Our cruise was 7 nights and 8 days and we enjoyed it immensely. There are still a few tips I can share to save money on your dream vacation. When you look at the tours available at each port it is easy to see that they can add up to a big expense.

This year we opted for the organized tour to Pompeii and Sorrento. The costs for these were charged to our room, which was then charged to my credit card. That gives me a month before I have to pay the bill! The other ports we hired a taxi to take us around the city or opted to walk and explore on our own. Both were good options and we enjoyed them while saving about three quarters of the tour price. The price for the organized tours for 3 adults and 1 child was 300 Euro. The cost of a taxi tour for 4 was much more affordable.

So, Google your ports see what you want to do and then plan your excursions around them. In most ports you will find taxis readily available and most can be hired for about 40 to 50 Euros per hour. Or you can negotiate a day rate. Just don’t pay the driver up front, wait until the end. That way you can be sure he doesn’t drive away and leave you stranded. Not that he would, but it’s better safe than sorry.

Another option is something called the “Ho-Ho Bus.” This is a tourist bus that runs a set route around the city to all the important sights and allows you to hop on and off as you wish. You can buy tickets for the day for around 25 Euro. This beats even the taxi's prices. So when you Google your ports, be sure to check for the “Ho-Ho Bus.”

Most ports also offer bicycles, scooters and four-wheelers for rent near the port for those brave enough to give it a shot. Corfu is an excellent port for such an adventure. Can’t help you with the cost of these because I wasn’t that adventurous!

In Marseille, France we took the shuttle from the port to the old port where we wandered around on our own. It was nice, the city was clean and we felt safe. We visited a museum, and stopped for lunch in a French Café.

In Genoa, Italy we hired a taxi and the driver was wonderful! He didn’t speak a word of English, but we were able to pick up enough of his Italian to know what he was trying to tell us. He took us to all the must see spots pointed out the attractions, explained in Italian what they were and then waited while we wandered around and took pictures.

In Naples, we took the tour which encompassed the entire day and was great. Time in Sorrento was very limited because we lingered too long over our lunch in Pompeii, but hey, can’t have it all can you?

In Palermo we again hired a taxi. This particular driver was in to bargaining and we haggled over the price. Haggling finally got him down to 80 Euro for a two hour tour. He didn’t speak English, was not as personable as the driver in Genoa, but did take us to all the important spots and some not so important! He drove through allies that had no more than a hair’s width clearance at the side of his small taxi! Palermo was a disappointment. The city was dirty with garbage piled in the streets. We learned when we returned to the ship their Sanitation workers were on strike.

Our last port was Palma and it was beautiful, clean and delightful. We took the shuttle into the town centre and wandered around admiring all the architecture. We stopped in a McDonald’s to buy drinks. They do not have Mickey D’s sweet tea in Mallorca!

Hope this gives you some ideas for planning your own dream vacation!


  1. Edie Ramer // June 25, 2009 at 7:18 AM  

    Scarlet, it sounds like you had a wonderful time! I'll keep your advice in mind.

  2. Judy // June 25, 2009 at 7:48 AM  

    Thanks, Scarlett! It sounds like you had a wonderful trip. Good tips on the tours. Good memories for you, I'm sure...

  3. Liz Jasper // June 25, 2009 at 1:13 PM  

    I want--badly--to go on a Ho Ho bus. I barely care that it's good and cheap, I just like the idea of riding around in a frosted Twinkie mobile. Okay, so that isn't what it is. But as far away from Europe as I am right now, it might as well be. : )Liz

  4. Scarlet Pumpernickel // June 25, 2009 at 1:29 PM  

    The Ho-Ho bus was a delightful discovery! Such a great way to get around the city and see all the sights. Glad everyone is enjoying the tips.

  5. Mary Marvella // June 25, 2009 at 2:13 PM  

    Awesome photos! After reading this I really want to go there!

  6. Helen Hardt // June 25, 2009 at 7:17 PM  

    Gorgeous photos -- thank you for sharing your trip, Scarlet!

  7. Melissa Beck // June 25, 2009 at 10:19 PM  

    Scarlet, you make me want to go back to Europe! Waah! And I really, really can't afford it, with TWO kids in college in the fall.

    A friend asked if we had any interest in sharing a house with them in the south of France in Sept. YES!! YES WE DO! But no, we can't...

    I sure enjoyed your travels, though. Saw a TV program on cruises the other day and wished so much that we could do it soon. Will save my pennies...

  8. Barbara Monajem // June 25, 2009 at 10:30 PM  

    Gorgeous pics! Thanks for posting them.

  9. Mona Risk // June 26, 2009 at 12:27 AM  

    Thanks Scarlett for the lovely report and beautiful pictures.

  10. Scarlet Pumpernickel // June 26, 2009 at 2:21 AM  

    Glad everyone likes the photos. We have a ton more. Tried to pick some that were different from the type I posted last year. The cute pixie in the photo is my GD!

  11. Joanne // June 26, 2009 at 10:48 PM  

    Great advice, Scarlet. Sounds like a wonderful and memorable vacation. Vacationing on a shoestring is the only way to go.

  12. Dayana // June 27, 2009 at 2:35 PM  

    Thank you once again for your very useful travel tips, Scarlett. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Someday...