Questions on Various Cruise Ship Ports...
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Nov 22, 2012 10:10 AM Last Post By: brentski
Nov 16, 2012 6:16 PM
Questions on Various Cruise Ship Ports...greetings thorntree'ers....wondering if anyone is knowledgeable on the following cruise ship ports as my girlfriend and I are going on a transatlantic cruise in about 10 days time. wondering if anyone knows how close any of these places are to the city centre(s) and at what ports you would recommend exploring on our own/what ones would be better to do an organized tour. keeping in mind, we generally have 10 hours or less in most places. i usually like to see the sights on my own, but realize on a cruise this can sometimes be difficult to do, especially if the ports are a ways from the towns/cities. any help and/or insight would be greatly appreciated and i am open to any and all solutions. cheers!
Tue Nov 27 Florence / Pisa (Livorno), Italy 7:00am 7:00pm
Wed Nov 28 Toulon, France 7:00am 7:00pm
Thu Nov 29 Barcelona, Spain 8:00am 6:00pm
Fri Nov 30 Cartagena, Spain 10:00am 5:00pm
Sun Dec 2 Funchal, Madeira, Portugal 10:30am 8:00pm
Nov 16, 2012 9:21 PM
1I've been on a half dozen cruises. On Mom's dime.
Working aboard them, may be more fun.
You get 8 hours in each port. You're smart to see prts on your own.
You might bargan with an old car driver to spend the day with you. Okd because he personally knows the place's history.
Ask your concierge about that. Better still...fplks who've done it a few times.
The bus tours are a rip-off. They have a big itennerary on the info sheet. But drive past most. They start saying,"We're short of time. Then take you to a shop for an hour,
WHERE THE GUIDE GETS A COMMISSION on sales.
I broke away from the carpet shop time, in Istanbul.
The blue hairs were horrified.
Have fun. Eat lots. Drink tea that's in variety of bags. Do something different on vacation.
AA meetings were the most interesting folks.
Nov 16, 2012 9:26 PM
2Sometimes you may wonder why the ship is just going fast enough to keep the rudder effective. The skipper is lollygagging. There are so many cruise ships, the port has a tight dock booking.
So if you're late, returning to your ship from you eight hours shoreleve... there's a huge fine for you. Or you may have just jumped ship.
Nov 16, 2012 9:46 PM
3Depending on where the ship docks, it should be possible to walk to the center in Toulon. Better yet, take a bus to the train station and go somewhere nicer.
In Funchal boats dock right next to the town center and Funchal has plenty of sights to keep you entertained for a day (or longer). Downside is that central Funchal gets flooded by Americans when a cruise ship has arrived, and that the other half of the passengers seems to be hoarded onto buses to "explore" the island; I don't have anything against Americans, but when a few thousands of them descend on a town center as small as Funchal's, part of the charm of the place gets destroyed.
I've seen (but not used) taxi companies around town advertising private island tours, in case you want to see more of Madeira without taking the cruise company's excursion, but again, you can have an enjoyable day in Fuchal alone, perhaps combined with a cable car trip to the gardens of Monte.
Having said that, my best advice would be to cancel this cruise, pick one area (e.g. Florence, Rome and perhaps one more destination in Italy) and spend your full 10 days there - making it to places like Florence, Rome, Barcelona or Madeira and then having about 7-8 of sightseeing time at best, that's almost masochism.
Nov 17, 2012 12:39 AM
4About shore excursions - three ways at your choice. a) Buy what is offert from the cruise company, b) go by your own with privat transport companies at each place, maybe with other clients on your ship to make it cheaper and at least, c) go just by your own. Of course if using a) you are sure always to be back on the ship in time or the ship waits what is not the case on b + c.
Livorno - Florence is a long trip and if taking the coach you will spend half of the time to go and come back what gives you for Florence not more than 2 hours and for Pisa maybe 30 minutes.
Toulon - starting this year cruises can come in the harbor of the city. The planning for 2013 are 350 cruises with 500.000 clients. Toulon itself is ugly and without interest. What is offered are full day excursion to Aix (3h to drive), Marseille (2h to drive) and up to the time of the year St. Tropez (between 2 and 4h to drive). Doing by yourself with a privat company I would suggets to spend the day inside the Provence - the northen backland - as it is a very nice part of France.
As said by #3 - I agree, cancel it
Nov 17, 2012 2:12 AM
5There are trains about hourly between Livorno - Pisa - Florence see http://www.trenitalia.com and the journey takes about an hour and a half. A quick check on next week's times shows a departure from Livorno at 0906 arriving Firenze Santa Maria Novella at 1032, and a return at 1528 arriving 1648 at a cost of €9 each way. Both these are regional trains which cannot be booked in advance - buy a return ticket at Livorno station, just give yourselves a bit of time in case there's a queue at the ticket counter.
Because of the annual timetable review, in early December,check for details again in about a month's time. You would be pushed to see both Firenze and Pisa on the same day, despite Pisa being much nearer
Nov 17, 2012 3:37 AM
6When you go on a cruise, you have to figure you're just going to sit, eat, and listen to sea stories,
of those who mostly go on cruises.
If you're interested in learning something about the world, and onversre with suprisingly nice pole backpack. Lots of us grey hairs are doing it.
I live in Seville Spain.
I see more of us every year. There are hundreds of hostAls. (small mom and pop hotels with ten or so rooms.
I and my best friend i my life just stayed in a two star in Madrid. Excelent quality place. Mexican, Peruvian, Indian, and Argentine restaurnts right near by.
Its near the cd geko sculpture. And Thyssenn Gallery.
If you want to talk with lots of different ages. And sleep in well run dorms. Or sometimes get a room for two;
www.hostelbookers.com has photos, maps to,rates..
(each one is a little different. Not like American cookie cutter lay outs.) hostEls would be your ticket.
Nov 17, 2012 3:39 AM
Nov 18, 2012 1:00 AM
8Nothing is difficult in these towns:
frequent trains Livorno - Pisa - Florence as mentioned above),
frequent trains Toulon - Marseille, Aix and Nice
metro at Barcelona ....
but first of all, you must do some research in order to find out what you want to visit in these towns/areas:
Pisa, Lucca, Siena or Florence?
Cartagena, Murcia or Elche?
Toulon, Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Arles, St-Rapael, Antibes or Nice?
Some museums should be booked in advance (Florence).
Nov 18, 2012 3:36 AM
9I've visited both Cartagena (one day) and Murcia (two days) just over a month ago.
Cartagena has a very beautiful natural harbour and the cruise ship will dock right in front of the city centre. I would just stay in Cartagena with those 7 hours you have and explore the city.
Head for the tourist office which is near to the quay and ask a map of the town. The old town (in front of the harbour) is very nice for strolling around and has some fine modernista buildings, the Roman theatre is also nearby..
Then it depends on your interest. If you like archeology and old military buildings, you'll have plenty to do and everything is within walking distance.
Murcia is nice too (and bigger) but you have too little time. Besides, why would you head elsewhere if your cruise ship arrives in a place well worth exploring.
Nov 22, 2012 10:10 AM
10thank you everyone for your responses much appreciated. every bit of knowledge helps. i realize i could research a lot of this myself, but i prefer to hear things from people on forums then from tourist websites, etc....and as far as those telling me to backpack, etc, i have backpacked lots and will be doing so in january. just nice to have a more luxurious vacation once in a while. especially with the wifey in tow.
again, thanks for the input guys!
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