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Old 02-04-2011, 01:24 PM
 
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for 17 days. Spain, Portugal, Tunisia, Italy, Belgium, France, Monaco, Gibraltar, and England. Not in that order, but we are excited and think we got a great deal. I went to Italy and Greece last year. Also have been to Costa Rica, Venezula, Mexico, Canada and I'm so old I cannot remember any others at the time. Oh, Turkey was included in the Italy and Greece trip.
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Old 02-04-2011, 02:13 PM
 
Location: Fredericksburg, Va
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Sounds like a great trip! I hope the strife in Tunisia clears before you go! Have a great time!
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Old 02-04-2011, 06:58 PM
 
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We may have to stay on the ship in Tunisia.
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Old 02-04-2011, 07:31 PM
 
Location: Fredericksburg, Va
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When are you going? Maybe the "mayhem" will be over with by the time you get there!
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Old 02-05-2011, 06:29 PM
 
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I think we are scheduled to be there on May 7 or 8.
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Old 02-05-2011, 10:01 PM
 
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Both Monaco and Gibraltar are very walkable and you really do not need to pay for ship's tours there.

In Monaco (warning: v hilly) ... walk up to the old town and the palace. Also, in the old town which is situated on a hill, walk around some of the lovely gardens and don't just stick to the streets. They are pretty close to the cruise pier and/or tender pier and quite interesting. Then continue on to the casino and maybe some window shopping at the high end boutiques. Monaco is very safe, clean, expensive and chic. Nice just to wander around.

In Gibraltar, the town is equally walkable. Go in from the cruise pier to the main street and then walk along the pedestrianized main street (no cars) to the Trafalgar cemetery. The main street is pretty vibrant and not dissimilar to a British town. All this area is flat and easy walking. The Trafalgar cemetery has some interesting gravestones in it; very historic. A bit past the cemetery is the cable car (you have to pay for it) which takes you to the top of the rock. The views up there are breathtaking and you can also see the apes. But beware, the apes are expert pickpockets. Other than the apes, Gibraltar is also safe and after visiting, it is nice to relax in a British pub.

Let me know the other ports and I will tell you what, if anything, I know of them.

Last edited by Jaggy001; 02-05-2011 at 10:26 PM..
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Old 02-10-2011, 07:39 PM
 
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Jaggy01, thanks for the advice on Monaco and Gibralter. We are going to 3 ports in Italy - Santa Margherita, Rome and Irapani. Also, Barcelona, Seville, Spain, Lisbon Portugal, Vigo Spain, Cherbourg France, Brussels Belgium, departing at Dover (London) England. Tips will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-11-2011, 08:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeachyMJ View Post
Jaggy01, thanks for the advice on Monaco and Gibralter. We are going to 3 ports in Italy - Santa Margherita, Rome and Irapani. Also, Barcelona, Seville, Spain, Lisbon Portugal, Vigo Spain, Cherbourg France, Brussels Belgium, departing at Dover (London) England. Tips will be greatly appreciated.
Hi Peachy

Of the places you mention, I have been to Rome, Barcelona, Lisbon and Brussels.

Rome: you will actually dock in Civitavecchia and it will take approximately 90 minutes to get from the ship into Rome and 90 minutes back. That will severely limit your time in Rome and your ability to do any quality sightseeing. So, the best you can hope for is a "taste of Rome" with a view to going back one day and spending a few days there for an in-depth visit. We did something similar (although I had been to Rome twice before), so what we did was a "walking tour" - using a map - and touching on the main sites but not actually going into them and spending a lot of time at each. The other downside of Rome is that, around the main sites, it is absolutely awash with tourists so it can be nice to walk into quieter areas. I would recommend getting an official (i.e. cruise line) transfer into Rome because Rome traffic can be unpredictable and they won't leave an official tour behind if you are late.

Barcelona: this is a port city so it is easier than Rome. Most cruise lines offer a shuttle bus into Placa Catalunya which is right in the centre. From there, you can walk down the Ramblas. On your right and a couple of hundred yards down is the market which is well worth a visit. On you left and in a bit is the "old town" and the cathedral. In this area, you need to be street smart and keep a hand on your valuables as pickpockets do target the unwary. On the other side of the square is the Paseo de Gracia. This is a more modern shopping street and there is a great example of Gaudi architecture on the right as you walk up. Continue on to the Diagonale, turn right and walk a ways alonng and you will come to the Gaudi cathedral, Sagrada Familia, which is a must visit. You don't really need a tour in Barcelona but, if you prefer to do one, I would do one related to Gaudi.

Lisbon: There are three "must visits" in the Lisbon area but you probably only have time for one. There is 1) the old town, cathedral and fortress. This also allows you to visit the shopping streets downtown. There is 2) Belem with the Geronimo monastry and Belem tower. Finally 3) Sintra with its views, palaces and Moorish fortress. Depending where you dock (there are two cruise docking areas in Lisbon) you can take a taxi or shuttle to numbers one and two and you do not need to buy tours. Visiting Sintra really needs to be done with a tour as it is outside of Lisbon and getting there independently requires taking a train from downtown Lisbon or a taxi. That said, and in my opinion, Sintra is the most interesting of the three "must visits".

Brussels: This another inland city like Rome and your ship will probably dock in Ostend. I have never been to Brussels as a tourist but have been for work. The center of the city and the main square, Grande Place, are all worth visiting and it is easily walkable.

Hope the above helps
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:22 AM
 
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Thank you so much. I will print this out as I did the earlier info. I went to Greece and Italy last year, so I've seen Rome proper, but my husband has not. There are people of the cruise that are planning trips to various sites at the ports, so this will help me a lot. My husband has been to Brussells and France, but for business and did not get to do much sightseeing.
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Old 02-12-2011, 08:32 PM
 
Location: southwest TN
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We just returned from a 2 week cruise of the western med and spent 2 additional nights in Barcelona. I found the Sagrada Famiglia a bore. First, it is ugly. Second, it is a folly and an enormous waste of time, energy, and money to continue building a structure that will never see use. There is so much more to see in Barcelona, and so much more TO Barcelona, that I really felt shortchanged by the time spent touring gawdy gaudi's structures. We did it as a compromise to the 3rd person travelling with us but I would so much rather have seen the palace or a dozen other locations rather than having wasted it wandering around the stupid unfinished cathedral waiting for her to take pictures of every single animal on every single existing turret. While I am not saying to ignore Gaudi's structures, do not do so at the expense of other locations of interest.

And on the Rome issue, I totally agree with taking the sanctioned tour. Traffic in and around Rome was horrendous and we could never have navigated it on our own. But DO find a window seat with a clean window - even if you have to clean the outside of the window yourself. Half the tour is driving FAST past the "sites of interest" and trying to snap a picture and then sitting in traffic on the bridge over the Tiber River through 3 or 4 changes of lights.

I am nearly deaf and yet was able to have basic conversations with people in all locations where we stopped. But do brush up on some basic words and phrases. On the ship is a great way to do this: you will find your servers have rudimentary knowledge of many languages or will ask other servers to help you out. Knowing how to say please, thank you, yes, good day, how much, etc. in the language of the country where you will be visiting will go a long way to bringing a smile to the face of those you encounter and, at least I found this, your small gesture gets you much in return.

Mostly, bring/wear comfortable walking shoes/sneakers, shorts are not a good item to wear OFF the ship, and relax and enjoy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggy001 View Post
Hi Peachy

Of the places you mention, I have been to Rome, Barcelona, Lisbon and Brussels.

Rome: you will actually dock in Civitavecchia and it will take approximately 90 minutes to get from the ship into Rome and 90 minutes back. That will severely limit your time in Rome and your ability to do any quality sightseeing. So, the best you can hope for is a "taste of Rome" with a view to going back one day and spending a few days there for an in-depth visit. We did something similar (although I had been to Rome twice before), so what we did was a "walking tour" - using a map - and touching on the main sites but not actually going into them and spending a lot of time at each. The other downside of Rome is that, around the main sites, it is absolutely awash with tourists so it can be nice to walk into quieter areas. I would recommend getting an official (i.e. cruise line) transfer into Rome because Rome traffic can be unpredictable and they won't leave an official tour behind if you are late.

Barcelona: this is a port city so it is easier than Rome. Most cruise lines offer a shuttle bus into Placa Catalunya which is right in the centre. From there, you can walk down the Ramblas. On your right and a couple of hundred yards down is the market which is well worth a visit. On you left and in a bit is the "old town" and the cathedral. In this area, you need to be street smart and keep a hand on your valuables as pickpockets do target the unwary. On the other side of the square is the Paseo de Gracia. This is a more modern shopping street and there is a great example of Gaudi architecture on the right as you walk up. Continue on to the Diagonale, turn right and walk a ways alonng and you will come to the Gaudi cathedral, Sagrada Familia, which is a must visit. You don't really need a tour in Barcelona but, if you prefer to do one, I would do one related to Gaudi.

Lisbon: There are three "must visits" in the Lisbon area but you probably only have time for one. There is 1) the old town, cathedral and fortress. This also allows you to visit the shopping streets downtown. There is 2) Belem with the Geronimo monastry and Belem tower. Finally 3) Sintra with its views, palaces and Moorish fortress. Depending where you dock (there are two cruise docking areas in Lisbon) you can take a taxi or shuttle to numbers one and two and you do not need to buy tours. Visiting Sintra really needs to be done with a tour as it is outside of Lisbon and getting there independently requires taking a train from downtown Lisbon or a taxi. That said, and in my opinion, Sintra is the most interesting of the three "must visits".

Brussels: This another inland city like Rome and your ship will probably dock in Ostend. I have never been to Brussels as a tourist but have been for work. The center of the city and the main square, Grande Place, are all worth visiting and it is easily walkable.

Hope the above helps
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