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Home > Member Reviews > dinshaw's Port Reviews of Villefranche, Florence (Livorno), Rome (Civitavecchia), Naples

dinshaw's Port Reviews of Villefranche, Florence (Livorno), Rome (Civitavecchia), Naples
Liberty of the Seas cruise in June 2012
Member Name: dinshaw
Cruise Date: June 2012
Embarkation: Barcelona
Destination: Western Mediterranean
Member Review: dinshaw's Liberty of the Seas Review
Villefranche
City Tour Rating: 3.0 out of 5+
We docked at Villefranche - get off the ship, you'll be ferried across to the town as the ship anchors and does not dock at portside; and when you get off the ferry, you'll see a hotel in front (forgot its name). Take a left UP that street and you'll see the taxi stand on the left side of the road (don't take the left fork though). Stand there adn when the first taxi comes, negotiate a rate to take you to Nice (10 minutes away) and then to Monte Carlo or Monaco. You'll be back well in time before the ship leaves.

Again, we learnt the hard way and by the time we got a taxi, we had wasted 2 hours at the port and all we had time was for Nice.

In Nice we took the Hop-on-Hop-off bus tour - which was good. But since we didn't have much time, we couldn't get off, see the site and then get on to the next bus. I wish we had arranged the taxi in time.


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Florence (Livorno)
City Tour Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
This review covers Pisa & Florence. The ship actually docks at Livorno, which allows you to see BOTH Pisa & Florence.

Livorno is only half an hour by car away from Pisa. Get the taxi that meets the ship and settle with him to take you first to Pisa, to see the Leaning Towers (spend 1 hour there); adn then onwards to Florence. See the walking tours I have proposed below.

The same taxi driver will take you and then bring you back to the ship. Pay all taxi drivers when you return to the ship please.

We paid about Euro 130 per family (8 persons in one car) -- ie Total Euro 260 for the round trip and all. I think a good deal!

Our taxi driver was a nice guy but little impatient- Michele (taxi no.36)- +3480045823.

- Go straight off to Pisa first and then get the taxi to take you on to Florence.

- 2 hours in Pisa-

o Naturally, the Leaning Tower of Pisa (buy tickets to get to walk up to the top! Scheduled timings apply)

o The Church adjacent to the Leaning Tower

For the Leaning Tower of Pisa, note, there are time schedules and you have to buy tickets to go up. If possible check on the net if you can to see the time schedules. They don't allow ANY BAGS to be taken up, so once you've bought your ticket, parcel off your purse/bag/knapsack at the requisite locker/area otherwise they'll make you go back to do the same.

- 3 hours in Florence-

o From the main Piazza Duomo, first make your way to Ponte Vecchio bridge

o Then go along the river towards Uffizi gallery, where street artists show their works- we got suckered into buying a print which looked like a painting! Buyers Beware!

o Go on through the Uffizi onto Piazza Signoria, where we had a light lunch and saw the Palazzo Della Signoria (Palazzo Vecchio). A copy of Michelangelo's Statue of David and the Neptune Fountain are located here.

o From there you should go on to Piazza Santa Croce, however we did not do that due to the time and went straight back to the Piazza Duomo to see the main Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the 2nd largest cathedral in the world. There is free entry but you have to wait in the line.

o If you have time, climb up the stairs of the adjacent Bell tower (located at the exit of the Cathedral);

o Also, you should see (time permitting), the octagonal Baptistry located in front of the Cathedral.

o We also missed the Mercato Market -- like a street market - due to time constraints


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Rome (Civitavecchia)
City Tour Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
The ship actually berthes at Civitavecchia, about an hour away from Rome city.

We got the following taxi driver: Mr. Tranzillo Vincenzo: +39-328-6755161 (email: info@visitromeontour.com). We paid about Euro 130 per family (8 persons in one car) -- ie Total Euro 260 for the round trip and all (plus I added a Euro 20 tip for Vincenzo). He was a great guy!

- Initially, when we got off the ship, we were planning to take the Metro into Rome city. However, DO NOT DO THAT. It may be a cheaper thought, but it's not practical. Set up with Vincenzo before you get on the Cruise to meet the Ship and take you'll into Rome. The car is with you, you're more flexible and you go point-to-point. See the Rome itinerary we did.

- 8 hours in Rome (including 1 hour drives each way from and back to Civitavecchia) -

o Itinerary- first stop Vatican; then Sistine Chapel (though we did not get to see the Sistene Chapel on this trip); then see the Piazza Venezia/ Colosseum/Circus Maximus/Roman Forum (but only see these from outside- there's no time to stand in line and to go inside! But do get some photos outside the Colloseum and Piazza Venezia); Trevi Fountain and then walk to Spanish Steps; have a quick lunch at the Pantheon and see the Pantheon. That's about when you'll have to head back to Civitavecchia. NOTE: don't waste time going into the Colliseum if there's a large crowd- just see it from outside, alongwith the Roman Forum, etc and then move on to the other sites.

However, we MISSED the Sistene Chapel, which is a MUST SEE (even more than the Vatican itself) so whatever you do, please do see that. Ask Vincenzo to take you straight to Sistene Chapel first -- 1 hour away -- and then take you to the other sites.

* Vatican- check with Vincenzo (when you set up the car with him before the trip) that there is no Mass or other such public gathering where the Pope will be present in the morning around 10am -- in which case head straight to the Sistene Chapel and come back to the Vatican around 2:30pm before heading back to the Ship. We came at 10am only to find the Pope was going to hold Mass -- but it was great seeing His Holiness up close -- so we then went on to the Collliseum then. We forgot about the Sistene Chapel.

(By the way, Vincenzo can set you up with his nephew if you'll want to see Pompei (see next Port review). If so, get him to do so while he's with you)

WHAT AN AMAZING DAY!


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Naples
City Tour Rating: 5+ out of 5+
The ship acutally docks at Naples. BUT, don't waste time seeing Naples. Make your way to either Isle of Capri, Pompeii, Amalfi Coast or Mount Vesuvius. In our case, we went immediately to Capri.

(Vincenzo (the Rome taxi guy) can get your his brother or nephew to be the taxi driver if you want to see Pompeii or Mount Vesuvius, so if you don't want to do Capri, then inform Vincenzo to arrange this for Naples too)

Our Guide was Salvatore Cioffi: +39-330-337334 & +39-81-8584340 (son: Michele: +39-338-2824366)

Whatever you do, contact Salvatore- he's a lovely man - before your trip and get him to set up the CAPRI tour for you'll. In addition to the cost of the ferry from Naples to Capri & back which you have to pay for, Salvatore will set up the activites on Capri and including that cost plus lunch and transport into one fixed price per person (you wont need to pay anything more for the activities) -- which I think worked out to Euro 30 per person or something very very reasonable.

All you need to do is walk off the ship, walk 50 yards away to the left and you'll come to the Ferry terminal to Capri. If you call Salvatore in advance he can meet you at the ship and guide you himself. We took teh 5:10pm ferry back to Naples, which got us back well in time for the ship's departure

Also, for the Capri visit, when you set up with Salvatore, inform him the day you are planning the Capri trip so that he can advise if the Blue Grotto will be accessible. It's not always accessible due to the tide so if you don't get to see the Blue Grotto, you are missing something terrific! He will know if the Grotto can be accessed or not

- Tips for 8 hours in Capri-

o Get off the ship in Naples by 8am and walk over to the Capri Ferry. Don't get swayed by the taxi drivers who approach you- politely refuse and go to the ticket office. Remember to buy return journey from before so that you don't get stuck with the crowd returning back to Naples. Buy the return for about 1'½ hours before you are scheduled to be back on board the Ship.

o Contact Salvatore (guide) before arrival to Naples so that he can set up the Capri tour for you.

o He took us in a bus, with some other clients, on the following itinerary- First stop Blue Grotto*; then Ana Capri for the Chair lift to Monte Solaro (spend 10 minutes there); have a quick lunch at Ana Capri; then take the bus to the main Piazza there and walk over to the Augustus Gardens & Villa Tiberius for the views of the Bay of ___________(?) and Faraglioni Rocks; then take the Furnicular rail down to Capri town where you can do some shopping OR better yet, head to the beach (left side of the pier). The beach is very pebbly so take along light swimming shoes or Crocs.

o * Blue Grotto- before heading to Capri or even making the Capri plan, see if you can check if the Blue Grotto will be open on the day you are planning the Capri visit. Blue Grotto is not open daily due to the high tides and water/wind conditions- so best to try to check before hand (which maybe Salvatore can help you out for).

Try to get a swim at the beach before boarding the ferry back to Naples if you can.

ANOTHER AMAZING DAY!


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