In the historic Sicilian town of Taormina, Aldo Valerio greets us like old friends, he has not seen in a long time, with effusive hugs and kisses.
And if you're traveling with children, there is nothing worse than being in a large group set for hours. In Europe, Alaska and the Caribbean – Believe me, I've been there. We left the tour at the Roman Forum, because of a "stomach ache" (removes a fast ice). Opt to go on your own – especially if you are a family – and you not only save money but also have a better time if you walk on a glacier in Alaska want to swim with the dolphins in the Caribbean or visiting the Vatican in Rome.
Even on a small ship – we are on the 315-passenger Wind Surf Sailing – offered the pedestrian excursions have proven best. That – and the desire to spend a lot less money – is why some of our fellow travelers have avoided for all trips, for example, by train and then bus ride from our port of Messina to Taormina – both an adventure and the cheapest way to go. But its not always the most appropriate, as discovered Richard Burgess and his wife, when they three times as long to reach the picturesque hill town, as it should have been accepted. They took an expensive taxi back.
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"You make mistakes the first time, and then there is no second time," said Janet Wagner, who is from Savannah, Ga., after being in this situation, she opted for a shore excursion for precisely this reason.
Less effort often in the Caribbean, you do not need a shore excursion, if you want something specific, like getting to close to the dolphins or scuba diving. You can head off on your own in a taxi to the nearest beach. But that's not so easy in Europe, Alaska or anywhere else in the world. Therefore it is very pleasant was that to discover for less money – and much less stress – as an investment in a ship-organized tour, we were able to pick up at the port and spend the day with our own English speaking guide and driver on a route that was specifically planned for our gang. (Skip the long three-course lunch in favor of the pizza.) You will be able to excursions, the book sold out quickly.
And you're guaranteed more in less time if you do not wait to see 50 other people. They are also struggling to navigate in an unfamiliar city on your own in a limited time with a couple of cranky, tired children (or tweens and teens) in tow. Another plus: You will pay a price for the tour not per person – key if you are booking for a family with four or more.
For example, in Rome, Nancy Aiello Tours Your group can pick up at the port of Civitavecchia (almost an hour from the city), all of Rome must-see sites from the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain to the Vatican to skip the lines, and get back to your ship in plenty of time. She charges just over $ 1100 for a six-member family – much less than you pay for a comparable country trip.
You need not worry to miss your ship. After my experience, renowned leaders enough time to get your back in time. But to allay any concerns Cruise Compete promises that if you missed the boat, meals, accommodation and transportation are free for the nearest port guaranteed. You will also receive a full refund if a trip is missed due to bad weather or a change in the itinerary.
Great value is just as important as price, but the quality of the experience. If you book independently, you can continue to places off the beaten track come away from the crowds and tailored to your interests. The guides are more inclined to answer with the kids fun, their questions, even staging a scavenger hunt, which will hopefully keep them more interested and engaged. Toursbylocals.com with you and your guide is a direct connection in advance of your trip just for that reason. We left the Roman amphitheater, take for example, and asked Valerio us away to the local markets from the main tourist area in olive oil and wine. We stopped at a bakery, where he treated us to a local pastry flavored with lemon and pistachios. (To plan your next trip abroad, check out "question and Italy 2011", "Frommer Venice Day by Day" and "Fodor's Rome, the 25 best.")
Canadian Paul Melhus and Dave Vincent started by Locals Tours three years ago after a frustrating encounter with "leaders" at the Great Wall of China. The leaders were more interested in selling souvenirs as providing an insightful guide. Cruisers, it turns out, are big fans of the service, which helped 1,000 local guides in more than 100 countries and approximately 6,000 trips sold in almost every major port around the world have.
"Dolce far niente," the "idleness" is the Sicilian way, translated, says Valerio us. It is too loose and do without thinking about things.
Valerio argues that goes on your own will not only save money – in some cases could be as much as the cruise line excursions to spend a special day – and I agree. It's about doing what you want when you are away from the crowd. It is the luxury of enjoying where you are, without the hassle of finding your own way in an unfamiliar environment. That's worth a lot.
This is how a new friend, I think, as Valerio kisses me goodbye.
© 2011 Eileen Ogintz … Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.
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Submited at Wednesday, October 5th, 2011 at 6:00 am on Family by blum
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