The specialized guide Valeria was very good. She was interesting and passionnate about Pompeï. She knew her subject very well and answered all questions. She also took on her to ask the driver to stay half an hour more and everyone appreciated this extra time. The tour would have been excellent have we had more time to visit the whole site.
Pompeii was really fascinating - this is the one place where I wished I had a tour guide to tell me all the interesting details. It was also very hot and crowded, so I would recommend coming earlier in the day. But so much history to behold! we really avoided the surrounding town as it is extremely touristy.
We did the Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri excursion. Had this been the first day of the cruise, it would have been amazing. It is a little too much to cram into the day, and we would have preferred to do Sorrento and Capri on our own with time to explore, rather than 30-50 minutes in each place.
There are a lot of tours you can do independently. If you want to see both Pompeii and the Amalfi coast on your shore day, it is so much better to do this through the cruise line. We had the best guide, and we kept moving the entire time. We had frequent bathroom breaks. Pompeii was beyond amazing, as was the Amalfi coast. Even so, we were constantly on the move. This day was go go go. I felt comfortable doing this much through RC vs. an independent operator.
Pompeii in the morning, Amalfi coast driving tour with stop in Positano afterwards. We set up the tour and it quickly filled to 8 people, so it was only 80 EU per person. Pompeii was excellent - great info. Traffic created issues with Amalfi drive, so our time in town was very limited and we completely skipped Ravena. People in the back seat got a bit tossed around and couldnt see as well, but I was in front and thought it was awesome.
Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius. LOTS of walking so wear good shoes and be in reasonable shape. There was a man in our group who had to use a cane. We spent time having to wait for him to keep up. Fortunately he did not come on the actual tours. Not to be callous but read the description people! The climb up Mt. Vesuvius is quite taxing--footing is not great, and the climb is very steep. Because it was a holiday when we were there, we lost an hour sitting in the line up of traffic to get in, so had only 90 minutes there. It took a half hour to get to the very top of the crater, walking as fast as we could, without stopping except to catch our breath. Then we essentially had to hurry back down. Views are beautiful, if hazy. Could see steam coming out of the sides of the crater, which was a bit unsettling! The tour of Pompeii was very good, except it did not include the museum. We were expecting to see the casts of the people that you see in photos in books, but they were not in place in the ruins. They must be in the museum. We were taken by surprise that we had to come up with the admittance fees for both places: that information was not included on the tickets that we received, but was on the website when we checked back--actually the website said only that the guide would collect a fee for Pompeii, not for Mt Vesuvius. And when she asked for the fee for Pompeii (which we saw first) she did not mention that she would be asking again for a fee for Mt Vesuvius later!!! Since it was almost 50 Euros total (2 adults, 2 venues) that cost was not insubstantial and should either be included in/added to the price of the tour or else clearly stated on the ticket. I would venture that not one person on our bus was prepared for that expense. So vendors along the way lost out on trade, and not sure how much the guides got in tips. The price, even if the ticket costs were added in, was still a lot less than the ship's tour of the same thing, so I doubt that they would lose business by including entrance fees in the tour cost. Also, our "guide" on the bus did not deliver the information set out in the description of the tour. We had a young girl who was looking after her sister, talking to the driver and constantly checking her phone, and she did not offer us any information as we were travelling on the bus. We had to ask her questions which she did not have the English capacity to answer. We take excursions to learn about the places we are visiting and felt we did not get what we bargained for in this instance. The guide who led us through Pompeii (Susie) DID know her stuff and did a wonderful job of providing descriptions and explanations.
I took the Metro line 1 to Garabildi station and the train to Pompeii. This line includes Herculaneum and other towns. Between the metro and the train €2+€6, then entrance fee €11 and audio guide €8 I reached the site at 10.00 and took the return train at 16.30 giving me just enough time to see the site (but going at a decent pace) and return to the ship half an hour before the ship left (which was cutting it fine given Italian trains)
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