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CaribbeanBound

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  1. Yes, the walk was worthwhile. We took this tour with EXPLORA MÁLAGA S.L. B93452118 info@exploramalaga.com Tlf: +34 611454404. https://exploramalaga.com/ It's one of several different tours by different organizations.
  2. The shuttle in Mykonos was indeed provided for free by Celebrity Cruises.
  3. Agree with above. Pick one or the other and get a guide. Not only will you get a richer experience you will also skip ticket lines and access queues. You have no time to waste waiting in any line.
  4. I appreciate the discussion here on alternate paper maps that can be secured prior to the trip. Folks should find this helpful.
  5. Messina / Sicily, Italy (Taormina) The highlight in Messina is the bell tower of the Cathedral of Messina "which contains the biggest and most complex mechanical and astronomical clock in the world. Designed by the firm Ungerer of Strasbourg it was inaugurated in 1933 and is the city’s main attraction even today. At noon a complex system of counterweights, leverages and gears, determines the movement of the gilded bronze statues located in the facade. The mechanism moves every day at 12.00am and lasts twelve minutes." Prior to the show at the Bell Tower, we wandered around town for about 90 minutes and climbed up to the Santuario della Madonna di Montalto church that offers 180-degree views of the immediate area down to the port. Other than that, the recommendation is to travel to the nearby town of Taormina. "The climate is a dream, its position, perfect panoramas, monuments and luxurious flora and fauna render Taormina a location admired by all who visit it. The city lies on a terrace, with a view of the ancient Greco-Roman theater against a backdrop of citrus groves with Mount Etna engulfed in the glory of the Ionian Sea beyond." So we arranged in advance with TourShuttle.com for roundtrip transportation for 8 to Taormina at a cost of €31,50 per person. The driver was waiting on us when the Cathedral of Messina tower completed its multiple level show. Travel time is about 49 minutes each way which conservatively gave us about 4 hours to enjoy Taormina before returning to the ship. That was the plan anyway. Unfortunately, the A/C in our van quit almost immediately and the engine totally quit while on the highway. Our driver pulled over onto the shoulder where we were safe and immediately called for a rescue. No worries. Within 30 minutes we had a new taxi with cold A/C pick us up and take us to Taormina, leaving our original driver awaiting assistance. For us, this minor setback was not a problem. We only needed about 2.5 hours to fully explore the town and the Greek Amphitheater (€10 per person), see the beautiful views, and enjoy a fresh cannoli. We returned a little early in the same taxi that rescued us, and we paid him in full. I highly recommend watching the show at the bell tower and then heading over to visit Taormina. That's a good and inexpensive plan for the day. Kudos to our original driver for his skillful handling of a bad situation. However, since I received no response from TourShuttle.com when I informed them of our transportation problems, I cannot recommend them, and suggest you book transportation with someone else.
  6. All those locations can make for a fun day. Here's what we did... Villefrance (Nice), France Villefrance (Nice) was the only port on this cruise where every ship has to tender. We got in line for the tender about 7:15 am and just missed catching the first boat to shore. Other than the time spent loading the boat, it was a quick 10-15 minute trip to shore. We exited the tender, walked through a small cruise terminal and found ourselves on the street. Citadelle Saint-Elme, a 16th Century fort with museums and gardens, is to your left. We walked around the traffic circle and waited for the #100 or #100X westbound "Nice" bus across the street (Boulevard Charles III) from where the original bus dropped us off. The return trip took just 25 minutes. At this point it was about 1:30 pm. We walked down to Citadelle Saint-Elme (Saint Elmo), located literally on the other side of the park where we got off the bus. The entrance faces the cruise terminal. While not an awesome "castle" experience, it's still worth a visit. It hosts 1 large and 3 small museums, nice gardens, statues, great views (including of the ship) and photo opportunities, has public restrooms, and it's free! We spent a leisurely hour exploring the site. We intended to go swimming in Villefrance. This is, after all, the French Riviera! They have a great sandy beach here, just in front of the train station, not more than an easy 15 minute walk from the terminal. Had we taken the train we would have also brought our swimsuits and gone swimming upon our return from Monte Carlo. But we didn't, so we explored the town instead. We wandered the narrow streets and climbed many sets of stairs in the main section of Villefrance just above the port. We enjoyed an awesome homemade blackberry gelato (€3,80 for 2 scoops) at Solea. This was easily the best gelato we enjoyed during our entire trip. My mouth waters just thinking about it. Come late afternoon we headed back to the cruise terminal. Finding free wi-fi, we sat down on one of the many public benches when we got through the security checkpoint and spent maybe 30 minutes checking email and sending pictures before boarding the tender to head back to the ship. Info on 28 more cities in the Mediterranean: http://www.lavasurfer.com/info/mediterranean-secrets.html
  7. Sound like you ought to get over to Mdina. Valletta, Malta (Mdina) Hint: Get up early and don't miss any of the sail-in to Valletta, it's one of the most beautiful harbors in the world. And if you get off the ship early, you'll have the to yourself until about 8:45 am. Malta has way too much to offer for a single day in port. We decided to keep it fairly simple and inexpensive on our first visit: attending mass at St. John’s Co-Cathedral, visiting Mdina, enjoying lunch, then returning to Valletta for further exploration. St. John’s Cathedral aka "Co-Cathedral" is a must-see. However, due to services, it's closed to tours on Sunday and pictures are prohibited. You can still visit the church if you'd like to go to mass (no charge) at 9:15 am. On any other day, you can get a ticket for €10 per person, and visit Caravaggio's painting of the beheading of John the Baptist. Either way, the interior of this church, built in the 1570s by the Order of the Knights of St. John, is spectacular with it's painted ceiling frescos, marble and gold columns and arches, and ornate inlaid marble tombstones that cover the entire floor! They commemorate some of the most illustrious knights of the Order and date from the early seventeenth century into the late eighteenth century. You have to work your way up since the old city is on the cliff top. As long as you use the elevator it shouldn't take you longer than 20 minutes to walk to the Co-cathedral from the ship. Turn right upon exiting the cruise terminal and walk towards the Barakka Lift (€1,00 up / free down). The Lift will let you out at the Upper Barakka Gardens which offers nice views overlooking the harbor. Start walking down Castille Street and turn right on either Republic Street (three blocks). Walk down 2.5 blocks to Triq San Gwann. You can't miss the Co-Cathedral. Following mass at St. John’s Co-Cathedral, we walked back down Republic Street and out the City Gate to pickup a taxi near Triton Fountain. I prearranged roundtrip transportation online with eCabs to Mdina and back (just €5 per person each way for a party of 8). A comfortable van was waiting on us when we arrived. The driver dropped us off at the Mdina Gate. Mdina is a small, walled town with narrow streets. “The elegance of the architecture, the pop of colors, the panoramic views and the sheer beauty of the town are all incredible. You can really feel as if you are in another time when here.” This is one of the “Game of Thrones” filming locations. After exploring the walled city, we went back out the front gate to get lunch at BOTTEGIN PALAZZO XARA, a reasonably priced restaurant which had received rave reviews online. It's only a 6-minute walk to the restaurant at Palazzo Xara, Triq San Pawl, Rabat RBT1243, but we had some trouble finding it despite the building's distinctive dark royal blue doors and shutters. We chose to eat outside in their courtyard. Two of our fellow travelers enjoyed pasta dishes while my wife and I loved our locally raised roasted rabbit with pumpkin-infused mashed potatoes and a glass of Serina Merlot. Highly recommend. We met our driver back at our prearranged pickup spot at 1:45 pm and were dropped back off at the Triton Fountain. This gave us about 2.5 hours to walk the streets and explore Valletta before returning to the ship. Info on 28 more Mediterranean cities: http://www.lavasurfer.com/info/mediterranean-secrets.html
  8. Agree with Uber or bus suggestions. The buses are good in Honolulu. You can google the route.
  9. Totally agree with "Tabularium". The Capitoline Museum i swell worth a visit!
  10. No, sorry, haven't been to those places. Here's a report on the 20 we have been to: http://www.lavasurfer.com/info/medit...n-secrets.html
  11. When you exit the ship, and walk through a small port building, the taxis will be lined up in the parking lot. No shuttle needed. Be sure to purchase your Sagrada Familia tickets well in advance.
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