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Mediterrean Cruise port excursions on my own

We will be taking a cruise from Barcelona to Rome one way with port stops in Gibraltar, Marseille, Genoa, Florence and end at Civitecchitia (can never get the spelling right). I have tried to join with others via Cruise Critic to share excursions but for some reason people are hesitating. This is our first time and really want to enjoy the trip and meet other people on the cruise. Not sure how else to go about meeting people except while on the cruise. I would very much appreciate suggestions on port excursions or how to see it on our own. Gibraltar and Cinque Terre are two that I haven't planned out. I have heard that Cinque Terre is easy to do by train.

I would love to hear from those who have experienced doing port days on your own.

Thank you so much in advance!!
Pam

Posted by
1108 posts

You CAN do excursions on your own!

But, I would continue to chat with fellow cruisers on Cruise Critic. And go to the first meeting of your cruise group after you board. We met fellow travelers on our last cruise who shared their "own" excursion plans and several of us added ourselves with them to do a boat trip and a cooking class that they had found by researching.

On our first European cruise, we did our own port travels by reading Rick Steves and seat61.com (about train travel). Now, there are websites to help you find your own port travels, including visitacity.com, withlocals.com and getyourguide.com, as well as viator. We are not fans of viator because they are a consolidator, but viator can be cheaper than a cruise line tour.

You can go completely on your own or use a local tour of your own. Have a blast !

Posted by
8293 posts

You can get ideas by googling "shore excursions in (say) Marseilles ". Or "things to do in Marseilles cruise port" Also search for hop on and off buses for each port. Don't expect much help from the ship excursion people. They want to sell their own excursions, period. Of course, some of their excursions are really worthwhile but expensive.

As to getting to know people on the ship, it is not that easy, but ask the maitre d' in the dining room to place you at a table with 6 or 8 people, for dinner and for breakfast. We are inclined to be a bit anti social and prefer a table for two. If the cruise director has trivia contests organized, attend one. Teams of 4 or 6 are formed, it is fun and informal and another opportunity to meet people.

Posted by
2463 posts

Some Roll Calls on CC are more active than others. It's just the way things are.

For DIY port excursions I'd recommend a copy of RS Mediterranean Cruise Ports book.

Posted by
79 posts

You may already know this but if you go to the ports of call section in CruiseCritic you can do a search on specific ports and get ideas and even names of tour guides there. I am currently researching Gibraltar and it seems like an easy port to "do it yourself". I also think there will be taxis and tour guides on the dock to take care of you on the spot. For Cinque Terre - we did that on a RS tour but, yes, the trains are easy to use between towns but I don't know about getting there from Florence. I will bet that someone on CC has done it and written about it.

In general, Med ports are pretty easy to do on your own. We have done it a lot. Often there is good local train service and taxi tours are also usually available on the spot. Also look for local travel information office (TI) where day tours are often available or at least good maps and directions to the sights. Do watch your boarding times as that is often a constraint for local tours.

Good luck and enjoy, Robbie

Posted by
23 posts

Too all of you who replied, thank you very much!! I do have RS Med cruise book and have been studying it. I will take the suggestions as to how to meet others on board. It would be really fun to get lost with some other people!! Lol
Pam

Posted by
1445 posts

hey anuenue
which island are you from? i'm a big island girl from hamakua coast area. let me look at some stuff i have saved when we did a cruise. years ago we registered with cruise critic and had about 20 "crazy" cruisers that we shared fun things on board (casino slot pull, did a meet up at a bar/restaurant at our deportation city (venice), made posters of our town and put on front of cabin doors and looked at different size cabins, found a private taxi in couple ports and found couple to share expense. i did research and reserved with company before we took off when we got to cruise port. we had a great time and friends till now.
aloha

Posted by
1445 posts

ALOHA
hey anuenue
my family are from paauilo, honokaa, & waimea, still there. are you born and raised there? hoping all is good for you guys and madame pele. when is your cruise, cruise line, how many days? are you going or staying a few days before or after cruising. first time to europe? i would to make it worthwhile traveling around the world. will find a few things for you to look at and i will message it to you later. any certain interests or just overall sightseeing. what are your plans in other cities? will wait to hear from you.
aloha

Posted by
860 posts

I’m doing a Med cruise soon and am doing some on my own, some from cruise line. One thing you may want to consider is how many people are docking in port the same day as you and thus will be competing for public transportation. We are using a ships excursion, for example, in Civitavecchia because there are 18,000(!) people docking there that day! (Found that stat at http://m.cruisett.com/p/Italy/135-Civitavecchia_Rome/July_2018/) You might also look at a site like Viator for on your own excursions. My fear of waiting until you get on board and winging it would be that everything would be booked already since Summer is high season and this is a record travel year.

Posted by
23 posts

Aloha Princess Pupule!
I love your name!
I am not from the Big island but have lived her for 40 years. My husband is from here, Hawaiian Filipino. I am originally from Washington. We are staying in Barcelona two nights before our cruise, then we are traveling by land from Rome, to Venice, Germany and Paris for the next 9 days. Will be a whirlwind trip but it is my first so trying to pack in a lot but not too much.
We are okay with the eruption as we are about 10 miles away. I appreciate what you have sent me in your message. It will take me some time to read through it all. If you have any suggestions for Rome, Venice, Nuremburg or Paris I would love to hear about it.
Mahalo nui!
Pam

Posted by
1445 posts

hey anuenue
i love my name too! i was my daddy's princess and lots of "craziness" within the family, so that's been my family nickname for many many years. mom was site manager at keeau senior center years ago while we lived up kaumana gentry homes. i worked at safeway hilo at the mall late 80's to 90's. I will send you a few things i know from rome, venice and paris in a message after the holiday. yes a whirlwind trip, you'll have lots of fun and please give yourself time to relax and enjoy your time, sit in a cafe with a cocktail, beer, glass of wine and people watch. happy 4th and happy birthday to my mom.
aloha

Posted by
3318 posts

When it comes to excursions, you can do it cheaper on your own rather than taking a cruise line excursion. Many have done so and will advise you to do the same. If you take an excursion offered by the cruise line you will pay more. But they will wait for you if the excursion is late returning which is fairly common given the traffic situation in many ports. That is not the case if you are just off on your own. On several occasions on different cruises we have seen people left who were literally running down the pier after the ship was moving away. I guess a good rule of thumb is that if you are going to be staying close to the port and can hoof it back if you have to, then doing it yourself is ok, but if you plan to go far afield that's a different deal altogether. It may be worth the extra money to not have the worry and expense of getting yourself to the next port if you literally miss the boat. I don't mean to put a damper on your plans, just want to give you the benefit of our experiences.

Posted by
1445 posts

hey anuenue
got some things together and sent you a message. please get back to me about those certain things. hope you enjoyed the 4th of july. stayed close to home, to crazy out here with the fires and smoke all over bay area, like the vog.
aloha princess pupule