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Cirque Terre Ship Tour or Private


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We are trying to decide if we want to do a Cirque Terre tour that the cruise ship has or doing a private tour. We are on the Crowne Princess --in May. Has anyone taken this tour??? If you have done a private tour, who was it with?? How long did it last? It seems the tours are quite lengthy, that a ship tour would seem safer. Our ship will be docking in Florence. Any help from you seasoned travelers would be welcome!

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Well, not sure I can be tons of help but since you haven't had any other replies I will give you my $.02. When in Florence last summer, we didn't do either. Instead, we did it on our own and had a blast! It really wasn't difficult to navigate the trains and I would have hated to be on a group tour in that area. It begs for wandering and keeping your own pace. We saw 3 of the areas, jumped in the water, had a great lunch, strolled around, took photos, and still had plenty of time.

 

Bottom line for me is this is something you CAN do on your own and truly enjoy OR take a private tour. This isn't a "group thing" to me.

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Well, not sure I can be tons of help but since you haven't had any other replies I will give you my $.02. When in Florence last summer, we didn't do either. Instead, we did it on our own and had a blast! It really wasn't difficult to navigate the trains and I would have hated to be on a group tour in that area. It begs for wandering and keeping your own pace. We saw 3 of the areas, jumped in the water, had a great lunch, strolled around, took photos, and still had plenty of time.

 

Bottom line for me is this is something you CAN do on your own and truly enjoy OR take a private tour. This isn't a "group thing" to me.

 

From Livorno I assume you took a train to ?? How long did it take? What towns did you visit?

We will be at Livorno at about 7AM and must be back at the ship by &PM. Any suggestions would be helpful and appreciated.

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We are trying to decide if we want to do a Cirque Terre tour that the cruise ship has or doing a private tour. We are on the Crowne Princess --in May. Has anyone taken this tour??? If you have done a private tour, who was it with?? How long did it last? It seems the tours are quite lengthy, that a ship tour would seem safer. Our ship will be docking in Florence. Any help from you seasoned travelers would be welcome!

 

 

Ships do`nt dock in Florence but Livorno which is a fair way from Cinque Terre about 60 miles. If you have the time Cinque Terre is a great place to visit but better by sea from closer in say Portovenere. :)

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We are trying to decide if we want to do a Cirque Terre tour that the cruise ship has or doing a private tour. We are on the Crowne Princess --in May. Has anyone taken this tour??? If you have done a private tour, who was it with?? How long did it last? It seems the tours are quite lengthy, that a ship tour would seem safer. Our ship will be docking in Florence. Any help from you seasoned travelers would be welcome!

 

 

Ships do`nt dock in Florence but Livorno which is a fair way from Cinque Terre about 60 miles. If you have the time Cinque Terre is a great place to visit but better by sea from closer in say Portovenere. :)

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I'm a Cinque Terre lover - been there seven times, and in fact my Will states that when I go to that great cruise ship in the sky, my ashes are to be scattered to the sea off the cliffs of the Via Dell'Amore (the spectacularly beautiful cliff-hugging walk between two of the villages).

 

I wouldn't miss an opportunity to go there...but the fact is that it really is very far from Livorno. There are trains, but they can take anywhere from 1.5 to 2 hours, and you have to change trains either in Pisa or La Spezia. And as anyone who has traveled by train through Italy knows, train schedules are not always very well adhered to...and strikes do happen (although they are generally announced in advance).

 

Given that, I would take either the ship tour, or hire a private driver to transport you. Personally I'd try to drum up a few more people to split the cost and get the driver. You'll pay less, and get a MUCH better day. You really don't need a guide for the Cinque Terre itself - it just doesn't lend itself (IMO) to a group tour.

 

Here's my suggestion: hire a driver (not a guide - you don't need one) to drive you directly to La Spezia. There you can board the small milk-run train that travels at frequent intervals (3 or 4 times an hour) between La Spezia and all five villages. It's only 8 minutes from La Spezia to the first village - Riomaggiore. Get off there, explore a little, and then proceed to the Via Dell'Amore, which is the paved path connecting Riomaggiore and Manarola, the next village. It's an easy 20-minute walk, but with some of the most breathtakingly romantic coastal scenery on the planet.

 

Have lunch in Manarola - there are some lovely restaurants near the tiny waterfront. (My favorite is the one with the big mural on the inside wall - you can't miss it.) From there you can hop the train to the next village or, better yet, if you are reasonably fit and interested in doing some more walking, take the trail that connects Manarola with Corneglia. It's a longer walk, NOT paved, and steep in certain spots, so wear apprpriate shoes and bring water. But the views are to die for, and the feeling of communing with nature along a goat path that's been used for a thousand years is simply magical.

 

That path will dump you at the train station, and Corneglia is way up on a steep hill, but if you don't want to walk it, there are frequent free shuttles that will take you up the hill to the center of the village. This is my favorite of the villages, perched way up on a hill with astounding views, and filled with charming narrow passageways between the ancient buildings. Get a gelato there, then proceed on to the next village, Vernazza, which is the most popular (and most touristed and touristy - thank you Rick Steves :rolleyes: ). You can hike the path there if you're really fit - it's my favorite leg of the whole hike - but it's also among the most challenging. Or you can hop the train, which takes about 4 minutes. In Vernazza, be sure to visit the Doria Castle, a bit of a walk from the waterfront but an interesting spot to see.

 

I wouldn't bother with the final village - Monterosso al Mare - as it's larger, not nearly as charming, and is more of a small resort town.

 

Then you can hop the train back to La Spezia, meet your driver, and get back to your ship on time.

 

Hope this helps!

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