Port and Shore Excursions
Arrived late afternoon having been sailing for over a day. Queues to disembark at 5.30pm were large so we waited 30 mins. Caught the port bus to Columbus monument (€3 return). Spent a couple of hours walking Las Ramblas and the Gothic quarter. Very busy so enjoyed a jug of Sangria before catching the bus back to the ship.
We caught the local bus into the town from the cruise terminal which cost a few euros(just walk past the line of taxis to the bus area)and we were dropped in the centre,we had a short walk to the old town area which was quite pleasant.As this was a sunday a lot of shops were closed but there were the usual tourist shops open in the old town area.We wandered around for a while before visiting the asian art musuem which is in a very pleasant setting overlooking the cricket pitch.Again we spent a few pleasant hours here before walking back to the ship,which only took about 25 minutes even in the warm weather.It would probably have been a better day if more things were open but it was still ok.
Caught a local taxi just outside the cruise terminal (it was initially a bit confusing as to where to go with no help from HAL staff) and it cost just 10 euros per taxi, into Dubrovnik.We were dropped off just outside the Pile gate,which meant we walked straight into the old city.My husband and i had been before so we recommended walking the city walls to our friends which was not expensive.This was lovely although it was extremely hot and there are quite a few steep steps,but the views are great. We then walked around the city itself before catching a taxi back to the ship(from outside the main gate).We had an enjoyable few hours which would have cost a lot more if we had done the same thing with HAL.One word of warning is that some of the shops inside the city walls charge tourists excessively,our friend needed a hat and ended up paying 22 euros for a flimsy straw hat,so be warned.
Having been to Naples twice before we decided to visit Capri on our own as the excursions with HAL were expensive. Rather hectic getting tickets for the Hydrofoil but managed to get on the 10am for €16 each (one way) Took about 30-35mins and during the trip across there was a local promoting a tour on Capri for €22 each which we decided to go with (and glad we did). Air condidtioned bus took us first to Ana Capri which we was very picturesque. A must is the 'ski-lift' to the top of Ana Capri which is well worth it for the views. Next bus took us to Capri town where we had around an hour to look around. Guide sorted out our return tickets on the Hydrofoil which got us back to Naples around 3.30pm. All in all a great day.
By far our best day! - we had been to Rome twice before and done the sites 'on foot'. This time we had pre-booked a tour with Miles and Miles after reviewing on Tripadvisor. The owner Roberto picked us up in his air-conditioned people carrier at 8am prompt and within the hour we were in Rome. He took us around all the major sites starting with a panoramic view of the city from one of the hills. His knowledge was superb and Roberto managed to by-pass all the queues for the Colosseum which we estimate would have been 1 hour+. After a great lunch we went onto the Vatican were we met Caren (Roberto's English wife). Yet again no queuing. Caren then gave us a 2 hour tour of the Vatican including the Sistine Chapel and finishing off with St Peter's basilica. Caren's knowledge and friendly nature made the tour a real pleasure. Roberto was waiting for us at 4.30pm and we were back on board by 5.30pm. We can not recommend this company enough.
Arrived by tender and had to wait about 30 mins to get on the Funicular to the top. Weather was fantastic and we decided to catch the local bus to Oia. Rather chaotic at the bus station as everybody seemed to have descended on it all at once. We decided to wait half an hour and went for a drink. We managed to get the next bus (standing room only) and it was about 15 mins journey (€1.40 single). Spent about an hour in Oia which had some great photo opportunities before returning to the square to get the return bus. On arrival back in Fira we spent a couple of hours shopping before going for a great evening meal at Dionysus restaurant. We enjoyed the spectacular sunset before returning to the ship. Tenders pretty well organised.