Subject: Re: Mediterranean Oceania Cruises
Barbara, Can't comment on your choice of cruise lines but we have visited many of the places where your planned cruise stops, so here are my suggestions based on our experience.

Cadiz: As I recall, this is not a memorable town so you may want to take advantage of a ship tour that gets you out of town.

Barcelona: Skip the tour, take a cab to Las Ramblas and start to explore. Once you are on Las Ramblas you can wander to your heart's content off the side streets. I'd advise checking the web and printing off a map. You will have a wonderful time just meandering of Las Ramblas.

Marseilles: Once again, skip the ship's tour and take a cab to the marina area. From here you can wander through side streets and find more restaurants per square foot than you will ever see in any other place. Look for one of the oldest Christian churches, the Abbaye Saint Victor, built in the 5th century. It houses a sculpture of the Black Madonna.

Monte Carlo: Again, don't bother with the ship tour. Walk the town and visit the Casino, if this interests you, at a fraction of the cost that you would pay for the tour.

Portofino: This is a lovely port town but also quite small. So depending on what the ship tour offers, you may be better off just getting off the tender (I believe most cruise ships can't dock because of shallow waters) and walking around this lovely spot. Spend some time in a restaurant at the dock sipping wine and eating olivss and then wander up the steep streets. Alternatively, hire a local boat to take you to Santa Margharita.

Livorno: Walk off the ship, go the town square, board a local bus and head straight to Pisa. Spend some time in Pisa and take the bus back to your ship. The bus runs frequently to serve the locals. Watch out for the gypsy beggars. They will leave you alone if you look as if you are on your guard.

Civitavecchia: You might consider taking a tour to Ostia Antica. The ship will want to talk you into taking a tour of Rome, which is close by North American standards, but you will spend too much time on the bus.

Dubrovnik: You won't need a tour here. This place is a gem that deserves time spent walking. Just absorb, walk the walls and buy ice cream - even better than what you will find in Italy.

Venice: What can I say? I only hope you plan to spend a few days in this jewel of a city. If you take this voyage, you will have one of the greatest travelling pleasures known - sailing into Venice. My advice? Get up early and stand on the deck. Sailing into Venice is magical. Lucy, Toronto