My wife and I took a 4 hr excursion to the old city of Barcelona. It included a bus tour and a walking tour. We had pre-booked this Carnival excursion & it was before our cruise began since our flight brought us in about 5 hrs before we could board Carnival Magic. It was worthwhile, cost and sights.
Our excursion was good to the Prince's palace; but the walking tour to Casino Royal was difficult for my wife with the many steps. We wish the bus had a drop-off closer the main square. The tour guide walked too fast for many of the older people. This tour was done in the afternoon; we took the Nice tour in the morning from the port of Monaco.
Along with the Monaco excursion, we took an additional tour of Nice. It was beautiful, tour guide was informative both on the bus and in the old-city. She also brought us to the French Riviera boardwalk. Great pictures and info on celebrity homes in Nice. Monaco & Nice had some of the largest yachts we have ever seen. Tour guide walked too fast. She had a sign she held up so we could follow her in the crowds. This was a morning excursion of the Monaco port.
After about 1 1/2 hours of bus riding to Florence, we arrived in the old city. it was about an 8 hr tour including the bus ride/a guide. A new tour guide greeted us to take us to the museum with the sculpture of "David" by Michaelangelo. The guide, Paul Costa of Tuscan Tour Guide, was very informative throughout the entire tour. He gave us a headset. He waited until group was together before he talked about the places in Florence. He spoke English well (born in USA). We walked long over cobblestone streets & to the Ponte Vecchio (if I remember the name correctly). We had lunch at an restuarant in the area. We didn't find it better than an Italian restaurants in the USA. We were also given a couple hours to tour on our own & shop. The last hour it began to rain. Fortunately, we had brought small umbrellas. We had a drink & snack at a local cafe under their umbrella, too. Pizza in USA better. Great sights and impressions.
We took the ship excursion. It was about 10 hours including the bus ride. Again the guide walked too fast for us but she a sign, held-up high to see where she is in the crowd. We were told that Rome is the 2nd most tourist visited place behind Disney World. We had to walk about 1/4 mile to the piazza, whereby, we then walked with our given map of the area. We elected to visit the Trevi Fountain & other areas for about 1 1/2 hrs. Then we were bussed to a restaurant for lunch. Nice lunch; again not better than USA. Next we bussed by some popular sights in Rome. Then we went to the Vatican. Although there was a very long line along the towering walls, we were escorted into the entrance without any wait. It was a very long tour of the Vatican and St. Peter's Bascillica (largest Cathredal in the Christian world). We saw many museums on the way to the Sistine Chapel. The new guide at the Vatican was very informative. Again with the large crowds of visitors, we lost her a couple of times. But we found her because we had headsets. The stronger the signal & voice, the closer we got to her. The Vatican and the St. Peter's and the square's changing of the Swiss guards was most impressive. We then left there, we boarded for another bus tour of other places in Rome. Since we had a long delay on the highway back to the ship, fortunately, because we had booked the Rome excursion through Carnival, the ship delayed its departure until the buses arrived to the port.
After a day at sea from Florence to Naples, we took the excursions to Island of Capri and Pompeii. After a ferry ride to the Island of Capri we took the funicular (cable car) to the town of Capri up the mountain. There was a delay because of the crowds & tour guide got us started late before we began the walking tour. We saw only part of the island. Unfortunately because of the time-restrictions, we didn't see the "Blue Grotto", or the other side of the island. We had snacks, gilatto (ice-cream), and ate lunch at a restaurant on the island. Then we took the ferry ride back to Pompeii. Bussed to Pompeii we started our walking tour, half-way through it, we had heavy rain (thunder & lightning). After about a 1/2 of rain, it cleared. Although many of the tourists decided to go back to the entrance, some of us continued onward. In a way the rain provided a experience of seeing how the people of Pompeii built their roads to collect rain-water for a wash which their way dumping garbage away from the city. After couple of hours there we headed back to the ship. We didn't go to Naples because of ship departure time and Naples had an ongoing garbage strike in the city. We saw Naples from the bus traveling over the highway & from the ship.
First we took a bus ride to country-side of Dubrovnik, Croatia. It was very scenic mountainous ride. We then ate an outside restaurant in the mountains. The guide gave information and history of the area. After lunch we headed for the walled-city of Dubrovnik. We walked the area on our own for about an hour. If one chose, you could walk at the top of the walls. There were very high and very thick walls. It was a short excursion of about 4 hours. Very relaxing, no rushing around.
The ship was as Venice for 1 1/2 days. We arrived early afternoon. Beautiful city looking from atop of ship. We took an excursion to St. Mark's Square & gondola excursion at 6:30pm. It was a about 3 hour excursion with a 45 minute gondola ride. Carnival required that the tour have a singer & instrumentalist on every 3rd gondola. We were lucky to have them on our gondola. That was a beautiful experience. After the gondola we visited again St. Mark's Square & did some shopping. Then we took the valperrato (water taxi) back to the ship.
The next day we decided to visit Venice on our own. We took a train to the Pizza di Roma square. We walked and walked over many canal bridges to go to St. Mark's Square. We shopped and ate at a cafe, had a "gilatto", & drinks. I had to get Euros at a Venice bank ATM because many vendors did not accept US dollars. Credit cards were only accepted in the main stores where they had a telephone line. As expected we got lost a few times trying to get back to St. Mark's Square via the backstreets or allys. We made a few hours later. We had some trouble trying to determine which water-taxi to take back to the ship pier. But it was a great experience. It was well worth it.
We then had another day at sea before arriving in Sicily, Messin port. We took a tour of which followed the movie making of the wedding scenes in the "Godfather I (1971) & III". After about 1 hour ride up the mountains, passing through & by Messina and Taiomina, we arrived at the small towns where the Godfather was filmed for the weddings. We saw the cafe, the church, and even met the woman who played the mother of Appolonia, whom Michael Corleone married in the movie. We then went to another town where other film making was done. We also ate a local cafe. The pizza here was more like the USA pizza in NJ. We had great experience and wonderful in Sicily. The town of Corleone did not get the filming there because in 1971 it was too modern for 1940's scenes.