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Jamie A

La Spezia (Cinque Terre)

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Hi there!

I have booked my first ever Royal Caribbean 7 night Western Mediterranean cruise for May 2020 onboard Allure of the Seas and cannot wait for the experience. I do have a question about shore excursions for La Spezia (Cinque Terre) and hope somebody can help?

I have checked the cruise planner online and noticed excursions to the villages of Cinque Terre are priced between £100 - £150 per person and can't help but think about how expensive this is! I have read about the possibility of visiting these ourselves using the Cinque Terre Trekking card priced at €7 per person per day which would provide all day transport on the local trains between the villages which seem to run frequently enough. Is this a no brainer and has anyone else done this? My only concern is also about the reliability of the trains. I know the excursions through Royal give the assurance on making it back to the ship but at the price of £90 - £140 is this worth it ?

A little guidance and help would be greatly appreciated 

 

Thanks :) 

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Hello Jamie,

Welcome aboard! Feel free to ask away with any questions you may have. I personally, have visited Le Spezia many times years ago when I was stationed in Germany. My father was born in Le Spezia, would fly over to visit us and off we would go by train. At that time, late 80's early 90's, the Italian trains were subject to unannounced/unplanned union strikes. So much for the schedule! Not sure how it is now, but you do have some time to research the trains. If it were me, I would pay the Euros and go with the Royal Excursion. How long will the ship be in Le Spezia? We have been on the Allure four times now, love that ship! She's big and there is always something to do on board. Enjoy!:27_sunglasses:

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Hi rjac. Thanks very much for the tip. Le Spezia is the port I think I'm most looking forward to as I've seen images and videos of the coastline and it looks amazing! Perhaps the price might come down slightly in future cruise planner deals so fingers crossed! Can't wait to try Allure after she's been amplified especially if Oasis is anything to go by! 😁😁

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14 hours ago, Jamie A said:

I have read about the possibility of visiting these ourselves using the Cinque Terre Trekking card priced at €7 per person per day which would provide all day transport on the local trains between the villages which seem to run frequently enough. Is this a no brainer and has anyone else done this?

I did it over the summer on a land tour. It depends on what you're looking for. I enjoyed the freedom of seeing the towns and walking through. I stopped in Vernazza for an Aperol Spritz ad their delicacy - anchovy pie. Weird. Tasty. Probably will never eat again but it was a fun day. For me it would depend on what was included on this excursion. I didn't see a whole lot to do in all of the towns besides shop (great fun little shopping, I got a lot of gifts for family), walk, go to the beach.

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11 minutes ago, ellcee said:

I did it over the summer on a land tour. It depends on what you're looking for. I enjoyed the freedom of seeing the towns and walking through. I stopped in Vernazza for an Aperol Spritz ad their delicacy - anchovy pie. Weird. Tasty. Probably will never eat again but it was a fun day. For me it would depend on what was included on this excursion. I didn't see a whole lot to do in all of the towns besides shop (great fun little shopping, I got a lot of gifts for family), walk, go to the beach.

Sounds amazing! Did you do this all yourself or book through Royal? I would probably prefer to do at my own leisure and pace to be honest 

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8 minutes ago, Jamie A said:

Sounds amazing! Did you do this all yourself or book through Royal? I would probably prefer to do at my own leisure and pace to be honest 

All myself. It was a land tour from an outside operator and all 40 of us were given a ticket for the day and just went wherever we pleased.

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6 minutes ago, ellcee said:

All myself. It was a land tour from an outside operator and all 40 of us were given a ticket for the day and just went wherever we pleased.

That sounds good, is there a website for the operator or did you just book at the port ? 

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21 hours ago, Jamie A said:

Hi there!

I have booked my first ever Royal Caribbean 7 night Western Mediterranean cruise for May 2020 onboard Allure of the Seas and cannot wait for the experience. I do have a question about shore excursions for La Spezia (Cinque Terre) and hope somebody can help?

I have checked the cruise planner online and noticed excursions to the villages of Cinque Terre are priced between £100 - £150 per person and can't help but think about how expensive this is! I have read about the possibility of visiting these ourselves using the Cinque Terre Trekking card priced at €7 per person per day which would provide all day transport on the local trains between the villages which seem to run frequently enough. Is this a no brainer and has anyone else done this? My only concern is also about the reliability of the trains. I know the excursions through Royal give the assurance on making it back to the ship but at the price of £90 - £140 is this worth it ?

A little guidance and help would be greatly appreciated 

 

Thanks 🙂

I did the Jewels of Cinque Terre excursion approx. 1 year ago with my husband and it was fantastic. It was through Royal and took us on a tour of three of the five villages via boat and we had time on our own in each to explore. I HIGHLY recommend seeing the villages by boat as this is how you will get the post card type photos and see the most. This was an ALL DAY excursion, around 10 hours and included an incredible lunch & wine in one of the villages. I think it is too difficult to do on your own and you would risk missing the boat.

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I have done Cinque Terre excursion both on my own with the card and thru Royal Caribbean.  It really depends on how travel savvy you are being able to do train to train for each village. With Royal excursion, both options with or without lunch will come down in cruise planner.  I have noticed numerous times to region, you could easily do lunch on your own more affordable and choose what you desire.  Food is quite reasonable in region.  Difference with Royal excursion is it includes bus, train and boat with guide to handle tickets and peace of mind. With boat you get some amazing views as you sail along coast.

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Thanks everyone for the advice, it's been so helpful! fingers crossed I can catch a deal on the cruise planner sometime soon. The boat tour views sound amazing! 

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We have been to La Spezia twice and both times we did the Cinque Terre on our own by train. It is very easy to do.

We walked from the port to the train station. It took us about 20 minutes at an easy stroll. The route takes you slightly uphill through a pedestrianised shopping street. On the way back it's downhill, which is good because you're tired by then. :1_grinning:

There is a dedicated Cinque Terre ticket office in the station with very helpful staff who will not only sell you the tickets (there are concession rates for over 60-somethings I think) but also give you a map with a train timetable. You need to validate your tickets by sticking them in the machines on the platform. There are plenty of trains. Then it's just a case of getting on the first one and off again at the village you want to visit. The tickets cost us 15 or 16 euros each but this was about 3 or 4 years ago so they've probably gone up a bit now. Even so, it's waaay cheaper than the excursion.

I would recommend getting on and off on the way out because then you can spend some extra time at the last one having some lunch at one of the beach bars and then do the straight run back to La Spezia when you're ready. The trains do get busy in the afternoon and this strategy means you are more likely to get a seat!

The villages are really nice and it's definitely worth your while visiting. Our favourites were the first one (Riomaggiore) and the last one (Monterosso).

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There's a ton of information on the Cinque Terre website here: https://www.cinqueterre.eu.com/en/the-five-towns

Hope it helps. It's a fabulous port of call and I would love to do it again some day.

 

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Hi Fiona,

Great Photos! What you did was what I was hoping to do myself. Were you in port long ? This particular day we have a full 12 hours so I assume this would be manageable ? Also what ship did you said on ? 

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11 minutes ago, Jamie A said:

Hi Fiona,

Great Photos! What you did was what I was hoping to do myself. Were you in port long ? This particular day we have a full 12 hours so I assume this would be manageable ? Also what ship did you said on ? 

Had to go and look it up! :1_grinning:

We were on Harmony, 25 September to 2 October 2016. Our port call in La Spezia was on 28 September and it was 12 hours too, from 8.30 am to 8.30 pm, so you definitely have time to do it. We did not realise there was such a nice beach at Monterosso (the last stop) as we did not make it that far on our previous visit. If we had, we would have worn swimming costumes under our clothes and taken a couple of towels with us. Something to think about if you think you might want to enjoy some beach time. 

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36 minutes ago, FionaMG said:

Had to go and look it up! :1_grinning:

We were on Harmony, 25 September to 2 October 2016. Our port call in La Spezia was on 28 September and it was 12 hours too, from 8.30 am to 8.30 pm, so you definitely have time to do it. We did not realise there was such a nice beach at Monterosso (the last stop) as we did not make it that far on our previous visit. If we had, we would have worn swimming costumes under our clothes and taken a couple of towels with us. Something to think about if you think you might want to enjoy some beach time. 

That's the exact same time as the cruise we've booked so that's good to know. We're sailing on Allure in May 2020. Thanks so much for this Fiona, it's been a great help and that website you provided is really helpful too! 😁😁

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I was in La Spezia last May (on MSC) and agree that the walk to the train station is not too difficult. My wife and I were off the ship as soon as we could, and even got to the Cinque Terre ticket office at the train station before it opened. The trains are easy enough, but there were a few delays, so take that into account and don't cut it too close. We only went to 3 of the villages so we could spend more time in each and not feel rushed. 

One important note: if you plan to do any hiking, be sure to wear closed toe shoes...you can be fined for wearing sandals (even hiking sandals) on the trails. In the villages you are fine with whatever, but not on the trails between them. My wife and I didn't know this until we got to the train station (failure of planning/research), but it didn't impact our plans terribly.

It is gorgeous there, and I wish I could go back today!

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On 1/7/2020 at 12:15 AM, Jamie A said:

Hi there!

I have booked my first ever Royal Caribbean 7 night Western Mediterranean cruise for May 2020 onboard Allure of the Seas and cannot wait for the experience. I do have a question about shore excursions for La Spezia (Cinque Terre) and hope somebody can help?

I have checked the cruise planner online and noticed excursions to the villages of Cinque Terre are priced between £100 - £150 per person and can't help but think about how expensive this is! I have read about the possibility of visiting these ourselves using the Cinque Terre Trekking card priced at €7 per person per day which would provide all day transport on the local trains between the villages which seem to run frequently enough. Is this a no brainer and has anyone else done this? My only concern is also about the reliability of the trains. I know the excursions through Royal give the assurance on making it back to the ship but at the price of £90 - £140 is this worth it ?

A little guidance and help would be greatly appreciated 

 

Thanks 🙂

We have done Cinque Terre by our own last year  , very simple to do if you plan it correctly 🙂 

You will go out with the bus to the gate of La Spezia , take the right and go next to the sea , you will be approached by many tour operators but keep going for another 0.3 miles , you will see a mid size boat and a ticket office were you can buy the tickets for around 65 Euros or less per person for full day boat service to the villages.

You will get a time line , and if you plan correctly you can easily do 3-4 villages without risking missing the ship (the ship will be at port until 8 PM and you need to be there no later than 7 I think.

What we have done was to choose which villages we want to see and were we want to take our lunch , best on that we took first the boat to the further village we want to see and from there we took the boat back to the next one until we took back the boat to the port .

You have some information here : 

Have a look on Day 4 - La Spezia  (it is in the middle of the page).

Here is the time table of the boat service 1091371652_timetable.thumb.jpg.457fcfdc1a6c1ab65355f5bed13e299e.jpg

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Hi, I am also going on Allure in May. I can't wait! I am traveling with my mother in law, husband and my 1 year old daughter (she will be 13 months old when we go). Last time I went to La Spezia I went to Firenze, but I want the baby to have a pleasant time (not 4 hours of bus) so I thought Cinque Terre is closer. Do you think that is it possible to do a short excursion that includes boat? 10 hours is too much (plus we will  the girl in a baby carrier on us as she will not be able to walk 😅 and a stroller is a bad idea, I think) 

Thanks, from a fan from Spain 

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hello! On my past med trip, we took advantage of the train service and not only took the train to two of the terraces (they get repetitive after a while), but took the train further and rode to the Portofino area. Consider this, it is so so amazing!

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@Jamie A I did the med last fall and this is one of the excursions I did booked through Royal Caribbean.  There were so many variables that could go wrong, between the ferries and the train and getting back to port.  We had a situation where when we got to the station to get back to the bus that was taking us back to the ship there were more people than the train could take.  Our group leader and the RCI rep were very nervous in the commotion that not everyone was going to get on.  There was not an inch of space and the train personal were having to ask people to get off because there were to many people on the train.

These are not big trains running this route and usually the next train is an hour wait, so it is very risky.  Our bus made it back to the ship just in time for sail away, as there was an accident on the highway and a lot of traffic.  Fortunately we were with the RCI tour.

In Monte Carlo we had someone jump in front of a train and we had an hour delay which  if we had not had enough time built in to getting back to the ship we would have made the "Pier Runner Club"

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