We are a group of 10 that just returned from a 12-Day Mediterranean Cruise. What an incredible trip, with memories that will last a lifetime. We flew into Rome one day early and had made arrangements through www.driverinrome.com to meet us. They took us to our hotel to drop off our luggage and then took us on an incredible tour of Rome. They also made all the arrangements for us to have a two-hour guided tour of the Vatican and Sistine Chapel, with no lines and an English speaking guide, it was amazing. Following our tour they took us to our port to board the ship. I can't believe how much we saw of Rome during our 32 hours there.
Embarkation was quick and smooth and we were in our cabins unpacking our luggage within one hour of boarding. The ships decor was nice but not one of their most attractive designs, a little blah, compared to their other ships.
Naples- When we arrived in Naples we were once again met by Driver in Rome and we had the most amazing Day. We were shown breathtaking views of The Amalfi Coast on our way to Positano, which was an incredible little place to visit. After visiting Positano, our guide made arrangements for us to have lunch with a view. We ate at Ristorante da Costantino, overlooking the beautiful town of Positano, the view was from a postcard. The food was served family-style, and absolutely delicious. With a complete meal, including appetizers, salad, main course, dessert, wine and lemoncelli, we paid $25 euros per person. We also visited Pompeii before going back to the ship.
Croatia- What a beautiful surprise. This was one of our favorite ports. The walled city of Dubrovnik was tourist friendly, and consisted of lots of narrow streets and alleys to explore, with absolutely no cars. We sampled many of the specialties at the open air market, we even found a narrow passage that led us to a beautiful little swimming area. We used the shuttle from the ship and it was convenient and inexpensive.
Venice- We did on our own, walked in and took a water taxi back to the ship. We walked to St. Mark's Square and we were so glad we did, because we saw so much on our way there. We had dinner at a little sidewalk cafe before taking the water taxi back to the ship.
Messina- We did Sicily on our own. We walked a few blocks to the train station and took the train to Taormina, it took about 55 minutes and was an enjoyable ride. When we got off the train, we asked directions to get to the cable car to take us up to Taormina, unfortunately none of us spoke Italian, and we were directed to a path that led up the mountain, 1 1/2 hours later we arrived in Taormina on foot and exhausted. After resting we had little time to explore this beautiful town. Of course, we purchased calzones and canolies, which were delicious, before proceeding to the now found cable car to come down the mountain. At the bottom of the mountain, we found a beautiful beach to take a quick swim before taking a cab back to the train.
Barcelona- This was our least favorite port. We took the ships shuttle to the city and started to explore on foot from there. We walked Los Ramblas, a beautiful area, with food, drinks and sidewalk entertainment, a fun place. We then walked to the famous cathedral, a must see, this was one of the most amazing building I have ever seen.
Cannes- Loved it !!!! We took a one-hour mini train tour and it was fabulous. The cost $10 euros and it was narrated with personal headsets in many languages. Well worth the money. After an enjoyable lunch, we spent the rest of the afternoon at one of the beautiful beaches. Would love to go back and spend more time in Cannes.
Livorno- We again hired "Driver in Rome" and we were taken to Pisa, where we stayed about 30 minutes to take pictures, we then proceeded to Florence and had a fabulous tour and then were given one hour to explore the fabulous shops. We asked our driver to find a place in Tuscany for us to have lunch, he made a call and had reservations for us at 2 PM. We were driven through the beautiful Tuscany countryside and were totally surprised as we approached a private villa in San Gimignano. We were directed inside and down into a wine cellar, this was the highlight of our trip. We sampled several different wines and dined on homemade lasagna. Luigi, the owner was very entertaining and gave instructions on the best way to truly enjoy your food and wine. The wine was delicious and we purchased several bottle along with their fresh olive oil to bring home. One of the best things we did for this trip was hire "Driver in Rome", their guides were knowledgeable and passionate about their country. They showed us Italy in a way that we could have never experience on our own.
Disembarkation- Went very smooth and we were off the boat by 7:45. We once again hired "Driver in Rome" for our transfers and enjoyed a delightful trip to the airport.