|Subject: Re: Cruise line excursions vs. private guides|
I agree with you that MOST of the time, it's best to do your own tours. However, it does take more work and planning.
We just got back from the inaugural cruise on the Oceania Cruise Line, where we visited Spain, Portugal, France and England. One stop in Spain was Malaga and from that port, the main attraction is the Alhambre. It's a 2 hour bus ride and then tickets have to be arranged for in advance as everyone who goes there is assigned a group and a guide. For this, it was really best to take the ship's tour. Additionally, since the ship was leaving the port by about 7:00PM, if anyone's taxi's had any problems, they could be stranded 2 hours away from the ship and could miss it's departure! If it's a ship's tour, they can't leave without you. On the other hand, the ship was in the port of Cadiz for 2 days and Seville is a 2 hour train ride away and cost 15 Euro's round trip. The ship charged $80. per person for round trip bus transportation. What a rip-off....AND you had to be on *their* schedule. On the train, we departed and returned when WE wanted to.
In the port of Bordeaux, we had a wonderful guide who took us through St Emilion and some wine tastings at Chateau's. Please email me and I'll give you his contact information. He arranges private tours for other parts of France as well.
Sorry, I don't have guide info for your other ports.