I am in a similar situation as yourself, travelling on the same cruise 1/8 with my mother who is in her 70s but in a wheelchair for most of the part as she has breathing difficulties. It would be good to make contact with you. I went on a cruise a couple of years ago with my mum, but as she goes to bed quite early, I was often left on my own with not much to do or any company, so am hoping to maybe make friends with fellow passengers in a similar situation. I am in my mid-thirties.
Totally off topic, but is that Byford near Armadale? If so do you know the artist Shirley Fisher who lives in Byford?
I don't actually know her but her gallery is just around the corner.
Wow small world - I love her art and have a piece hanging on my lounge wall (Indian Tea Rooms on Cottesloe!).
Http://www.internationalrail.com/rail-travel-information/train-schedules.asp# This is website is the train timetable for Villfranche-sur-mer and if you put this in then Monte Carlo you will see train times. It might be better to look at a bus, the number one goes regularly as there is a 10 min walk to the train station and there is a good number of steps to get up to the platform, if you did this option you will need some 1 euro coins at the ticket office as it is not always open, but you can buy tickets from the machine on the platform. As far as the port of Civitavecchia is concerned you can take a fast train into Rome or do a ships excursion. We did avoid Capri there were long queues to get there and we were told the same coming back but some lovely excursions in the Naples area. We went for a wander around in Corsica and did some shopping but in Gibraltar there is the rock and there are dolphin pods to go and see we did the dolphin option and thought it was great as there are hunderds in that area. The majority went up the Rock and complained about the apes, but everyone to there own. The city of Barcelona is fantastic and we did a bus trip to several parts well worth seeing. Can't help with the other ports of call but others will come in with there suggestions.
Thank you so much for the info. I think we will opt for one of the ship's excursions for Rome as it is so far away from the port and will do the others port by ourselves. Is language a barrier. My Mum tells me she can count to five in French! Somehow I don't think that will be a great advantage to us.
Where ever we have gone in the world language has not so far been a problem so you should be OK. One word of warning though doing the excursions on your own, it would be useful to meet some other passengers who have done this and go with them of get some good tips from them. One final warning if you went your own way and got lost or delayed on your return the ship sails without you, it won't wait until you are on one of their excursions !! It is your problem to catch up with the ship at the next port of call.
Http://www.villefranche-sur-mer.org/pages/plan/planville.html This website is a map of Villefrance and you can zoom in for more detail. You can see the SNCF indicator for the railway station and looking at the map lets you see a bit of a walk to get there. I was thinking about Monte Carlo some very steep hills there, whilst great to see might it be a better option to go west to Cannes. It is generally farily flat easy to get about and has some great shopping plus marina's with loads of great yachts at anchor some owned by individuals and some by companies. On Villefranche, you arrive in the small harbour via a tender form your ship. You will be provided with small maps on the ship, but using the internet you could get better more detailed ones is another option to think about.
A tip for you from a fellow West Australian! If you want to save money in Rome then take the train to St Pietro (just a 5 minute walk to St Peters) The trains are frequent every 30 minutes and it is a less crowded station than termini. What you need to do is take the shuttle bus to the port gate (free) walk straight in front of you a couple of blocks and you come to the station. Bypass the queues for tickets and go to the newsagent alongside and get a BIRG ticket which covers your train and any bus metro etc in Rome for the day. The ticket is only around 11euros from memory - did it in June this year. If you look on the internet you can get a bus map with numbers on so can easily hop off buses and then head back to St Pietro for the 45 minute journey back to the port. We caught a train about 4.30pm and were back on the ship by 5.45pm.