Epic May 6-13 Western Mediterranean sailing with pictures

Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 07:33 PM.
#21
Carolina
8,696 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
Really enjoying your review. Looking forward to reading more and seeing your photos. Thanks for posting.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature



2/10/18 Summit (Smooth Jazz Cruise)
10/29/17 Vista (Halloween)
10/29/16 Conquest (Halloween)
2/21/16 Eurodam (Smooth Jazz Cruise)
9/19/15 Victory (5 days with friends)
1/8/15 Eurodam (Smooth Jazz Cruise)
11/8/14 Breeze (Feelin' the Breeze Part 2)
1/12/14 Eurodam (Smooth Jazz Cruise)
10/10/13 Victory B2B (Victory is Mine)[/font]
1/13/13 Westerdam (Smooth Jazz Cruise)
11/24/12 Breeze (Feelin' the Breeze)
1/15/12 Westerdam (Smooth Jazz Cruise)
12/4/11 Miracle (x-mas on the beach)
1/16/11 Noordam (Smooth Jazz Cruise)
9/18/10 Fantasy
9/20/09 Sensation
11/08 Westerdam (Dave Koz & Friends)
2008 Caribbean Princess
10/2/06 Celebration
10/9/05 Destiny
2002 Costa Cruise Line
#22
Texas
823 Posts
Joined Oct 2011
This is a GREAT read. I am planning a trip with/for my parents for next summer. I'm a little worried because Mom has knee issues and everything I read talks about the difficult terrain. However it's my parents dream to see the Vatican, so I've gotta try!

I'm looking forward to your day in Rome! Oh, I'm also curious why Marseille is such a 'bust'. I'm thinking of starting there because I like having two port days before the 'sea day'. I thought that might help my parents to have a 'rest period' after a few days of walking/touring.
#23
Brooklyn
1,670 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Glad the info has been helpful!

Spoiler on Marseille: We didn't go into town because the ship docks 3 miles from the city center and NCL offers a $20 shuttle (unlimited use all day) to get into town, which I thought was a bit steep. I didn't research other transportation options and hadn't read any glowing reviews of Marseille, so figured it would be a good port to skip.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Upcoming:
Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas - Inaugural CTN

Sailed:
HAL Eurodam - Baltics
Norwegian Getaway - E. Caribbean
Norwegian Getaway
- Inaugural CTN
(Pics)
Celebrity Reflection - E. Caribbean
Uniworld SS Antoinette - Rhine Christmas Markets
NCL Breakaway
- Bermuda
NCL Breakaway - Inaugural CTN (Review w/ pics)
Uniworld River Beatrice - Danube (Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic
- E. Caribbean
NCL Star - Bermuda
Ruby Princess - Grand Mediterranean
(Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic
- W. Mediterranean (Review w/ pics)
Crown Princess - S. Caribbean (Review w/ pics)
NCL Gem - Bahamas (Review w/ pics)
#24
541 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
I'm really enjoying your review! We did a similar itinerary on the Gem in Fall 2009. They were really talking up the Epic and we wondered if we should have waited for it! The Gem was lovely, though.

Love all the details and looking forward to the pictures!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Celebrity Reflection, July 2016--Greek Islands
MSC Splendida, July 2015--Norway
MSC Opera, April 2013--Western Med
NCL Sun, June 2012--Baltic Sea
MSC Musica, October 2011--Eastern Med
NCL Gem, October 2009--Western Med
NCL Windward, November 1996--Eastern Caribbean
#25
525 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Love your review--hope to go back next year on the Epic. thanks for Marseiile shuttle info. Maybe we just suck it up and take the ship's $59 tour of Aix, as it sounds like it would cost us $20 just to get to town to then take the train. Or, maybe I will get a CC charter bus going.
FWIW-I went last summer (not Epic) and got a great tip from CC. For those not wanting to take a taxi in Naples to the train station, you can walk to the outside of the port (very short) and get a tickets from the tobacco stand for the trolley/bus that stops right there every 10 minutes or so and it goes to the circumvensia train station--A ticket that is good for all day and goes to Pompeii is 9 euros. Someone said the tobacco stand might not be open on Sunday?? You can also get off at Erculano Scavi on the return trip and see those ruins as well--you can wait until you head back to decide how tired you are--but it is really excellent.
Make sure you get off on the return at the circumvensia station and not the trenitalia station, which is 1 stop farther. It was very easy--except we went to far on the return (to trenitalia). Several on the train were very helpful in telling us (in Italian) which bus to take back to the port--we decided to just cross to the opposite side and took the circumvensia 10 minutes later 1 stop back to catch the trolley/bus that we knew.
As OP said, no A/C on train--but we were there in Aug and it was fine. Known for pickpockets, but we found many friendly Italians who told us when to get off for Erculano---at "Scavi"--duh--as in excavation, and which bus to take to get back to the port. We will DIY this way next year with our kids.
#26
Rochester, NY
1,465 Posts
Joined May 2008
I'm loving this review!! (thanks for the Pisa photo!!)

Someday I will do the cruise/Europe thing. Cannot wait for photos of Barcelona.

Thank you!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature



* cruising w/ Son & his GF - not the grandsons. Things change.

Pamela

email - [email protected]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
NCL Getaway - Caribbean 11/29/15 (Haven Spa Suite)
NCL Gem
- Caribbean 11/25 - 12/4/13 (SF Aft Handicap suite)
(http://s1016.photobucket.com/user/pc...=recent&page=2) <--look at all the albums for GEM photos
NCL JEWEL - Florida/Bahamas 11/12 (Haven-2br Suite){http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1747593}
NCL PEARL - W. Caribbean 11/11 - DH obtaining a broken leg - on a beach in Jamaica (Balcony)
{blog: http://travelsintime-pamela.blogspot.com/2012/01/november-2011-road-trip-part-1.html}goes to part 10
NCL EPIC - W. Caribbean 10/10 (Spa Suite)
{blog:http://travelsintime-pamela.blogspot.com/2013/06/ncl-epic-cruise-october-2010.html}
NCL DAWN - E. Caribbean 11/08(Mini)
NCL DAWN - W. Caribbean 1/07(Mini)
NCL DAWN - Florida / Bahamas 11/06(Balcony)
NCL DAWN - S. Caribbean 2/06(Balcony)
NCL SUN - Caribbean 2/05 - 1st cruise ever!(O/V)
Save
Save
Save
#27
Philadelphia
914 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Thank you for taking the time to post.

More! More!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Marie,
RCCL, Sovereign of the Seas, Nov. 2002 - 4 day Bahamas
RCCL, Majesty of the Seas, Aug. 2003 - 4 day Bahamas
Carnival Imagination, Apr. 2004 - 4 day Western Caribbean
RCCL, Explorer of the Seas, June 2005 - 7 day Western Caribbean
RCCL, Majesty of the Seas, Sep. 2005 - 4 day Bahamas
Carnival Spirit, Feb. 2006 - 8 day Southern Caribbean
Carnival Liberty, Feb. 2007 - 8 day Eastern Caribbean
Norwegian Jewel, Feb. 2008 - 7 day Eastern Caribbean
Carnival Imagination, Sep. 2009 - 4 day Western Caribbean
Carnival Spirit, Feb. 2010 - 8 day Mexican Riviera
Carnival Glory, Nov. 2010 - 7 day Western Caribbean
Carnival Valor, May 2011 - 7 day Western Caribbean
RCCL, Navigator of the Seas, Oct. 2011 - 7 day Eastern Mediterranean
Carnival Liberty, Mar. 2012 - 7 day Western Caribbean
Norwegian Epic, Oct. 2012 - 7 day Western Mediterranean
Carnival Imagination, Dec. 2012 - 4 day Western Caribbean
Carnival Glory, Apr. 2013 - 7 day Western Caribbean
MSC Poesia, Oct. 2013 - 8 day Eastern Mediterranean
Carnival Breeze, June 2014 - 6 day Western Caribbean

Carnival Victory, Oct. 2014 - 5 day Western Caribbean
Carnival Breeze, Dec. 2014 - 8 day Eastern Caribbean

Carnival Liberty, June 2015 - 7 day Southern Caribbean
RCCL, Explorer of the Seas, Oct. 2015 - 7 day Iberian Mediterranean
Norwegian Escape, May, 2016 - 7 day Eastern Caribbean
Regal Princess, Dec, 2016 - 7 day Eastern Caribbean
Paul Gauguin, Feb, 2017 - 7 day French Polynesia
RCCL, Allure of the Seas, May, 2017 - 7 day Eastern Caribbean
Next, Oasis of the Seas, Nov. 2017 - 7 day Western Caribbean







#28
Brooklyn
1,670 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Civitavecchia/Rome:
This was our biggest DIY port and I think we handled it fairly well. We were tired and had sore feet by the end of it, but saw a really good amount without breaking the bank! I recommend mapping out the sites you want to see and being realistic about what you can really see in about 8 hours. Some of the sites are clumped in the same area and make walking between them easier. The Rome Metro isn’t laid out in a very helpful fashion (like a big X over the city), but we found the buses very plentiful and usually someone could help you find the right one if you asked.

In the Civitavecchia port, you must take a shuttle bus from the ship to the port exit. We got off the ship right at 7:30am and hopped on a shuttle that left soon after. From there, you take a right on the main street and pass by a McDonald’s. Keep walking for about 5-10 minutes and you’ll be at the train station, which is up a small set of steps from the sidewalk. There will usually be a mass of other passengers all doing the same thing, so it’s easy to tell you’re going the right way. I purchased a 9 euros per person BIRG ticket, which includes unlimited regional trains and Metro/buses in Rome for 24 hours, which is a fantastic value. Compare that to paying $99 to NCL just to bus you into Rome – that doesn’t even include the public transit once you’re there! BE SURE TO VALIDATE EACH TICKET IN THE ORANGE OR YELLOW BOX BEFORE YOU GET ON THE TRAIN or you could face still fines if checked. The validation just marks the current date/time on your ticket. The regional trains are very well-maintained and most cars have A/C and the schedule was about every half hour with the ride into Rome being slightly under an hour. We planned on visiting the Vatican Museums first, so we got off at the San Pietro station, which is before Roma Termini, the main train station in Rome.

Based on the map I had printed, it looked like the best way to get to the Vatican Museums entrance was to walk clockwise around the Vatican walls from the San Pietro station. Suffice it to say, I could not have been more wrong. Either take a taxi from the train station or walk CLOCKWISE around Vatican City, which might take 20-30 minutes. Luckily, a hotel concierge helped us find a bus that dropped us off a few blocks from the museum entrance.

I purchased advanced tickets online for the Vatican Museums for 19 euros per person, which allows you to skip the normal lines. Because the Pope was holding an audience that morning, the normal ticket line was non-existent, but most people say that is rarely the case. We made a quick pit-stop at the gift shop to your right after you ride the giant escalator up and also bought some special Vatican post office stamps as gifts.

If you want to minimize your time in the Vatican Museums and get straight to the Sistine Chapel, follow the directions/signs posted for the SHORT tour, which will help cut out some rooms. However, it seemed like a shame to be there and not try to view some of the artwork, so we wandered around for a long time before finally getting to the Sistine Chapel. The tapestries and Raphael Rooms are stunning though if you have time to enjoy them. We didn’t have an audioguide or pay for a tour guide as we didn’t want to spend the time, but I think it’s definitely a good idea if you want to understand what you’re looking at and have more time as there are very few descriptions posted in the museums.

The Sistine Chapel was awe-inspiring and packed with other tourists. It would have been an awesome experience had it not been for the guards who shout, “NO PICTURES, NO VIDEO!!! SHHHHHHHHHHH!” every 30 seconds. It really made you feel like a kindergartener and people weren’t even loud to begin with! Very frustrating. There is great info on the Sistine Chapel in the Rick Steves book or on his free podcast. Unfortunately, due to the papal audience going on in St Peter’s Basilica, the “secret door” that leads from the Sistine Chapel to the basilica was not available, even to tour groups. That meant a loooong trek all the way back to the museum entrance. After spending almost 3 hours at the Vatican and facing another semi-long walk to St Peter’s Square to see the basilica, we decided to move on and see the rest of Rome. My mom was disappointed, but hopefully they will visit again one day.

We walked to the Cipro station of the Metro and stopped for some food at Pizzarium nearby. This place came recommended from a co-worker and Anthony Bourdain as they have gourmet pizza with price tags to match! We tried 2 kinds of pizza and a risotto ball, which came to 17 euros! It was pretty tasty, but I don’t know if the price was justified. The BIRG tickets were valid on the Metro, so we took it from Cipro to the Spagna station. When riding the Metro, know what the LAST stop on the line in the direction you want to go is - that’s how they mark the 2 directions for each line, similar to how the D.C. metro runs. In our case, we took it in the direction of Anagnina.

The Spagna Metro stop is right at the Spanish Steps (Spagna = Spain) and it was a great site and place to take pictures. From there, it was a short walk to the Trevi Fountain, which was fantastic and not too crowded. We stopped for gelato nearby, but it wasn’t that great. At this point, we debated between skipping the Pantheon or not, but ultimately decided to go for it. It was only about a 10-minute walk from the Trevi Fountain along some very cute small streets. The Pantheon is free to enter and you can buy an audio tour for a few euros. There are tombs around the edge and the dome in the middle is very famous – said to have inspired domes across Europe and even the US Capitol building.

I asked an employee at the Pantheon where to find Tazza D’oro, which also came recommended from a co-worker. He took me to the exit and pointed across to the same street we had walked down – you could see the sign from there. The famous beverage/snack there is a coffee granita with fresh whipped (though not sweetened) cream. It was very refreshing, although we’re not used to unsweeted whipped cream, so skimmed some off the top. If you mix the granita in with the rest of the whipped cream, it makes the perfect level of sweetness. It cost around 3 euros and is definitely worth trying!

Unfortunately, our feet couldn’t handle any more Rome and we had to catch the train anyway. We missed the Colosseum & Roman Forum area completely, so that’s on the agenda for the June cruise.

We walked back to Via del Corso, which was a large street with several buses running on it and asked someone how to take it to the Roma Termini train station. The buses are included with the BIRG ticket and normally people are very willing to help you find which bus you need to take. After a 10-15 minute drive, we arrived at Roma Termini and found the track to get back to Civitavecchia. Then came perhaps the longest walk we did all day – from the main entrance to the back tracks of the station, where the Civitavecchia trains all stop. We must have walked for 15-20 minutes down a corridor that seemed never-ending. Be sure to leave yourself PLENTY of time to get from the entrance to those tracks if you take the train!

The trains seem to run more frequently in the afternoon but the ride is a bit longer than an hour. We caught the 4:42pm train that put us back in Civitavecchia at 6pm and then walked back to the port and took the shuttle bus to the ship. We boarded the ship right at 6:30pm, so I don’t recommend trying to cut it any closer!

Important map tip: Forgot to mention this with the port planning/strategy section, but I found the site BatchGeo extremely helpful for each port. Basically, you copy and paste some information on Excel on what sites/addresses you want to mark and it puts them on a Google Map for you to print and take with you. This way, the map area is much more detailed to the sites you’re visiting. I made 3 maps for Rome – Vatican City, Trevi Fountain/Pantheon area, and Forum/Colosseum area. It’s a very helpful site if you spend the time to mark out where you want to visit!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Upcoming:
Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas - Inaugural CTN

Sailed:
HAL Eurodam - Baltics
Norwegian Getaway - E. Caribbean
Norwegian Getaway
- Inaugural CTN
(Pics)
Celebrity Reflection - E. Caribbean
Uniworld SS Antoinette - Rhine Christmas Markets
NCL Breakaway
- Bermuda
NCL Breakaway - Inaugural CTN (Review w/ pics)
Uniworld River Beatrice - Danube (Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic
- E. Caribbean
NCL Star - Bermuda
Ruby Princess - Grand Mediterranean
(Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic
- W. Mediterranean (Review w/ pics)
Crown Princess - S. Caribbean (Review w/ pics)
NCL Gem - Bahamas (Review w/ pics)
#29
Orange County, Calif
22,010 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Enjoying your review. Looking forward to reading more and seeing your photo's thanks for posting them.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
<I><IMG title="<img src=http://www.hollandamerica.com/images/5starMariner.gif border=0 alt= />" border=0 alt="<img src=http://www.hollandamerica.com/images/5starMariner.gif border=0 alt= />" src="http://boards.cruisecritic.com/image.php?u=32889&type=sigpic&dateline=1357436982" ></I>
Melodie

Admiral-1-cruise
Holland America-46-cruises
Carnival-1-cruise
Celebrity-4-cruises
Crystal-1-cruise
Princess-3-cruises
Royal Caribbean-2-cruises
#30
Brooklyn
1,670 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
My excuse for no photos yet, in form of a verbatim conversation with my sister:
Me: Can you send me some of the photos you took? Just a few from each port is fine and some of the ship, if you have them.
Sister: Ughhhhhh, there are like, 500 of them! It's going to take me so long to go through!

However, I did take a few pictures on my iPhone that I can post for now.

A cat at Pompeii, just chilling. There are also many dogs that roam the grounds and don't seem to mind all the people.




Photo of the famous Vatican Museums spiral staircase, which also serves as the exit if you can't take the "secret door" from the Sistine Chapel



A view out the window of St Peter's Basilica



This sign made me laugh for some reason, maybe because it looks like the figure is skipping down the stairs instead of falling



The rest of the pictures I have are of Florence, so I'll post those after the Livorno review. Fingers crossed my sister sends me some of her pictures too!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Upcoming:
Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas - Inaugural CTN

Sailed:
HAL Eurodam - Baltics
Norwegian Getaway - E. Caribbean
Norwegian Getaway
- Inaugural CTN
(Pics)
Celebrity Reflection - E. Caribbean
Uniworld SS Antoinette - Rhine Christmas Markets
NCL Breakaway
- Bermuda
NCL Breakaway - Inaugural CTN (Review w/ pics)
Uniworld River Beatrice - Danube (Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic
- E. Caribbean
NCL Star - Bermuda
Ruby Princess - Grand Mediterranean
(Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic
- W. Mediterranean (Review w/ pics)
Crown Princess - S. Caribbean (Review w/ pics)
NCL Gem - Bahamas (Review w/ pics)
#31
Brooklyn
1,670 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Livorno (Florence/Pisa):
This was the port that I thought was worth using a tour to see, since most people advise that you can’t really see Pisa and Florence in the same day by train. After doing research on here, I found many rave reviews of Rome in Limo and I’ve become another rabid fan. We found 4 others from the Roll Call boards to join us so that we were a group of 8 for 75 euros per person. As my parents said, only about an hour into the trip, “It’s worth every penny!”

Rome in Limo was extremely responsive by email before our trip and we decided to skip the Uffizi/Accademia museums and use the time to see more of Florence.

Our driver, Gianmaria (goes by Gian, pronounced John to us) met us right at the ship at 8am with a sign in hand. He escorted us to the giant Mercedes passenger van that had very high ceilings, a microphone/speaker system so that we could all hear what he was saying, and A/C. On the way to Pisa, Gian gave us background on Livorno and the surrounding area. His knowledge about all the places we visited is really astounding!

We started the day by driving to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower right away, before it became too crowded. We had 45 minutes to look around the area, which wasn’t that big. I didn’t realize the Leaning Tower is only one of 3 buildings – the other 2 being the Baptistery and Cathedral right next to it. We found it fascinating to see the Leaning Tower up-close and took the requisite “tourist holding up the tower” pictures. There were also many souvenir stands in the area with reasonably-priced items. Right across from the tower is also a very nice café, where I had my first Italian coffee – an espresso macchiato that was delicious! It’s also a good place to use the restroom if you need.

Leaning Tower close-up





Leaning Tower and Cathedral





Baptistery close-up





Just as we got ready to leave, the tour groups started coming in, so we felt very lucky to have avoided the large groups. From there, it was off to Florence, with a quick stop at an olive oil producer along the way. Gian walked us through the machinery to show how olive oil was made and it was very interesting. We sampled some wines and olive oils at the attached gift shop and made some souvenir purchases. It was a really fun stop. Gian continued to narrate the drive and our first stop in Florence – Piazza Michelangelo, which is situated above Florence and provides fantastic views. There is also a reproduction of the David statue in copper that has since developed a green patina and Gian called “Alien David.” There were, of course, more souvenir stands to browse there as well.

View of Florence from Piazza Michelangelo





Another view




“Alien David”





(Due to limit on number of pictures per post, I’ll continue the Florence review in another post)
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Upcoming:
Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas - Inaugural CTN

Sailed:
HAL Eurodam - Baltics
Norwegian Getaway - E. Caribbean
Norwegian Getaway
- Inaugural CTN
(Pics)
Celebrity Reflection - E. Caribbean
Uniworld SS Antoinette - Rhine Christmas Markets
NCL Breakaway
- Bermuda
NCL Breakaway - Inaugural CTN (Review w/ pics)
Uniworld River Beatrice - Danube (Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic
- E. Caribbean
NCL Star - Bermuda
Ruby Princess - Grand Mediterranean
(Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic
- W. Mediterranean (Review w/ pics)
Crown Princess - S. Caribbean (Review w/ pics)
NCL Gem - Bahamas (Review w/ pics)
#32
Brooklyn
1,670 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Livorno (Florence/Pisa) continued:
After mentioning that we wanted to try an authentic Italian trattoria for lunch, Gian made reservations for us at a restaurant near Santa Croce church. We drove there and he gave us a quick overview of the area, but we chose not to enter the church, which had an admission fee. Instead, we used the time to enjoy a sit-down lunch. There was a 3-course lunch option for 15 euros that included bruschetta, pasta course, and meat course that was a good deal and enough food to split between 2 people. We again found out that there is no free tap water in Italy, so split a large bottle of water for 2 euros and were surprised when the bill included a 2 euro charge for a bread basket, something we think of as complimentary in the US. However, the food was very good and we couldn’t complain.

After lunch, my sister tried to buy a leather purse in the Santa Croce church area and got lost for a bit, but after we found her, Gian drove us to the Duomo, which was my favorite site on the trip. The Duomo cathedral is free to enter and don’t be deterred if if looks like a long line – it moves quickly and they let batches of people in at a time. We only waited about 5 minutes. The painted inside of the Duomo is fantastic and completely unexpected. You can also go downstairs where there is a small gift shop and additional tour options to be purchased.

Baptistery



Gold doors on the Baptistery


Duomo cathedral


Inside of cathedral



Painted ceiling of Duomo



Finally, Gian dropped us off near the Uffizi museum where there is another David reproduction in plaster and other outdoor statues. From there, it’s a quick walk to the Ponte Vecchio bridge and back to an outdoor market. The stalls mostly had similar items, but my sister and mom enjoyed looking through all the leather goods and purses.

Porcellino statue (boar) outside the market - rub his nose for good luck!



Gian asked if we enjoyed gelato and took us to an excellent gelato shop called Carraia that gave very large portions for 1.50 euros. He also showed me a nearby café to grab an espresso as I was dragging a bit. Apparently, so was everyone else because the van was silent as everyone slept on the ride back to Livorno! Our total tour took 9 hours and 15 minutes.

The Rome in Limo tour was fantastic and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them and Gian to anyone! My mom spoke with an exhausted-looking passenger as we got back on the ship and she complained that the NCL tour she had taken required a ton of walking and not much time at each site for $199 per person! In contrast, we were driven right up to each site, so minimized our walking while taking a more leisurely pace as well. I know that people are worried about getting back to the ship in time and all that, but Rome in Limo is so professional and well-established, that it really shouldn’t be a concern. They’ve definitely earned their great reputation!



Next up, Cannes/Nice!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Upcoming:
Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas - Inaugural CTN

Sailed:
HAL Eurodam - Baltics
Norwegian Getaway - E. Caribbean
Norwegian Getaway
- Inaugural CTN
(Pics)
Celebrity Reflection - E. Caribbean
Uniworld SS Antoinette - Rhine Christmas Markets
NCL Breakaway
- Bermuda
NCL Breakaway - Inaugural CTN (Review w/ pics)
Uniworld River Beatrice - Danube (Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic
- E. Caribbean
NCL Star - Bermuda
Ruby Princess - Grand Mediterranean
(Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic
- W. Mediterranean (Review w/ pics)
Crown Princess - S. Caribbean (Review w/ pics)
NCL Gem - Bahamas (Review w/ pics)
#33
Brooklyn
1,670 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Any questions/comments so far? Or have I just been too thorough?
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Upcoming:
Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas - Inaugural CTN

Sailed:
HAL Eurodam - Baltics
Norwegian Getaway - E. Caribbean
Norwegian Getaway
- Inaugural CTN
(Pics)
Celebrity Reflection - E. Caribbean
Uniworld SS Antoinette - Rhine Christmas Markets
NCL Breakaway
- Bermuda
NCL Breakaway - Inaugural CTN (Review w/ pics)
Uniworld River Beatrice - Danube (Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic
- E. Caribbean
NCL Star - Bermuda
Ruby Princess - Grand Mediterranean
(Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic
- W. Mediterranean (Review w/ pics)
Crown Princess - S. Caribbean (Review w/ pics)
NCL Gem - Bahamas (Review w/ pics)
#34
Chicago
9,622 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
great job!
Might I suggest you post your Florence portion over on the Italy Ports of Call board as well, so people can read about your tour.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~Kahlil Gibran

Sounds of the wind or sounds of the sea make me happy just to be. ~June Polis

Dude, don't you understand the first rule of holes? When you find yourself in a hole stop digging. Take it from a fellow Gopher.
~Planer's Edge


A passport, as I'm sure you know, is a document that one shows to government officials whenever one reaches a border between countries, so the officials can learn who you are, where you were born, and how you look when photographed unflatteringly.
~Lemony Snicket


Cruised:
M.V. Hobart Star 1974 (Blue Star Line)
T.S.S. Festivale 1993 (Carnival Cruise Line)
S.S. Norway 2003 (Norwegian Cruise Line)
Queen Mary2 2006 (Cunard Line)
Carnival Imagination 2009 (Carnival Cruise Line)
M.V. Norwegian Sun 2010 (Norwegian Cruise Line)
Carnival Destiny 2011 (Carnival Cruise Line)
Norwegian EPIC 2013 (Norwegian Cruise Line)
Carnival Breeze 2014 (Carnival Cruise Line)


#35
Pacific NW
9,883 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
This is fantastic! Thanks so much for taking the time to write such a detailed review. I have a 12-day Baltic cruise (followed by a few weeks in Germany) to plan before my Western Med cruise and you have me wanting to plan this one! LOL. Nice problem to have, huh?

Loved the pictures. I had to laugh that your sister thinks 500 photos are a lot to go through--on my last cruise I took more than 2500 photos. Can't imagine how many I'll take on this one!

Thanks for the tip on Batchgeo--I'll definitely check that out. Do you know if Rome in Limo has group tours that solos can join? This will be my first solo cruise and I plan to DIY most ports, but it sounds like a tour is the way to go to see Pisa and Florence. So far our roll call is very quiet, but we're about 16 months away so I'm sure it will pick up and it may be possible to get a group together.

Again, thanks so much for writing such a detailed review--this is just the type of review I love and I'm sure I'll read yours again and again before I sail.

Thanks!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
It isn't that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better. ~Sir Francis Drake

Counting Down the Days to the Western Med and Northern Europe cruises!






Tour spreadsheet for NCL Epic Western Med (embarking in Civitavecchia) on Sept 27, 2017
Tour spreadsheet for NCL Jade Norway, Scotland, and Iceland on May 25, 2018




Happy Cruising Memories

NCL Pearl, 06/18/17 (Fourth to Alaska) ~~ NCL Pearl, 09/26/16 (Pacific Coastal) ~~ HAL Amsterdam, 09/25/16 (One-night from Seattle to Vancouver) ~~ NCL Epic, 3/6/16 (Morocco and the Canary Islands) ~~ NCL Jade, 10/11/14 (Adriatic; first solo cruise) ~~ Carnival Legend, 6/21/13 (Baltic) ~~ Carnival Inspiration, 08/10/12 (Mexico) ~~ Carnival Inspiration, 08/13/12 (Mexico; birthday cruise!) ~~ Carnival Spirit, 06/28/11 (Alaska) Cruise Review ~~ Carnival Splendor, 08/22/10 (Mexican Riviera) ~~ Carnival Spirit, 08/15/07 (Alaska) ~~ Caribbean Princess, 07/29/06 (W. Caribbean) ~~ Carnival Pride, 12/21/03 (Mexican Riviera) ~~ Carnival Spirit, 12/18/02 (Southern Caribbean) ~~ Carnival Spirit, 8/15/01 (Alaska) ~~ Carnival Holiday, 3/10/97 (Mexico)
#36
Brooklyn
1,670 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Originally posted by Quilting_Cruiser
Do you know if Rome in Limo has group tours that solos can join? This will be my first solo cruise and I plan to DIY most ports, but it sounds like a tour is the way to go to see Pisa and Florence. So far our roll call is very quiet, but we're about 16 months away so I'm sure it will pick up and it may be possible to get a group together.
You can start a tour on Rome in Limo and have it posted to their tour-sharing site, but I don't know if people would actually sign up to share tours with strangers. Your best bet would be to wait for your roll call to pick up a bit and ask there. I posted our request for additional passengers on the Rome roll call too and that's where we actually found the 4 additional people. I think a group of 8 was the perfect size. Good luck!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Upcoming:
Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas - Inaugural CTN

Sailed:
HAL Eurodam - Baltics
Norwegian Getaway - E. Caribbean
Norwegian Getaway
- Inaugural CTN
(Pics)
Celebrity Reflection - E. Caribbean
Uniworld SS Antoinette - Rhine Christmas Markets
NCL Breakaway
- Bermuda
NCL Breakaway - Inaugural CTN (Review w/ pics)
Uniworld River Beatrice - Danube (Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic
- E. Caribbean
NCL Star - Bermuda
Ruby Princess - Grand Mediterranean
(Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic
- W. Mediterranean (Review w/ pics)
Crown Princess - S. Caribbean (Review w/ pics)
NCL Gem - Bahamas (Review w/ pics)
#37
Pacific NW
9,883 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
Originally posted by AttilaTheFun
You can start a tour on Rome in Limo and have it posted to their tour-sharing site, but I don't know if people would actually sign up to share tours with strangers. Your best bet would be to wait for your roll call to pick up a bit and ask there. I posted our request for additional passengers on the Rome roll call too and that's where we actually found the 4 additional people. I think a group of 8 was the perfect size. Good luck!
thanks for the info!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
It isn't that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better. ~Sir Francis Drake

Counting Down the Days to the Western Med and Northern Europe cruises!






Tour spreadsheet for NCL Epic Western Med (embarking in Civitavecchia) on Sept 27, 2017
Tour spreadsheet for NCL Jade Norway, Scotland, and Iceland on May 25, 2018




Happy Cruising Memories

NCL Pearl, 06/18/17 (Fourth to Alaska) ~~ NCL Pearl, 09/26/16 (Pacific Coastal) ~~ HAL Amsterdam, 09/25/16 (One-night from Seattle to Vancouver) ~~ NCL Epic, 3/6/16 (Morocco and the Canary Islands) ~~ NCL Jade, 10/11/14 (Adriatic; first solo cruise) ~~ Carnival Legend, 6/21/13 (Baltic) ~~ Carnival Inspiration, 08/10/12 (Mexico) ~~ Carnival Inspiration, 08/13/12 (Mexico; birthday cruise!) ~~ Carnival Spirit, 06/28/11 (Alaska) Cruise Review ~~ Carnival Splendor, 08/22/10 (Mexican Riviera) ~~ Carnival Spirit, 08/15/07 (Alaska) ~~ Caribbean Princess, 07/29/06 (W. Caribbean) ~~ Carnival Pride, 12/21/03 (Mexican Riviera) ~~ Carnival Spirit, 12/18/02 (Southern Caribbean) ~~ Carnival Spirit, 8/15/01 (Alaska) ~~ Carnival Holiday, 3/10/97 (Mexico)
#38
Monticello, NY
2,014 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Thank you for the review and the pictures, looking forward to more of them. We're on the August 19th sailng.

I'm going to show your Rome review to my wife, and let her plan it. We're also intending to take the train on our own.

Florence is the one port we are splurging on.Our first cruise was in 2002 for our 25th wedding anniversaron the RCL Splendor of the Sea with a similar itinerary. I royally screwed up in Livorno by getting us on a train going towards Rome instead of Florence. We thought we'd never get back, but now we'll be on a similar cruise for our 35th anniversary .To be sure of getting there this time we booked the OVER PRICED NCL Florence on Your Own tour. Plus my wife, who is an elementary art teacher, has bought on line timed tickets for the Uffizis and Academe museum. It's a lot all together, but it's the only port we are splurging on.

What did you do in Cannes? In our similar trip 10 years ago, we ported in Villefrache (where the Epic was originally supposed to port), and went to Nice where we went to the Matisse and Chagall museums. (At our table that night, it was commented that that sounded much more interesting than what others had done on RCL tours).
#39
Brooklyn
1,670 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Originally posted by ontheweb
Florence is the one port we are splurging on.Our first cruise was in 2002 for our 25th wedding anniversaron the RCL Splendor of the Sea with a similar itinerary. I royally screwed up in Livorno by getting us on a train going towards Rome instead of Florence. We thought we'd never get back, but now we'll be on a similar cruise for our 35th anniversary .To be sure of getting there this time we booked the OVER PRICED NCL Florence on Your Own tour. Plus my wife, who is an elementary art teacher, has bought on line timed tickets for the Uffizis and Academe museum. It's a lot all together, but it's the only port we are splurging on.
Why not do Rome in Limo? I outlined all the advantages and there's really no comparison to an NCL tour, PLUS it's cheaper! You have plenty of time to find other people to join on your roll call if you want. It really baffles me as to why people still use the NCL tours other than lack of research ahead of time. Try Rome in Limo, it's a fantastic experience!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Upcoming:
Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas - Inaugural CTN

Sailed:
HAL Eurodam - Baltics
Norwegian Getaway - E. Caribbean
Norwegian Getaway
- Inaugural CTN
(Pics)
Celebrity Reflection - E. Caribbean
Uniworld SS Antoinette - Rhine Christmas Markets
NCL Breakaway
- Bermuda
NCL Breakaway - Inaugural CTN (Review w/ pics)
Uniworld River Beatrice - Danube (Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic
- E. Caribbean
NCL Star - Bermuda
Ruby Princess - Grand Mediterranean
(Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic
- W. Mediterranean (Review w/ pics)
Crown Princess - S. Caribbean (Review w/ pics)
NCL Gem - Bahamas (Review w/ pics)
#40
Monticello, NY
2,014 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Originally posted by AttilaTheFun
Why not do Rome in Limo? I outlined all the advantages and there's really no comparison to an NCL tour, PLUS it's cheaper! You have plenty of time to find other people to join on your roll call if you want. It really baffles me as to why people still use the NCL tours other than lack of research ahead of time. Try Rome in Limo, it's a fantastic experience!
1. There is practically no one else on our roll call. (I realize the advantage of using your roll call for private tours. I did set up one that way for St. Petersburg 5 years ago that worked out well and saved money.)

2. My wife wants to spend HOURS in those museums. (She is after all the world's finest elementary are teacher.) No one else is going to want to do that . (Actually after our European cruises, it takes me a long time before I want to be in another museum)