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Going on a Cruise to Europe or the Canaries ask me a question and I will try to help


DAVE(Darkcabbie)
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If you are going on a Cruise to Europe or the Canaries please feel free to ask any questions and I will try to help and if I don't know I will try to find out for you. Obviously  I haven't  been everywhere but I will  do my best.

Ships, ports of call , UK airports, shore excursions  etc.

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Hi Geema, I have just briefly looked at where your ship will dock and it looks like it will be near the Cobh Heritage Centre and if this is the case you are about 21 miles away from Blarney Castle which will take 40 min at least by veichle if the traffic is good. I will keep looking at possibilities for you but straight away I would suggest using a RC trip. The reason for this is because if it was really close to the port I would say maybe do it yourself as it would be cheaper and you are close to the ship but as is so far away from the port if there was a problem with traffic etc RC will leave you there if you not back but if you have booked with RC they have to wait. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Dave, would you know anything about getting off the ship at Le Havre? What is the distance from portside to shops or places of interest? Also do you know of anything worth seeing , we have an 11 year old with us and I am not brilliant with walking distances. Hope you can help.

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3 hours ago, KatyM said:

Hi Dave, would you know anything about getting off the ship at Le Havre? What is the distance from portside to shops or places of interest? Also do you know of anything worth seeing , we have an 11 year old with us and I am not brilliant with walking distances. Hope you can help.

Hi KatyM, we are actually back there next month on the Navigator Of The Seas and you will love it. 

We were also there last October on the Indy and you have many options. When you arrive in Le Havre there are local taxis right by the ship who can take you in to town or if you prefer it is about a 20 to 30 mins walk to Le Havre or you can opt for a excursion from RC which we did last time and opted for Honfleur it was beautiful in fact we have decided to do the same trip while there next month. It is a local harbour with great shops and restaurants and a fantastic medieval church which is a must see. the nice thing about this trip is that it is affordable and only lasts about 4 hours so you get back to the ship with plenty of time to explore Le Havre if you wish or just chill out on board till sail off. We also opted for the same trip again as it was so lovely we cant wait to see it in the height of summer, there is also an option for Deauville which is also a good option as it has a promenade and beach huts that are named after a list celebs and a great beach.

Another nice thing about this port of call is that you get ages there as we don't sail till 21:00 

Hope this helps and if you need any more info please just ask.

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On 6/30/2017 at 11:41 AM, Geema said:

Hi Dave. We are taking our 1st transatlantic cruise next April. One of our ports in Cork, Ireland. We want to go to Blarney Castle. Any suggestion on transportation there and back? TIA

An organized tour will be your easiest and cheapest bet. Something like eCoaches at roughly 40 Euros will include your admission tour of Cork, and a stop in Kinsale for lunch if you opt for the all day tour.

If you want to spend the whole day at Blarney Castle, then I'd look into booking private transport.

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8 hours ago, DocLC said:

An organized tour will be your easiest and cheapest bet. Something like eCoaches at roughly 40 Euros will include your admission tour of Cork, and a stop in Kinsale for lunch if you opt for the all day tour.

If you want to spend the whole day at Blarney Castle, then I'd look into booking private transport.

Thanks a lot!!!

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hi Dave ,

We are cruising on Vision of the Seas med and greek isles 25 th July 18. Was looking at shore excursions.Do you recommend booking with RC before cruise or will there be Independent tour companies in the ports offering the same tours. We found the last time we cruised that this was the case tours were the same but a lot cheaper ,but that was in the Carribean and I wondered if it was the same in all ports ?

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  • 2 months later...
On 6/27/2017 at 7:29 PM, DAVE(Darkcabbie) said:

If you are going on a Cruise to Europe or the Canaries please feel free to ask any questions and I will try to help and if I don't know I will try to find out for you. Obviously  I haven't  been everywhere but I will  do my best.

Ships, ports of call , UK airports, shore excursions  etc.

The Canaries ARE Europe ;-)

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Hi. We are going on our first TA next April. Ports of call are Azores, Cobh, Dublin and Waterford and Amsterdam. We are flying out of Amsterdam the same day we arrive so no time there. Do you have any suggestions for the other 4 ports? I am particularly interested in Ireland as all my grandparents were born there. We would like to use local companies for excursions as the ones offered by the cruise line seem very expensive. Thanks for any help/advice.

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On 10/21/2017 at 11:57 AM, Geema said:

Hi. We are going on our first TA next April. Ports of call are Azores, Cobh, Dublin and Waterford and Amsterdam. We are flying out of Amsterdam the same day we arrive so no time there. Do you have any suggestions for the other 4 ports? I am particularly interested in Ireland as all my grandparents were born there. We would like to use local companies for excursions as the ones offered by the cruise line seem very expensive. Thanks for any help/advice.

Dublin is very easy to do on your own and is very walkable. What's important, though, is to prepare tickets in advance. We did this for the Book of Kell's, the prison (which often sells out), and Guinness. 

For Cobh, we booked with eCoach and went to Blarney Castle and Kinsale. 

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31 minutes ago, StevenM said:

Hi, 

I am traveling on Symphony April 2018 to Europe, I looked at the shore excursions offered and its a bit overwhelming being that its our first time to Europe. Do you have any recommendations for the ports we are visiting?

In La Spezia do a tour to Cinque Terre.  Don't go to Piza and/or Florence.  It's tempting, but it's far.  

 

cinqueterre_liguria_onedaytour.jpg

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In Palma de Mallorca I did this tour: http://majorca-tours.net/escursione/valldemossa-soller-palma-vip/  I recommend it.

In Barcelona, Gaudi, Gaudi and more Gaudi.  Especially Sagrada Familia.

In Rome, we used Rome in Limo, very good: https://www.romeinlimo.com/

In Naples I recommend you go to Pompeii and then come back and eat pizza before getting back on the ship.

 

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Suggestions for Geema:

Dublin: Works well with hop on/hop off. Guinness experience was quite enjoyable. Trip into Wicklow Mountains might be an option if you don't fancy the city.

Cobh: Titanic Experience was quite interesting. Kinsale might be another option. I didn't enjoy Cork much.

Waterford: Waterford itself is a nice town to explore. If you're into handcrafts you could visit Waterford Crystal. Kilkenny is a nice town and Kilkenny castle is another option. Depending on your time in port it might also be possible to do a trip into the Wicklow Mountains.

Suggestions for StevenM:

Marseille: Personally, I don't like the town very much. I'd recommend an excursion to Avignon if you're in port for some time. It should take 1,5 to 2 hours by bus per trip but it's really worth it - and you get to see a bit of Provence on the way. Avignon itself is a gorgeous old town in part bordered by the river Rhone with an ancient town wall, numerous beautiful churches, the popes palace... If you're pressed for time, Aix-en-Provence is also quite nice with an old town, cathedral and especially Cours Mirabeau.

Palma de Mallorca: Works quite well with hop on/hop off. I've also heard good things about the train ride to Soller.

LaSpezia: Cinque Terre is a must-see. Pisa is overrated in my opinion, I do like Florence and especially Lucca but it's quite far from LaSpezia.

Barcelona: Hop on/hop off is nice to get a good look around town. If you're interested in Gaudi's works be sure to book every ticket in advance with designated time slots - otherwise you won't be able to visit much. This is especially relevant for Parc Güell and Casa Batllo - not sure for Sagrada Familia though.

Never been to Naples. We were in Civitavecchia last week on AIDAperla but didn't bother with the 2 hour (by coach) or 1 hour (by train) trip to Rome - from Germany it's no hassle to fly to Rome for a few days so we'll try this in the future.

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1 minute ago, Neaxan said:

Barcelona: Hop on/hop off is nice to get a good look around town. If you're interested in Gaudi's works be sure to book every ticket in advance with designated time slots - otherwise you won't be able to visit much. This is especially relevant for Parc Güell and Casa Batllo - not sure for Sagrada Familia though.

Parc Guell is just a park, no admission required.  Sagrada Familia, buying tickets in advance is HIGHLY recommended.  Lines can be SUPER long.

Pic #1: Parc Guell.  Pic #2: Inside the Sagrada Familia

Park Güell.jpg

1170909_10101174270005346_936997523_n.jpg

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40 minutes ago, BrianAlt said:

Parc Guell is just a park, no admission required.

That's what I thought too, unfortunately this has changed. You can still visit parts of the parc free of charge, but for the so-called Monumental Zone (main entrance, terrace, all the parts containing mosaics) you need a ticket (access regulations started in 2013). I had no idea this was the case and when we got to the main entrance at around 2 pm (we started on entrance C and walked around the free part of the parc first) we weren't willing to wait for a 6 pm admission - the only time slot still available that day. From what I gathered afterwards they only admit 400 people at a time to Monumental Zone and they're really strict with admission times - if you're more than 30 minutes late you cannot enter the Zone any more.

Another word of wisdom: if you do hop on/hop off be aware that the walk from the stop to Parc Guell is quite far and steeply uphill. Alternatives are taking a taxi or bus or taking the metro (green line L3, station Vallcarca). We did the latter and while you still have some uphill walking to get to entrance C, the most part is by excalator through Baixada de la Glória. The escalators are quite a sight being outdoors and offering nice views.

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7 minutes ago, Neaxan said:

That's what I thought too, unfortunately this has changed. You can still visit parts of the parc free of charge, but for the so-called Monumental Zone (main entrance, terrace, all the parts containing mosaics) you need a ticket (access regulations started in 2013). I had no idea this was the case and when we got to the main entrance at around 2 pm (we started on entrance C and walked around the free part of the parc first) we weren't willing to wait for a 6 pm admission - the only time slot still available that day. From what I gathered afterwards they only admit 400 people at a time to Monumental Zone and they're really strict with admission times - if you're more than 30 minutes late you cannot enter the Zone any more.

Good information!  Thanks.  We will be back there next year.

Quote

Another word of wisdom: if you do hop on/hop off be aware that the walk from the stop to Parc Guell is quite far and steeply uphill. Alternatives are taking a taxi or bus or taking the metro (green line L3, station Vallcarca). We did the latter and while you still have some uphill walking to get to entrance C, the most part is by excalator through Baixada de la Glória. The escalators are quite a sight being outdoors and offering nice views.

That walk is CRAZY!  Especially in the summer.  Whew!

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On ‎10‎/‎23‎/‎2017 at 10:14 AM, DocLC said:

Dublin is very easy to do on your own and is very walkable. What's important, though, is to prepare tickets in advance. We did this for the Book of Kell's, the prison (which often sells out), and Guinness. 

For Cobh, we booked with eCoach and went to Blarney Castle and Kinsale. 

Suggestions on how to prepare tickets in advance? This is the first time we have been to these cities. Thanks!

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12 hours ago, Geema said:

Suggestions on how to prepare tickets in advance? This is the first time we have been to these cities. Thanks!

Just Google the sights you want to see and go to their official website. You'll see an option to buy tickets and print them at home. 

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  • 10 months later...
8 hours ago, Bjclarke said:

Sorry i know this is old post but i have not much for european advice. we are travelling in December but we do wish to visit Pompeii and Rome which are on our stops finding prices with RC expensive for excursions can you offer any advice 

We set sail in 2 weeks and I've spent months and months planning our tours. We booked with a company called Joe Banana Limo/Italy Tour Sharing for our tours of Rome and Pompeii/Amalfi. Visit their site and you can book a tour for as many people as you like. The per person rate goes down, the more people you book.

If you find your "Roll Call" on the Cruise Critic website, you can recruit people to join your tour. We found this much cheaper than the ship's excursions and there are only 8 people in our tour groups. Many people on our Roll Call booked tours this way. At one point there was a spreadsheet with all the tours listed and web links (someone was very organized)! Now I've made "friends" with several of my fellow cruisers and we have a number of meet and greets set up. 

I can certainly share our experiences when we return!

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Thank you very much for that. I've been try to get my head around why there doesn't seem to be a board/forum for people to chat before embarking for a cruise they're taking. Rome and Pompeii are on our itinerary I would love to hear how you get on. So with the limo company do you get time to explore and get information about places you see on way through city? 

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2 hours ago, Bjclarke said:

Thank you very much for that. I've been try to get my head around why there doesn't seem to be a board/forum for people to chat before embarking for a cruise they're taking. Rome and Pompeii are on our itinerary I would love to hear how you get on. So with the limo company do you get time to explore and get information about places you see on way through city? 

The full tour descriptions are on their website. You can browse through their options to see what suits you. Rome is about 1.5hrs away from the port and there's so much to see. The tour we'll be joining visits the Colosseum, Forum, Pantheon, Spanish Steps with a driver and a guided tour of the Vatican museums and St. Peter's Basilica. I'm not expecting any free time for exploring with a hectic day like that. 

Our tour to Pompeii leaves from the port of Solerno. We have 2.5hrs guided tour of Pompeii, a stop in Positano and then Amalfi. This will likely be another busy day. 

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First advice I can give you is make a list of what are the most important things for you to and make sure to save some time to enjoy the beautiful ship. I only say this because we booked excursions in every single port and I felt like we left no time to explore the ship and there is so much to see, there were things I found to do on the ship that I didn't know till the last day which was our sea day. 

For the excursions we ended up booking through the cruise line only because it was our first time to Europe and we wanted to be sure to make it back to the ship with plenty of time. If I go back I will use "Rome in a Limo" I researched them before going on the trip, they had great reviews and I saw their cars in all the ports through Italy. Also if you wanted to visit the Vatican I recommend booking a tour that includes a Vatican guide, they are incredibly knowledgeable and answered all of our questions. 

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