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Home > Member Reviews > hil's Port Reviews of Gibraltar, Barcelona, Marseille, Monaco, Florence (Livorno), Rome (Civitavecchia)

hil's Port Reviews of Gibraltar, Barcelona, Marseille, Monaco, Florence (Livorno), Rome (Civitavecchia)
Riviera cruise in June 2012
Member Name: hil
Cruise Date: June 2012
Embarkation: Lisbon
Destination: Western Mediterranean
Member Review: hil's Riviera Review
Gibraltar
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Fascinating history and British culture! Guided tour with Carl Mesilio at Gibraltar Inside Out Rock Tours was a highlight of the entire cruise! Never thought this would be such an interesting port! Don't think you would feel this way if you did this independently with a guide book.

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Barcelona
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Way too much to see in such a short time! Will definitely return! Hop on Hop off bus picks up right in front of the cruise terminal. Excellent way to get an overview of this large city to determine where to come back when you have more time. Get an advanced reservation to Sagrada Familia-definitely a highlight! Spent two hours there and two hours in Picasso Museum (disappointment), two Rick Steve walking tours and the day was over! Know of numerous people who have been pick-pocketed and one mugged this summer alone, so be cautious!
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Marseille
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
Rented car in advance. Took taxi to train station to pick it up. Easy drive to Avignon. Parked in train station there. Enjoyed an independent day of travel. Would definitely get audio tour for Pope's Palace, as it is barren and needs explaining to truly appreciate the historical and religious significance! City inside walls was disappointingly dirty, but the sites make it all worth while. Fairly easy to do independently.

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Monaco
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
Two days in port is more than needed, but a nice break from having a new port every day. Tenders were used the first day, which resulted in long lines in the late afternoon to return to the ship before it moved into the harbor. Hired one of the best tour guides we have ever had to see the main sites in Monaco and then took a train to Nice, where we went on a walking tour and she gave us a private docent tour of the Chagall museum. She is an expert on art and we were so impressed with her knowledge of the history of the Riviera. She is recommended by Rick Steve's and I still can't believe we were able to book her! Fantastic day! sofia.villavicencio@laposte.net.

Second day took time to wander around the aquarium, church, and palace in Monaco. All interesting and easy to do independently.

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Florence (Livorno)
Florence Walking Tour Rating: 3.0 out of 5+
Ridiculous to have to pay this much to be transported to and from Florence. Only booked this as we wanted a guarantee we would get back to the ship on time. Researched and could not find independent touring companies that could offer this for much less money. The train is much cheaper, but I was nervous about the distance between the port and the train station, so opted for the safe way out. The guide assigned to our bus was a little gruff and treated us like kids, but after hearing people asking her to repeat things she had over discussed several times, I can understand why she spoke this way. We had been to Florence twice before and felt competent to get where we needed. I mark this low because I thought the price was ridiculous and the guide/people on the bus were somewhat irritating. Florence on it's own deserves a 5 plus! I wish we had two days here and not in Monaco!

Make sure to make reservations in advance if you want to go to the Accademia and Ufizzi. Even with an advanced reservation time, you will have to wait in line for both. Make sure to allocate 30 minutes prior to your time. You will need one hour in Accademia and 15-20 minutes to get to Ufizzi. Ufizzi can't possibly be visited in a few hours, but you will likely max out after two hours! Get audio guide at Ufizzi-interesting points and it will help you pace through 2-3 hours. We climbed to top of the Duomo, which had an incredible view! Don't do this if you have claustrophobia, as it is tight quarters and only one way traffic, with people wanting to go down when you are going up. If in a hurry, you can pay some extra fee to avoid the line. We thought the line was short, but all of these people entering at the front, made it a 40 minute wait. One day in Florence is not enough! Best to choose one or two things all out-way too hard to run between sights and get an overview!


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Rome (Civitavecchia)
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+
One of my top 5 favorite cities in the world! Every time I find a new gem and feel I have just scraped the surface of seeing this incredible city! Loved the Borghese museum-must get advanced tickets and definitely get the audio-guide. Bit of a walk through the gardens to get there, so plan accordingly. I have a new love for Bernini and this is one of my favorite museums for the art, palace, and history! Fascinating. Advanced reservations for guided tour of the Vatican was also a highlight. Have been on the tour before, but learn and see something new every time. St. Peter's is awe-inspiring, but very crowded! Hop on Hop Off bus was helpful to give feet a break, get from one part of town to another, and realize all of the things you need to return to on your next trip! Could spend weeks here and still want more!

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