We arrived early morning but we went to our hotel and one room was ready so we dropped off the luggage. There was a nice street of restaurants close by and had an nice lunch. Many on Cruise Critic talked about purchasing tickets to the HOHO bus in advance but we had called the hotel and they actually had tickets at a slightly better discount. If you want to go inside the Temple Expiatori De La Sagrada Familia you need to purchase tickets in advance. We followed a walk outlined in the Trip Advisor City Guide series and wound up in the theater district an d found an interesting open air market in the morning before going to the ship. (The hotel ordered taxis for us.)
We signed up for the Jewish Interest tour but it was canceled. If you want to see the synagogue you can easily take the shuttle or a taxi to the old city and find it. So instead my husband and I joined our 26-29 year old children on a bicycle trip. It was a very hot day and they did provide water, bikes and helmets. In general the bikes were nice, although the ones for the smaller women weren't quite as nice. The ride was reasonable in grade although with the heat I did accept a ride the last short distance (uphill) back to the winery where we started. We made two stops, one at a church and the other at a spring and olive press. The guide spoke good English and was interesting and informative. The bus allowed people to get off at the old town. I went back to the ship. They told us that we would need to pay for the shuttle but since my husband and kids had the id tag from the Carnival Tour on their shirt still, they were allowed on the shuttle at no charge.
not worth the time - crowded but we did get in earlier than our timed tickets
We used Roberto Brunetti's Limousinrome for this (and the next two ports). The level of informality in making the reservations with Roberto surprised me. No deposit, just his promise that they will be waiting for us on the dock. They were there, each of the days, with my name spelled differently each time. I also wanted a more formal itinerary but pretty much only got lists of "possible sites." The four 20 year olds with us, took the train to Florence. They made arrangement s through a site called Accidental Tourist. They went to a farmhouse and made and ate ravioli. So since we had the vehicle booked, I found a family of three to join us. We did take them off their normal itinerary. Alberto was our guide. The vehicle was ok, but the next two days were nicer and Alberto provided water where the other drivers did not. We make the obligatory stop in Pisa, although we all said we could skip it. We then went to Florence and saw a nice overview of the city. Then we had reserved tickets at the Academic Museum. (I would have been just as happy seeing the replica of the David which is in an outdoor park.) We met relatives of our new friends for lunch. That was fun - we then walked to Basilica of San Lorenzo and Alberto picked us up and we went to the Synagogue. I had requested this stop in advance but I'm not sure Alberto knew this. He was the best of the three guides from this company and he communicated well, etc.
Dom;t miss the museum on the upper floor of the synagogue
We really didn't have a huge interest in this port. Choices to get in to town were a Carnival Shuttle to the main harbor area or a public shuttle to the old town. There was a public train station not far from the shuttle drop off. You could not really exit the harbor area on your own.
We saw a notation in a guidebook about a 200 year old bakery. We walked through the old town near the ship and found a nice museum (although they were showing American Indian art). We found the bakery (and of course bought something to eat) but the maps weren't very good and going back to the ship we saw a lot of people who were confused about where to go. There was a nice carousel in the center of the harbor area. It was a rather unremarkable port.
Raphael from Limousinrome met us at the port for this day. The vehicle was nice but it was a hot day and he did not provide water (we had brought some with us). After the fact I think he did not follow the itinerary that was presented in advance but we really didn't have any special requests. We made a shopping stop in Sorrento, then we continued down the coast and made a stop in Positano where we could shop (I thought I told Roberto that in general we didn't want to shop, but I did purchase a nice blue jean skirt). We then had lunch at a local restaurant (surrounded by other tables of Carnival guests) and wen t on to Pompeii. By the time we got to Pompeii it was extremely hot (the older people with us did not go in, they sat in the shade) and we only had about 1 1/2 hours there. I asked Raphael at the beginning of the day (and knowing it was going to be hot) if we could reverse the route and he said no it wasn't but I have a feeling that it was only because of the lunch stop.
Fred from Limousinrome met us at the port of Civitavecchia for our day in Rome. The vehicle was nicer than the day before but no water was provided (almost everyday was 93-95F). I was in the very back row and he was hard to hear. He had our reservation for Coliseum tickets but otherwise I don't think he had a planed itinerary. We went to the Coliseum, Parthenon and Trevi fountain. Then he brought us to a "small local restaurant" for lunch. Funny thing, it was full of about 100 other Carnival Cruise Ship guests - but the food was good as were the prices. After lunch Fred says, "we have time to spare we can go to the catacombs" - I replied that I thought we had requested the Jewish Quarter. He said fine and that was our next stop.
Buy or bring a guidebook with you
very nice synagogue tour
My son and I did the Mt Etna and Winery tour from Carnival. The rest of our group took a taxi to Taormina. They walked around town, shopped a bit and then came back to the ship. We went out to Mt Etna which is an active volcano, erupting approximately every two months. Thebus stopped at an overview where we got some nice pictures of the smoke coming from the volcano and then we went to an area of "dead craters" where we had time to walk around.
My son and I did the Mt Etna and Winery tour from Carnival. The rest of our group took a taxi to Taormina. They walked around town, shopped a bit and then came back to the ship. The winery was a small estate winery. We had a tour and then appetizers outside. We went inside for lunch and came back out for desert. It was a nice group of people and we had fun
My husband and I collect glass art and we wanted to go to Murano. The ship could have provided better directions to getting around town but we got to the water bus and the island easily. We walked around and ultimately purchased a few pieces of art and, a piece of jewelry and some gift items. It is important to shop around, the prices did vary for the same/similar items and some places were more willing to negotiate than others. If they were to take a discount for cash however, they wanted euros not dollars so we ultimately put our (discounted) purchase on a credit card. The water buses were very full (almost dangerously full) on the way back. We got off at the train station instead of the transportation hub and took a "traditional" gondola ride. It wasn't very romantic but it was fun. From there it was an easy walk to the transportation hub and people mover.