Have just returned from Villas and Vineyards. We were also first time cruisers and I would totally recommend OV2. Staff were fantastic, food good, ship and cabins were excellent. Entertainment is very professional and changes each week. Tripis bit expensive and can be done on your own cheaper. Do your research - eg Rome is accessible by train from Port at much lesser cost. However, if you want hassle free and certain of returning to your ship on time then go for their offered excursions. Go for it - you will have a ball.
Debbie , Holywoo.
We’ve done that cruise twice now – once on OV1 and just recently on OV2. It’s a great itinerary so you should have a superb holiday.
Action Ashore excursions can be expensive but the last thing you want to do is stay on board. On our first trip we used Action Ashore but for our second “Villas and Vineyards” we found that with a little research – use of travel guides and the Internet - that you could do the same thing for a fraction of the price.
TUNISIA – straight of the ship – on to the dock, walk out through the gate and be prepared for a lot of taxi drivers asking you to go with them. HAGGLE for the price and FIX it before you get in the cab.
The drivers are friendly and stay with you and wait for you wherever you go.
Examples: TUNIS MEDINA, SIDI BOU SAID and CARTHAGE is a nice trip and cost E60 and we didn’t haggle enough.
Another trip is to the beaches at LA MARSA and GAMMARTH – (La Marsa is a small beach used by locals, Gammarth -we were told- is a bigger beach more for tourists).
ROME – This is one place I seriously DON’T recommend you do by yourself. If you go by yourself you need to arrange your own return transport as Rome is one hours coach ride from where the ship docks. Also there is just so much to see that it is far better to actually pay £54 for everything including the guided tour AND lunch. Doing it this way you can relax and see much more rather than worrying about train strikes or timetables etc.
GENOA – We simply love Portofino so went there both times but there are lots of other things to do depending on your tastes.
St RAPHAEL – There is nice beach within walking distance of the ship. Also there is a waterpark (AQUALAND Port Frejus) 30-minutes from port, which is a good example of saving by DIY. The Action Ashore price is £36 each (7-hour trip). You can do it yourself for a fraction of the price – a family would make a large saving. Plus you can return to the ship when you’ve had enough.
BARCELONA – Off the ship, there are two coaches. One from OV cost £2.50 (single?) and one is the official Port Bus E3 return –no prizes for guessing which we recommend. The bus drops you right by Las Ramblas (a mile long road with café’ and street entertainment), which is a great way to spend the day. Also GAUDI cathedral is just off.
We were told about a tourist bus that you catch at the top of Las Ramblas cost E19 for all day round trip – with your ticket you can get on any of the buses. Get ticket from tourist Info – included vouchers for discounts at attractions etc.
PALMA – depends on flight times as to how long you have here.
Remember to check your “OUT AND ABOUT” daily guide newspaper that will be left at your cabin door each evening. This give information about the next port and all entertainment onboard.
Hope this is of some help.
Have a great time!
You can book your excursions before departure, to make sure that you get the ones you want, as they sell out fast.
If you want to eat in one of the speciality restaurants on board, book early as they sell out fast.
Luggage takes a while to arrive, so pack swimsuits & t-shirts in hand luggage so you can enjoy the sun straight away when you arrive.
You have to pack your cases the night before you leave, so take a decent sized bag for your final packing... carry it off the ship with you, but check it in as baggage when you get to the airport.
Don't bother packing "dressing up" clothes... it's not that sort of cruise. Just the kind of things you would wear at a package hotel / apartment complex.