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Harmony - required to book excursion to enter Italy


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Yes! Hopefully boarding this coming Sunday.

The requirement for "bubble" excursion is down to the Italian government and not the cruise line and has actually been in place since cruising restarted in Italy back in August of 2020. Royal announced it a few weeks ago, just prior to Harmony's first sailing on 15 August. It was not included in the original protocols that Royal released prior to Harmony's restart, so many people were caught on the hop.

Unfortunately, Royal disappointingly decided to take the approach that with an audience of "captive cruisers" they could hike the prices of their excursions massively. Just to give you an example of three that I had been tracking, one up from $64 to $164, another up from $103 to $196 and a third up from $130 to $207. Admittedly there are added costs, such as a meal that was previously not included and extra hours for guides/chaperones but even so this, to me, is a clear case of price gouging.

We will probably not bother getting off the ship in the Italian ports now because we are not prepared to pay their outrageous prices when we could get cheap flights and a three-day stay in Rome or Florence for the price of one of their day trips.

If you're coming from farther afield (e.g. the US) it's obviously a very long way to come just to stay on the ship. In that case, I would recommend reading the excursion descriptions very carefully before booking because a lot of them involve spending long periods of time in a bus. That would not be my idea of fun and would really only be ideal for those with mobility issues.

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7 hours ago, FionaMG said:

Yes! Hopefully boarding this coming Sunday.

The requirement for "bubble" excursion is down to the Italian government and not the cruise line and has actually been in place since cruising restarted in Italy back in August of 2020. Royal announced it a few weeks ago, just prior to Harmony's first sailing on 15 August. It was not included in the original protocols that Royal released prior to Harmony's restart, so many people were caught on the hop.

Unfortunately, Royal disappointingly decided to take the approach that with an audience of "captive cruisers" they could hike the prices of their excursions massively. Just to give you an example of three that I had been tracking, one up from $64 to $164, another up from $103 to $196 and a third up from $130 to $207. Admittedly there are added costs, such as a meal that was previously not included and extra hours for guides/chaperones but even so this, to me, is a clear case of price gouging.

We will probably not bother getting off the ship in the Italian ports now because we are not prepared to pay their outrageous prices when we could get cheap flights and a three-day stay in Rome or Florence for the price of one of their day trips.

If you're coming from farther afield (e.g. the US) it's obviously a very long way to come just to stay on the ship. In that case, I would recommend reading the excursion descriptions very carefully before booking because a lot of them involve spending long periods of time in a bus. That would not be my idea of fun and would really only be ideal for those with mobility issues.

I had read that they let you go in one shop for souvenirs and that’s it. 

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We board next Sunday and have Royal trips booked for Rome and Pompeii. Usually I’d have gone about myself but with my mum likely would have booked an RCI one just for ease. It’s a shame about the restrictions but at least we can go about Spain freely.


I do wonder if those boarding in Rome are able to explore Italy themselves, considering they boarded in Italy. Does anyone know?

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3 hours ago, Scoular said:

We board next Sunday and have Royal trips booked for Rome and Pompeii. Usually I’d have gone about myself but with my mum likely would have booked an RCI one just for ease. It’s a shame about the restrictions but at least we can go about Spain freely.


I do wonder if those boarding in Rome are able to explore Italy themselves, considering they boarded in Italy. Does anyone know?

They are not, even if they have been touring all over Italy beforehand they can still only get off the ship on one of Royal's excursions. 😞

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8 hours ago, FionaMG said:

They are not, even if they have been touring all over Italy beforehand they can still only get off the ship on one of Royal's excursions. 😞

That doesn’t make much sense! Although to be honest neither does having free roam in Spain the day or two before and then being bubbled.

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On 9/28/2021 at 2:41 PM, Scoular said:

That doesn’t make much sense! Although to be honest neither does having free roam in Spain the day or two before and then being bubbled.

What about this Pandemic makes any sense at all.  People protest in Michigan early on because they are asked to wear a mask.  My state says Mask.  NY says vaccine passport to go to restaurant or show.  Chicago Lollapalooza show your card to get in, or did they also allow a recent test?  Florida. I'll be damned if anyone can ask for your vaccine record. Health Care workers required to be vaccinated, but disagree so not a myriad of lawsuits in progress (Ok over the line maybe, but I definitely don't want to be treated by an unVaxed health care worker. JMHO).  United fires 560 employees for not taking vaccine, today.  Check-in agent never even looked at my Negative test results when boarding Ovation in August, I had them. 

On and on.

I really don't blame the tour operators from raising their rates (Yes I realize Royal gets a cut, but I'll bet is is a percentage and not huge, less that you auto gratuity on drinks)  for having to insure that they can provide a tour within the imposed Bubble requirements.

IS THIS OUR NEW NORMAL?

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