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Yesterday a post on the P&O forum on Cruise Critic alerted me to a change in the itinerary of our forthcoming cruise on Azura: out goes La Spezia, instead we’ll call at Livorno. While neither of these ports are great destinations in and of themselves, they give access to rather different areas, and therein lies the annoyance.

As originally planned this cruise would have allowed us to get to the Cinque Terre, a part of Italy that we haven’t seen before. Indeed, we had already booked our excursion – “Beautiful Cinque Terre” – a 7 1/2 hour trip that would have included a coach ride, a boat trip and a train ride, as well as free time in a couple of the Cinque Terre towns. After the itinerary change there was an initial suggestion that the excursion might still be run from Livorno, but it would have been over 9 hours because of the extra distance. Today, however, this excursion is no longer listed at all among those for this port on this cruise. I’ve been told that we’ll get a refund for the cost of this excursion by the end of next week.

We’ve booked a replacement – “Famous Martelli pasta and wine”, so we’ll be able to eat and drink good stuff, probably to our hearts’ content. We’ve already been to Pisa (did this on our own some years ago) and Florence (an excursion, in 2010) so this time we’ve decided to go somewhere else and this one looks attractive.

As to why the itinerary has been changed, there’s no definite information. However La Spezia is principally a port for the Marina Militare, the Italian navy, and I have heard a story that they have simply withdrawn permission. I gather that other cruises have also been affected – some Cunard ones as well, for example.


6 Responses to “A disappointing itinerary change”

  1. fiona rolls says:

    As a passenger booked on this cruise we have been told the change of port from La Spezia to Livorno is to remove a tender port from the itinerary as there would have been 3 in 4 days.

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the comment, Fiona.

      That suggestion has made me look at the list of calls. I always knew that Villefranche would definitely be a tender port. Civitavecchia, on the other hand, has always been a docking port every time I’ve been there. However, I notice that Ajaccio, which was a docking port last year, is listed as a tender port this year. So yes, if La Spezia would have been a tender port then it would have been three tender ports in four days – Villefranche, La Spezia and Ajaccio. Looking at CruiseTT I see that Celebrity Silhouette will be at Ajaccio on the same as day us, and she’s probably bagged the berth.

      Thanks for that information.

  2. denise Austin says:

    Don’t waste your money on the ‘Famous pasta and wine” trip. We did it last year and were very disappointed. Only at the pasta place for about 1/2 hour and it is very small. Not what we were expecting at all. Lunch not much good either.

    • Tom Burke says:


      Thanks for the comment. As a result of all the confusion over the Beautiful Cinque Terre excursion I’ve cancelled this one anyway.

  3. […] posted recently about the change of itinerary on our cruise next month. La Spezia is out, replaced by Livorno. […]

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