Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Giantfan13

Tours from the port

Recommended Posts

Since I am asking, we are on the MSC Sinfonia, sailing in about 10 days. We are visiting Messina, Livorno, Civitavecchia and Genoa in Italy. When disembarking at any of these ports, would we find any tour companies trying to sell you tours, taxi's looking for groups etc. There are only 2 of us, and we really can't afford private tours, but, like other places where you can book tours once off the ship, is there anything like that in any of these ports?

 

Cheers

Len

Edited by Giantfan13

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the past you wouldn't find tours being sold at the port in Italy but in recent years I've read more reports about them, so it can happen.

 

However, you are traveling off season and I would not expect to find tours like this the way you might in the summer.

 

Perhaps if you could identify what you'd like to do in each port we can help you understand how to do it on your own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It happens, but is not common, and I would generally wonder why the people you might see aren't already booked. Also, what their English skills might be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Giantfan13 said:

Since I am asking, we are on the MSC Sinfonia, sailing in about 10 days. We are visiting Messina, Livorno, Civitavecchia and Genoa in Italy. When disembarking at any of these ports, would we find any tour companies trying to sell you tours, taxi's looking for groups etc. There are only 2 of us, and we really can't afford private tours, but, like other places where you can book tours once off the ship, is there anything like that in any of these ports?

 

Cheers

Len

 

I've been on a number of European cruises that last couple of years and have been to the ports you've mentioned a couple of times and have not seen tours being "hawked" dockside. As a DIYer I can give you a couple of tips for saving some money.

 

Messina: use google maps to make the 5+ minute walk to the astronomical clock to see it chime at noon. If you arrive earlier, check out the inside of the church. After watching the clock do it's thing, there are tour operators in the area offering tourist train trips for aprox $9eu.

 

Livorno: There's a company called TuscanyBus that does return trip transportation to Pisa for $15eu, Pisa/Lucca for $28eu, or Pisa/Florence for $30eu. I don't recommend the Pisa/Florence visit as a lot of time will be spent on the bus. The company gives commentary to and from the sites but you are on your own with a provided map to do as you wish. You will have to make your way to the TuscanyBus meeting point by ships shuttle or taxi. The TuscanyBus pick-up point is the same spot as the shuttles drop-off spot. It usually cost $15 for the ships shuttle.

 

Civitavecchia: Its a long ways (1 hour) to Rome by train for someone who's a tourist. This is one port that I think you should consider taking a ships excursion. Ships excursions will allow you to "skip the lines" and allow you to see more. 

 

I flew into Genoa but didn't spend much time there as we made our way to Cinque Terre. It's a bit over hour by train to cinque Terre so that may be a consideration depending on your time in port.

Edited by lamchops

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you look over the first several pages of this forum, you'll find info on "shared tour" vendors that you could use.  There's also info on DIY travel using the trains in Civi and Livorno.  I'd be a little concerned about trying out an 'unknown' vendor off the pier ; language barrier, insured/licensed,  itinerary......   

 

You could also pick up Rick Steve's cruise book for DIY options at the various ports.  If nothing else you'll learn about each port and the sights/activities available at each location.  Study it on the plane !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 For what its worth (probably not much) the OP might be interested to know that there are some folks like me, who have a strong dislike of most tours.  DW and I have been traveling for decades and only use tours when absolutely necessary.  In Western Europe tours are never necessary :).  We do things on our own, not to save money (although that is nice) but because we simply prefer to do our own thing when we want, with who we want, and do what we want.   In all of the OP's ports it is very possible (and even easy) to simply do it on your own.

 

In Messina, if you are willing to spend some money you can use public transport (train-bus, or bus) and go to Taormina.  It is an interesting town best covered on foot (its really the only way to see Taormina).  If you do not want to do that trek then you can just walk off the ship and explore Messina (make sure to visit the nearby clock tower).

 

Livorno really depends on what you want.  But you can use a shared taxi to get to the train station and then hop a train to Florence or perhaps Lucca (via Pisa).   This will cost a lot less then the cruise line tours.

 

In Civitavecchia you can use the free internal port bus and then transfer to the 2€ shuttle bus to the train station. Buy a BIRG ticket for about 12€ and you have round trip transportation to Rome plus all day's unlimited use of Rome's Metro and bus system.  

 

As to Genoa you can explore that city on foot (although there are some steep hills).  Or just stay near the port and walk over to the decent Aquarium.  There are other options (such as going to Portofino on your own) which you can learn and ask about on these forums.

 

Hank

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Genoa you could easily do it on your own but we were recently there and another option is a Hop On Hop Off Bus and you can purchase your tickets right at the port and hop on the bus.

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/18/2018 at 3:30 AM, Keith1010 said:

In Genoa you could easily do it on your own but we were recently there and another option is a Hop On Hop Off Bus and you can purchase your tickets right at the port and hop on the bus.

 

Keith

Although we are not fans of HoHo buses, Genoa is an exception to our rule.  Using the HoHo is a great way to deal with the steep hills that climb out of the port area :).   If you plan properly, you can still do a lot of walking but keep it to even surfaces or downhill slopes :).

 

Hank

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to all who replied. I really appreciate it.

 

We DO sort of like to do things on our own, at our own pace. We very rarely to never book any ship's excursions but if an area is really unknown we would be up for a local private tour. 

I kind of didn't think about the seasonal aspect of it and looking online, many tours that we might have considered aren't available in these colder months.

 

But thank you all for the suggestions.

 

Cheers

Len

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎11‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 8:24 PM, lamchops said:

 

I've been on a number of European cruises that last couple of years and have been to the ports you've mentioned a couple of times and have not seen tours being "hawked" dockside. As a DIYer I can give you a couple of tips for saving some money.

 

Messina: use google maps to make the 5+ minute walk to the astronomical clock to see it chime at noon. If you arrive earlier, check out the inside of the church. After watching the clock do it's thing, there are tour operators in the area offering tourist train trips for aprox $9eu.

 

Livorno: There's a company called TuscanyBus that does return trip transportation to Pisa for $15eu, Pisa/Lucca for $28eu, or Pisa/Florence for $30eu. I don't recommend the Pisa/Florence visit as a lot of time will be spent on the bus. The company gives commentary to and from the sites but you are on your own with a provided map to do as you wish. You will have to make your way to the TuscanyBus meeting point by ships shuttle or taxi. The TuscanyBus pick-up point is the same spot as the shuttles drop-off spot. It usually cost $15 for the ships shuttle.

 

Civitavecchia: Its a long ways (1 hour) to Rome by train for someone who's a tourist. This is one port that I think you should consider taking a ships excursion. Ships excursions will allow you to "skip the lines" and allow you to see more. 

 

I flew into Genoa but didn't spend much time there as we made our way to Cinque Terre. It's a bit over hour by train to cinque Terre so that may be a consideration depending on your time in port.

We have returned from our cruises and jut some info  share.  

 

We did find that there were taxi's trying to get you tours in several of the ports. Messina being the main one. We instead opted for the HoHo and returned n time for the clock's performance. Maye it was  just me, but I really didn't find it that awe inspiring. Different might be a better term. 

 

We did use the Tuscany Bus company in Livorno, for a jaunt to Pisa. They did not do the Lucca part at this time of the year. We already had tickets but you can easily buy tickets in the TI shop just a few steps away. Our one complaint about this company and it is probably not their fault, but where the drop you off in Pisa, you have a sort of extended walk to get to the Tower. No signage, just follow the crowd. We tried that on he way back a got lost. had to ask for directions. If they are going to drop you far from the attraction, at least have the way marked. 

 

We stayed in Genoa and loved the city. We just love wandering those small streets with many shops and stairs. We ended up using the funicular to get to the top of the city with marvelous views. 

 

In Civi, we opted not to go to Rome and instead chose the thermal Baths. Something we really liked. We were the only 'tourists' there and had some wonderful exchanges with all the locals. Took a taxi there and made arrangements to be picked up which worked out well. I very relaxing day on a hectic itinerary. 

 

Cheers

Len

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Giantfan13 said:

In Civi, we opted not to go to Rome and instead chose the thermal Baths. Something we really liked. We were the only 'tourists' there and had some wonderful exchanges with all the locals. Took a taxi there and made arrangements to be picked up which worked out well. I very relaxing day on a hectic itinerary.

Can you give us more details on your day at the baths? Where exactly are they? And what did the taxi cost. When we arrive back at Civi, we have a late flight home and are looking for something to do (other than going into Rome, we are doing 3 days there, pre-cruise). We wonder if we could taxi to the baths and then take the same taxi to the airport and what that might cost.

Thanks,

Tony

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, disneykins said:

Can you give us more details on your day at the baths? Where exactly are they? And what did the taxi cost. When we arrive back at Civi, we have a late flight home and are looking for something to do (other than going into Rome, we are doing 3 days there, pre-cruise). We wonder if we could taxi to the baths and then take the same taxi to the airport and what that might cost.

Thanks,

Tony

Tony

 

It would be my pleasure to share our info with you. As I said, we were in Rome last year and we just wanted to do something different, especially on a very port intensive cruise, just spend a day relaxing.

So we read somewhere on CC about the thermal baths and felt it would be a great idea. We have done baths like these around the USA and loved it. Here is the web site  https://civitavecchia.portmobility.it/en/ficoncella-thermal-baths 

 Now don't expect a modern area. We had 3 different 'pools' open, each with a different temperature.

Anyway, we were told from CC that a taxi would cost about 15-20 euros, not on our trip. We got off the ship and asked a someone to call us a taxi as all the taxi's around the port are looking to take people to Rome and other places. They called us a taxi, we showed him the paper where we wanted to go and he ended up taking us to the Roman Bath ruins. We told him this wasn't it and then he knew where we wanted to go. It was only about 5 minutes away, but the ride was about 30Euros, a lot more than we anticipated. (this was with the meter running).I would say it is about 8 miles or so out of Civi.  Good part is the baths only cost 1 1/2 Euros for 2 hours. There are stalls to change if you like and most people just left their clothes along the rails and hooks. We made arrangements for the taxi to come pick us up as you are really out in the sticks and you will never get a taxi unless you call. He charged us the same thing to take us back (with the meter off) so we assume it was 'off the books'. Again, a bit more than we expected but overall, we had a very enjoyable day and the entire cost wasn't that much. there is small shop there where you can buy some things to eat or drink. Don't expect glamorous surroundings, but we thoroughly enjoyed just being away from all the tourists and just being with locals who were more than happy to engage in whatever conversation we could. 

 

Cheers

Len

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure if some one asked, but for some of the ports mentioned

 

In Messina, there were many taxi's looking to do tours

In Civi once you get off the shuttle, there are literally scores of taxis and vans looking to take you to Rome for, what we felt was a very reasonable sum. Other areas were available also

In Livorno, same thing, many taxis looking to take you to Pisa, Florence, Lucca, where ever you might want to go. 

I believe there were also taxis in Valetta Malta if anyone is interested. 

 

Cheers

Len

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎12‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 9:14 AM, disneykins said:

Can you give us more details on your day at the baths? Where exactly are they? And what did the taxi cost. When we arrive back at Civi, we have a late flight home and are looking for something to do (other than going into Rome, we are doing 3 days there, pre-cruise). We wonder if we could taxi to the baths and then take the same taxi to the airport and what that might cost.

Thanks,

Tony

Just another thought about what to do that is relatively close to FCO.  There are some wonderful (and extensive) ruins at nearby Ostia Antica which are within reasonable taxi range of FCO.   Just keep in mind that asking any taxi to wait around while you go to baths, tour ruins, etc. will get very expensive (you might well be talking hundreds of Euros).  It might make sense to go directly to the airport, check your luggage (assuming your airline accepts luggage far in advance of your flight) and then you could take a taxi to Ostia and  walk through the ruins (this is worthy of at least 2 hours).  There is a restaurant nearby and also a less expensive sandwich shop (assuming it is still in business) within a block.  The only problem with this plan is that you are still going to have to handle your carry-on stuff.  Another option is to get a one-way rental car (pick up in Civitavecchia and drop at FCO) which will cost you about $100-$120 for the day.  This covers your transportation and gives you a place to lock your luggage....although many of us who are familiar with Italy are always uncomfortable leaving valuables in a rental car.  Driving between Civitavecchia, Osita Antica, and FCO is relatively easy (especially if you have GPS).

 

Hank

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Hlitner said:

Just another thought about what to do that is relatively close to FCO.  There are some wonderful (and extensive) ruins at nearby Ostia Antica which are within reasonable taxi range of FCO.   Just keep in mind that asking any taxi to wait around while you go to baths, tour ruins, etc. will get very expensive (you might well be talking hundreds of Euros).  It might make sense to go directly to the airport, check your luggage (assuming your airline accepts luggage far in advance of your flight) and then you could take a taxi to Ostia and  walk through the ruins (this is worthy of at least 2 hours).  There is a restaurant nearby and also a less expensive sandwich shop (assuming it is still in business) within a block.  The only problem with this plan is that you are still going to have to handle your carry-on stuff.  Another option is to get a one-way rental car (pick up in Civitavecchia and drop at FCO) which will cost you about $100-$120 for the day.  This covers your transportation and gives you a place to lock your luggage....although many of us who are familiar with Italy are always uncomfortable leaving valuables in a rental car.  Driving between Civitavecchia, Osita Antica, and FCO is relatively easy (especially if you have GPS).

 

Hank

That is a good point about the luggage. Since  we made arrangements for the taxi to come back to get us, you can't do that if you have luggage. There might be a place to store luggage at the baths, but I would call them and inquire about it first. The only problem I see wit that posters plan, is when you exit the baths, you have wet bathing suits to deal with, unless you decide to go au natural, which, I suppose, the locals wouldn't mind too much. :classic_ohmy::classic_ohmy::classic_ohmy::classic_ohmy:

 

Cheers

Len

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎12‎/‎29‎/‎2018 at 9:25 AM, Hlitner said:

Just another thought about what to do that is relatively close to FCO.  There are some wonderful (and extensive) ruins at nearby Ostia Antica which are within reasonable taxi range of FCO.   Just keep in mind that asking any taxi to wait around while you go to baths, tour ruins, etc. will get very expensive (you might well be talking hundreds of Euros).  It might make sense to go directly to the airport, check your luggage (assuming your airline accepts luggage far in advance of your flight) and then you could take a taxi to Ostia and  walk through the ruins (this is worthy of at least 2 hours).  There is a restaurant nearby and also a less expensive sandwich shop (assuming it is still in business) within a block.  The only problem with this plan is that you are still going to have to handle your carry-on stuff.  Another option is to get a one-way rental car (pick up in Civitavecchia and drop at FCO) which will cost you about $100-$120 for the day.  This covers your transportation and gives you a place to lock your luggage....although many of us who are familiar with Italy are always uncomfortable leaving valuables in a rental car.  Driving between Civitavecchia, Osita Antica, and FCO is relatively easy (especially if you have GPS).

 

Hank

Thanks Hank. I had read about Ostia Antica when I was researching Rome for an earlier trip. I think we will take your suggestion and drop the luggage at the airport and then taxi to Ostia. After 10 ports in 11 days on our cruise, that might be more relaxing than driving around Italy, lol.

Tony

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure if there is a active roll call for your cruise, but I would check , we did private tours with other roll call passengers all were under 100 per person and ten or less people . Good luck . We did a great tour of Pisa , Florence and a private wine tasting at a vineyard from liverno with papillon tours who were great. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you thought about joining your roll call on the forum. You can get a group of 8 together and it is a lot cheaper than a private tour. Italytoursharing.com has a lot of great options from these ports. I have used them several times and are excellent. If you sign up for 3 you will get a discount too. Try your roll call - just another option.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, George C said:

Not sure if there is a active roll call for your cruise, but I would check , we did private tours with other roll call passengers all were under 100 per person and ten or less people . Good luck . We did a great tour of Pisa , Florence and a private wine tasting at a vineyard from liverno with papillon tours who were great. 

 

3 hours ago, b_cruise said:

Have you thought about joining your roll call on the forum. You can get a group of 8 together and it is a lot cheaper than a private tour. Italytoursharing.com has a lot of great options from these ports. I have used them several times and are excellent. If you sign up for 3 you will get a discount too. Try your roll call - just another option.

 

The cruise is already over.  OP has returned and reported his findings.

Please try to keep up!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations

Announcements

×
×
  • Create New...