This is where our cruise started, so we spent a few days in Rome. Obviously the Vatican and the Colosseum are worth seeing. The port of Civitavecchia really has nothing to it so it is worth your time to make it out to Rome to see the sights.
There is no way to see all of Florence and do Pisa is the same day unless you rush everything. We did an excursion and only had 30 minutes at Pisa to take a picture and get back on the bus ot make it back in time. I would suggest spending your day in Florence and experience everything. Pisa isn't anything special except to take the famous "leaning" picture. If you're okay with being rushed around like we were, then it's doable.
Beautiful port that you do not need to spend money on an excursion for. The town is easy to navigate on your own. We walked all the way up the hill and shopped around and all you really had to do was get back down the hill and find the boat. There is a free shuttle bus right into the main town from the cruise ship.
Knossos Palace is really the only thing to do here. Do not waste your money on a shore excursion through the cruise line. There is a bus station that takes you right to the palace and back for 5 euros per person, unlimited stops on the bus. There is a kiosk right when you get off the free shuttle bus from the ship to the front of the port by the taxi station. Ignore the taxi drivers trying to sell you on their trips and find the bus station kiosk on the left.
The acropolis was amazing and worth a visit. We paid for an excursion through the cruiseline, but traffic was terrible. Do not try to do the "TASTE of Athens" excursion where it tries to bring you to multiple places. We had other cruisers tell us they had to just drive by the places they were supposed to stop at because traffic was terrible. We did the "Acropolis and Leisure" excursion through NCL and it takes you to the acropolis and Plaka (shopping district) . Since it's such a busy bustling place, we felt paying extra for an excursion was the best choice.
Beautiful place! Make sure to visit Fira for the shopping and food and Oia for the beautiful picturesque blue domes. You have to take a cable car for 5 euro per person or a donkey ride for 6 euro per person. The donkey ride is not as romantic as it sounds, it's smelly and slow. You can also walk up and down the donkey trail for no cost, but again you have to watch where you step and plug your nose.
Olympia is definitely worth seeing once in your life. Stepping on the same track the first olympians used is really exciting. The city of Katakolon is really nothing but a bunch of tourist shops. Take the train into Olympia. 10 euros per person round trip. Totally worth it. Do not pay for an excursion here unless you want a personalized tour when you get to Olympia. When we got to Olympia, we just walked around ourselves and read the information on the little kiosks. The train is easy and cheap but be aware that it only leaves once or twice to go to Olympia and comes back one or two times on the way back to Katalon. I think it depends on how many ships are in town. The station is just past the shopping street close to the beach. Buy the ticket at the stand and hop on in. You do not have to validate your ticket, either.
Very interested place with a unique history. I would definitely visit here again and spend more time. I wish we were at this port for longer. We took a hop on/hop off bus tour and went to the city center and also the blue grotto. I would highly recommend doing the boat tour of the blue grotto for 8 euros per person. It's pretty amazing to see from above but even more surreal to see from the boat. It's about 30 minutes but you get to go into the caves.
This was probably my favorite port. We went to Taormina and Mt. Etna on a shared tour excursion: https://italytoursharing.com/messina-port/mtetna-taormina. Being on Mt. Etna was truly life changing but bring a jacket! You're 6,000 feet above sea level and it's freezing! We went to a honey farm for free samples of honey, olive oil and wines and explored the beautiful shopping town or Taormina.
Naples port area was not very impressive so we did an excursion through an outside company to Sorrento and the Amalfi coast. We went to a lemonchello factory for free tastings. It was pretty good. The most impressive and most beautiful part was the Amalfi coast. Totally worth seeing.
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