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Naples

Today was Naples, and yet we had another great day. After a slightly cloudy start the afternoon turned out sunny and warm. We went to Capri on our own. We went there three years ago on the first Galaxy cruise, as part of an excursion, and liked it a lot, but on that occasion we were constrained, of course, by the excursion timetable. Two years ago on the second Galaxy cruise we wanted to go back, but because Galaxy docked in a different location we were unable to do so. This year everything turned out right.

I’d researched the times of the fast ferries yesterday, so we knew which ones we were aiming for: 08:35 across and 15:25 back. We left the ship just before 8 o’clock and probably took less than 10 minutes to walk round to Molo Beverollo, the fast ferry port. We probably could have caught an earlier boat at that time, in fact, but we stuck to the plan and bought tickets (16 euros each, one way) for the 8:35. It was already docked but not yet boarding, so as soon as they opened the gangway we were among the first group to board. The journey took 50 minutes from pushing off from Naples to docking in Marina Grande on Capri. Note that even on a weekday in October, the ferry was pretty full – I think there were various tours, not all from Solstice, on board. After disembarking at Capri the first thing we did was buy tickets for the ride back, for the same price. Then we got a bus up to Capri town, and then another bus up to Anacapri. By this time it was 10 o’clock and time for coffee.

Later we explored Anacapri, and after that went up to the top of Monte Solaro on the chairlift (8 euros each, return). We got off at the top and had planned to walk down but we couldn’t find the top of the path, and in any case it was steeper than I’d expected, so after exploring the mountain top we simply went back down on the chairlift. Then we had lunch in Anacapri, went down to Capri town, walked out to the Giardini de Augusto and sat down in the sun, looking down on Marina Picolo.

Eventually we decided it was time to go down to Marina Grande. Our first thought was to use the Funicular, and we bought tickets for this, but there was quite a long queue and were anxious to get down to the harbour so we found a marked path down and followed it. The sign said ’10 minutes’, and that was indeed what it took us, but I have to say that we are fairly brisk walkers so slower walkers might take a bit longer. We found the walk quiet and cool – the path is north-facing and out of the sun so not many people use it.

At Marina Grande our strategy of getting the return ticket in the morning paid off. The harbour was heaving – there were a number of ferries to various places leaving at around that time. We found the right spot on the quayside, where the boat was waiting but not yet boarding, and joined a number of other people. A large number of people were walking past us to other docking positions, following various tour guides. Then chaos struck: a vehicle ferry arrived and started off-loading. What you need to know is that the quayside at Marina Grande is very narrow. Not a problem with only people walking along, but with vehicles trying to drive against the flow of people it becomes a complete mess. We had to press up against the wall at the back of the quay; other people had to stand right on the edge of the quay to allow the vehicles to edge their way through. The fast ferries that were in port, including ours, had to raise their gangways because they were protruding too far onto the quay. In the meantime floods more people were walking onto the quay towards the vehicles. And this is in italy, of course, so there was a huge amount of shouting, gesticulating, arm-waving, etc, going on all the time. Eventually the crew of our boat (or, Val thinks, possibly a policeman – certainly someone in uniform) decided that the vehicles would have to wait – they were going to board their passengers. So in a gap between two small trucks, they lowered the gangway and people surged forward. Even more shouting, gesticulating, etc, etc, ensued. Eventually we were able to board, feeling quite hot and bothered. The boat left on time and got back to Molo Beverollo on schedule – once again it was pretty much full. Then it was just a short walk back to Solstice before our last afternoon gelato…

Since then we’ve been packing, reviewing and wincing over the on-board account, and getting ready for our last dinner. Luggage has to be outside the cabin by 11pm.

To finish off here are a few facts & figures. First, the fast ferries: we used the company ‘NLG’, and their boats hold between 350 and 400 people. The SNAV boats looked bigger, and therefore presumably hold more. The orange buses on Capri, and the funicular, seem to have a flat fare of 1.40 Euro per person. However, the bus we got from Marina Grande to Capri at the start of the day wasn’t an orange one, so it may have been an independent bus company, and they charged 1.5 Euros each. In Capri town the little bus station is quite close to the funicular station; there’s a ticket office beside it.

4 Responses to “Naples”

  1. Joanne Hum says:

    Thank you Tom, I found your comments very informative and will take your info on the ferries from Naples into consideration. We are planning to go to Sorrento in the morning and then catch the hydrofoil from Sorrento to Capri for the afternoon, and return to the ship from Capri back to Naples. We dock in Naples at 7 am and depart at 7 pm – Mariner of the Seas.

    The ferry that you took, was that the hydrofoil, the fast one?

    Thanks again,

    Joanne

    • tomtotley says:

      Glad you found it useful, Joanne.

      Yes, the ferries we took were the fast ones, often referred-to as ‘hydrofoils’. I don’t if they actually are or not, but they’re definitely faster than a traditional ferry. We got the ferries from Molo Beverollo, and the fact is that you can only get ‘fast ferries’ from there – the traditional ferries go from different places.

      I’ve done another page – here – explaining where the fast ferries can be found.

  2. Todd says:

    Thank you Tom for this excellent post and detail. It sounds like you had a great time and we look forward to doing a lot of the same things you did in Capri during our visit in November.

  3. wansbrough says:

    This has been of great use to us as we are planning to do exactly as you have done.

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