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Justz

Do you find excursion operators and 20 passenger vans at the ports

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Hi all,

 

I'm taking a trip in July with NCL visiting multiple Italy and Greece ports. I'm traveling with my family of 17 in total. In the past when we cruised in the Caribbean with similar size of group, we usually had good experiences just get to the port find a small tour operator who drives a small18-20 passengers bus/van and be the tour guide as well. This was the most economical way for us to sightseeing. It will be my first cruise trip to the EU ports. I wonder if they have similar small tour operators at the ports? By the way, I'm aware of companies like romecabs. They look like wonderful businesses, but they don't fit our needs because 1. They only operate up to 8 passengers per vehicle, 2. Their $75 per person price tag still seems a little steep to me.

 

Thank you!

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In a word, no.

 

Europe is very different from the Caribbean. At most you will find a limited number of regular taxis and an even more limited number of minivans or slightly larger at ports -- and I would never count on that with a group as large as yours.

 

Europe is also much more expensive than the Caribbean. Gas costs more. Vehicles cost more (and are usually nicer). Distances can be much further. $75 per person seems to me a reasonable target for private excursions.

 

Are you certain that all 17 members of your party are going to want to do the same thing in every port?  Getting together two smaller groups with different itineraries might be something to consider. 

 

The only cheaper alternative is likely to be doing things on your own via public transportation.

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I seriously doubt it, and this topic has been discussed here several times. The Caribbean is far different from the Med.

 

Some reading around the board would be beneficial. Europe is not a discount location with inexpensive labor. Everything is far more expensive. The size of vehicle a vendor operates will depend on their business situation, but larger vehicles are very hard to operate in narrow streets of historic districts.

 

It is more likely you will need two vehicles to haul your group.

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Other than places where I have been totally on  my own with trains and public transport, I do not consider $75 pp excessive for Europe.  It is very different than the Caribbean.  You really should pre schedule in any ports where you will be requiring guides. In a number of these ports, think Livorno (Florence) , Civitavecchia (Rome) you are actually quite distant from where you may want to visit. Whether you hire companies or do it OYO you need to have the plan in mind prior to arrival.

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Agree with the above posts - Europe is very different from the Caribbean when it comes to tours and tour guides. You will find it more expensive in Europe vs the Caribbean.

You need to reserve well in advance for a group as large as yours and, as mentioned in a previous post, ensure that you all would like to do/see the same things or book separately. Additionally, in Italy, if you wish to tour inside archaeological sites & churches, your driver cannot provide you with the tour - you must book a separate tour guide. A driver/guide is not the same as an official guide that can provide tours inside sites.

I would recommend reading Rick Steves Mediterranean Cruise Ports - this will give you a good overview of what there is to see/do and he provides lots of tips for first time visitors (including information on DIY - do it yourself).

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Thank you all for the posts. I appreciate the opinions and suggestions. I would like to hear from anyone who has ever seen/been on/pre-arranged a 18-20 passenger Mercedes Sprinter or Toyota Coaster type of minibus when touring Italy or Greece. How was that experience? THANKS!

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The answer to your original question is:  Not a chance.

Contact any of the well reviewed tour operators and ask. They might be able to arrange something. For Greece,  definitely get in touch with George's Taxi taxigreece.com , Dolphin Hellas   http://dolphinhellas.com, or with Fantasy Travel   https://www.fantasy.gr and tell them your requirements. They can provide the large buses and give you a quote.

Edited by marazul

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