh juicy oranges for 5 euros to pass out to our room stewards!

mountainmare
April 12th, 2005, 08:12 PM
We are really only interested in Pompeii and the Museaum of Archeology in Naples with maybe an authentic pizza opportunity. We have planned on just taking the train to Pompeii. How hard is it to get to the museum on your own?

AIRLINES BRAT
April 13th, 2005, 07:59 PM
Re: Joining Amalfi Tour
Hi,
How many people can join? What is the itinerary and how much would it cost? We are 5 adults.
----------------------------------------------------
Hi Cruise Traveler,

If you are on the Grand Princess, June 19, 2005 sailing, you might be interested in joining us on our Roll Call message board go to ...
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=131849&page=5&pp=25

I don't know if we will have enough room for all five, if you are interested, we will attempt to accomodate you.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ :) ~ ~ ~ J O I N ~ U S ~ ~ ~ :) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ A M A L F I ~ C O A S T ~ W I T H ~ S T O P S ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ P O M P E I I ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ;) ~ ~ ~ M U C H ~ M O R E ~ ~ ~ ;) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We have booked a private guided tour while docked in Naples on Wednesday, June 22, 2005.

Our driver/guide is Salvatore ~ owner/senior guide of DriveAmalfi.

* * * 4/6 passengers is €500 euros * * *
* * * 7/8 passengers is €650 euros * * *
http://www.animationlibrary.com/Animation11/Transportation/Planes/cartoon_plane_4.gif
Have A Great Day
Sandra

amd1234
May 30th, 2005, 01:22 PM
we are a couple interested in joining a group on an Amalfi,Positano, Ravello tour. We will be on the Millennium Sept 19 cruise.. Look foward to hear from you...

dlhamlten
May 31st, 2005, 08:26 AM
Just Back from the Grand's Grand Med Itinerary 14-26 May

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I feel that I owe some time to write answers to some questions that others have since we gained so much valuable info from these forums ( Cruise Addicts, too ). We just returned from the Venice to Barcelona trip and it would take forever to give impressions, but ...... Overall, a wonderful trip with a varied and impressive itinerary.

Some misc comments :

The Caribe Deck Balconies ARE the BEST as we learned on this Forum. Large and half of it covered and half of it unprotected which is nice for sunning. We spent a lot ot time on the balcony with 2 chairs, 2 chaise lounges ( ask Steward on first day to get limited cushions ) and a small table. Very good for sailaways and arrivals and the Dock in Venice ( the second one since they moved after the first night ) was breathtaking. We were Portside Forward C-210 and had very little noticable movement on only 2 days since seas were generally calm.

Weather was very hot in Athens so be prepared for even hotter days ahead which can make climbing the Parthenon steps arduous. Long lines everywhere for main attractions which are bothersome but probably unavoidable. Just be prepared to wait and our Guide in Istanbul said the traffic congestion and crowds were the Worst she had encountered in 20 yrs due to nice weather, a National Holiday and Free Admission for their citizens to the Mosques and museums.

The Capt was Alan Wilson as answered earlier. If that is important to you, then you should know he is a younger looking and very warm Scotsman with that great accent ( like my Grandfather's ) The Cruise Director was leaving after our cruise to go home so there will be a new one.

The Princess Check-in in Venice was a shambles perhaps because it was their first there this Season. Just be aggressive like all the other rude people and get to the front of the inside waiting area and stand in line if you get there before Noon when they start the process. Huge throngs of passengers with only 2 X-Ray stations and then more lines to surrender your Passports which are returned onboard on the second last day after Turkey.

We were able to avoid the 2 to 2 1/2 hour waits at the Vatican Museum you have read about because we were part of a Private Tour arranged by other Cruise Critic readers. It was much better than being herded on the Ship's buses with 50+ other passengers and less expensive.

Food is highly subjective. We were overall disappointed since we are Platinum Circle and feel the quality and taste has slipped. You will not go hungry and the unlimited lobster tails toward the end of the cruise tend to erase other weak items. While we have always selected Early Fixed saeting, my wife and I will opt for Personal Choice next cruise. There are many long days of tours on this port intensive Itinerary and lots of cahnces to get back to the Ship later than scheduled with too little time to relax befor Dinner. Also, around the 6Pm start time is when many sailaways begin which you will miss.

Obviously I could go on and on, but I need to end on a happy note. The absolute highlight of our voyage was a Private Tour I organized with 2 other Forum reader couples for Naples. Nine hours including a personal guided tour of fascinating Pompeii, thrilling rides along the breathtaking Amalfi Coast with many picture taking stops and a fantastic saeside lunch near Positano at a charming family-owned restaurant. No forced stops at Cameo Factories for shopping. ( But if that is your passion, there was a Cameo artisan right on the Ship for several days and you could watch him in person. )
Should a Naples Tour interest you, I highly recommend getting directly in touch with the affable, prompt, safe, courteous Giovanni of

www.info@Benvenutolimos.com

who operates this service with his Father and will pick you up right at the Ship. He was great !

Bon Voyage

Breezey
May 31st, 2005, 10:41 AM
dlhamlten
I am taking this cruise in September and booked the Caribe deck as I had been on the Golden two years ago and loved the balcony. Wish I would have known to ask for 2 lounge chairs and pads on the first day.

Taking staunch Celebrity cruisers with us so sorry to hear the food was disappointing (this is their first non-Celebrity cruise).

Just curious as to the variety of formal dress. Based on your cruise, did you find many gowns and tuxes on formal nights?

Thanks for the tip on Giovanni. Prefer the private tours and looking forward to seeing the amalfi coast

Crusier98
May 31st, 2005, 01:31 PM
We had Salvatore of DriveAmalfi at ********************* who is from Amalfi and it was definately the best Tour of our cruise and we were glad we got to see so much more than we anticipated. DriveAmalfi had three tours from our ship and the other drivers were Adriano and Roberto who both got rave reviews.It was a great day made better by the information provided here.

Host Sheila
June 1st, 2005, 08:23 AM
Great to read your review of DriveAmalfi. We booked Salvatore for our October Med Cruise. Now I'm really psyched about that wonderful day. Thanks

sydney777
June 1st, 2005, 12:59 PM
Tour in Naples-using DriveAmalfi- can't get Salvatore and he is giving us Adriano or Roberto has anyone ever had them? Everyone says use Salvatore but if he is not available am I safe to say these guys are ok? My cruise is 6/17 but I booked this long ago and now read some bad stuff on this company. HELP Cindy sydneyalice@aol.com

Host Sheila
June 1st, 2005, 01:09 PM
Just read on another Web site that the other drivers received good reviews from those who used them...the person writing used Salvatore but described the responses of others on his cruise. Hope that helps.

Claire1
June 6th, 2005, 02:21 PM
We went to Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi and Ravello with Giovanni Lerusce giovanni.lerusce@tin.it

Giovanni was amazing. The best guide I have ever met. He was a careful driver, very knowledable about the city and area (has lived there 35 years) and was all aroung great. He took us to a fabulous restaurant in Ravello with views overlooking the coast line. I can't say enough good things about him. His address is below:



via Quisisana, 35
Castellammare di Stabia (Napoli) Italy
tel-fax +39 081 8715021
m.phone+39 338 3244002

mosster
June 16th, 2005, 12:26 AM
Hi,
Is there still space for 2 more for the Naples drive tour? We're a honeymooning couple on the Grand Princess for 19 June too. We've only just discovered cruise critics and the roll call... and we're leaving tonight for Rome! We'll still be checking this post, so let us know if there is space.
Otherwise, see you on board on 19 June :D


Re: Joining Amalfi Tour
Hi,
How many people can join? What is the itinerary and how much would it cost? We are 5 adults.
----------------------------------------------------
Hi Cruise Traveler,

If you are on the Grand Princess, June 19, 2005 sailing, you might be interested in joining us on our Roll Call message board go to ...
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=131849&page=5&pp=25

I don't know if we will have enough room for all five, if you are interested, we will attempt to accomodate you.

We have booked a private guided tour while docked in Naples on Wednesday, June 22, 2005.

Our driver/guide is Salvatore ~ owner/senior guide of DriveAmalfi.

* * * 4/6 passengers is 500 euros * * *
* * * 7/8 passengers is 650 euros * * *
http://www.animationlibrary.com/Animation11/Transportation/Planes/cartoon_plane_4.gif
Have A Great Day
Sandra

muse_clio
June 16th, 2005, 04:08 PM
Just Back from the Grand's Grand Med Itinerary 14-26 May

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I feel that I owe some time to write answers to some questions that others have since we gained so much valuable info from these forums ( Cruise Addicts, too ). We just returned from the Venice to Barcelona trip and it would take forever to give impressions, but ...... Overall, a wonderful trip with a varied and impressive itinerary.

Hi dlhamlten, we've got a group going to the Med on the Grand Princess on 16 May 06 from Venice. The same cruise almost exactly a year later! I think 3/4 of us are on the Caribe desk, so YEAH! If you've got a bit of time once you get settled back home, maybe some day you'd be willing to "drop by" our forum and give us any ship tips/shore excursion tidbits?
http://www.cruisecritic.com/interests/groups.cfm?ID=74

One thing i'm wondering is: what did you NOT pack that you wish you had, and what DID you pack that you never used..... Thanks for the post!

cdncruiser
June 18th, 2005, 10:32 PM
Just got home from the Brilliance OTS 12 night cruise. I booked with Salvatore of driveamalfi and I can wholeheartedly recommend him. He was at the pier when we arrived, his vehicle is clean and very comfortable for 6 passengers. He is extremely knowledgable and made our day wonderful. He has the timeing down to a fine art and we didn't miss anything. Pompeii was fascinating, the Amalfi coast is breathtaking and the towns along the way were all different and exciting to tour. He took us to a restaraunt in Ravello that had a great view and 26 "flavors" of pizza. I would not hesitate to recommend Salvatore to anyone. If you have specific questions, feel free to email me at rasmcruise at shaw dot ca . Laurey

PETRA4U
June 24th, 2005, 02:21 AM
FOR NAPLES WE ARE BOOKED WITH
Francesco Marrapese


website: www.francescomarrapese.com
380 euros for 6 people.

We are very excited and cannot wait. I have enjoyed reading everyone's reviews.

will let you know how ours goes.



:)

Tonawanda1
July 5th, 2005, 11:41 AM
Another point on cruise shore excursion versus private drivers, just to be sure you're comparng apples to something like an apple :-) Many shore excursions also provide lunch, direct transport to/from the ship, and a guide where you are going (e.g. most private drivers do not "guide" you in Pompeii - Benvenuto being an exception). So when you're adding up costs for comparison, you should add in all of these. I've found that cruise shore excursion are roughly 20% higher than what I could get a private tour for if I don't include lunch. If I piece together public transportation myself (or rent a car), I can save a bundle.

I do a mixture of private, self-guided, and shorex. I've only ever had one bad shorex (the boat only had 1 of 2 motors working). When I complained about it to the RCCL shorex desk, they refunded in full our cost to everyone in my party. I've been burnt more than once on private tours (e.g. a driver stranded us on a remote beach. I had to ask a resident if they could take us to the ship, one tour started 90 minutes late because the driver was waiting for the 9th and 10th passengers to show up, a driver substituted an alternate beach which was not as nice as what we had planned). In each case, I used drivers highly recommended on the boards. A word of caution, you will rarely find a negative report on the forums because the person that has the negative report about them puts enough pressure on the appender to get it removed (e.g. threatening legal action). I also have personally known people left at the dock due to a private tour getting back late (granted, it is very rare).

I think shorex are great for excursions that push the time envelope or are far from the ship. They also are great if you don't want to spend the time doing the research. However, they do have the "move as the herd moves" mentality, and in general I find they could get in 20-25% more siteseeing if they cut out shopping stops and tightened up the time to re-herd folks onto the bus. They also have limited stops because of the re-herd problem. This is where a private tour excels.

So, I still do all 3 types. Mostly I do-it-on-my-own and private tours, but I do take the occasional shorex.