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Just found this site and I think it is wonderful. Have already gotten info to help us on our upcoming cruise Istanbul to Venice. Can anyone help us with info on how complicated or time consuming it is to tour Ephesus on your own. We also would like to see Corinth when we port in Athens. Is it possible on your own or should you book excursions. What is your opinion on the Emerald Grotto, is it worth taking an excursion to or is time better spent in other way while at Amalfi. I have been doing a lot of research but love hearing directly from experienced travelers. Most of the ships excursions are pretty expensive for our budget and we do prefer to explore on our own if we can without wasting too much time. One last thing. We will be staying on in Venice for four days and want to take a day train somewhere interesting. Verona and Lake Garda areas look beautiful. Any suggestions? Thanks

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We visited Lake Garda and Verona on a land tour in 2000, so I cannot speak to how you would get there on your own.


Impressions - Lake Garda is absolutely beautiful. It reminded us of a seaside resort anywhere. Lovely to look at and walk around. Good food. We spent about three hours there. Could have spent more time.


Verona was stunning. Lovely ancient ruins. Many shopping spots. We spent about three hours there, also. Only down side, the town had many gypsies who continuously accosted tourists.

Could have spent more time here, also.


If you want seaside, go to Lake Garda. If you want ancient ruins, go to Verona. We would gladly return to either.

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Can anyone help us with info on how complicated or time consuming it is to tour Ephesus on your own.


I would definately try to use a guide in Ephasus (why not hire a private guide and use the roll call for your cruise to bring in more people to bring the cost down?)


I can assure you that you will not have a shortage of others asking to join you.


We used Levant Solmaz (http://leventsolmaz.com/ ), and, believe it or not, fellow Insignia passengers were trying to leave the ships tour, and shadow us!


Levent is a pro (thank goodness, we were mortified), and he put them straight.


The Ephasus ruins are very extensive and are ALL built of the same white marble.......the library and the public bathrooms are easily identifiable, but after that you need a guide who knows their way around.


Ephasus is SO HISTORIC, that it is one place where I'd bite the bullet and pay the price. You will never forget your experience here, it was the highlight of our cruise.

(Rome was fabulous too, but you expect Rome to be fabulous, so, Ephasus was a treat!)


We'll be happy to supply additional details up upon request.


Enjoy your cruise!

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We stayed in Verona last May for three days and took the train to Venice for the day so you could easily do the reverse trip. Trains run regularly between the two cities. From the station in Verona, either catch a taxi to the centre of the old city or there is a bus. The Roman Arena is a highlight and is open every day except Monday but check before going. Walk from the Arena towards Piazza Erbe and you will pass beautiful shops. There is a tourist office at the station so you can pick up all the information on the various sights. Verona is a beautiful city to visit but don't be put off by the area around the station. It is another world once you are inside the walled city.

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Don't waste your money on the Emerald Grotto. We took a boat with a local operator from the pier (quite cheap, just a few euros) and, even though the cruise to the Grotto was picturesque, the grotto wasn't worth wasting time on. When we were there a guy rowed you around for 5 minutes and the whole time just kept asking for a tip! Passengers who took the ship's excursion had exactly the same experience for much more money. Better to spend your time around Amalfi, wandering the shops and visiting the church etc.


In Ephesus I think you definitely need a local guide for the historical knowledge they impart. Our guide also took us to the House of the Virgin Mary. We shared with 2 other couples we met on the Roll Call - think the tour operator was Ekol Tours and was not expensive because there were 6 of us.

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See Ephesus with a private guide. Get some folks from your roll call to do it with you. It will cost you less and you will see more. Don't do the ship's tour!


Skip the Emerald grotto - for all the reasons already given.

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We have privately reserved Ekol travel for Epheseus. I'm not sure if it's a private excursion or a group, but you are welcome to join us. I don't recall the price, but I can check with them, and let you know if interested. We are also on May 10, 2008 Insignia IST- VCE.


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