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Other Mediterranean Ports
Dubrovnik, Gibraltar, Istanbul, Kotor, Kusadasi, La Goulette (Tunis), Lisbon, Madeira (Funchal), Malta, Odessa, Sevastopol, Varna, Zadar
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47 Posts
Joined Jan 2003

We just saw "Under the Tuscan Sun" and would love to see the Mediterranean. I started looking at cruises and found some that look wonderful but the excursions-even the do it yourself ones look extremely expensive. Am I reading this right? We are normally happy to get to town and do things on our own but even this seems to cost at least $60 per person.

We normally cruise the Caribbean and do the ports on our own. This would be a very different type of trip. I want to see it all! What can you seasoned travelers tell me about how much to plan on per person for excursions if we take a 12 night cruise? It seems from what I have seen that we will probably pay as much for excursions as for the trip itself! Please tell me it isn't so!

Bradenton,Fl. USA
3,280 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
For a 12 night Med cruise I think it is reasonable to figure close to a thousand dollars for the shore excursions. Now I know this seems high but keep this in mind. There is so much history, culture, etc. to see and learn that you will not want to do it on your own because who knows when you will get back? Also this expense will be part of your shipboard bill which you will not receive until a month after the cruise so enjoy....The Med is my favorite place to cruise and it only seems expensive because the Euro is better than 1 to 1 right now. I promise you, what you will see in the Med will blow you away and make the Caribbean seem like "child's play".

Rick,24 cruises and counting! Next cruise- #25-Riverboat cruise from Amsterdam to Vienna in July '04
Channel Islands Beach, Calif.
2,841 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
If you "meet" people at this and other boards ( esp. those on your same ship) you can hire private tour drivers, and split the costs..nice to split the cost of a 400 Eu 8 hr. van tour by 6 people.

Barcelona to Venice on Oceania - "Insignia"

Buenos Aires to Rio Oceania - "Insignia"

2,753 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
My husband and I do independent sightseeing in almost all of the Mediterranean ports, and we have a great time and see much more than the cattle call shore excursions. Two exceptions are Livorno (for Florence and Tuscany) and Civitavecchia (for Rome). Personally, I don't think trying to see Rome via cruise ship is a good idea--I think that needs to be a pre- or postcruise stay because it's just too hard to see the Vatican, St. Petes Basilica, Colosseum, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, etc. etc. etc. in one day. In my opinion, a private driver for the ports of Livorno and Civitavecchia are needed, but it is easy to take the train from Civitavecchia. On other area for a private driver to maximize your experience is Naples, and I would go on the Amalfi Coast drive there.

Other than that, depending on what itinerary you choose, most of the ports can be done economically for no more than the cost of a Caribbean port. And the experience will be much better.

Whatever you decide, I hope you choose one of the European cruises because they are so wonderful and will open up a whole new world for you and your travel companion. It's truly fabulous, and I've never regretted a dime that I spent.

Happy traveling,
Bella Vista, Ar, USA
5,604 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
We did a mixture of ship tours and private tours on our 12 day Med cruise on Princess. We did our own tours in Venice where we stayed for an extra 3 days after the cruise and had a great time. We did private tours in Monte Carlo, Livorno (for Florence and Pisa), Naples (for Pompeii, Herculaneum and Naples) and Istanbul. We did ship tours in Barcelona, Athens and in Kudasadi (for Ephesus). I think the average for the private tours was a little less than $50 a person including tips but all of those were full 8 hours or more tours. The ship tours probably averaged a little less maybe $40-45 a person including tips. If you total that all up we probably spend around $700 on the tours and we felt we got our money worth. As far as doing the tours on your own on your first trip to Europe as ours was I would suggest doing them with a group whether ship tours or organizing a smaller group and arranging private guides for a group of 6 to 8 the way we did. We met the people we toured with on the cruise boards and were able to have a great time with them.

Have a great cruise.

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Calabasas, CA, USA
12,167 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
We did the Mediterranean on the Millennium this past August on a 13 nighter, Venice to Barcelona...Ports were: Dubrovnik , Corfu, Santorini, Athens, Naples, Rome, Livorno, Villefranche and Barcelona (We embarked in Venice, but did no excursions there--did it on our own)...
We took a variety of excursuions, doing ship-sponsored shore excursions in every port--doing half day excursions in Dubrovnik, Corfu, Santorini and Barcelona...and full day excursions (including lunch) in Athens, Naples, Rome, Livorno and Villefranche...

Our total cost for all of these excursions came out to right around $1800 for two...in other words, an average of $90 per person per port...

You could easily do Santorini and Dubrovnik without an excursion--on your own--as the ports are small and convenient...Corfu as well, though we wanted to see the Achilleon Palace --necessitating the excursion...So, you could save a LITTLE bit of money easily on those three...

The reason the excursions in Europe seem so much more than on a Caribbean or Mexican Riviera cruise (We've done the Baltic as well and prices are high as they are in the Mediterranean) are twofold:

1) Standard of living and payscales are higher than in the third world countries visited on Caribbean cruises; and

2) The ports are often fairly remote from the places you'd wish to visit...In the Caribbean, all of the sites are generally near the pier. In the Mediterranean, for example, you dock in Livorno but the excursion needs to bus you an hour inland to Florence...same for Civitivecchia to Rome...From Naples, you want to go far afield to Pompeii or Sorrento...From Villefranch, you need to travel to Monte Carlo or St.Paul de Vence...All of that travel, the buses, the price of gas, drives those prices upward...

Still, my advice is not to miss this itinerary...Just figure the excursions or tours or other costs as part of your cruise vacation budget...it is an itinerary like no other...

And, don't short yourself by forgoing excursions or tours...If you've never been before, you are going to drive yourself crazy trying to figure out how to get from the port to the sights and trying to get in all of the sightseeing you will want to do...

Both the excursions and the private tour guides can take you through a memorable day at any of these ports...The cost of the private guides may be a little more or a little less than the ship's tours depending on how many you can fit into your group to split costs...The private guides will allow you to customize your route a little more and maybe to fit in just a drop more because you save the time of loading and unloading everyone off buses...The ship's tours will generally include lunches and admission fees and you have the social aspect of sharing it with a group of shipmates...

I advise "doing your own thing" only in SOME ports...and to be sure to do adequate research first...The ship will have free shuttles in some ports--and wandering Corfu or Dubrovnik is (mostly) free...But, make sure to get some sort of excursion or tour for Naples, Athens and Rome (a real bargain was the "Walk in Renaissance Rome" excursion--$128 including lunch...as were the $99 full day tours in Athens)...

But, don't let the prices scare you...Work out a budget that includes a reasonable budget for tours...And DO NOT MISS the Mediterranean...

And, BTW, I wholeheartedly recommend doing it on the Millennium!!! See my review here:


Have fun...

Summit, July 3, 2004: Alaska: 13 night cruisetour
5 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
I think that $850-$1000 is a good budget for a 12 day cruise for excursions. We just finished a 12 day cruise and spent $850 a person on excursions. That is one area I would not scrimp on.

I would also agree that Florence and Naples would benefit from a private tour because of the distance involved. We used Paola for the tour of Pisa and Florence and Marcello for the amafi drive and were very happy with both guides. Private guides are a little more expensive then ship tours but are worth it for the extra that they provide in terms of the additional benefits of a customized tour for a small group.

I would suggest that on Santarini, Rhodes, and Athens, you can do the day excursion on your own. We did. For Rhodes, the town is right a the pier, so just walk in. There is no need for an excursion. FOr Snatarini, the buses are very convenient. We used it to get to Akrotiri, then to Oia, and then back to Fira. It only cost 4 euros per person. For Athens, the subway takes you from the port to the Plaka from which you can walk to the Acropolis in 5-10 minutes. It is very easy to do it on your own.

For Mykolus, we did the ship tour for Delos. However, you can catch the same local ferry to Delos as the ship chartered, probably for a lot cheaper. The town can also be explored on your own very easily.

For Corfu, I did it on my own, and did not enjoy it all that much. However, the people who did the tour of the Akillion palace seems to enjoy the island a lot more. I would recommend using the ship's tour for that as the palace is not in Corfu, but elsewhere on the island.

For Venice and Rome, you need a pre and post cruise stay. We had 24 hours pre cruise stay in Rome and it was not nearly enough. I would suggest a minimum of 3 days for Rome or Venice. We had a 4 day post cruise stay in Venice, but it rained for 2 days, so the timing was about right. However, been warned, Venice hotels are pricy.
Waterdown, Ontario
927 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
I would suggest doing a mixture of private tours and on your own and starting a roll-call for your cruise as you may be lucky to find people to share the tours with. Some people also feel that tours every day are too much and it may make sense to stay near the ports one or two days.

I'm doing Splendour in Sept and have booked 3 days pre-stay in Barcelona. Have private tours arranged for Rome and Florence and fortunately are joining a tour of 4 from the roll-call so that has reduced the cost considerably. Also doing Pompeii/Amalfi Coast/Sorrento and have managed to find a couple to share the cost of that also.

The other ports I am doing on my own as the main towns are closer to port and transportation is readily available.

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Vancouver, BC
19,138 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
We're doing Celebrity's 12 Day Barcelona to Venice next month (yeah, I can now say next month )

We aren't taking any ships excursions, for all the ports that we want to do an excursion we have private tours booked that we're joining other passengers.

The costs are approx:

Villefranche - 120 Euro per person
Florence -90 Euro per person
Rome - 90 Euro per person
Naples - we're taking the hyrdofoil ourselves to Capri
Mykonos - doing our own thing
Athens - 60 Euro per person
Santorini - doing our own thing
Dubrovnik - doing our own thing
Venice - doing our own thing
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September 2018...Crete & London land trip
October 2019...Celebrity Reflection Iberian Peninsular
2020...Planning the great retirement trip

Kauai Land Trip 2018/Queensland, Australia Land Trip - Celebrity Solstice Vancouver to Honolulu - Crete Land Trip 2017/Australia Land Trip - Celebrity Constellation - Greek Isles 2016/Hawaii Land Trip 2015/Christmas and New Years in Hawaii/European Christmas Markets - Land Trip/Hawaii - VCR Celebrity Solstice 2014/Paris Land Trip/Hawaii Land Trip X 2 - 2013/Grand Med. - Ruby Princess/South of France 2012/Hawaii - Land Trip 2012/Hawaii - Land Trip - 2011/Panama Canal and Florida Keys - Coral Princess - 2011/Eastern Caribbean - Ruby Princess - 2010/France 3 Week Land Trip - Burgundy/Loire/Normandy/French Riviera/Provence 2010/Mexican Riviera - Sapphire Princess 2009/Coastal - Sapphire Princess 2009/Alaska - Voyage of the Glaciers - Zuiderdam - 2009/Greek Islands cruise + Monaco and Paris by land - Grand Princess - 2008/Land Trip - Maui - 2008/3 Week Land - Paris to Rome - 2007/Hawaii - Pride of America - 2007/14 Day Caribbean - Sea Princess - 2006/Coastal - Dawn Princess - 2006/Barcelona to Venice - Millennium - 2005/UK & Ireland - Land Trip - 2004/AI Mexican Riviera -2003/Coastal - Island Princess - 2002/Maui - Land Trip x 2/Alaska - Dawn Princess - 2001/UK Land Trip x 3/11 Day Circle the Caribbean - Splendour of the Seas - 2000/Mexican Riviera - Rhapsody of the Seas - 1999/2 Week Land Bermuda - Girls Trip - 1997/Married - Maui - 1997
392 Posts
Joined Dec 2000
Do not miss this trip due to excursion costs. Researching the boards provides very helpful information. Here is our tentative plan.

Rome - on own utilizing public transportation
Naples - train to Pompeii on own or hydrofoil to Capri
Venice - water busses to see sites
Dubrovnik - on own - walk about town
Messina - bus to Taormino
Barcelona - public bus, city sites
Cannes - walk town, consider trip to Capri
Livornio - train to Pisa & Lucca

I'll post more details when I have them compiled into a readable document.
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11,631 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
Three years ago we spent a total of $750 on excursions for a 7 day Mediterranean cruise.

Here's what we did:

Barcelona on our own, walking Las Ramblas and taking the hop on/off bus for $15 Euros each

St. Paul de Vence through the ship

Naples / Pompei through the ship

Florence through the ship

Rome with two other couples on our own

Malta on our own

We are going on a 12 day Med cruise next month and plan on doing almost all the touring on our own. We wanted to see the historical sights the first time, and now we're more interested in the countryside and seeing things on our own.
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Peggy: cruising since 1973
Next up -
2019: Cuba in Janurary. 50th Anniversary Cruises on the Jewel from San Diego to Miami to Rome to a bunch of Greek Islands to Rome. Followed by B2B2B2B Adventure Caribbean, repositioning to Cape Liberty, Bahamas, and then Canada and Nova Scotia.

2020: Princess to Hawaii and Tahiti.

My avatar: the aft of the Star Princess overlooking Moorea.
norwalk, ct. fairfield
176 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
does anyone have any suggestions for an excursion in marseille?
i have heard that cassis is pretty nice and not very far. any one
familiar with it?


107 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
Definitely book private excursions. If you can find people to share the tours with, the prices will be better than what the ship can offer. You will see WAY more! And the private attention is really nice.