We used Limo in Rome for this excursion. First we went to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower. We wanted to climb to the top and had been instructed to get tickets in advance for 9:00. When I tried to do this, they were 'sold out'. However, when we arrived, there were not too many people there and we were able to walk right up and get tickets to climb the tower. Our guide had given us 45 minutes free time, which was more than enough to climb the tower and get those great photos pushing the tower back up. The climb is definitely for the able bodied, because it can be a little difficult to climb the steps that are leaning. After that, we went to Florence for a city tour and then to see the famous David statue and tour the Academia museum and then some more free time to go to the Ponte Vecchio. Ate lunch at a local restaurant in Florence and it was the best restaurant we ate at the entire trip. Yum.
In Cannes, you have to tender to the shore, so please keep that in mind. This is the only port that you have to tender in. Our tour guide was Cecile from Cecile Tours. She did a great job. First, we had a photo stop on the red carpet, where the famous film festival takes place each year. Then we headed to Nice for a tour of the city and some free time. We ended in St Paul, a lovely old town, where we had lunch.
For Marseille, we used Tour Designer in Provence. We didn't spend any time in Marseille and honestly, I'm not sure what there would be to do here, except maybe tour a church. Didn't look very nice... We went to the fishing village of Cassis in the morning, which was very picturesque and in the afternoon, we were in Aix en Provence, where we had a walking tour and some free time for lunch and exploring. Another good day.
For Barcelona, we used Pepito Tours. This was the only tour we took that had a separate driver and guide. This tour was a little more expensive than the others because of this, but it was necessary to have a driver in this city. We were able to stop and view 2 of Gaudi's buildings for pictures. Then we went to Park Guell, this was awesome. We sat on the longest bench in the world! We also went to Sagrada Familia Church - beautiful! And to think there are at least 30 more years of work to be completed. I've been in a lot of churches, but none quite like this one. We also went to Montserrat, a monastery where about 80 monks live up in the mountains. This is a must see in my opinion. If you go, you must get a loaf of the sweet bread, they call coque. It is wonderful.
For this port we used Marcello Maresca and Associate and did a tour of the beautiful Amalfi Coast. We visited Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi and Ravello. We also had an Italian Organic Food Experience in a quant little village. The food was wonderful, just too much of it! When we finished, we took a walk through the little town, so I feel like we got to see how the 'real people' live, which was quite nice.
Most people went to Capri and Pompei on their tours, but we had already seen that and didn't feel the need to go back.
Rome is Rome, what can you say.... When we got off the ship, we took a tour of the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's --- must see sights while in Rome. We used Through Eternity for our tours in Rome. Please remember the drive into Rome takes about an hour and a half (took us two and a half because of traffic and a protest going on in the city), so this is a VERY long day for those guests who are returning to the ship.
The next day we went to Tivoli - where we visited Hadrian's Villa and Villa D'Este. Both were very interesting.
Then it's time for the long flight back to the states. Love vacations like this, but it's also good to be home too.