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Home > Member Reviews > neella's Port Reviews of Barcelona, Monaco, Florence (Livorno), Rome (Civitavecchia), Capri, Istanbul

neella's Port Reviews of Barcelona, Monaco, Florence (Livorno), Rome (Civitavecchia), Capri, Istanbul
Ruby Princess cruise in May 2011
Member Name: neella
Cruise Date: May 2011
Embarkation: Barcelona
Destination: Eastern Mediterranean
Member Review: neella's Ruby Princess Review
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
We arrived in Barcelona a day before boarding and had a prearrange for a limo to meet us at the airport to take us to the Hotel 1898 right on the Ramblas, the main drag in Barcelona. If we ever return to Barcelona, we will definitely stay at the Hotel 1898 again. It had nice rooms and restaurants, roof-top pools and bar. Just do a web search of Hotel 1898 and you can see for yourself. All of this, the cruise, flights, limo to our hotel and the hotel was arranged through the travel agent. I bought maps and tour books for Barcelona and Venice and had made my own itinerary of what to see in the time we had in each port we were visiting which is important because you can't see everything.

In Barcelona, we bought a 2 day Tourist Bus pass and got to see the main attractions, the Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell to name a few. We wish we had another day there. We had to try a famous sandwich at the Cafe Viena which was only a block from our hotel. A writer for the New York Times had said it was the best sandwich he had ever eaten and it was great. It was fun to visit the Ramblas at night and eat at a tapas bar.

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Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
In Monaco, we took an excursion an got to see old Monaco, St. Nicholas Cathedral and the Royal Palace. We left the tour group and took a bus to the Monte Carlo Casino which opens at 2pm and you must show your passport to get in. It was great to venture off on our own for a while. We then took a local bus back near the port and walked to the ship.

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Florence (Livorno)
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
In Livorno, we took the "Florence and Pisa on your Own" tour. I had purchased tickets before leaving home to get into Accademia Gallery to see the original statue of David and the Uffizi Museum and Gallery in Florence. It was a good thing because the lines were long and we were able to walk right in. We also enjoyed a nice lunch with wine at an outdoor cafe near the Uffizi Gallery. On the way to Florence our tour guide asked us what we had planned to do in Florence and I told her that we planned to visit the two galleries. She wished us luck because she knew about the long lines to get in. The Leaning Tower of Pisa was a must see but that's about it in Pisa.

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Rome (Civitavecchia)
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
In Rome, we got to see the Vatican Museum, St. Peter's Basilica and the Coliseum which were all amazing as were the ruins of old Rome. We were awed at the structures that the Romans were able to build way back in time when they invented concrete and how they actually built machines to lift concrete blocks up fourteen stories in erecting the coliseum and other structures. To see parts of the aqueducts that brought fresh water over 25 miles to Rome still standing reminded us of how and why there was a Great Roman Empire.

It seemed that all of the excursions we took so far involved a lot of walking to get to and from the tour buses.

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Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
In Naples, we took the Capri excursion which was really nice and quite an experience. We had to sample some of the Limoncello (not Lemoncello) there. Capri is probably one of the prettiest cities to visit on our cruise. The motor-ride to the top of Anacapri was like an amusement park ride, up and up and up the side of a mountain with two lane traffic on a one lane road.

Then in Mykonos, Greece, we decided to do a self tour. Right next to the ship, local buses took the ship passengers from port into town. It was nice just to stroll though the city, go in and out of the shops and try some ouzo. We had a nice gyro lunch before taking a bus back to the Ruby Princess. Mykonos is a pretty island and town with all of its homes and building painted white.

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Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
In Istanbul, we took a city drive excursion figuring we would be tired of walking after our previous excursions. We got to see St. Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and cross the bridge linking Europe and Asia. Our tour guide took us to a carpet store to show how carpets are made there and then they try to sell everyone carpets to ship back home. We then visited the Grand Bazaar on our own.

Our next port was Kusadasi, Turkey. We figured there wouldn't be that much to see so we didn't plan an excursion. We thought we would just walk around the port and shop. At the last minute we changed our minds and decided to take the tour of Ephesus and the Shrine of the Virgin Mary. To walk the streets of a city dating back to the times of Christ is quite an experience. It turned out to be one of the best excursions of our cruise. This is a must do tour!

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Athens (Piraeus)
Port Rating: 3.0 out of 5+
Athens was interesting but also disappointing with all the graffiti everywhere plus we were there when Greece was going though their economic problems. We took a bus tour of Athens, getting off to see the Parthenon, the Olympic Stadium and other sites.

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Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
We were at sea all the next day but before arriving in Venice, a cook jumped overboard during the night and the ship had to turn around to try to rescue him. They did locate and save him but the Ruby Princess pulled into the port in Venice about 2 hours late which made all the excursions late. Since we had seen Venice in 2010, we decide to see a glass factory on Marano and visit Burano Island which we enjoyed.

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