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Home > Member Reviews > Litehouse9's Port Reviews of Barcelona, Monaco, Florence (Livorno), Rome (Civitavecchia), Sorrento, Palma de Mallorca

Litehouse9's Port Reviews of Barcelona, Monaco, Florence (Livorno), Rome (Civitavecchia), Sorrento, Palma de Mallorca
Norwegian Jade cruise in May 2010
Member Name: Litehouse9
Cruise Date: May 2010
Embarkation: Barcelona
Destination: Western Mediterranean
Member Review: Litehouse9's Norwegian Jade Review
Barcelona
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+
What a vibrant, young, energetic, forward-thinking, artistic, historic, proud City! Do some research, but whatever you decide to see, wherever you decide to eat, you almost cannot go wrong. The city is FULL of excellent restaurants (and all have similar menus of the same Meditteranean dishes) and great boutique hotels. We flew in 2-1/2 days before ship's departure, and stayed at Hotel Jazz (partly because it was the only one we found that would allow you to cancel up to 24 hours before your booking, with no penalty). Modern, clean, and a very convenient location, close to Plaza Catalunya, Las Ramblas, buses, etc. The staff were wonderfully helpful.

Friday night we had Tapas at Sellers Tapas restaurant, 2 blks from hotel, per recommendation of the staff. Very good. Then we crashed. Had breakfast in the hotel on Sat. as the first morning I had horrible jet lag, and it was so convenient. Took the Hop On, Hop Off ("HoHo") tourist bus and rode all over town, seeing many beautiful parks, landmarks, Gaudi buildings, etc. Stopped at Park Guell.. a must see. Hotels will give you a coupon for a discount on this bus. When the weather is nice, sit up top in the open air on the bus, it's great!

Sat. Eve we celebrated my 60th birthday with dinner at Ristorante Salamanca near the Port-- an excellent recommendation from our taxi driver. They brought a platter of LIVE seafood when we sat down to show us how fresh it was! The place was charming and wonderful—supposedly it is mostly locals who eat here. Had the best salad ever: pickled asparagus, lettuce, tomatoes, jamon, olives, lemon, tossed with olive oil and sherry vinegar. Our seafood platters of langostinos, prawns, shrimp, clams, mussels were superb. The staff served us some homemade Liquer in honor of my birthday. Sunday we went to the Picasso museum, shopped in the Gothic quarter, saw the cathedral, etc. No time to ride the Funicular or hundreds of other activities we wished to do—that is the beauty of a cruise though. You get a "taste" of many places. Those you like, you know you will want to return to (Barcelona, definitely!!)

We took cabs in Barcelona and had all polite, wonderful drivers. Esp. with my gimpy knees (I move slowly) did not want to risk all the crime of the Metro or city buses. Cabs were reasonable, drivers helpful and great. Funny though, all of them had USA-80's rock music on their radios!

If we ever return to Barcelona, we'll stay far away from Las Ramblas—it is super crowded, super noisy, full of thieves, pickpockets, street performers (some of whom entertain & distract you so their pals can rob you), flower stalls, cafes, and cheap souvenir stands. We would like a hotel in the Gothic district near the Cathedral- those are cheaper and nicer!



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Monaco
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Took the ship's tour. Things were not "normal" as they were preparing for the Grand Prix race the next week. Many streets were closed, so tours could not proceed as usual. We tendered off the boat, and that was time consuming, as it was to a location not normally used. The place is gorgeous, and was fun to visit. Did not get to see the famous casino or some other things due to the street closures, but had a good time. Beautiful port, clean, gorgeous.


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Florence (Livorno)
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+
WOW! Fabrizzio was our RomeinLimo guide for Firenze (Florence)--the absolute most EXCELLENT tour guide ever! A+++!! Picked us up at the bottom of ship’s gangway at 7am. Spent 10 hours in his air conditioned limo, seeing so many things- he was the most charming, lovely, friendly, knowlegeable tour guide ever. Fabrizzio had tickets for everywhere—no waiting in line! He formed the tour around what the 8 of us wanted to. Cost was roughly $130 euros per COUPLE; much cheaper than the ship’s tours. Only 8 of us, plenty of leg room. His limo was able to go on most all streets of Florence (Unlike the huge ship’s tour buses). Dropped us off as close as possible and picked us up (my gimpy knees appreciated it). He bought us gifts-- went by a bakery and got us all a fresh-from-the-oven slices of Italian olive oil foccacia. When we had lunch in a cafe and it started to rain, he brought us umbrellas! He was awesome.

We started with tour of Tuscan countryside--Beautiful! Fields of chianti grapes, and every hill with a mideval fort or castle. Then the Tower of Pisa, the Duomo, Pont D’vecchio, the Academia (“David” statue, gorgeous!); Florence food market, shops, town wall, etc. and many other things. Thanks, RomeinLimo and Fabrizzio—we loved you, your tour was AWESOME!



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Rome (Civitavecchia)
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
we did a RomeinLimo tour. Excellent. Rome is crowded and narrow streets. Ship docks in Civitevecchia—one hour from Roma. 8 of us again used “Rome in Limo” (I give them an A++++). Cost was much less than the ship tour ($65/person)! Picked us up at the bottom of ship’s gangway. “Vinnie” (Vincinte) was our esteemed, excellent tour guide. Started at the Coliseum. Some went in, some of us stayed outside the walls (my gimpy knees). Then to the Palatine, and the gorgeous view of ancient Rome. Followed by Michaelangelo’s Square, and then the Trevi Fountain.

Vinnie took us to an very nice restaurant for lunch, then to Vatican museum and St. Peters. Vinnie had already gotton us tickets (no waiting in line!!) and had arranged a superb guide for us to do the Vatican. Spent 4 hours touring the Vatican museum, the Sistene Chapel and St. Peters basillica and square. Awesome! Our guide was super and it was fabulous experience! Vinnie also had “influence” and knew where bathrooms were all over the city and where the best Gelato was. Great guide.



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Sorrento
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+
Oh, Mama Mia! Expensive but worth it. Drove from Napoli, past Mt. Vesuvius, first to Sorrento—LOVED it, can I move there?? We took a ship’s tour for this one. Had one hour to shop/explore Sorrento. Bus was comfortable and had a great guide. Drove on to Portafino, then Amalfi (my absolute FAVORITE!). The roads are crazy, esp. for our large tour bus. Narrow, winding highways on top of rock cliffs. NO shoulders. No room for error. The views were outstanding. CAUTION: If you have fear of heights or get motion sick- this drive is not for you! You look down from your bus or car window, onto a shear drop below. At times it was harrowing and scary- but drop-dead gorgeous! A thrilling trip I will never forget.

The towns we saw were awesome. Very romantic, beautiful. Bus stopped for lunch at a cliffside cafe outside Positano. Very good lunch, all the Proseco or wine you wanted, Italian chicken, wonderful canneloni, and awesome views once again. Stopped in Positano for one hour, then in Amalfi for 1-1/2 hours, that was my favorite. Very romantic, scenic, great shops and town square.

Yes, this cruise only gave me a “taste” of Italy—but WOW! Now I know that I definitely want to go back. I am so in love with Italy- the food, the wine, the people, the history, the beauty!..I am truly grateful for this wonderful cruise which gave me the chance to sample 4 different European countries, and have a fantastic travel adventure of a lifetime!



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Palma de Mallorca
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
We used Miguel & his taxi for a private 4-hour tour (found him on the Internet). He was also just top-notch, very charming and knowledgeable. Took us to see the old castle, very interesting. Then to the charming mountain town of Valderosa-- shopped and had coffee. Following that we visited the Cathedral with a huge rose window. We finished by seeing the narrow, old Arab quarter, then having lunch in the main square in Palma and doing some shopping/walking. Mallorca was way more interesting than I had expected—more historic, larger, lots more to see than just “beachy, vacation-type” things.



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