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Looking for feedback, suggestions and recommendations for the following ports. Our cruise isn’t until July 2021 but figured early planning and daydreaming is one of the best distractions and boredom busters that I know. 🙂 

 

Will be sailing with DH, DS 17, and DD 15.  Would like to have ideas on what ports are best for just walking off and DIYing it and which ones we should have planned excursions at.  We’ve never been to any of the places we are visiting and it’s a little overwhelming with so many ports and everything sounding like it shouldn’t be missed.  


Thanks! 

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2 minutes ago, All-ready2cruise said:

I think  this one might be more helpful:  https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/2-ports-of-call/

 

Sounds like a fun cruise, hope you enjoy.

 

Thanks.   Not sure how I messed up my link.  Apologies to the OP, apparently this home quarantine stuff is making me senile.  🙂

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1 minute ago, ColeThornton said:

 

Thanks.   Not sure how I messed up my link.  Apologies to the OP, apparently this home quarantine stuff is making me senile🙂

No worries; I was going to tell you to join the club but that's probably not a good plan.  Stay healthy. 😉

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Mykonos and Santorini are suitable for walking off (actually, tendering off) and exploring on your own.    In Naples, I would definitely do an excursion, either private or NCL-sponsored.  Pompeii is fascinating, and the Amalfi coast is spectacular.  On a Celebrity cruise, a friend and I did both in one long day when we couldn't decide between them, and it was a great day.   Naples is a big, sprawling city, so I wouldn't consider it the best for exploring on your own. 

 

I have never been to Livorno, I understand Florence and Pisa are both some distance from the port, so excursions would be a good idea there.   I can't help with the other ports.  It looks like a fabulous cruise.  Have a terrific time.   

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Besides internet research, I turned to old-fashioned guide books to help plan port activities for a British Isles cruise.   Travel writer Rick Steves and others have written guide books specifically for Mediterranean cruise passengers, which are informative and full of practical tips when you only have one day in each port.  But I found guide books geared towards land vacations to be valuable, too, for learning about what there is to see in the port cities and the surrounding areas.    Check your public library if you don't want to buy one for each country.   

 

I also turned to Google maps to get a fix on distances in order to not spend most of the time on an excursion sitting on a bus.  

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We did a very similar itinerary a few years ago.  Kotor and Dobrovnik are walkable towns. You will need tour/transport for your Italy stops we had private taxi tours because of a wheelchair though I would do the same tours same people again. 

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We took the Mediterranean itinerary with NCL last year so I can speak to Rome, Florence and Naples.

 

You can walk around in Naples. We did a pricey excursion and saw the Almafi coast, Positano, Sorrento and Pompeii, priceless experience with my mother. 

 

Florence and Pisa we did the NCL on your own. Great way to have transportation and our own plan and would do it again. If you want museums you should book a tour that gets you entrance otherwise you'll spend your time in line. We had a more casual experience cafe lunch, shopping and outdoor sites like David and other sculptures and Ponte Vecchio. 

 

Rome please book a ship excursion. Rome is over an hour away from the port. I would not risk a late return by train.

 

So in summary NCL ShoreX for Rome as a must and a strong suggestion for Florence. Both are a longer ride from the port. For Naples you can kick back more and make pizza your destination. 

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9 hours ago, Nola26 said:

 . . .Florence and Pisa we did the NCL on your own. Great way to have transportation and our own plan and would do it again. If you want museums you should book a tour that gets you entrance otherwise you'll spend your time in line. . . .

 

I agree that "on your own"' excursions are a good choice - the security of ship-sponsored transportation with the freedom to do what you when you arrive.  I also second the advice to plan in advance if you want to visit one of the major museums anywhere in Italy, either by booking a tour or simply buying an admission ticket in advance.   

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18 hours ago, Joanne G. said:

Mykonos and Santorini are suitable for walking off (actually, tendering off) and exploring on your own.    In Naples, I would definitely do an excursion, either private or NCL-sponsored.  Pompeii is fascinating, and the Amalfi coast is spectacular.  On a Celebrity cruise, a friend and I did both in one long day when we couldn't decide between them, and it was a great day.   Naples is a big, sprawling city, so I wouldn't consider it the best for exploring on your own. 

 

I have never been to Livorno, I understand Florence and Pisa are both some distance from the port, so excursions would be a good idea there.   I can't help with the other ports.  It looks like a fabulous cruise.  Have a terrific time.   

Thanks! That’s where I’m struggling the most, is trying to get an idea of what’s all possible and realistic to see in a day.  

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13 hours ago, Nola26 said:

We took the Mediterranean itinerary with NCL last year so I can speak to Rome, Florence and Naples.

 

You can walk around in Naples. We did a pricey excursion and saw the Almafi coast, Positano, Sorrento and Pompeii, priceless experience with my mother. 

 

Florence and Pisa we did the NCL on your own. Great way to have transportation and our own plan and would do it again. If you want museums you should book a tour that gets you entrance otherwise you'll spend your time in line. We had a more casual experience cafe lunch, shopping and outdoor sites like David and other sculptures and Ponte Vecchio. 

 

Rome please book a ship excursion. Rome is over an hour away from the port. I would not risk a late return by train.

 

So in summary NCL ShoreX for Rome as a must and a strong suggestion for Florence. Both are a longer ride from the port. For Naples you can kick back more and make pizza your destination. 

I would love to do that same excursion you mentioned for Almafi coast, Positano, Sorrento and Pompeii, it sounds amazing and exactly what I’d love to do if I can get over the excursion price sticker shock for four of us (or win the lottery!) 🙂 

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I always go independent.    Simple with these ports.  But,  I suggest  YOU figure out what you want to see and do.    Then focus on the details.    It depends on you.   I simply jump on trains and public buses/metros  etc.   A lot of people can't/won't consider that.     I spent 3 months in the med last year and greatly enjoyed walking tours.   I use self guided Apps  but there are multiple guided options.   

 

Take some time and look over your shore excursion lists.   Most all those have cheaper independent options.   

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2 minutes ago, Budget Queen said:

I always go independent.    Simple with these ports.  But,  I suggest  YOU figure out what you want to see and do.    Then focus on the details.    It depends on you.   I simply jump on trains and public buses/metros  etc.   A lot of people can't/won't consider that.     I spent 3 months in the med last year and greatly enjoyed walking tours.   I use self guided Apps  but there are multiple guided options.   

 

Take some time and look over your shore excursion lists.   Most all those have cheaper independent options.   

Thanks! Do you have app recommendations? I typically book independent excursions as they usually are a much better experience and value. I’m not sure if it’s because these ports have so many more options and having zero experience in Europe in general but I feel like I’m going to need this full year + to get my plan together! 

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8 minutes ago, tvlworm said:

Thanks! Do you have app recommendations? I typically book independent excursions as they usually are a much better experience and value. I’m not sure if it’s because these ports have so many more options and having zero experience in Europe in general but I feel like I’m going to need this full year + to get my plan together! 

GPSmycity  and Rick Steves Europe audio guide.    The later is superb and free.   I highly recommend it.   I do not recommend any "tour" for Pompeii.   Simply take the train there and use the audio guide.  🙂    (usually a highlight for first timers)       I have been to all the ports multiple times and always see new things.   

 

So,  decide what and how you want to tour.    Be realistic with your abilities.    I have never needed any hand holding,  but have found my type of touring is terrifying for many.    All kinds of options=    determine what is going to work best for you.   

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2 hours ago, tvlworm said:

I would love to do that same excursion you mentioned for Almafi coast, Positano, Sorrento and Pompeii, it sounds amazing and exactly what I’d love to do if I can get over the excursion price sticker shock for four of us (or win the lottery!) 🙂 

It is really pricey for a family of 4. We were just two adults and decided that was our big treat for the trip. My mother had never been to Europe and I had never been to Italy so we took it as a lifetime opportunity. Positano is the Jewel of that excursions because the big buses are not permitted there so you need a small vehicle tour to go there. There are much less expensive options that can also be fabulous. Pompeii was also important for us. Cinque Terre and Capri are places we missed but would have loved to visit. I will plan one if I ever get back.

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Hi,

In Naples there is a Hop on Hop off bus which is usually a good option. Sorrento is beautiful. 

I’ve read that Kotor and Dubrovnik are both easy to navigate on your own, I was supposed to be there next week but The Norwegian Jade sailing is cancelled. 

Mykonos is a small port so I don’t think you need an orchestrated tour because you can just walk around.  The windmills overlooking town are a short distance from the ship and there are also some great beaches nearby. You could take a day trip to the island of Delos and to see ruins, it was once a sacred spot through out the ancient world. 

You can take a boat around the island of Santorini then take a bus to the village, then a bus to Feria about 20 minutes away, and then take the cable car back down all for about 20 Euros. Expect a long line for the cable car when taking it down to get back to the ship. The beaches are made of volcanic rock and there is an active volcano in Santorini.  I read that there is a stunning sunset from Oia. 

Enjoy! 

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