Subject: Re: Cruise line excursions vs. private guides
Bill Unless you need a specialized tour such as a dive tour, or you don't want to wait in line for hours to see the artwork of the museums in Florence, or other similar excursions, I would always recommend walking off the ship and doing it yourself. For example, in Livorno, we took the local bus to Pisa; in Villefranche we did the same thing to get to Monte Carlo; in Castries and on Curacao we hired drivers with a van to take us around St. Lucia and Curacao island; in Barbados, we rented a car to drive around the island. In all cases, when we compared notes with other cruise ship companions, we found that we spent far less money, saw more, and were not tied to a schedule. I have heard that the cruise lines take their cut on these tours, but don't know if that's true.

Of the places you've mentioned, I can offer some suggestions. Where are you stopping in Cornwall? For Dublin, you'll probably dock in Dun Laoghaire and there is a train into town which takes about a 1/2 hour. Then you can walk around that wonderful city for the day. Inverness and Edinburgh are compact enough for the sights you'll want to see so you can take a taxi into these towns. As for London, it's so huge that if you only have a day you won't be able to see everything anyway, so grab a cab (just for the experience) and head to some places that you've chosen from your research and enjoy. In all cases, so some research and decide what you want to see and go there. Lucy in Toronto