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cruisemom42

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  1. Oh you are barking up my tree now! Villa Oplontis is absolutely, hands down, a gem of a site. You cannot believe the opulence and quality of the frescoes. The fact that it was likely owned by Nero or Poppaea (his wife) only adds to the allure. If you are thinking of combining it with Stabiae, it would make for an interesting day of envisioning what life was like for the rich and famous along the Bay of Naples before the eruption of Vesuvius. I went to Stabiae with a friend and we took the old chugging Circumvesuviana. From the station it was a bit of a hike and definitely UP hill to reach the site, where access (at least as of 5-6 years ago) was surprisingly haphazard and low key. I don't seem to recall that we had any difficulty finding it, we were just worried that no one would be there to let us in, however, it all worked out. If you want more detail on directions, I still have the document I created on a drive somewhere. On the other hand... If you go to Baiae, which is also an interesting (if slightly puzzling) site, you could visit the nearby Baia Castle which houses the archaeological museum. You could also opt for a visit to the fantastic amphitheatre in Pozzuoli, where the underground area is MUCH better preserved than the Colosseum in Rome. Fantastic place. Or you could visit Cumae, where there are interesting ruins and also one of three candidates for the "Cave of the Sibyl" (I've visited all three....). As euro cruiser can attest, there is also a great restaurant near the Baiae site that's open for lunch; can't think of the name at the moment but I can look it up. Finally, I'll just add that if you decide to opt for a simpler day and just revisit Pompeii -- there have been a number of reopened houses in the last 2-3 years, following all the scandals about the site. I think they are trying to show that they are maintaining things responsibly. The Villa of the Mysteries had all of its frescoes restored and they are magnificent. Check the official website to see if they list some of the other newly opened houses, if not I can supply them. To cut down on wear and tear, some are only open in the morning and others only in the afternoon, so it pays to do a little advance planning...
  2. You'll want to leave early enough to allow about 3 hours at the airport, fair warning. It can be chaotic. Taxi for up to four people (fixed rate from anywhere within the city walls) is 48 euro and is probably the most efficient, or a private car for slightly more. Allow 40-45 minutes. Looks like your hotel is close to Termini, so you could also take the Leonardo Express train from Termini to FCO; it leaves every half an hour, takes about 30 minutes, and costs 14 euro per person. Info here: https://leonardo-express.com/ The cheapest option is to get one of the express bus services which also depart from Termini but also take longer. One option is here (the one I've used) but there are some others; they all seem to be pretty similar: https://www.terravision.eu/airport_transfer/bus-fiumicino-airport-rome/ . Cost is about 6 euro per person; takes 50-60 minutes.
  3. Is your hotel in Rome or in Civitavecchia (or elsewhere)?
  4. In my family I'm well known as the one with the iron stomach. I've eaten street food in Egypt with no ill (pun intended) consequences, and was the only one in Tunisia to not get "Tunis tummy". However, I understand not everyone has the same intestinal fortitude....! Guinea pig in Peru is all well and good, but not sure I'd eat rat. While I have no unreasonable concerns about cleanliness, there are some things that just don't appeal. In Italy, try as I might, I just can't force myself to like the "quinto quarto" and I have tried, oh how I've tried... In global tourism today I see a distinct trend toward elitism in terms of "oh we went (insert exotic name) and we ate (insert exotic food) and it was great." I tend to be brutally honest most of the time. In Romania for example we ate fish fresh out of the local lake a couple of hours earlier and grilled at the restaurant beside it. I ate them and grinned but those bottom feeding suckers tasted like dirt.
  5. There is a ferry that runs a set schedule between Mykonos and Delos; it only runs a few times a day and less often in low tourist season. The ferry offers the option of just transportation over and back OR transportation plus a guided tour. I have no idea whether you can pick up a guide on the fly if you do not pre-book. I don't recall seeing guides hanging around the dock but then I wasn't really paying attention. The ferry site is here: https://www.delostours.gr/en/ I don't really think there are a lot of private options for transport -- either ship or ferry.
  6. Definitely -- that's why I travel alone. No one else would be willing to spend as much time as me looking at some rocks and dirt. (Okay, there may be the occasional bit of sculpture or fresco involved....)
  7. The OP wants to be dropped off closer than the port entrance.
  8. Possibly the most condescending post I've read in 15 years on Cruise Critic -- congratulations. While there certainly are a number of inexperienced travelers who cruise as an introduction to travel (and some never progress beyond that), I'd say the ones participating in this discussion do not meet that criteria. However I'm sure our collective experience pales in comparison to your own...
  9. I have read that some cruise lines offer such an excursion, but whether you do it through the ship or (if available) a private tour, you would only have the briefest look at Petra with these time limitations. I believe it is a more than 6 hour drive from Ashdod, not including have to go through the border between Israel and Jordan which can also take some time. I took a 4 day private tour from Jerusalem after being on my own there and it was very rushed although we did a few other things as well. Here's a good discussion from Tripadvisor about the idea (you might also get some feedback if you post this question on the Ports of Call forum for Egypt and the Middle East here on Cruise Critic -- there are some local experts who sometimes answer questions. https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293983-i2582-k4165196-Petra_from_Ashdod-Jerusalem_Jerusalem_District.html
  10. There are a couple of lines mentioned above. However, for most Baltic cruisers, a stop in St Petersburg is considered a "must" so you are going to have limited choices. Also keep in mind that 2021 itineraries are not all released yet.
  11. Do you want/need a package versus just heading down there and getting a hotel and sightseeing on your own?
  12. My favorite hotel in Rome! I've stayed in almost a dozen Rome hotels over the years, as I like to try out different hotels and locations, but I always hold the Albergo del Senato to be the best. I got an awesome rate for my upcoming November stay and will be there for 10 (!!) nights.
  13. I don't doubt that you had a good experience. I just think it is worth noting that a number of others have experienced this bait and switch tactic with reservations at this particular hotel, only to be informed shortly before arrival of this 'overbooking' situation which can cause a lot of anxiety and dissatisfaction. I just wouldn't want to play the odds that everything would be okay and want to ensure others have all the info to make the best decision for themselves. As we often say here on Cruise Critic, a few bad reviews should be enough to warn others off! It has impacted at least 30 people by reports I have personally read and deem credible. As for the cabs, perhaps they were unlicensed? I've sailed out of or into Civi at least once a year for the past 10 years and what I stated is the port's official policy.
  14. So you can only reserve for lunch once on board?
  15. I highly suggest taking a look at this thread from the Italy forum about Hotel Giorgio before booking there. Several recent bad experiences (and more reported on Tripadvisor): Also, any taxi with cruise passengers can enter the port to drop off. (As well as every well-reviewed shuttle service.) The issue comes into play when it's the other way around -- not all taxis are allowed to enter the port to pick up passengers, unless they can prove they have a pre-reserved fare waiting....
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