We arrived the evening before - used the hotel shuttle to get to Plaka and had dinner with other shipmates that we had met on Cruise Critic. Fun evening. The pictures we took of Acropolis at night were beautiful. Using taxi's in Athens is frustrating - fares varied by as much as $5 euro. Shuttle wasn't always convenient. Wish we had stayed closer to city center.
We booked private tour - had fun touring the island and stopping at small market where the owner grew her own tomatoes and then dried and processed them. Ate lunch at a seaside restaurant with fresh calamari.
I booked this cruise primarily to see Ephesus and was not disappointed - an incredible site. We booked private tour so that we could be sure to see and spend as much time in all of the sites (including House of Mary which I thought was very special) and the Terrace Houses which were just amazing.
We actually tendered to Giardini Naxos which is small resort area that is a cab ride away from Taormina. The ship literature said we should reserve Ship's transportation because there weren't always enough taxi's available. We did not find that to be the case. As I recall there weren't many other ships in port that day so maybe it would be different at other times. Because we had tours planned at all of our other ports this was the day we decided to take a more casual approach. We took a taxi into Taormina and shopped and then ate one of the all time best pizza. We ate at Grandolfo which was on the right side of the pedestrian walk. Locals can direct you there. Plenty of shops to check out. If you like taking photos this is a great place.
We booked a private tour here. The Amalfi coast is a must see. Amazing views We made a shopping stop and had lunch at Da Constantino in Positano. They served what I would call fairly traditional Italian food good but not necessarily great- friendly staff and incredible view. We did notice a number of other small tour groups here.
we booked highlight tour with Rome In Limo. It was definitely highlights and so fast it was sort of a blur. If Vatican is important you made need to look at alternative. We had only one day and there is sooooo much to see if you want to see everything then the Highlights tour is the way to go.
Day 1 We had a tour to Florence and SanGigamono. My interest in Florence was to see the David then I wanted to see the Tuscany countryside which is exactly what we did on our private tour. The country is so beautiful, we kept asking our driver to stop so we could take photos.
Day 2 On our 2nd day in Livorno (actually the port where docked) we spent the day in Tuscany. Made a quick stop in Pisa for photos and then on a foodie tour that included lunch at small cooking school (Pastaalpesto.com) and a stop at a cheese maker where we not only tasted goats cheese but met the goats!
Private tour here included a stop at a great local market where we were able to buy some great linens and then put together a picnic with fresh fruit, wine bread cheese and roast chicken. Beautiful countryside in Luberon area and interesting history. Try doing that from a big tour bus!