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Giantfan13

Ports of call question

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We are doing a 10 day cruise on the Sinfonia visiting these ports of call

Mallorca, Spain

Valencia, Spain

Valletta, Malta

Messina, Italy,

Civitavecchia (Rome) Italy

Livorno, Italy,

Genoa, Italy

Marseille, France.

 

We have been to Valencia, Rome and Florence already, but we would like any info on any of the other ports, as to what are 'must sees' and does the ship dock right in town or do we need to take some sort of transportation to get into town.

I will probably ask on the Ports of Call boards, but I felt people who have cruised with MSC would have a better idea as to where the ship docks and maybe a better insight as to what to do in some of these ports.

We do not do ship's tours, we really aren't big on Museums and art. I am an avid photographer and just love to see new things and take pix of them.

 

any suggestions would be most helpful. Our roll call is completely dead, so what we do, we do on our own.

 

Cheers

Len

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Not sure if MSC docks in the same location as Royal Caribbean in Mallorca. If it does, it is an easy walk to the cathedral which is gorgeous. Both times on this island we hired Miguel Corral from Mallorca Tour Guides. Both times I had enough interest on my Roll Call to hire a bus or two. My favorite tour we did with him took us to the cathedral, then Valdamossa and then to the Macie Batle Winery. It was very reasonable for a full day tour with a bus load. Not sure how much it might cost for a small group. If you decide to contact him say hello from Joan Sabino.

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Hi Len,

 

here my suggestions of the ports I already visited:

 

Mallorca:

Outside of the port area there is a public bus going directly to the center of Palma old town (I am not sure but maybe it stops already in front of the ship - anyhow it is not far away). We just strolled around in the streets of Palma. I would recommend La Seu (Cathedral), Passeig des Born (beautiful street with shops and restaurants like "la Ramblas" in Barcelona), Mercat de l´Olivar (markethall) and maybe you want to see a bull fighting arena (personally I do not like this cruel tradition) - it is called Plaza de Toros.

 

Genua:

The ship docks directly in the city. So you ware with just a few steps directly in the old town. I would also just take a walk through the town. You can visit e.g. the birth house of Christoph Columbus, the cathedral, the lantern (this is a walk or short taxi ride to the other direction than the old town). In Genua there are a lot of nice little streets - just let yourself "drift" through the city and soak up the impressions.

 

Marseille:

There should be a free shuttle bus, which runs every 20 minutes. If you are there the first time I would recommend the HoHo Bus (€ 19,-/Person - first ride at 10:00 AM https://www.hop-on-hop-off-bus.com/marseille/hop-on-hop-off-tour-marseille_26657 ). A must see is for sure "Notre Dame de la Garde" (cathedral). When you ride the bus just check out what you would like to see and get off the bus.

I hope this information is helping you a little bit...

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Not sure if MSC docks in the same location as Royal Caribbean in Mallorca. If it does, it is an easy walk to the cathedral which is gorgeous. Both times on this island we hired Miguel Corral from Mallorca Tour Guides. Both times I had enough interest on my Roll Call to hire a bus or two. My favorite tour we did with him took us to the cathedral, then Valdamossa and then to the Macie Batle Winery. It was very reasonable for a full day tour with a bus load. Not sure how much it might cost for a small group. If you decide to contact him say hello from Joan Sabino.

 

Thank you so much for the great suggestions and port info. It truly was very helpful.

 

Cheers

Len

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Len. You've got some good advice there. I'll add from our experience:

Mallorca, Spain

The ship docks a good 20-30 min walk from the cathedral. It's a scenic walk along the seafront, all paved. The public bus is just outside the terminal and it's about €2-3pp one way. MSC will offer a shuttle for about €12-15 pppd and it operates all day. It drops off across from the cathedral. The cathedral is well worth the visit. We took a ship tour last time to the Caves of Drach on the east coast of the island, combined with a pearl outlet. The caves were beautiful but the outlet was 'meh'! Any tour on Mallorca that involves touring the north or east coast of the island will be great. There is one that takes a coach around to Valdemossa and Soler with a boat trip and train ride back to Palma. Very good.

Valletta, Malta

The ship docks just outside the city walls. There is an elevator up the outside of the walls, €1 per trip up, free down. This takes you to the Barrakka Gardens from where the cannon fire at noon. Try to catch that!The city is beautiful and you could spend a day walking about it. St. John's Co-Cathedral has a Caravaggio. You can get a public bus outside the city gate to Medina the 'Silent City' which is beautiful and not far away. Further away trips to the Blue Grotto or Gozo would require more planning, perhaps a private tour.

Genoa, Italy

The ship docks at the city and it's a short walk along the sea front where the aquarium is. Across from the port terminal is a bus depot and subway which will take you up into the old city where you can visit the classic sites such as Columbus's house etc. Many use the port a s a stop to go visit Portofino or the Cinque Terra villages. Lots of private tours will take you there or you can do it by public transport.

Marseille, France.

To be honest, apart from the cathedral on the hill, Notre Dame de la Garde, there is not much worth hanging around for in Marseille. It is a gateway to Provence and there are many trips, ship and private, to St. Paul de Vence, Grasse, Aix en Provence, Avignon etc. Depends on what you are into. Beware, MSC berth a fair walk from the free shuttle and the shuttle drops you off at the port gate. The paid shuttle, €15 drops you in town. Taxis available at the pier.You can walk into the Vieux Port from there visiting the fort of St. Jean on the way. There is also a very nice and interesting cathedral along the way.

Hope that helps. Have a great trip. Ken

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We've also used Miguel in Mallorca, can't recommend him highly enough. Valdamossa is beautiful, and we enjoyed going back in town for a bit of shopping and dinner. Mallorca was my favorite stop.

 

Agree about Marseille. It has a touristy marina area, with decent restaurants, but not worth the whole day. I'd find a tour that goes somewhere else into Provence.

 

We took a tour to the interior in Valencia to a "hot spring." It was a long drive, but the kids really liked the swimming. It was more of a "not super cold" spring, but set in a beautiful valley, and it was very Spanish. I'm pretty sure we were the only tourists there. Then we had a tapas and sangria lunch in the nearby town.

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Once again, thank you both for the great info. It will be invaluable to us.

 

We ARE on somewhat of a budget, so really private tours would probably be out, but we wouldn't mind joining a group ort contacting a tour company to see if we can join a group. Any recommendations for any of the ports.

 

Cheers

Len

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We ARE on somewhat of a budget, so really private tours would probably be out, but we wouldn't mind joining a group ort contacting a tour company to see if we can join a group. Any recommendations for any of the ports.

 

Len: we are always budget conscious. When I say 'private tour' I mean a non-ship tour. They're usually much cheaper. The only private tour company we used was 'Shareashoreexcursioninitaly' - put that in your search engine. We joined a group to transport us from Livorno to Florence. Otherwise we use public transport, rarely a taxi. We took the free shuttle to port gate in Marseille, crossed the street through a plaza and down into the subway, quick train to the main railway station, walked through to bus bays at the back and got to Aix for about €15 pp return. Easy enough. I do wish I had researched going to Cinque Terra or Portofino from Genoa but next time. Ken

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We usually travel in a family group of 8, so get good rates per person. Many companies have small group tours you can join, though, that come out at cheaper per person than the ship tours. I usually scour TripAdvisor, contact several companies, and pick the one that seems the most responsive to our needs.

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I hear you. We haven't done a ship's tour since our first cruise to Alaska back in 2001. Like you said Ken, we either do it on our own or try and join a private tour somewhere. Usually, I prefer DIY as I am an avid photographer and love to hang around a particular spot, waiting for a cloud to pass by or a different angle etc. You just can't do that on tours. Also we can't wait for a tour to say it's OK to now go to the restroom. I'm 72 and when nature calls, you gotta go. :o:o:o:o.

Again, thanks for all the great info.

 

Cheers

Len

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...Also we can't wait for a tour to say it's OK to now go to the restroom. I'm 72 and when nature calls, you gotta go. :o:o:o:o.

 

Indeed, facilities are always foremost in my mind when getting on a bus, boat or train! Enjoy the cruise. Ken

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I posted this several months ago and all the suggestions were great. 

We are still working on our days in port and we leave in a little over a week so if anyone has any new or other suggestions, they would be much appreciated.

 

Cheers

Len

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I can comment on a few of these ports, as I visited some of them this summer on the Seaview, and in past travels.

 

Messina - I really love Taormina, but it is rather touristy. But, the views are superb and you can get some very good food and snacks up there. However, I really visiting Giardini Naxos beach on my last docking in Messina. The beach has nice sand and beautiful views, perfect for a relaxing day while on your trip. Not sure if you're looking for a beach day, but if you are, this is a good option.

 

Valletta- I loved walking around town, it was very pretty, but I really wish I took a water-based tour to Comino or the Blue Hole. Everyone's photos back onboard looked beautiful. The town is beautiful if you're trying to be cheap though.

 

Marseille- I enjoyed walking around West Marseille, away from the main tourist area, practicing my French. Lots of cute little restaurants around here as well. The port is a must do, very beautiful, don't forget to pick up some soap. You can actually walk a little less than a kilometer from the ship to a free bus into the city, so you can really do this day on the low if you just want to go into town for the day. I love Marseille, it has Paris's charm, just without the tourists, and with the sea.

 

Genoa- CAMOGLI! I had a friend in the area so we met at the train station and went together from the station in Genoa near the ship (10 minutes walk) to Camogli by train. Ride was about 45 minutes one way, and about $6 or something each way if I remember correctly. First of all, the ride was the most scenic train ride of my life, which amazing seaside views, all from atop the mountains, looking down at the towns. Once we arrived in Camogli, we took many stairs down to the beach, and it was beautiful. The beach is rocky, so it may be uncomfortable, but the views were oh so worth it. It's sandwiched right between mountains and the water is that special kind of blue you only see in the Med. Plus, many restaurants, coffee shops and gelaterias to hold you over until you head back home. Definitely one of the best things I've ever done while on a cruise, and I spent very little money. I will easily do it again, and of course, seeing my friend I hadn't seen in two years was nice as well. 

 

Hope I helped and wasn't too repetitive, enjoy your trip!

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