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Hello Mrs Tanner, Your question is a good one and we can understand your trepidation but unfortunately there are two differing itineraries for Sea Princess in August so you will have to tell us which is yours and it would be also helpful to know what you like to do, swim or snorkel, view old buildings or ruins or enjoy gardens etc. tell us and we may be able to be helpful. It seems that you have seen the various Princess excursions but if you haven't they can be found on their website and that will also help you to decide what you want to see.....regards....Nei.
Thats just what I was going to say! we did the itinerary this year that went to Cadiz, Barcelona, Livorno, Civitavecchia, Monte Carlo, Sardinia, Majorca and Gibraltar so if that is the one you will be doing perhaps I can help you??
We havent been abroad before so we would like to see all we can of each country visited.The famous sites that everyone goes there for. We don't snorkel. We are in our 50's. we are on the med 14 day cruise stopping at Cadiz, Barcelona, Monte Carlo,Livorno, Rome,Aleghero,Palma, Gibralta.16 th august. I have read on here of people who have booked expensive whole day tours and then found that there was nothing to look at and a half day would have been enough.We don't have money to waste so we would be grateful for guidence.Thankyou.
Well Mrs Tanner , “now we’re cooking with gas.” First things first, two sea days. First thing to do is look at your daily paper and decide what to do throughout the day. Order yourself early morning tea and biscuits and sit up in bed and see what is worth doing out of all the things to do or do nothing except sunbathe or read a book. I always mark the items that interest me with a pen. Talk to others at breakfast and, well really, all the time and learn about them and from them. Oh and by the way if you don’t like your table companions at dinner, unlikely I know, go and see the Maitre d’ and he will move you without any fuss.
You will arrive fairly early in Cadiz, a lovely port. They like to get you to go to Seville but although this is a beautiful city you will find that it is a very hot one in August and it’s a long trip. I would give it a miss in favour of a tour of the Sherry Manufacturers in Jerez and if you like horses the Spanish riding schools there as well or instead. Personally I love wandering about Cadiz with it’s quaint back streets, churches rocks and beaches and a wonderful tower with a “camera obscura” showing you a different aspect of Cadiz. I normally finish up by having a coffee and cognac in one of the lovely cafes along the front.
Barcelona is certainly worth exploring on your own by taking the Shuttle Bus into the town then walk up Las Ramblas, a very well known avenue with trees, stalls and performing artists (watch out for pick-pockets though). Walk to the top and look at the Gaudi houses and then round to Gaudi’s famous unfinished cathedral “La Sagrada Familia, don’t pay to go in just enjoy it from the outside. If you’re with friends try out the Metro system to get back or walk or even a taxi they’re not too expensive there. Do stop occasionally and have a drink so many speak English there that it’s not difficult.
In Monte Carlo most people enjoy the harbour, the shops, the casinos and the hotels or just sitting for hours drinking outside a café people watching.
Livorno is a nasty coal port, used to be called Leghorn by us Brits, so use the tour buses to get out of it. Two main choices: one to Pisa to see the leaning tower and the very nice town or two the bus, with no tour, to Florence where it is such a pleasure to wander around all the antiquities. The museums, like the Uffizi, are well worth going to but normally crowded, but the Ponte Vecchio is free to look at. Italians normally take their holidays in August so it will be mainly tourists around and you must sample the ice cream there, unfortunately just as on Princess ships you have to pay for it but the servings are bigger than onboard.
In Civitavecchia walk to the train station and get a train into either the Terminus in Rome or if you want to see the Vatican St. Peter’s Station. I would chose the Terminus and either get an open top bus and get off at various points of interest, then back on the next one or get the metro to Piazza Espagna for the Spanish Steps, walk down Via Condotti and go to the Pantheon then back across to the Trevi Fountain. From there it’s a ¼ mile to Capitaline Hill and the Forum and on to the Coliseum. And by now you will be very tired and hot and a taxi to the station would be a short but welcome trip.
We can’t help you with Aleghero, Sardinia, but Palma is once more a great place to wander round, the Cathedral is huge and cool and the shops and cafes worth exploring too. There are many beaches nearby to go to, an old fashioned railway that runs around the coast with open carriages, and places like the Caves of Drac ( can’t remember the exact spelling). Majorca is a holiday island with so many tourist things to do even a trip on a catamaran or a sail-boat but watch out for sun burn.
Gibraltar is a great place and a taxi taken from the quayside, bargain over the price, is a good way to see the caves, the apes, to view points and the Fortress and then there are bargains to be had in the town and the best priced coffee and cognac for the whole trip.
There that’s enough to go on with regards…..Neil
Full day tours can be very tiring and you lose the benefit of spending time on the ship so limit them to the essentials such as Rome where you do need a whole day. Cadiz you dock right in the city centre so you can walk straight out if you want, although not a lot to do there. Jerez for a tour of the sherry places is a worth a half day visit. Barcelona - the shuttle bus drops you off at the bottom of the Ramblas. The Gaudi buildings are well worth seeing particularly the new cathedral, Sagrada Familia, which can be done on a tour or by taking the undergound. This is a must see and if you do go on a tour make sure there is time to visit inside and go up the towers. Monte Carlo is small enough to walk round and you can go back to the ship for lunch. Livorno is a very industrial port and you could do a half day trip to Pisa or a full day to Florence, which is about 70 miles away. Sardinia and Marjorca, would do just a half day and spend the rest of the time on the ship. Gibraltar is a 15min walk into the town for duty free shopping, or take the shuttle buses for £1 each way. Local taxis do tours up the rock for the caves, apes, tunnels etc. They speak English and use pounds although euros are accepted.
You can still book the tours on the ship, normally up to around 48hrs before so just book the bare essentials before that you really want to do and see how you get on.
Hi there Mrs Tanner...Here's my ten pence worth!!! From Cadiz we did the trip to Seville where you can do your own thing when you get there which we thought was a good choice...we explored the shops and the amazing cathedral which is truly beautiful..and stopped for coffee at the pavement cafes...we thoroughly enjoyed it and got some good photos. Then in Barcelona we got a taxi with another couple to Las Ramblas (about 5 euros) and walked up to the big square at the top where we got the northbound hop on hop off bus for 19 euros each which took you the whole of the northern part of the city including the Camp Nou football stadium and Gaudis cathedral and you get to see alot of the beautiful architecture especially if you take the top deck of the bus and look up! the bus takes you back to the top of Las Ramblas where it is a lovely walk down to the bottom with the pavement performers all the way down. Monte Carlo is a tender port and you can easily do this on foot keeping to the left walk up quite a steep slope to the top and you will be rewarded with the palace (we arrived around noon to see the changing of the guard) nice cafes around there and lovely ice cream...then we walked down the little streets to the right to overlook the posh apartments and boats...the cathedral and a very nice park to walk through which was shady and eventually brought us back to the harbour. Next was Livorno where we did a trip to Florence which was a guided walk and then free time in Florence...it was very hot and tiring but absolutely amazing architecture and well worth it. the next day was Civitavecchia for Rome which we were going to do on our own but because we were so tired from the day before we decided just to explore civitavecchia and find the railway station so on our next visit we could go to Rome on the train!!! We did some shopping and had coffee and gorgeous cakes from a little cafe across the road from the seafront 4 euros for two coffees and two cakes! Free Shuttle bus to the port gate. (We have done Rome since on the train which is very easy and cheap 9 euros return which includes the metro) Alghero is a tender port again and easy to walk around, very nice shops and cafes. Majorca is only a half day visit if I remember right ...you could walk around the harbour to the cathedral but it is quite a hike...we headed north from the port entrance and explored a huge shopping mall which is at the top of a hill. the tourist people on the ship will give you directions..that's if you like shopping of course which we do! then in Gibraltar there are cheap taxis at the port gate which is only a short distance from the ship...they will take you on a trip around the rock if you like I know they are cheap but haven't actually done it so don't know how much. We walked it which took probably nearer half an hour than 15 minutes but we've been before so knew our way around. Anyway you have loads of information now and there will also be info given to you on the ship. they were quite helpful to people who want to go independently. I'm sure you will enjoy it we certainly did. Happy cruising.
Thankyou neil and Ida, Morris and Ingle, Your answers were very helpfull and I will print them out to take with us. I'm not sure if we will be brave enough to "go it alone" I was looking for some advice on which places to take the Princess tours and which one. I wont bother with a tour of Monte Carlo as It sounds easy enough to do on our own, same for gibraltar.I think I will book a full day tour of Rome and Barcelona. I also think we will land up doing the full day Florence and Pisa. I really would like to see seville. Do you think it's best to book these tours in advance or will there be plenty left when we get on the ship. I have heard that the good ones get full quite quickly. Our fear is that if we "go it alone " we will get lost and not get back to the ship on time. As beginners we feel we would be better off using the organised tours.
Well Mrs Tanner these are some of the fullest answers I've seen in a while and we are glad you like them. We can understand that as it is your first cruise and your first time abroad that it is all a bit overwhelming and you are probably doing exactly the right things. Yes book ahead if you are sure because you can cancel on board providing you give them enough time. Very often people pal up together and share the enjoyment of experiences and we certainly hope that you do this. I am sure that you will love it all and go back for more....kindest regards.....Id.