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mousemeat
August 24th, 2004, 12:40 PM
We're going on these back to back cruises in Sept. I've checked out the shore excursions listed on the Windsurf web site. Does anyone have any suggestions about which to take and when to do our own thing? I love to explore on my own, but we don't want to miss anything. We'd appreciate any help.

GracieAtTara
August 25th, 2004, 06:39 PM
Mousemeat, we are doing this same cruise combination in reverse in November. As of now our plan is to do more on our own rather than excursions. In Rome, we will be doing a private tour using Daniele from DriverInRome. Since we are only in Rome a short time and want to try and see as much as possible a private tour seems to be the way to go. In addition, we are considering going to Cinque Terre either via excursion or on our own from Portovenere. Also, we are looking at the Chateauneuf du Pape/Avignon excursion from Marseilles. Our choices are based upon the various posts we've read over the last few months. There is just so much to see and do that you can not do it all, so other than a couple of organized events we may just relax and enjoy the local sights/culture and perhaps scout places to go on a follow up trip. Hope this helps. Have a great trip! Please give us an update once you return.

Joanandjoe
August 26th, 2004, 12:56 PM
We'll be on the Nice to Barcelona leg with "GracieAtTara" in November, so we look forward to your post-trip comments. It would be great if people who have been on these cruises would share their impressions.

Our thoughts:

1) St. Florent - We may wait for port talks on this one. Both tours sound good but expensive, and we've been able to find very little about St. Florent in guidebooks (and nothing on Virtual Tourist). I'll post an inquiry on Virtual Tourist, and will let you know if I get useful information.

2) Porquerolles - no excursions there, so we're all on our own unless the ship does some informal excursions.

3) Sete - I understand that the city is a lovely, relaxing place, with little to see but a nice environment to enjoy. Montpellier is the big draw here, but Aigues Mortes is supposed to be fabulous. I'd suggest choosing based on whether you want a wine tasting (Montpellier tour) or lovely scenery and a gypsy capital (Aigues Mortes).

4) Marseille - I'm a big believer in following my instincts, so if yours says "go to Avignon", do it! For Gracie and us, Marseille could be a problem, since we'll be there on Armistace Day, 11/11, when many things will be closed. If everything is running, we'll do something shorter than 8 hours - possibly Aix-en-Provence. On morning # 2, we'll just walk around the Marseille old port.

5) Mahon - the CC boards seem to indicate that this is a good place to explore on your own, without excursions.

6) Nice. We'll spend two days here before our cruise. We'll do a lot of walking in the old city and on the Promenade des Anglais, will have some Niceoise food, and will visit the Chagall and Matisse museums. I have no idea whether you'll have a "between cruises" excusion available to you, or whether we'll have one available in Barcelona.

Have fun, and let Gracie and us know how your trip went.

goldendaze
August 26th, 2004, 10:05 PM
Mousemeat,

Hi, we did Nice to Rome Sept 2002 on the Surf. It was a really great trip. We did Eze through Windstar - very good. We walked around Monte Carlo on our own - did not go into the casino.

Did Rapallo & Santa Margharita with the ship - you could do this on your own. We walked around Portofino on our own (very pretty) and found a nice place to sit outside for a 2 hour lunch.

We took the ferry on our own to the Cinque Terre from Portovenere on our own. I think we ferried to Riomaggiore, the walked the "Via Del Amore" to Manarola - this is a nice seaside cliff walk. We then took the ferry from Manarola to Vernazza where we had a great lunch at a cafe on the waterfront - it had umbrellas and the most awesome pesto soup. I can't remember the name but as you walk up the main street it is just on the left. The local wine is really good and we brought many bottles back to the ship. We walked around Portovenere when we got back.

We went with the ship to Bonifacio, Corsica - it was bus transportation - no organized tour. A good thing to do here is take a little boat ride - there are boats lining the harbor - just get on one and you get a narrated tour, it's very beautiful. There was another town in Corsica where the ship docked that was also pretty good.

Did not do much in Elba, walked around the town then hung out on the ship and read.

In Rome we had a limousine meet us at the pier "romelimousines.com", the driver loaded our luggage and took us to Rome and we dropped our luggage at our hotel and then we did a private tour with him for about 4 hours. The driver spoke great english and took us to all the highlights, gave us a good overview and waited for us while we went to see various sites. I would recommend them.

I could be leaving some things out, after 2 years it's fading a little (that means we need to go back)! We did Tahiti on the Wind Star last November - that was a wonderful trip.

I hope I have been of some help. Have a great trip and eat lots of gelato while in Rome! That reminds me, we did a self guided audio tour in the Vatican. We were in Rome for three days after the cruise. Let me know if you have any questions.

judedot
August 29th, 2004, 08:32 AM
We,also,are doing the back to back cruise in September on the "Wind Surf".We have sailed on this ship a few times and it is one of our favorites.
Bon Voyage!!!:)

WeLoveCruising
August 30th, 2004, 01:54 PM
We did the Barcelona to Nice segment last year on the WindSpirit and absolutely loved it. It's not the exact same ports as this year on the Surf - but here is what we did:

St Florent - We also couldnt find a lot of information on this port. We found a Hertz rental car agency in town and rented a car for the day. We had a great time driving up the coast and through little towns. The views headed north towards Cap Corse are amazing. There were small wineries on the way that we stopped at, and had a nice lunch in a cafe in nearby Patrimonio.

Porquerolles - The seas were too rough on the day we were scheduled to stop here, so instead we tendered in to La Lavendeau, which was a pretty coastal resort town. We had a nice lunch and did some shopping.

Marseilles - We regretted not taking the ship's tour to Aix, we heard great things about it. We met another couple who had dinner at Michelin star restaurant called La Petit Nice. They raved about it and showed us pictures from their dinner and it looked wonderful. The ship docks in an industrial part of town, and we had difficulty getting cab drivers to take us one way to a rental car agency (they wanted to be hired for tours for the day).

Mahon - We also rented a car from a little agency in town and had a great day touring the island. Very small and easy to get around, we basically followed the itinerary of the ship's tour, but in our own convertible :). We took the road all the way to the far side of the island and had lunch at a little snack bar by a Roman lighthouse. When they noticed we spoke English, they found a young girl from England to help us. She was amazed that we were Americans and said that in 3 years of her being there we were the only Americans she's met that far remote on the island.

Let me know if you have specific questions, I'd be glad to help.

Looking forward to our October trip on the WindSurf doing Malta to Rome!

Joanandjoe
August 30th, 2004, 02:30 PM
Great ideas, WeLoveCruising, but Joan and Joe (neither of whom has ever driven a small car nor knows how to drive a manual car) are unlikely to rent a car in Europe. Any suggestions for us cowards?

WeLoveCruising
August 30th, 2004, 07:19 PM
If you're not comfortable driving, in St Florent I would suggest a tour that includes a visit to Patrimonio (I dont recall which tour stops here). It's a small town about 15 minutes by car from where the ship docks. From the center of town you could explore the church, cafe, and a few small wineries. One word of caution - many of the people who took the bus tour were frightened on the large bus on the coastal roads (very steep and very narrow). If you decide to stay in town, there were plenty of little shops and restaurants in walking distance from the ship.

In Mahon, you might want to reconsider renting a car - there were automatics and larger sizes. The roads were all well marked (with English), and flat. Definitely easier to drive than in Corsica. If not, there is also a nice town to explore in walking distance. It is very steep though - the ship's bus let us off in town, but most things were a BIG climb uphill. A tour would most likely let you off on the top of the hill. The prehistoric sites (monoliths?) were interesting, and many tours stopped there.

mousemeat
August 30th, 2004, 07:44 PM
For renting cars, was your US driver's license enough, or did anyone want an international one? Thanks for the tip about the big tour bus on winding roads. That REALLY bothers me.

Joanandjoe
September 3rd, 2004, 08:53 AM
jimlssi, we have a posting on the Europe ports of call board asking for advice on what to do in St. Florent, Porquerolles, Sete and Portimao. If you have any suggestions, please post them on that board. Suggestions for Ibiza, Palma, Malaga and Marseille would also be appreciated on this board (possibly on Mousemeat's thread about Barcelona to Rome). Thanks.

Joanandjoe
September 3rd, 2004, 11:13 AM
The above posting was meant for another thread. I don't know how it got on this thread; but jimlssi's comments would be appreciated on this thread.

Patrice and Rick
October 17th, 2004, 11:32 AM
Does anyone know if we need an International driver's license when driving in Tahiti? We will be on the November 12th sailing. Anyone going to be on with us?;)

goldendaze
October 17th, 2004, 08:48 PM
You don't need an international driver's license for Tahiti, ours from NJ worked just fine.