Newbie needs help Costa Magica E Med cruise

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#1
panhandle of florida
19 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Hello
Taking a Costa Magica 8 day cruise from Civitavecchia ending in Venice.

Need help making decision here. We are going to be stopping in Savona, Naples, Athens, Katakolon, Corfu, Dubrovnik, and in Venice.
Costa offers several excursions in each port. Want to stick to ancient monuments, and not party excursions or Beaches. Want to try some authentic Mediterranean food and explore local culture.
Questions how do I find if there are local Excursion company in each port which are reliable and cost effective? Did try to surf on this site but can’t get the answers that I need. We plan to take excursion in Athens and Naples for sure. Should we take excursion in Venice or explore it on our own? Spending 2 nights there.
Also need to know if the Costa Magica has a self serve laundry machines for us to wash clothes? What is the alcohol policy for taking it on board? Carnival allowed a bottle of wine per person in our last Caribbean cruise. Their Liquor package for two is prohibitively expensive. Is water from cabin safe to drink?
Our Cruise is in end of March, should we bring winter clothes?
Regards
Phil
#2
St Louis, MO
111 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Originally posted by gidat1
Hello
Taking a Costa Magica 8 day cruise from Civitavecchia ending in Venice.

Need help making decision here. We are going to be stopping in Savona, Naples, Athens, Katakolon, Corfu, Dubrovnik, and in Venice.
Costa offers several excursions in each port. Want to stick to ancient monuments, and not party excursions or Beaches. Want to try some authentic Mediterranean food and explore local culture.
Questions how do I find if there are local Excursion company in each port which are reliable and cost effective? Did try to surf on this site but can’t get the answers that I need. We plan to take excursion in Athens and Naples for sure. Should we take excursion in Venice or explore it on our own? Spending 2 nights there.
Also need to know if the Costa Magica has a self serve laundry machines for us to wash clothes? What is the alcohol policy for taking it on board? Carnival allowed a bottle of wine per person in our last Caribbean cruise. Their Liquor package for two is prohibitively expensive. Is water from cabin safe to drink?
Our Cruise is in end of March, should we bring winter clothes?
Regards
Phil
Phil,

I have been to a few the places you are headed when I did an 11 Eastern Med Cruise a year or so ago. Here is what we did:
Savona, we took a tour of to Monte Carlo! It was amazing!! It was took about an hour and a half to get there from Savona but the drive was beautiful and you will get to Monte Carlo in time to see the Changing of the Guard. Which was really cool. I know its not very historical and ancient but still neat!
Athen's, we took a tour of the Acropolis, drove around Athens and then had an amazing buffet lunch before heading an hour and half up the Med to see Cape Sounion. The Acropolis was amazing and we had plenty of time there and had a great tour guide. The drive up the coast was beautiful. Not to much to see at Cape Sounion BUT the views were amazing!
In Katakolon, we took a tour of Olympia and the museum. It's neat to see but honestly this was probably my least favorite tour. But I think it was because we had a bad tour guide, who's information wasn't correct. Its neat to see the ruins but it's hard to imagine what it use to look like.

As for your other stops we didn't go there.

Their alcohol policy at the time on Costa was that if you brought alcohol on board you had to turn it over to security for them to hold on to until you departed. However, in Cyprus my husband and I bought a bottle of local wine and when coming on board we told the crew and they just told us to go on. So I guess its one half dozen or another if they decided to enforce their own policies.

Neither one of us tried the water in the room we had a bottle water package and every night we just go and get a bottle and drink that...

Also our cruise was the first part of April and we were comfortable in jeans, T-shirts and a light jacket most days. However, our first day in Rome it was in the 80s and HOT and our last two days in Rome it was rainy and cold and we were so glad we had our winter jackets and gloves as it was cold when we left the states!
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#3
panhandle of florida
19 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Star Jumper

Did you take the excursion provided by the ship or found them on the port.
Is ships excursion more expensive than local providers?
I have seen some other post by private guides but they are over $ 200.00 per person. I am looking for local tour providers. How do I find them and check them out before using their services.
Thanks
Phil
#4
St Louis, MO
111 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
We took all ship excursions and the reasons why did this were: 1) we were in a foreign country, unfamiliar with the language and unfamiliar with the customs of that country. 2) We knew for a lot of the excursions we would be traveling far from the port and on a ship excursion they will hold the boat until you return, which is not the case on private tours.
As for the price we were told by others that the ships excursions were pricier than private tours but for the peace of mind it was worth it to us. The only place I would honestly say risk it would Katalona (Olympia). Out of all our tours that was the only one that was disappointing and it really was because we had a bad tour guide through the cruise line's company. If we were to go back, we probably wouldn't even get off the ship.
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#5
panhandle of florida
19 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Star Jumper

Did you take the excursion provided by the ship or found them on the port.
Is ships excursion more expensive than local providers?
I have seen some other post by private guides but they are over $ 200.00 per person. I am looking for local tour providers. How do I find them and check them out before using their services.
Thanks
Phil
#6
panhandle of florida
19 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Still new to this and riposted it by mistake.
I did find couple of websites that book excursions and look like they are reasonable.
going to check them if they are reliable.
Thanks
Phil
#8
panhandle of florida
19 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Hello
Have started a new Roll Call thread, I guess no takers yet.
Did find an excursion company out of London. Looks like it is reasonable. Will check it out before buying the excursion.
Phil
#9
Rome, Italy
2,792 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Gidat1, if you're new to cruising, especially in the Med, I'd recommend you take the ship's excursions. Paying the extra cost is worth it for personal security when you find yourself in a completely different environment than what you're used to. Most tour guides are quite good at their job and besides just seeing new places and people you'll also be getting an explanation of what you're seeing.
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Charles
To Do:
11/2017 MSC Fantasia (YC) Caribbean Lesser Antilles (14)
3/2018 MSC Divina (YC) Miami-Genoa Repositioning (20)

10/2018 MSC Meraviglia (YC) West Med (7)
Done (358 nights at sea):
3/2017 MSC Fantasia (YC) Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar (7) B2B; 4/2017 MSC Fantasia (YC) Dubai-Civitavecchia Repositioning (16); 10/2016 MSC Musica - East Med (11); 5/2016 MSC Opera - Baltic Capitals (11); 12/2015 MSC Preziosa (YC) - West Med New Years Cruise (7); 10/2015 MSC Divina (YC) - Genoa-Miami Repositioning (18); 3/2015 MSC Fantasia - West Med/Atlantic Islands (11) ; 11/2014 Costa neoRomantica - Central Mediterranean (11) ; 6/2014 MSC Magnifica - Norwegian Fiords/North Cape (11) ; 3/2014 MSC Sinfonia - Capetown-Civitavecchia Repositioning (19) ; 9/2013 Costa Pacifica - Aegean Costa Club Cruise (13) ; 2/2013 Costa Magica - East Med (12) ; 9/2012 Costa Luminosa - Copenhagen-Savona Repositioning (10) B2B:; 9/2012 Costa Luminosa - West Med (5); 6/2012 MSC Magnifica - North Cape-Svalbard (15); 1/2012 MSC Fantasia - West Med/Atlantic (11) ; 10/2011 Costa Atlantica - East Med (10); 9/2011 Costa Atlantica - Central Med & Black Sea (13) ; 5/2011 MSC Melody - West Med/Atlantic (11) B2B:; 4/2011 MSC Melody - East Med (11); 2/2011 Costa Romantica - Indian Ocean (14); 10/2010 Costa Mediterranea - East-Central Med (11) ; 6/2010 MSC Poesia - North Europe (14); 3/2010 Costa Marina - Atlantic Islands (14) ; 1/2010 MSC Splendida - East Med (11) ; 8/2009 Costa Serena - East Med (7) ; 4/2009 Costa Concordia - East Med (11) ; 1/2009 Oberoi Philae - Nile River Cruise Luxor-Aswan (7); 12/2007 Costa Europa - Savona-Dubai Repositioning (18) ; 5/2007 MSC Opera - Norwegian Fiords (7) ; 6/1994 MSC Monterey - East Med (14).
#10
Sheffield Yorkshire UK
592 Posts
Joined Mar 2003
This may help.
No Self service washing onboard, but do have a offer one day a cruise on board of wash and fold.
Drinks not allowed on board but take advantage of the alchol package as if you like drinks, wine coffee and water is worth it. the price includes the 15% tip (average drink 7.5 euro.)
it includes bottle of house wine (s) at table. Last cruise you could purchase the package on board.

Ports Naples if you want to visit Capri the Hydro foils are at the port entrance and very close. if you want to diy pompeii and Herculania you can get a taxi to the train station both are on the same track as for Sorrento
do not wear jewellery and be careful with your hand bags and wallets.

Athens outside of the dock terminal to your left through the carpark are two HOHO buses that do the trip to athens, go early though and check the return times
.Changing of the guards 5 to the hour is a must.
Be careful as pick pockets about, if you are on a tour they can spot you with that tour sticker.

Kathalon just outside the dock is a private bus company that takes you to Olympia but again go early as the site has been closing at 3pm.
was 10 euro and 6 euro entry + 3 euro musuem.

Corfu ship shuttle takes you to the town centre and there is a fort churches etc but plenty of eating places and shops.

Venice you can walk to the people carrier that takes you to the bus station, look out for also the free buses at the port and bus station if they are running.
tips book the secret tour of the Douges palace as it takes you into the courts and the jail that housed Cassanova.
very long queues for the St Marks church and bell tower, go early.

Gondela ride as you are staying over night with St Mark's behind you, Top right hand side of the square there is a passage to a gondola station we went a 9pm and had a 45 minute ride for 75 euros but you have to haggle and we may have got it lower but the couple we were with said ok.
At night in the square the restraunts have competing bands, free to listen too but very expensive to have a drink or meal.
if you want to use the water buses buy passes as it is cheaper than individual trips.
If you are really lucky the ship may dock at St Marks rather than the cruise terminal, this happened once with Costa.

Dubrovnik the new dock is a long way from the very pretty fortified walled old town and you have to use the shuttle to reach it, some ships still tender but it is rare.

i would recommend that you wait till you are onboard, before booking trips and ask the staff and the English host for advice,
Duty free at Athens and katakolon cheap
Weather it wil be cold and Venice may be flooded
hope it helps
g
#12
50 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Hi; try this website for some useful info. on Venice; www.veniceforvisitors.com.
Get hold of a decent street map and walk around; half the fun of Venice is finding the nooks and crannies!

Dubrovnik; an attractive old town to walk around and the walk around the wall is fun BUT you may need to pay the entrance fee in the local currency, they won't take euro.

Naples; if you do go to Pompeii independantly, you can find "official" guides outside the ticket office who will take you round; our friends did this and said that it was good value.
#13
panhandle of florida
19 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Hello
Thanks for the info. We returned from our cruise safe and sound.

Our cruise was from Rome. Most of the 3000 passengers were from Europe. Only about 150 were English speaking.

Our 1st night excursion in Savona was cancelled by the Costa as they were not enough English speaking passengers. What a bummer.

I was fortunate that I booked next 3 excursions ( Athens, Katakolon, and Corfu with Cruising Excursion.com. A new company out of London. In Athens and in Corfu, my wife and I were the only customers. They did not cancel the excursion but sent a driver and a guide. I figure Costa would have canceled them.
The cruise was relaxing, food adequate. Bought Boys and Girs card for 20 non alcoholic drinks for 42 Euro. Did managed to get a bottle of wine in Savona.

Again Thanks for the help.