A Disney Cruise Line Port Reviewby Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 05-01-2014
On the inaugural Disney cruise of the Mediterranean on the Magic back in 2007, Naples was one of the ports of call.
We were so taken with Naples that we returned last year, as there was more we wanted to see. That's the first caution I'd give anyone who has Naples as a port of call on their Disney cruise. You simply won't be able to see and do it all in one day, as there are so many wonderful options here. In this article, I'll take you through the shore excursions based on our experiences in the area.
The view of Sorrento and the Gulf of Naples beyond from Villa Comunale.
The first thing to say is that none of the shore excursions actually take place in Naples. If you want to head into the city, and we didn't on either of our trips there, you'll need to make your own way, take the Treasures of Naples tour ($49/adults, and $39/children) or pay for the private vehicle excursions, where you can get a mini van, van, sedan car, either with just a driver or with a driver and guide and for either four or eight hours.
As the Disney Cruise Line website itself suggests, the main place that people come to Naples to see is Pompeii, and we were exactly the same. On our cruise, we booked the Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri tour (there is now an adult only version for $239, a family version for $245/adults, and $189/children and a standard version, which is priced at the same level as the family version). Sadly, the weather didn't cooperate on our stop, and we never made it to Capri, and let's just say the hydrofoil ride over to Sorrento was unforgettable, and also very unpleasant. Trust me, if Disney tells you the sea is rough, you'll be grateful not to be out on the water!
That's one of the reasons we went back to Sorrento, as we weren't in the greatest state to enjoy it, and we wanted to see it when we felt better. It's a beautiful city, and well worth a visit, although there will be tough choices to make for any visitors to Naples, as you'll see shortly. The tour we took gave us free time to explore Sorrento, and if this appeals to you, some of the places to check out are Piazza Tasso, the main square, which is surrounded by restaurants (with pricey menus due to their location!), the Duomo (cathedral), and the Villa Comunale, a thin stretch of tree-lined park with breathtaking views over the marina below. It's often packed, because of the views it offers, but it's a lovely place to visit, and you may be lucky enough to grab a seat and watch the world go by. If Pompeii and Capri don't appeal to you, then you can enjoy free time in Sorrento on the Leisurely Sorrento tour for $72/adults, and $62/children.
If Capri doesn't float your boat, then there are options for just visiting Pompeii, and Sorrento. Timeless Pompeii and the Flavor of Sorrento ($119/adults, and $99/children) is an option I may well have picked, had it existed back on the inaugural cruise. Back then, there were no options to just visit the two destinations. If you like your Italian cuisine, it sounds like a winner, with the chance to sample delicacies such as mozzarella and salami at a local farmhouse. This excursion offers you a guided walking tour, before taking you to Pompeii. The Value Package – Pompeii and Sorrento ($99/adults, and $79/children with an adult only departure for $95) is exactly what it says on the tin, value, but bear in mind you'll have two and a half hours at leisure in Sorrento, during which time you'll have to fork out for your lunch.
If Pompeii is your main interest, and why not, as it's an amazing place to visit, then there is the Pompeii Half Day tour ($79/adults and $69/children, with an adult only departure for the same price). It’s worth knowing that every shore excursion that takes you to Pompeii gives you around an hour and a half to two hours to explore the site. Trust me, that really isn’t enough time to appreciate this amazing city of ruins. We only scratched the surface on the shore excursion we took, and that was another reason we decided to go back. On our own, we wandered around happily for more than four hours, seeing whatever we wanted at our own pace, and finally being able to appreciate just how massive this site is and how much there is to see there. It’s something worth keeping in mind, and if Pompeii is somewhere you want to spend a lot of time, you might want to consider the private vehicle excursions Disney offers.
Pompeii wasn't the only town affected when Mount Vesuvius exploded two thousand years ago. Herculaneum also suffered a similar fate, but is a very different place to visit. Here, you approach from above, giving you the opportunity to look down on the town before you wander through it. I was disappointed when we took our Mediterranean cruise, and I’m still disappointed today, not to see an excursion that offers both Pompeii and Herculaneum in one day, as we did exactly that combination on our weekend there, and loved it. If you want to visit Herculaneum, your only option is the Hidden Treasures of Herculaneum ($92/adults, and $74/children).
One other attraction in the Naples area well worth considering for a shore excursion is the beautiful Amalfi Coast. I can’t comment on the boat tours along it, having only driven the route. We loved our drive along it and you can combine that with Pompeii in the Amalfi Coast Drive and the Ruins of Pompeii ($199/adults, and $149/children). Get your cameras ready, as there are some stunning sights here, but be sure to take heed of the warnings on the Disney Cruise Line website about the possibility of motion sickness. Trust me, these roads are winding, and while I was fine in a car, I wouldn’t necessarily want to try in a bus. The tour offers a stop at Amalfi, Maiori, or Vietri sul Mare, and we really enjoyed our leisure time in Amalfi. It's a lovely town, packed with beautiful sights, and plenty of shops to explore.
Positano, Amalfi coast, Italy
The beautiful village of Positano along the Amalfi coast in Italy.
One outstanding location along the Amalfi coast is Positano, which I was very excited to finally see for myself, after seeing so many photos of it. If you want to visit the town yourself, it won’t come cheaply on a Disney excursion. Positano and Sorrento is a whopping $329/adults and $265/children, and the guided walk through Positano will involve going uphill and up steps, something which put us off getting closer to the village. Instead, we admired it from the Amalfi coast road, and loved the views we got from there.
Naples is certainly packed with plenty of options when it comes to shore excursions. As well as those I’ve already mentioned, there are many others, including one just to the island of Capri,a and a hike up Mount Vesuvius that is much too active for us! I can pretty much guarantee that you'll be enchanted by this part of the world, as it's absolutely stunning, with plenty to see and do.
Naples, Italy is one of the destinations on the seven-night Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona, departing on 31 May, 7 June, 16, 23, and 30 August.
Updated 05-01-2014 - Article #1074
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