we took 7-day crusie on Epic and did all shore excursions by ourselves.It is not difficult to plan the trips and save us a lot.
The ports are at the end of La Rambla Street. I took metro line L3 and reach station Drassanes (I used T10 ticket for 7.85 Euro, very good deal, valid in bus, metro and train in Barcelona). After got out of metro, I saw Christopher Columbus monument. Very near to the monument, only cross the road, you will see a bus stop. The "T3 cruiser" blue buses will take you to your port. Do check carefully which port your ship will park (A,B,C,D, south,north,or east, there are 7 cruise terminals here). If you do not know, check with the bus driver or the person who sell you the bus ticket. It costs 2.50 Euro for single way. Of cause, the same blue bus can also take you from ship to metro Drassanes, from where you can start to explore the whole city. Do not wait for taxi when you leave the ship. It is always a long queue in the morning.
Livorno, Italy (we visited Pisa and Lucca)
It was raining heavily when we arrived at the port. We had to take shuttle bus offered by the cruise. 5 Euro for a return drive from ship to the downtown (next to a tourist information centre, where you can buy cheap tour to Florence or Pisa. The Florence trip costs less than 30Euro , much cheaper than that offered by cruise). However I still have to take bus No1? (direction: get on the bus at the stop opposite to the MacDonald) from here to Livorno train station. You can buy bus ticket in any tobacco shop. It costs 1.20 Euro, effective for 1 hour, should be stamped in the machine at the entrance of the bus. Otherwise, if you can walk from ship to the port car park, you will find No.8R bus (shuttle between port to Livorno train station)
The bus stops in front of the train station. Where you can 1. buy train ticket in tobacco shop, 2.queue at the ticket window 3. Buy ticket from automated machine. Prices are the same.
The ticket to Lucca is shown here:
In one direction, this ticket is valid for 6 hours. For example, I travelled Pisa and Lucca. Pisa is in the middle: Livorno?Pisa?Lucca. I only needed to buy one ticket (how much?) to Lucca, and get down in Pisa and get on the train within 6 hours. Ticket is for single direction and should be stamped in the machine like this.
Florence is also near, but I did go there, as I want to spend more days here and enjoy this city. I suggest one big city (actually not enough at all, so only pick your favorite, if you love museums, like me, you will feel sorry and want to come back in future) or two small places for one day, as the connection between cities may not always be smooth. The trains in Italy are not always on time, or mostly not on time, so do not account on last train, or you will have big chance to miss the ship.
However, if I missed the ship, I would spend one night in hotel and take train to Civitavecchia to meet my ship next day. It would not be a problem if people always take enough cash and passports.
Civitavecchia, Italy (Tarquinia)
I had very good impression for this port. Because, 1. There is a beautiful castle 2. Cruise offer free shuttle to a bus stop where I can walk to the train station.3 nice beach and sunny weather.
Rome is nearby (50mins train for 9 Euro, single way). However I stayed four days there three years before, so I chose a different place this time, an archeology discovery site -Tarquinii. The small city did not disappoint me. Very few people visit it, but it has very good tourist facility. I bought train ticket for return trip between Tarquinii and Civitavecchia (every two hours per train or bus, Tarquinii train station ticket office closes in the afternoon, but there is automated ticket machine). In fact there is shuttle bus between these two cities, which is more convenient for us. As Tarquinii train station is very far away from the entrance of old Tarquinii city, so people still need to wait for 30-50 mins for the bus. You will get bus schedule in information centre in Tarquinii. I suggest to travel in shuttle bus, saving time and money.