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How do we know this? – we recently received our ‘Excursions’ booklet. We still get the booklet because we haven’t ‘gone green’. Going through the booklet together and deciding which excursions we fancy doing and which destinations we prefer not to do one is one of the pre-cruise rituals that we very much enjoy. In addition to making some real decisions about the cruise, it’s also a big signal that it isn’t very far away. Last week we received the booklet for our forthcoming cruise on Ventura.

We’ll be visiting three ports that are new to us, plus other ports with which we are familiar. The new ones are Valencia, Monte Carlo, and Ajaccio. As regards Valencia there’s a walking tour of the historic parts of the city that looks attractive. We’ve done these walking tour excursions before, and they’ve generally been very good – we did one in the Alfama district of Lisbon a few years ago that was excellent, and we very much enjoyed our guided walk across Venice. Then for Monte Carlo, there’s a choice between another walking excursion, or just wandering and gawking; and we’ve heard from other family members that on a first visit, just gawking is probably the way to approach it. Then for Ajaccio – well, we’re not sure. Among the possibilities are some that would introduce us to the city, and other choices that would be more a general introduction to Corsica, which is a place I’ve been wanting to visit for decades. So I’d welcome some feedback on this destination, please.

As regards the other ports of call, most of them are very familiar: Barcelona, Civitavecchia, and Gibraltar, and I think we’ll do our own thing in each of those. Certainly in Barcelona and Gibraltar; however, Val isn’t as enamoured with Rome (the city) as I am, I’ve just had my Rome fix (I spent a weekend there on my own in April – pictures here) so it is just possible that we might do a non-Rome excursion from Civitavecchia. There’s quite a good choice of those, in fact.

But that leaves on more port of call – La Coruna. We’ve been there before and did the walking tour. (Wasn’t bad, but wasn’t great – possibly because La Coruna isn’t a great place anyway?). We’ve also done an excursion  to Santiago de Compostela (from Vigo) and frankly we didn’t much enjoy it. So what to do, what to do? The trips out onto Galicia don’t sound that exciting. I’m wondering if the best thing wouldn’t be to just wander around the town and the harbour. Again, comments from readers would be very welcome.

6 Responses to “We must be going on a cruise soon…..”

  1. Linda Williams says:

    We visited Ajaccio last year as part of a RC Mariner of the Seas cruise. We didn’t book any trip, just did our own thing, including a visit to the church, beach and a leisurely cafe lunch. It is really beautiful and we decided we would go back to Corsica for a holiday. But not this year as we have booked the Canaries on Ventura !

    • Tom says:

      Thanks for the comment, Linda. I must admit, ‘just wandering’ would be my first choice as well. But we’ve found that while that works out well sometimes, other times we end up walking round in circles, never quite finding anything interesting or beautiful, and getting hot and frustrated. Val prefers there to be a plan…

  2. Stuart says:

    Hi Tom,
    I think we are on the same cruise, we too have gone for a couple of the walking tours. We did one in Venice a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it, plus its nice to stretch your legs after several days of too much food and drink (I speak for myself here).

    Although some may think it spoils the visit I use Google street view to help me plan the sort of tour I’m going to do, whether it is organised or something we do ourselves. For cities and large towns there are some good phone apps that work without signal (to save on roaming charges, they do need GPS though) and give guided tours, we used these last year on a Baltic cruise and managed to see all the main sights although there was a lot of walking involved and normally got back to the ship completely knackered. Also worth looking at is a free app called Evernote. You can store offline notes on your phone for a small charge (£4 for a month) and use this to store train/bus timetables routes and anything you want to help you get around. We found the technology made it a bit of an adventure and added to the fun.

    Have a great time and might see you onboard.


    • Tom says:

      I’ve used Google Maps a few times, though not necessarily on cruise stops. I used it to find the way (on foot) from various possible arrival points in Venice to a hotel we’d booked in the Cannaregio district, and it was very useful then. I haven’t really thought about using it on a cruise holiday – usually we’re darting about all over a town. But that’s not a bad idea, especially for places where we might well stay near the harbour e.g. Monte Carlo.

      The only trouble is that it does make you wonder – why bother going at all?

      • Stuart says:

        Hi Tom, yes some people have said that to me but I had seen the pyramids and the Colosseum many times on tv and in pictures before I saw them in person, I don’t think it lessened the experience for me and it seems to be the same for ports. It is fair to say I dont “walk” all the roads just pick out one or two.


  3. Nick Gill says:

    Hi Tom,

    We visited La Coruna in 2011 and had an unexpectedly good day ashore. We just walked around the town which quickly revealed it had interesting older architecture, colonnaded squares, cafes, – and a fantastic beach. This was a beautiful day in October, so the surf was ‘up’, very spectacular and somewhat unexpectedly attractive for a town beach.

    Like you we like to just wander or ‘mooch’ about and I take a lot of photographs, it being my ‘thing’. If you are interested I have a lot of city ‘walks’ , taken from cruises various, online on flickr, including La Coruna :-


    We also enjoyed ‘Vigo’, on the same basis, on the same trip

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