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We went to florence and pisa in 07 on a criuse we were disapointed with pisa very touristi and no chance of going up tower due to ques we were on a guided tour that went to florence first which we enjoyed. Dont miss the cathedral stunning ceilings and painting. we met 2 couples who shared a taxi for the day which worked out at half what we paid but they missed seeing the cathedral and the david so if you go for the taxi take your tour book with you .
We did Pisa no problem, after getting of the shuttle bus there is a newspaper kiosk where you obtain your bus ticket to the train station, then a short Train journey then another short bus journey to Pisa....We never did Florence, with the shuttle bus the local bus and train journey it was approx 1hr 40mins there and 1hr 40mins back. Do you really want to be travelling for nearly 3hrs 30mins in the day?
You can hire a taxi or a minibus depends how many in your group or maybe you can share with others but it is possible to do both in one day, we didn't go for that option as my wife had a stoke a good few years ago and it would have been to much for her so we settled for the ship excursion and went for a nice restful day at the Tower of Pisa, I think it was called the graden of peace, providing you kept well away form the traders trolleys, but they made no attempt to approach us unless we went over to have a browse.
Florence is the most wonderful of cities and if you can go then you should. We got a lot of info from the www. together with maps and planned out our route around the best of the sites and we used the ship's shuttle bus to get there which was not too expensive rather than trust to the vagaries of the Italian local transport on this, a more complicated trip than the one to Rome. Pisa is certainly a DIY tour as explained and it is much closer than Florence. .... Neil.
We are also booked on this cruise,and I agree about the shore excursion prices,especially if you are a family of 4(as we are). We plan to do out own thing,mainly by train,although I have looked at private minibus transfers/tours etc which average 650 for 8 and 150 transfers for 4(Euros). I think it is possible to do all of the trips independently with a bit of forward planning. Maybe see you onboard?
We went to Pisa in August 2008, there are loads of taxi's waiting as soon as you get off the ship and the journey to Pisa isn't too far away, about 30 minutes, so it shouldn't cost too much.
You can get the train to pisa, and florence, i went last year it cost about 20 euros.