Long drive into Florence from the port. Very crowded with tourists and residents. The highlight actually had nothing to do with the tour itself. We (my husband and I) were celebrating our actual anniversary day with lunch overlooking Ponte Vecchio. The table next to us had 6 people from Germany. I was lucky enough to be able to carry on a conversation with them, in German. It was so much fun and brought back wonderful memories of my first trip to Florence (1976) when I was living in Germany as a teenager. Florence itself requires at least an entire day to just explore the many beautiful buildings.
I booked a private tour guide who picked us up right at the port. Miles to Miles. Absolutely fantastic. I am so glad we spent the extra money for the private tour. Quite expensive but well worth it to have someone drive us to all the main attractions all the while explaining what we were seeing. The only real disappointment was the vast amounts of graffiti everywhere you looked. Such a shame.
The port I was the most looking forward to ended up being the most disappointing. We had our one and only rainy day here. The streets are beyond crowded and everything was so very expensive. I was prepared for the expense as I knew about it from my research. However, it was just annoying to see so many overpriced items. And shopping seems to be a big activity on this tiny island. We did go to AnaCapri and took the skyride to the top. Can't be upset by weather as it has to rain sometimes! However, the tour guide assigned to us (via the cruise) was absolutely terrible. It was obvious he had no real interest in his job and even left us behind on Capri. We had arrived at the meeting spot 10 minutes early and spoke to our guide to tell him we were there. He told us we had lots of time and in less than 4 minutes he was gone with our group. We hadn't even left the area! All the other tour guides the ship used always did a head count and took each passengers name and room number prior to beginning the tour. Not this guy. He was walking so fast through the streets that some of the guests had a hard time keeping up with him. There were so many tourists and so many vehicles when we first arrived that if I weren't so tall it would have been very difficult to even see him to keep up with him. However, I went to the onboard cruise desk when we returned and told them of our experience. They asked me to write down the events of the day and that they would pass along my information to the person in charge. By the end of the day I had a note from the ship cruise desk telling me they took our comments very seriously.
We chose to stay an extra night in Barcelona. We didn't use the cruise for hotel or tours. We throughly enjoyed our day in Barcelona. We arrived at our hotel very early (8:15am) and they were kind enough to go ahead and give us a room to nap in. We used the Bus Touristic in Barcelona and once we realized where the stops were we were able to navigate the city easily. A very friendly and clean city. Would love to go back and spend several days there.