If you are doing Rome on your own, you must get on a bus outside of the ship and it takes you a mile or so to a drop off point and then you have to walk about 1/2 mile to the train station or you can hire a taxi. We took the train as well as many of the ship passengers and it took about an hour to the first stop in Rome (The Vatican). The train was comfortable and we met a lovely couple from Ca that we chatted with the entire way and then ran into on the ship later in the cruise. We chose to walk to the Vatican and then take the 'hop on hop off' bus which was like 18 euros each. It was great until it started raining so hard which was fortunately after lunch. there were many stops we would have probably enjoyed had it not have been raining so hard. Rome is a beautiful city to see and the shopping is great (Murano Jewelry - I fell in love with). Most people speak english or understand enough that we were able to converse easily. We took the train back from what was called the last stop in Rome and it took every bit of an hour and a half. There were about 30 other passengers with us on the train and we were all back to pick up the last bus back to the ship by 7pm but NO bus! so we started the walk to the ship and thankfully as taxis were leaving the port from dropping other passengers off many of us were able to stop the taxis and have them take us. We all reported to the staff on embarkation that the 7pm bus never showed. I think everyone made it back on the ship though.
One of the cruise critic members had arranged with Athens Taxi a microbus and their Mercedes which was to hold (4) passengers. I asked for the Mercedes at 45 euros per person. The day of we were advised that some folks had canceled and we could join the microbus or stay with the Mercedes and the son Dimitris. We stayed with the Mercedes willing to pay more if necessary. I highly recommend this tour group. Father and Son and very professional. Dimitris the son spoke very good english, knew his way around the city and to the many sites and kept us punctual. Because we were able to go on our own he took us to one of his favorite restaurants up on a hill with a beautiful view and then took me where I could shop for a couple of hours. It was so nice to know we could leave personal items in the car and know he would be waiting when we returned. I highly recommend this tour company - locate them on the internet.
Internet service available a 6 USD for an hour in the port....Another couple asked us to share a taxi with them to the Bazaar which is where we wanted to go first. I had read about this incredible shopping mega and wanted to go...so off we went. This is a must see place. Ended up buying a leather coat (offer $100) no matter what the coat is and see what happens....Beautiful linens, jewelry, beads, candy made in Turkey - anyway, if you want to hire a taxi to take you on a tour - find someone that speaks english and their language and agree up front on a price and stick to it. we agreed on $20 and the taxi tried to hit us up for more each chance he got....I loved shopping in Turkey and the site from the top of the hillside at the palace ruins is beautiful !!!!
This is a very interesting place to visit. armed guard on the buses and they all go to the pyramids together...it is a long way to the pyramids but worth it. They are incredible to see and touch. However be prepared for continuous harassment from the venders at the pyramids - they are EVERYWHERE and you can't get away from them. We couldn't even carry on a conversation it was so bad. and don't even think about a camel ride - some it cost $50 to get off and some $100 to get OFF....if you take a picture of one and their owners see you they harass you for money. It was very unpleasant there because of the harassment but evidently no one cares enough to stop it. I heard one lady was let in the restroom but because she didn't have egyptian pounds they wouldn't let her out until someone from her bus went and got her out. Be ware but definitely go and enjoy the best you can. The hotel buffet is great and NO Mummy Tummy for us.
Again we took the hop on hop off but I would strongly recommend hiring a taxi driver for the day. Go to Mdina and see the glass being made and the linens - beautiful. The city itself is just beautiful and the views are unbelievable. Most everyone spoke fluent english and was friendly and helpful. It is a bit of walk to exit the port area where the taxis's or buses are located so allow time. This is somewhere worth going back to visit for sure.