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Home > Member Reviews > marcogilbert's Port Reviews of Barcelona, Cannes, Florence (Livorno), Rome (Civitavecchia), Athens (Piraeus), Kusadasi

marcogilbert's Port Reviews of Barcelona, Cannes, Florence (Livorno), Rome (Civitavecchia), Athens (Piraeus), Kusadasi
Serenade of the Seas cruise in May 2014
Member Name: marcogilbert
Cruise Date: May 2014
Embarkation: Barcelona
Destination: Mediterranean
Member Review: marcogilbert's Serenade of the Seas Review
Barcelona
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+

It is very easy to drop off you luggage early and then take the port shuttle to get to "La Rambla" to have a little taste of Barcelona. The shuttle only cost 3 Euro for unlimited daily usage and if would take you from right off the ship to the South end of the Rambla where the "Colon" monument is located.

You will be able to stroll along for 2-3 hours before returning to the ship and enjoy the little shops, restaurants and markets along the way.

You should spend many days in Barcelona to really have time to see all the wonder of that city.



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Cannes
Port Rating: 3.0 out of 5+

We tendered to the port and then took a ferry to Ste-Marguerite Island.

The ferry only cost around 11 Euro online and you should allow about 2-3 hours visiting the island.

The view from this island is wonderful and you will be able to visit the prison where the "man in the iron mask" was held. You should also walk "l'allée des Eucalyptus" which is magnificent.

We came back to Cannes around 1PM and then walk up to the Suquet neighborhood. Then we walked down to "La Croisette" and spend the afternoon walking in the sun.

There is not much to do in Cannes, but it is a nice place to visit anyway.

The highlight of the day was definitely the island of Ste-Marguerite.


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Florence (Livorno)
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+

We already visited Florence/Pise in a previous cruise so this time we decided to go to "Cinque Terre".

We took a shuttle from the port to Piazza Grande (5 Euro for the day) and then took the bus #1 to the train station (Piazza Dante). We then bought our train tickets for "La Spezia" which were 18 Euro for the round trip. The ride is about 50 minutes and do not forget to validate your ticket prior to getting on the train.

In La Spezia we bought the "Cinque Terre Card Treno" that is a daily pass for all Cinque Terre parks and train transportation. The card cost 12 Euro and the ride from La Spezia to the further village (Monterosso) is about 30 minutes.

We started our visit in Monterosso which has a beautiful beach and is very nice. We walk around a little, then headed for the blue trail to reach Vernazza. This trail is about 3km long and it will take you about 2 hours to reach Vernazza. The view is magnificent all the way but be aware that you will have to climb some steep steps and the walk would require some efforts but it is definitely worth it. In fact, you have to climb all the way up the hill that separates Monterosso from Vernazza. But when you reach the point where you can see Vernazza, you will have the best view of the day !

We ate lunch in a small pizzeria of Vernazza and then headed to the pier to take a ferry that took us from Vernazza to Riomaggiore for about 6.5 Euro.

From the ferry you have the best view of Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.

In the beginning we wanted to get off in Manarola and walk the "Via dell'Amore" to Riomaggiore, but the time was going fast so we decided to get off in Riomaggiore and just take a quick look at Via dell'Amore.

That was a good decision because the train we planned to took back to La Spezia (a 10 minutes ride) was over 20 minutes late and we almost miss your train from La Spezia to Livorno. So be aware and give yourself plenty of time for thing like this if you plan your visit by yourself.

Cinque Terre is really a beautiful place to visit and we appreciated it very much.



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Rome (Civitavecchia)
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+

We got off the boat early and walked to the train station to buy the "BIRG - 5 zones" ticket that would give us unlimited access to train and bus for the day. The ticket cost 12 Euro and it takes about 45 minutes to get from Civitavecchia to the San Pietro Station (add about 20 minutes if you prefer to get off at Termini Station).

There is so much to do in Rome that you will have to make some choices if you are only there for a day.

In San Pietro we visited the Cathedral and went up in the Copola (7 Euro). This is the best view of the city.

Then we took bus #64 to get near the Panthéon (about 450m away). It is easy to find and the facade is wonderful. From there you can easily find the Trevi Fountain and you can even walk to the Spanish Steps. But since we already saw those, we headed back to bus #64 stop to take bus #87 that took us directly to the Colloseum.

If you want to skip the queue you can book a guide outside, but there is another way that we think is even better. Go to line and ask the employe for the audio-guide booth (Dove si trova la cabina di guida audio). He would send you directly inside, no queue at all and you will be able to rent the audio-guide (12 Euro entrance fee + 5.5 Euro for the audio-guide) and you will start your visit immediately! No wait at all.

Keep your ticket because it is also good to visit the Palatine Hill and the Circus Maximus after the Colloseum.

For me the Colloseum was the highlight of the day.

If you have time you could take bus #118 to visit the St-Callixtus Catacombs (8 Euro).

In our case, we decided that we had enough after Circus Maximus so we took the Metro to get to the Train Station Termini and then took the train back to the ship.

Again one day is not enough to visit Rome, but do it by yourself and you will be able to see much more than if you book a group tour I think.



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Athens (Piraeus)
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+

This is a city that you could visit without spending much.

We got off the ship early and walk along the port counter-clockwise until we saw the pedestrian bridge that allows access to the Metro. Then we bought a daily metro ticket (4 Euro) and we took the Metro.

We got off at station Omonia and switch to the red line that goes to Akropolis (3 stops).

At the Akropolis station we got off and went directly to the "Temple of Zeus - Olympiéon" (walk east) and bought the 12 Euro ticket that gives access to most of the city sights. We visited the Temple of Zeus then walk West toward the Akropolis and visited it too.

The Akropolis is the best place to visit in Athens. There is a lot of history there and the view is to die for.

Exiting the Akropolis you can climb the Mars Rock for a nice view too. Then walk down to the Old Agora and there are a lot of things to see there too.

After that, exiting North, you will be in the Plaka. This is a part of the city that has a lot of small streets filled with restaurant, shops, etc.. And it is very nice to walk there.

We made our way to the Hadrian's Library (more ruins) and then wandered around until it was time to take back the metro (green line) to Piraeus.

So many things to see, so little time !



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Kusadasi
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

Since we already visited Ephesus, we wanted to try something different.

So we booked a tour for "Priene-Miletos-Didyma" directly with Celsus Travel because it had good reviews online.

The tour cost us about 50 Euro / pers and we really really enjoyed it.

We were picked up at the port and driven to the three site in a Mercedes Mini-van that was very clean and comfortable.

The guide (Yigit Ergen) was wonderful. He was very knowledgeable and he made every minute very interesting.

Priene has a lot to offer.

Miletus has a great Arena with a lot of history too. And the bath are really well conserved.

Didyma has only the "Temple of Apollo", but this is so huge and this make a nice place to end the day.

The only downside is the restaurant where we were taken for lunch. It had a great view but there were a lot of cats in the restaurant. That does not sit well with me.

But I would definitely recommend the PMD tour to anyone else if they could have a great guide like we did.

If you never went in that region Ephesus should still be the first choice to visit, but if you already saw it, PMD is a really nice option.



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Santorini
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

We took the first tender to the island because we wanted to make most of our day in that little paradise.

We took the cable car to Fira because I do not trust the donkey ride much and the cable car is faster anyway. But some friend use the donkeys and they enjoyed it, so both options are good.

In Fira, we rented a ATV for about 20 Euro for the day and it was a great decision.

It allowed us to go to Oia at the North end of the island which is quite a place with many wonderful photo spots. You can spend all your day there but we limited our time there to be able to see more.

When we left we stopped many time to appreciate the view and take pictures. This is why it was so great to travel by ATV. You can park anywhere and you can really enjoy the sun and the wind while you travel.

Then we drove off to the far South of the island to visit "Red Beach". This is a special place where the sand looks more like "rust" than sand, but it is nice to experience that place.

We finally came back to Fira to wandered around, have a snack (good gelato and pizza), and shop a little.

At the end of the day we walk down the 587 steps back to the tender, looking at the beautiful ocean view, but also looking at our feet to avoid the gifts left by the donkey!

Santorini is a feast for the eyes.



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