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zitsky

Mediterranean Odyssey - Rome excursion

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This seems to be the only port with an all day excursion.  I suppose because of distance to Rome?  What time does the Rome excursion leave and return?  I suppose there are several different times?  I am debating whether to do this location on my own with a private tour guide.

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Yes, the ship actually docks in Civitavecchia, not Rome.  According to our shore excursion offerings for our March cruise, the HIghlights of Rome tour leaves at 7:45am and returns at 6:15pm.  Only one time is offered.  We are choosing to do the Rome tour with ItalyTours instead.  It also leaves at 7:45am and is an 8 hour tour, but a smaller group, more sights included and less $$.  Is that the tour group you were looking at?  They also offer private tours at a higher cost, but we are doing one with others from the ship (8).

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Have not booked anything.  Saw recommendation for Rome Cab and Italy Tours.

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44 minutes ago, zitsky said:

Have not booked anything.  Saw recommendation for Rome Cab and Italy Tours.

 

I did the same as above for the same reasons and I give you a little info in some of my posts.  That excursion started at 7:30 for our cruise.

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4 hours ago, K9pal said:

Yes, the ship actually docks in Civitavecchia, not Rome.  According to our shore excursion offerings for our March cruise, the HIghlights of Rome tour leaves at 7:45am and returns at 6:15pm.  Only one time is offered.  We are choosing to do the Rome tour with ItalyTours instead.  It also leaves at 7:45am and is an 8 hour tour, but a smaller group, more sights included and less $$.  Is that the tour group you were looking at?  They also offer private tours at a higher cost, but we are doing one with others from the ship (8).

 

K9pal, are they picking you up at the ship?  What is your itinerary?

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3 minutes ago, zitsky said:

 

K9pal, are they picking you up at the ship?  What is your itinerary?

 

Check it out on Italytours.eu.  They pick you up and deliver you.  They get you skip the line tickets for both Colosseum and Vatican and can provide guides at both locations or not, your decision.  They cover the sights in between with the driver.  from our ship there were 12 of us that they kept in 2 groups of 6 until we met the guide at the Vatican and after the tour they divided us again for transport back to the ship.  They start at around 99 Euros and then with each add on the price inflates but I believe our cost was around 179 Euros but the site can give you exact price.  It covers both these big sites and the ships excursions covered one or the other and if the full day cover both it was way over this price.  You could do it on your own but it is so much easier, under the time constraints if you don't have to think about the logistics and can concentrate on just seeing what there is to see.  Especially if you have never been there.  Also, if you get it set up now, it gets it in front of the people and the passengers that are looking for a bargain or can't get on the ships excursions then have a ready made option.  You still have time to cancel if they don't make without a cost to you.  We used the company in 4 ports and we added to the tours that were already started once we saw what we were able to get through the ship.  I should have used them in Marseilles as well since they had the excursion I wanted but didn't think I could make it work since we only had two in our group.  We tried through Viking in putting 2 excursions together but the connections didn't work .out

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The included tour in Rome is called Snapshots of Rome and is 5.5 hours long (not to be confused with Highlights of Rome & the Colliseum, which is a full-day paid tour). It leaves between 8am and 9am and is back on board during the lunch hours. We did it because we knew we would still be fighting jetlag and I did indeed sleep most of the way too and from the ship. We have been to Rome before and seen all the highlights upclose and personal, so this was just a nice drive around the city.

 

Snapshot is a drive-by tour of Rome ending at the Vatican with time to use the bathrooms, shop and maybe get into the Basilica if the line isn't too long. We lucked out. We were there on Monday, New Year's Eve. Offices were closed and traffic was light, so we did not spend much time waiting in traffic. However, tourists were out in droves at the Vatican and we chose not stand in line. Instead we walked along the Tiber.  The tour makes one other stop for pictures at the Circus Maximus; it is the only time (other than the pitstop at a service station) that you get off the bus.

 

Please don't ask me what we saw exactly because the only answer you will get is that we saw a lot of Roman ruins and marble buildings. I think we hit the highlights: most of the 7 major churches (like St. John in Lateran, Saint Paul outside the wall, St. Mary Major, etc.), Circus Maximum, Colliseum, Victor Emmanuel Monument, Via Veneto, etc.

 

 

 

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Thank you for that detailed review.  We might do a private tour to get off the bus.

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6 hours ago, zitsky said:

Thank you for that detailed review.  We might do a private tour to get off the bus.

 

Dauntless gave you the same info on the ItalyTours that I have.  On the day we are there the Vatican is closed, so we have been told they will fill the extra time in however we want.  They will meet us at the ship with an 8 person tour van.  The cost is $99 euros plus the Colosseum tour which is an add'l $24 Euros (skip the line tickets).  The ship tour for the full day is $199 USD, so we are still saving $$, and have a much smaller group (no more than 16 people per guide).  We can cancel with a full refund right up to 24 hrs in advance I believe, and they are VERY responsive to all questions.  While I haven't been on any tours with them yet, I can say that so far I am very impressed.  They also get high ratings on Tripadvisor.

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Snapshots of Rome is listed on the Viking web site as 9 hours.  It does say you return in time for lunch.  So I think Peregrina651 is right that it's 5 hours.  I know I'll see the actual time in a few months when Viking publishes their excursions.

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Yes we did Snapshots of Rome - we have been to Rome twice so had seen all of the big sites before ( we are from the UK). We did it in the afternoon - we were not hugely impressed. It was 90 minutes from the ship to Rome and over two hours back in the rush hour. It was fine as an afternoon time filler! We were quite frustrated by the time we got to the Vatican - we would have preferred just to have been dropped off there on arrival and be picked up later - we would have then have at least had time to go in the basilica which is stunning! The traffic in Rome was horrendous. I would not recommend this tour if you really want to see some of the highlights of Rome - you will just see the outside of the Basilica and the other photo stop as mentioned.  Other alternatives would be advisable. 

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Posted (edited)

I wonder if anyone has done this excursion.  Listed on vikingcruises.com.  It's supposed to be a late afternoon or evening tour.  The page says meal included but the description doesn't mention any.

 

ROME & PRIVATE VISIT OF VATICAN CITY MUSEUMS

 

A ROME PANORAMA AND AN AFTER-HOURS VIEWING OF MICHELANGELO'S MASTERPIECE

Combine the best of Rome with a unique opportunity to visit the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel after hours. You will meet your local guide in the “Eternal City,” where you will view the great monuments of ancient Rome: the Aurelian Walls, the Pyramid of Cestius, Circus Maximus, Capitoline Hill and the Colosseum. A drive along the elegant Via Veneto delivers you to Vatican City, the smallest sovereign state in the world. By the time we arrive, the usual crowds will have departed so you can enjoy a private visit to the world-renowned Vatican Museums. You will have the galleries to yourself to admire pieces from Raphael, Caravaggio and Botticelli. In the Sistine Chapel, marvel at magnificent religious art, most notably Michelangelo’s spectacular ceiling and the iconic Hand of God giving life to Adam. Return to your ship via the floodlit streets of Rome.

 

I can find nothing about it.  Maybe this is new for 2019?

Edited by zitsky

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On 3/28/2019 at 12:27 PM, zitsky said:

I wonder if anyone has done this excursion.  Listed on vikingcruises.com.  It's supposed to be a late afternoon or evening tour.  The page says meal included but the description doesn't mention any.

 

ROME & PRIVATE VISIT OF VATICAN CITY MUSEUMS

 

A ROME PANORAMA AND AN AFTER-HOURS VIEWING OF MICHELANGELO'S MASTERPIECE

Combine the best of Rome with a unique opportunity to visit the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel after hours. You will meet your local guide in the “Eternal City,” where you will view the great monuments of ancient Rome: the Aurelian Walls, the Pyramid of Cestius, Circus Maximus, Capitoline Hill and the Colosseum. A drive along the elegant Via Veneto delivers you to Vatican City, the smallest sovereign state in the world. By the time we arrive, the usual crowds will have departed so you can enjoy a private visit to the world-renowned Vatican Museums. You will have the galleries to yourself to admire pieces from Raphael, Caravaggio and Botticelli. In the Sistine Chapel, marvel at magnificent religious art, most notably Michelangelo’s spectacular ceiling and the iconic Hand of God giving life to Adam. Return to your ship via the floodlit streets of Rome.

 

I can find nothing about it.  Maybe this is new for 2019?

 

Z,  good catch. I just forwarded the two discrepancies you found along to Viking so that they can correct them. No idea how long that will take.

 

Reminder: just because a tour is listed on the website does not mean that it will necessarily be offered on your sailing. As it says in the fine print at the bottom of the page (and most of us don't tend to scroll that far down): Shore excursions vary by departure and are subject to change.

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On 3/28/2019 at 11:27 AM, zitsky said:

I wonder if anyone has done this excursion.  Listed on vikingcruises.com.  It's supposed to be a late afternoon or evening tour.  The page says meal included but the description doesn't mention any.

 

ROME & PRIVATE VISIT OF VATICAN CITY MUSEUMS

 

A ROME PANORAMA AND AN AFTER-HOURS VIEWING OF MICHELANGELO'S MASTERPIECE

Combine the best of Rome with a unique opportunity to visit the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel after hours. You will meet your local guide in the “Eternal City,” where you will view the great monuments of ancient Rome: the Aurelian Walls, the Pyramid of Cestius, Circus Maximus, Capitoline Hill and the Colosseum. A drive along the elegant Via Veneto delivers you to Vatican City, the smallest sovereign state in the world. By the time we arrive, the usual crowds will have departed so you can enjoy a private visit to the world-renowned Vatican Museums. You will have the galleries to yourself to admire pieces from Raphael, Caravaggio and Botticelli. In the Sistine Chapel, marvel at magnificent religious art, most notably Michelangelo’s spectacular ceiling and the iconic Hand of God giving life to Adam. Return to your ship via the floodlit streets of Rome.

 

I can find nothing about it.  Maybe this is new for 2019?

 

I just looked through our Cruise Document booklet for April 21 sailing last year and it is not there so it might be new this year.  Since you haven't been yet, the booklet is included when they send you your documents and does have everything for your cruise.  It does not come before you book excursions.

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Excursions are published online a few months before sailing.  That is what I'm waiting for.

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Sharing the name and email of an absolutely amazing private guide in Rome in case anyone is interested:  

 

Barbara Bruno

barbarabruno69@vodafone.it 

 

 

 

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On 3/28/2019 at 11:41 AM, robinhood1 said:

Yes we did Snapshots of Rome - we have been to Rome twice so had seen all of the big sites before ( we are from the UK). We did it in the afternoon - we were not hugely impressed. It was 90 minutes from the ship to Rome and over two hours back in the rush hour. It was fine as an afternoon time filler! We were quite frustrated by the time we got to the Vatican - we would have preferred just to have been dropped off there on arrival and be picked up later - we would have then have at least had time to go in the basilica which is stunning! The traffic in Rome was horrendous. I would not recommend this tour if you really want to see some of the highlights of Rome - you will just see the outside of the Basilica and the other photo stop as mentioned.  Other alternatives would be advisable. 

 

Agreed but traffic in Rome is horrendous unless you happen to be there on a non-work day and it will effect all bus tours not just the included tour.

 

We actually chose this tour because we knew that we would be jet-lagged from our overseas flight the day before and would not want to spend an entire day touring. The tour served its purpose: we got to see a bit of Rome and the fact that we weren't constantly getting on and off the bus was actually a plus for us. We knew from the get-go that it would be nothing more than a drive-by tour and in fact, we did get to see some areas of the city and some sights that we had not seen before.

 

If you want extra time at the Vatican, you can always leave the tour at the Circus Maximus and take a cab to the Vatican. Just ask your guide to show you on the map where in the Vatican you will be meeting and at what time you must be there. Or you can ditch the tour entirely and get yourself back to the ship at the end of the day.

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55 minutes ago, zitsky said:

Excursions are published online a few months before sailing.  That is what I'm waiting for.

 

Can't decide which wait is worse: excursions posted, booking opens or departure day. 😉

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Well I've done my preliminary analysis of the tour with my recommendations and have given that to Dr. Zitsky.  Now I will spend a little time researching private tours in Rome and Tuscany.  But mostly I will twiddle my thumbs for the next two months.

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32 minutes ago, zitsky said:

 Now I will spend a little time researching private tours in Rome and Tuscany.  But mostly I will twiddle my thumbs for the next two months.

 

I think you're kidding yourself from all of your previous activity here!

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44 minutes ago, Dauntless said:

 

I think you're kidding yourself from all of your previous activity here!

 

Maybe I could think of more questions.... Do you really want that?

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16 minutes ago, zitsky said:

 

Maybe I could think of more questions.... Do you really want that?

 

Not a challenge, just an observation.

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, Dauntless said:

 

Not a challenge, just an observation.

 

The great thing about this forum is how helpful people are.  Search tool is nice but doesn't always give what you expect.  I use this and TripAdvisor to research activities.  

 

Edit:  I really do appreciate all the replies from you Dauntless and others.  Thanks.

Edited by zitsky

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2 minutes ago, zitsky said:

 

The great thing about this forum is how helpful people are.  Search tool is nice but doesn't always give what you expect.  I use this and TripAdvisor to research activities.  

 

I know and I'm also a big believer in Rick Steve's and Youtube for insight.  Even though you haven't been on a Viking cruise yet, and at first I wasn't real sure you were going on one, I was surprised to see you such an advocate recently.  I'm just a dumb guy from Texas and don't know no better but even though some things could and have been tweaked along the way, this is the kind of cruising suits my needs.  It takes me places I haven't been and for a first time in the ports, I'm glad.  I've enjoyed the crew and their interaction, from the captain to the room attendant.  The atmosphere and style of the ship.  Not stuffy or theme park.  A relaxing oasis when you return from your adventures with activities that make you feel like it's something special without being a hectic frenzy!  Belly flop contest and butlers would not be my idea of the style I would choose.   The idea of a booze and snooze cruise holds no fascination for me. The passengers are, for the most part, so welcoming.  When I boarded my last cruise, in the elevator on the way to lunch, a guy aboard said "Welcome to my ship".  It was his second cruise on the Star, as mine, and it turns out we were on the same cruise and ship two years ago though we didn't meet then.  But it's the feeling you get when you travel with this company.  I have seen a few that seem to be just totally unpleasant but I don't think the cruise has much to do with that.  Some people just major in the minors and enjoy being miserable.  Thank goodness, though the ship is 'Small', there's enough space to avoid then completely so it only rains on their parade.

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If I sound positive about Viking, it's because of past river cruises, which are quite different. Hope ocean is as good as you say.

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