View Full Version : help with shore trips

September 2nd, 2004, 11:09 AM
Hi I am about to go on a cruise in October and wish to do the excursiones on my own, can anyone give advice on these various ports of call, getting around where to go,what to see, cost etc...palma[majorca],ajeccio.[Italy],civitavecchia,[Italy],Portofino,[Italy],Nice,[France],mahon,[menorca,]messina,[Sicaly],Naples[Italy],Livorno[Italy]Toulon[France]Barcelona[Spain]
many thanks....Keith:)

September 2nd, 2004, 11:32 AM

One of the places I haunt when I am getting ready to try a new destination is Lonelyplanet.com. They have really good information on all these cities and recent reviews of what to do there (they also publish amazing guidebooks). Italy and France are heaven for Cathedrals and wine tours and most of these cities apply. You are also traveling to a food addicts heaven (think of the wonderful Olive Oils)... so I would recommend a book Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating, if you like to cook (it explains the origins of olive oils and other wonderful foods) it can be had at http://www.zingermans.com/Index.pasp and will spark your interest in learning more.

No matter what there is very little room for you to go wrong in any of these ports. You do not mention which line and ship you are sailing. Some of the lines have excellent port lectures (the higher end lines) that may make you wish to try something you did not plan in advance, so be flexible.

As for individual selections I have not been to every place you are traveling (darn it) but the places I did go (Naples, Toulon, Barcelona) were just jaw dropping, cannot go wrong, hotspots of amazing history and culture.

September 2nd, 2004, 01:46 PM
Thanks to Nliedel, for your response any more from anyone out there will be most welcome, oh by the way I am traveling on the Island escape out of palma
it is the lower end of the cruise market but we have done the costa atlantica so this is the other end of the scale...I think?....cheers for now Keith:)

September 2nd, 2004, 06:02 PM
Keith, we did the same trip on the IE at the end of July, so if it helps I will give a quick run down of what we did. Everyone likes different things, so if you want any more information just ask.
Ajaccio- very short walk into town, market, shops, Napoleon's house, statues, squares, beach, quay. No public transport in evidence.
Civi- free port shuttle bus (offered coach trips for 15 euros return into Rome)
Not much to see in Civi itself- most people went into Rome by train or ship's tour. We recently spent 5 days there so were content to look around Civi for a couple of hours then have the ship to ourselves!
Portofino- anchored off Santa Margarita, tender boat into port, took ferry to Portofino, beautiful scenery and surroundings, back into Santa M, another lovely town with shops cafes and beautiful buildings.
Nice- free port shuttle bus to centre, flower market, old town, promenade, most shops shut as Sunday, but cafes and some shops open especially in pedestrianised area behind the casino. Can get train or very scenic bus ride to Monaco, but you would need a taxi to station. Bus station just between old town and new town.
Mahon- up long flight of steps into town, shops and lovely views. Market and traditional dancers just across prom from ship, gin factory a bit further along quayside.
Palma- port shuttle into town, cathedral, old town, shops and department stores.
Messina- took ship's tour to Taormina to visit Greek theatre with stunning views and lovely town. Not much in Messina, famous chuch clock.
Naples- expensive taxi to station, cheap train ride to Herculaneum, (Pompeii is on the same line), another expensive and scary taxi ride back to ship.
Livorno- this year we stayed in Livorno, last time took free port shuttle to town centre, taxi to station (you can get a bus quite easily) short train ride to Pisa.
Toulon- ride on little land train round town and beaches, lovely quayside, market and town, bus to Mont Faron for cable car ride.
Barcelona- our third visit here so we just took a taxi to model town, and ambled back past the fountains and palace. Much to see here and you berth in easy walking distance of the Ramblas.
And then it was over! Wish we could do it all over again! October will be a much more comfortable time for sightseeing, but leave yourself some time to relax.

September 3rd, 2004, 08:08 AM
Wow What a great site this is,and many thanks to Kate for your reply,,more in depth info from anyone out there will be very welcome regarding the shore excursions in my first post, I want to realy plan out as much as I can before I land...dear Kate do you think doing the trips yourself is a more sensible option and are you aware of any trips that would be difficult to do on your own or indeed more expensive, I want to make this trip as economical as I can as it is my second Holiday this year..cheers...Keith

September 3rd, 2004, 08:32 AM
Hi Kate,Keith again,I didnt expect to find any Island Escape cruisers on this site but now I have ,do you have any tips on on board activities food entertainment etc...I know it's a budget cruise so I'm not expecting great things...cheers..Keith

September 3rd, 2004, 05:38 PM
Hi Keith, I have picked up quite a lot of useful information on this site- people are very kind and give very specific directions about getting to places of interest, railway stations etc. The IE may be a budget cruise (although next year's prices seem far from budget!) but the staff and crew go to great lengths to make it a special experience. It is a very friendly, unpretentious ship, which makes it easy to relax, while at the same time feeling pampered. We really didn't like the pool area, which is rather shabby, and didn't go there at all. All other public areas are very well done out and maintained. The only place we felt we needed an organised tour was Sicily, all the other places are quite easy to do yourself, and you certainly save quite a lot of money that way. It really depends what and how much you want to see at each place. Doing it yourself means a bit more time and effort planning your days ashore, and getting to grips with the public transport. The taxis at the dockside are usually not interested in taking people on a short run to the station, and you may have to go further into town before you find one. Also, when touring independently you are very conscious of the back onboard time, and cannot afford to leave it to the last minute before getting back. They WILL go without you! Best tip- outside deck 8 under the lifeboats is the quietest spot, and try a "white russian" cocktail in the sundowners bar! Oh, and don't miss going on deck for Stromboli. Some of the best entertainment was watching the scenery and manoevering when entering and leaving ports, esp Nice.
The food is great, we ate in the main Island restaurant- didn't fancy the menu much in the Oasis. Wine starts at about 10 a bottle, if you don't drink it all you can either take it with you or they will give you a ticket for it and save it for you. Free tea, coffee and iced water are available 24 hours in the Beachcomber. Doing the back to back you will probably find the changeover day in Palma a bit strange- best to take yourself ashore for most of the day. There is no launderette as on OV, but the laundry service is reasonable if you just need a couple of items done. We would go back on this ship like a shot if they were doing some different ports, but being confined to set holiday times we can't take advantage of the new "Spanish" itinerary. Looking for a ship with a similar atmosphere but new places to see! Have a great trip, Kate.

September 6th, 2004, 12:51 PM
Dear Kate.once again thanks for your most useful info,I'm going to start a fiew more threads for each individual port of call, one at a time to see if anyone has any more info but mainly because I love using this site....Thanks again,,Keith:)

September 6th, 2004, 01:40 PM

So how is the research going?? I was thinking about you today while I was reading Travel + Leisure but there is not much for your destinations this month (some on Italy).

September 8th, 2004, 03:07 PM
Hi Nancy, Thanks,:) my search is going well, I got some good info from someone who has been on the same trip and now I am busy planning..thanks for asking...regards, Keith

September 14th, 2004, 07:52 AM
Keith, Are you planning on touring on your own in most ports? I have some of the same ports (Spain and Italy) as you do along with 3 to Greece and 1 to Croatia. We are hoping to do most ports on our own to save money also (already cost enough to just go on the cruise!). We are doing a 12 day Mediterranean on the Celebrity-Millennium ship. I don't mind walking if that's what it takes but my DH had back surgery 2 yrs ago and isn't quite the same ever since (one would think he was 70 instead of 34!). Let me know if you have found any good tips!! :)

thanks! erica