Our tour operator met us at the airport. We picked up another couple at their hotel in Barcelona and we were given a great tour of the city and the highlights of Barcelona. Our driver/tour guide was wonderful.
Our tour guide provided us with an explanation of where to walk and what to see while walking. It was some great time on our own to explore and discover Florence.
Leaning Tower of Pisa Rating:
Excellent viewing, explanation provided by our tour guide/driver.
Ponte Vecchio Rating:
Our tour guide, Laura met us at the ship. She was excellent! Laura explained everything to us about Pisa, even took us to the "other leaning tower" in Pisa. On the way to Florence she talked about the agriculture, the manufacturing, Tuscany, wines, pasta. Laura brought us to a great place for lunch among the market stalls in Florence - with absolutely amazing food.
Unfortunately for us, we were there on a Monday so we did not get to go into any museums.
Our driver/tour guide Carmine was absolutely fantastic. He set up our day to avoid crowds - perfect - and brought us halfway up the Amalfi Coast (Carmine's coast) to have lunch. Carmine showed us an olive oil operation, brought us to the most amazing place for lunch of antipasto, pastas, wine, water and dessert. With a breathtaking view and then on our way back to the ship, Carmine stops for a minute, ducks into a store and brings us all out a gelato. How perfect is that!!!! He loved his country and all that it has to offer and he was really the perfect tour guide. Anyone who is lucky enough to have Carmine drive them around Naples and the Amalfi coast is blessed. All of us agreed (8 of us) we couldn't have had a more perfect day.
WOW - it is breathtaking.
Sistine Chapel Rating:
the disappointment with the Sistine chapel has nothing to do with our tour guide or tour operator. The disappointment is with the people who were in this church, talking out loud, taking pictures when both are clearly disallowed. Besides having this information - NO Talking, NO pictures allowed published in every language imaginable, they also played a recording. People continued to talk and take pictures the whole time. You could not sit and revel in the beauty and history with hundreds of people being so disrespectful. Even other tour guides going in with their crowd of 50 plus people and talking inside the chapel.
Our tour guide explained everything to us outside the chapel and then met us outside the chapel when we were done.
St. Peter's Square Rating:
Our driver/tour guide met us at the ship. Maurizio, gave us a good explanation of what we would be seeing and set up our day so it would have a good flow. He arranged lunch for us at a local eatery and the food was fantastic. Unfortunately our ship docked late due to some issue at the Rome port so this really cut into our time in Rome. There is soooooo much to see in Rome that 8 hours does not do it justice. Our driver/tour guide showed us as much as he could with the time allowed we were rushed but he brought us to all the highlights of the city and returned us to the port in time - even accommodating us with a request to stop for gelato.
Trevi Fountain Rating:
Vatican Museums Rating:
Vatican museums are priceless. So, so much to see. Our tour guide, Lisa, was excellent.
Carmine 2 as we called him was our tour guide through Pompeii. He was excellent. Very knowledgeable and really is everything you want in a tour guide. "Take your time but Hurry" was his motto and that was perfect for us as we walked through Pompeii. Through Carmine's explanations he was able to give us a fantastic picture of what life was like in Pompeii.
Our tour operator met us at the ship and gave us a great tour of the city, Acropolis, brought us to a fantastic place for lunch, brought us to the Mediterranean so we could stick our foot in and see how warm the water was. We toured Sounion - which was great timing - no one at Poseidon's temple but the 4 of us.
We did Venice on our own. Our biggest problem was figuring out the water bus ticket. Wow, 8 educated adults and we could not figure that out. Oh well, we got to where we wanted to go, however, 4 of the group bought a different ticket so we ended up being separated. Venice is as romantic and enjoyable as you can imagine. It was relaxing, inviting, we got lost walking around - as suggested - a perfect ending to a great trip.