I’m so excited to be finally sailing on the Island Princess for this itinerary! This was canceled several times by Princess because of Covid-19, and it looks like we’ll finally get to sail and visit the Holy Land via cruise ship!

These are the excursions that I plan to do. There are many others available. Princess Cruises rate their shore excursions as: “Easy”, “Moderate” or “Strenuous” activity. When you log in to your Princess Cruises online account, and go to “Booked Guests”, then to “Access Cruise Personalizer” you can see all of the shore excursions that are available for you to reserve ahead of time. I would recommend reserving your shore excursions as soon as you can, to avoid the disappointment of the excursions selling out.


Katakolon (Olympia), Greece

Saturday – November 25, 2023 Arrive 7:00AM – Depart 4:00PM

.Olympia 7:30AM-10:30AM Tour#: KA1-205 (Moderate Activity)


Your tour begins as you board your motorcoach at the harbor bustling with brightly painted fishing boats, and drive 30 minutes towards the gateway to Olympia. Along the way, you’ll pass the modern region of Pyrgos and travel through the countryside between the Alfios and Klados Rivers.

With your guide by your side, you’ll walk to the ancient Olympia Archaeological Site and view the Temple of Zeus, where a gold and ivory statue of the god once stood. Although just a chaotic heap of ruins today, the dimensions of the temple are truly impressive. Only a bit smaller than the Parthenon in Athens, it was a classic temple in the Doric style, first built in the 5th century B.C.

The statue, considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World, was crafted by the great sculptor Pheidias. The original was 44 feet high and lavishly decorated with Zeus on a throne of ivory and gold, holding a statue of Nike in his right hand, and a scepter with an eagle in his left.

You’ll also see the Heraion or Temple of Hera, wife of Zeus, and the ruins of the great Stadium, its marble starting blocks still standing in position. Here’s where more than 40,000 spectators would fill the stadium to witness contests ranging from foot races to the pentathlon, and after nearly 1,500 years, the 2004 Olympic Games held the shot-put contest.

After a short walk back to your motorcoach, you’ll set out for Olympia to view this modern village, the antithesis of ancient ruins, Your tour concludes with a scenic drive to the harbor. With Katakolon behind you, you leave with a myriad of unforgettable memories of a lifetime.

Special Notes:

In order to protect the historic environment, local regulations require motorcoaches to park approximately 1,200 yards from the exit of the Olympia site. The tour also involves extensive walking over gravel and uneven paths. Depending on parking, passengers may be asked to cross a bridge with 25 steps in order to reach the Archaeological Museum. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Passengers with limited mobility should take this into consideration.

Bring a hat.

Athens (Piraeus), Greece

Sunday – November 26, 2023 Arrive 7:00AM – Depart 6:00PM

Acropolis, Plaka & Folkloric Show 7:30AM – 3:00PM Tour#: ATH-130 (Strenuous Activity)


Drive into the heart of Athens on a 30- to 40-minute motorcoach ride, heading towards the Acropolis. Along the way, your narrated tour will take you past such major sites as Hadrian’s Arch, the statue of Lord Byron, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and Constitution Square.

The majestic power of the Acropolis looms in the distance. Once there, a steep climb up 80 steps leads you through the gateway to the ruins, the spectacular marble Propylaea. At the top, pause to take in the incredible view of Athens below.

Beyond the Propylaea, on the highest point of the Acropolis, stands the Parthenon, one of the greatest monuments of ancient civilization and a perfect representation of Doric-style architecture. Dedicated to the virgin goddess Athena, the white Pentelic marble temple was built 446 – 437 B.C. An enduring symbol of ancient Greece, it is considered a masterpiece of Greek architecture.

On the north side of the Acropolis lays the Erectheum, noted for its elegant and unusual design. Within its foundation is said to have lived the sacred snake of the temple, representing the spirit that governed the safety of the city. The snake was fed honey cakes, and if he refused the sweets it was considered a terrible omen for the inhabitants.

On the south side of the building, you will discover the Porch of the Caryatids (or, Porch of the Maidens). Notice how these graceful sculptures are engineered, supporting the weight of the roof on the slender neck of each female figure.

The motorcoach drive back through town toward Plaka takes you past the Old Olympic Stadium (traffic permitting) for a brief photo opportunity. This marble stadium was built to host the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.

Once in Plaka, you’ll have 90 minutes of free time to browse through this historic shopping district. The cobblestone lanes have been closed to automobile traffic, making it easy to browse through the boutiques, souvenir stands, jewelry stores, and flea market stalls. In addition, the area is home to a number of small museums including the Museum of Greek Folk Art.

From the Plaka, walk to the establishment for your traditional Greek lunch and folkloric show. Enjoy a variety of specialty foods including authentic Tzaztiki, a light and flavorful yogurt dip, and Moussaka, considered the ambassador of Greek food.

Then, get ready for the show! A band playing folk music creates a festive mood as dancers in traditional costumes perform regional classics. After the performance, it is time to get into the act for a dancing lesson, Zorba-style! Greek dancing has its origins in ancient religious rituals, but today there is a dance to celebrate almost every occasion. The Zorba dance, memorialized by Anthony Quinn in the film Zorba the Greek, starts out slowly and builds to a fast crescendo, ending in a shoulder-to shoulder group dance in time to the energetic music. Opa!

Special Notes:

This tour is not available to passengers beginning or ending their voyage in Piraeus (Athens).

Please be aware that ongoing restoration work is often carried out at the sites visited.

Security restrictions at the Acropolis prohibit entrance with large bags and backpacks. Passengers should expect lines and crowds at the Acropolis.

The tour involves climbing approximately 80 steps at the Acropolis as well as walking over some uneven and slippery paths. There is a 10-minute walk from the motorcoach drop-off point to the Plaka. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Passengers with limited mobility should take this into consideration before booking.

Use of an audio headset (included) will enhance your tour experience.

Kusadasi, Turkey (for Ephesus)

Monday – November 27, 2023 Arrive 8:00AM – Depart 5:00PM

Biblical Ephesus, Virgin Mary Shrine & Private Mass; A Discovery Exclusive 8:45AM – 2:15PM Tour#: KU1-210 (Moderate Activity)


Your scenic motorcoach ride travels north from the Port of Kusadasi, passing the Byzantine fortress in Selcuk, the ruins of the Temple of Artemis – one of the seven wonders of antiquity – and the magnificent remains of the Basilica of St. John. From your window, great vistas of the valley can be seen as you travel a long and winding road to the picturesque Solmissos Mountains.

The House of the Virgin Mary is considered by the Vatican to be a Holy Place. A small shrine, surrounded by lush foliage and dedicated to St. Mary, was found in the ruins when the house was first discovered. Pope Paul IV, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have all conducted mass services at this shrine, which is cared for by the Lazarist Fathers. Mass is celebrated every day, and you will have the opportunity to take part in a very special service and receive communion in this beautiful setting. A portion of the cost of this tour will be donated to the church.

The three-arched Magnesian Gates are the starting point to your slow, downhill walk into the ancient city of Ephesus, once the trade center of the ancient world and the site of a succession of great civilizations. Your knowledgeable guide will take you back in time and highlight such structures as the beautifully preserved Temple of Hadrian, the magnificent Trajan Fountain, the Odeon Theater, once used for both political and entertainment purposes, and the beautiful Celsus Library with its imposing façade and two-story Corinthian-style columns. See the dramatic Great Theater, which seats twenty-five thousand and was once the arena of gladiator games. Strolling through the streets, it is easy to see that Ephesus is one of the best-preserved classical cities in the world and why it is considered one of the great outdoor museums of Turkey.

A scenic drive back to port affords time to discuss all the wonders you have seen with your fellow travelers. Once in Kusadasi, you’ll have ample time to explore the colorful markets and bazaars where handmade goods and traditional foods are sold. A popular souvenir item to bring home is “the evil eye,” thought to ward off bad spirits and bring luck and success. You can also attend a demonstration of the intricate art of carpet-weaving and explore on your own before walking back to the ship at your leisure.

Special Notes:

Ephesus requires walking long distances over uneven surfaces. The drive from Ephesus to the Virgin Mary Shrine takes approximately 20 minutes over a winding mountain road. Visitors to the House of Virgin Mary must climb a few steps.

Jerusalem/Bethlehem (Ashdod), Israel

Wednesday – November 29, 2023 Arrive 6:00AM – Depart 9:00PM

Spiritual Jerusalem & Bethlehem 8:00AM-5:45PM Tour#: AS1-200 (Moderate Activity)


Gethsemane and Church of All Nations
Sitting outside of Jerusalem across a small valley, the Garden of Gethsemane sits near the foot of the Mount of Olives. Though the exact location of Gethsemane cannot be determined, it’s believed that Jesus spent the last moments before his arrest among this olive grove. The adjacent Church of All Nations is built over the rock on which Jesus is believed to have prayed in agony the night before he was crucified.

Dung Gate
Built in the 16th century by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, the gate is situated near the southeast corner of the Old City, southwest of the Temple Mount and is the main entrance to the Western (Wailing) Wall.

Western Wall
Inside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, you’ll find the iconic Western Wall, or Wailing Wall is the holiest site in Judaism and is the last remaining wall of the courtyard that surrounded the Second Temple where Jews worshipped from about 515 B.C. until its destruction by the Romans in 70 A.D.

Via Dolorosa
As early as the 5th century, the devoted began to retrace Jesus’ last steps by following a sequence of connected chapels and shrines. These locations, known as Stations of the Cross, would mark the route of the Via Dolorosa – “Sorrowful Way” – which follows the path that Jesus took to his execution. Walk through some of these stations.

Church of the Holy Sepulcher
The Via ends at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which marks the historic location of the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Dedicated in 335, what you see today is a 12th century crusader structure, which replaced earlier churches dating back to the time of Constantine.

Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Church of the Nativity is believed to mark the birthplace of Jesus Christ. Built around 330 by the first Christian Roman Emperor Constantine, the Byzantine Emperor Justinian expanded much of the church that you see today. Sacred to Christians, it’s one of the oldest in the Holy Land and one of the oldest continuously operating churches in the world.

Seen from almost every part of Jerusalem, you can’t miss the gleaming Dome of the Rock, whose golden roof has dominated the Temple Mount for centuries.

On the menu is a choice of fresh breads, fresh salads, pickled vegetables and a choice of main course: tender roast beef with mushroom sauce, baked teriyaki chicken, or sautéed white fish fillet with fresh lemon. Hot side dishes include rice pilaf with toasted almond, rosemary roasted potatoes, and Mediterranean vegetables. An assorted dessert buffet also includes local fruit. Drinks include mineral water, white and red Israeli wine, coffee and tea. Menu may vary according to seasonal ingredients

The visit to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem includes a stop at a local shop.

Rising over 2,620 feet, the Mount of Olives offers an unrivalled views of the Old City and its environs.

Special Notes:

Please note: this tour does not include a visit to the Grotto in Bethlehem.
There is over 5 hours of walking on this tour including many steps and cobblestones. Bethlehem is in the Palestinian Authority so a local guide will join the coach at the check point as Israelis are not permitted to enter Bethlehem. The visit to the Church is combined with a shopping stop in the town which is organized by the local guide. Please refer to the important information section relating to this port.

This tour itinerary has been planned with special security arrangements and requirements.
The spiritual leader may be of any domination and the meeting with him is subject to their availability
Dress conservatively when visiting sacred sites. Clothing should cover shoulders & knees.

Not recommended for passengers using wheelchairs, scooters or with mobility difficulties.

This tour uses headsets .

Nazareth/Galilee (Haifa), Israel

Thursday – November 30, 2023 Arrive 7:00AM – Depart 9:00PM

Best Of Sea Of Galilee, River Jordan & Nazareth 8:00AM-5:30PM Tour #HFA-100 (Moderate Activity)


Get ready for a daylong adventure exploring the Best of The Sea of Galilee. Board your air-conditioned motorcoach and travel through the Carmel Mountains and cross the Jezreel Valley to Galilee.

Nestled in a circle of cypress studded hills, Nazareth is the scene of Jesus’ youth. Visit the Basilica of the Annunciation. Consecrated in 1969, this venue serves as the largest Christian Church in the Middle East. The church is also said to mark the grotto where the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin.
Continue to Mount of Beatitudes on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus Christ delivered the Sermon on the Mount from this hill near Tabgha. In 2000, Pope John-Paul II celebrated the Eucharist on its slope. A Byzantine church was erected near the current site in the Fourth Century, and it was used until the Seventh Century. Remains of a cistern and a monastery from this church are still visible today. The Mount of Beatitudes currently houses a domed Roman Catholic Franciscan church, founded in 1938. From the terrace of the church, enjoy splendid views of the Sea of Galilee. Be sure to capture sweeping views of the Sea of Galilee from this photo spot.

Visit Capernaum. The town of Capernaum is often described as the “center of Jesus” ministry in the Galilee. Your guided walking tour visits the remains of a ruined synagogue where Christ preached. During your walking tour, you will view archaeological excavations of the site, which have revealed two synagogues. The white limestone structure currently visible was built on top of an older synagogue that dates to the time of Christ. Some portions of the older synagogue still remain including foundation walls made of black basalt, gray marble column fragments and a cobblestone floor.

From Capernaum, head on to Tagbha and visit The Church of the Multiplication. This holy spot is believed to occupy the site where Christ performed his miracle with two fish and five loaves. Consecrated in 1981, the current shrine protects a beautiful Fifth Century Byzantine mosaic floor, which includes a scene depicting the miracle.

Pause for a three-course meal served with wine. After relaxing, continue to your final destination the River Jordan. Visit the bank revered by the faithful as the spot where John the Baptist immersed Jesus in the waters of the Jordan. Enjoy a break from your sightseeing and browse for religious items as well as souvenirs during a brief shopping stop at the River Jordan. Drive back to the ship.

Special Notes:

Dress conservatively when visiting sacred sites: Clothing should cover the shoulders and the knees.

Wear comfortable, sturdy walking shoes and bring a hat, sunglasses, and adequate sun protection.

Due to Israeli security regulations, all persons going ashore are reminded not to take with them any items that could be considered weapons or would not be allowed through airport security. To avoid possible delays or difficulties at security checkpoints, check the contents of any backpacks, bags, etc before leaving the ship.

On Sundays, The Church of the Multiplication in Tabgha is closed. The visit will be substituted with an alternative church in Tabgha

Limassol, Cyprus

Friday – December 01, 2023 Arrive 8:00AM – Depart 5:00PM

Paphos & The House Of Dionysus 8:45AM-1:45PM Tour#: QLI-200 (Moderate Activity)


The stunning subtropical isle of Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean (after Sicily and Sardinia) and has a curiously divided personality. Located 174 miles east of Greece and 47 miles south of Turkey, Cyprus has long been influenced heavily by both of these ancient cultures. Greek culture has been here since antiquity, and a Turkish presence arrived with the Ottoman invasion in 1570 and has been here ever since. The island is also physically split, with the Republic of Cyprus covering the predominant southern portion of the island and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus – which is not recognized by the UN – in its northernmost third. Both cultures contribute to making this unique place a cultural and historical delight.

Your tour begins when you put on your walking shoes and board your motorcoach for the short and extremely scenic ride to the old port town of Paphos. You’ll enjoy views of the island’s distinctive Cyprus trees, as well as carob and olive plantations along the way. Your first stop is the Petra Tou Romiou (Rock of the Roman), also known as Aphrodite’s Rock. This is the mythological birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite (Venus, to the Romans), the goddess of beauty and love, who is said to have emerged, fully grown, from the sea. Legend has it that a naked swim around the rock leads to fertility, but the waters can be rough here, so it’s best to keep this one a photo opportunity only!

Next, you’re off to the awe-inspiring House of Dionysus, a restored 14-room Roman villa that dates back to the 2nd century. The house gets its name from the subject of a number of its incredible floor mosaics. Dionysus, the Greek god of wine (and debauchery!), is depicted in a number of the house’s many artworks displaying mythological scenes, which were uncovered only 50 years ago. This house, perched on a hill overlooking town, is believed to have belonged to a wealthy member of the Roman ruling class of that time. You can also take a peek at the House of Aion, another archaeological site nearby, which also contains mosaics from the same era. These stunning archaeological treasures are adjacent to the Paphos lighthouse, which can be seen from all over the island!

From here, you’ll travel from the past to the present day with some free time to explore the picturesque town of Paphos. A beautiful seaside town with a remarkable history, the entire town is on the World Cultural Heritage List! Here, you can stroll about, picking up souvenirs or a bite to eat, with time to explore such sights as St. Paul’s Pillar, where St. Paul was allegedly tied and whipped in 45 A.D. for preaching Christianity.

After a day packed with history and spectacular scenery, you’ll be ready to relax on the short ride back to the ship with some knowledge of mythology to share with others.

Special Notes:

This tour involves extensive walking over gravel paths and uneven surfaces. Guests must negotiate approximately 10 stairs to access the mosaics. Not recommended for guests with limited mobility.

Bring Euros or credit cards for additional purchases.

Wear comfortable walking shoes and clothing suited to the day’s conditions. Bring a hat, sunglasses and adequate sun protection.

Sequence of tour stops may vary.

Rhodes, Greece

Saturday – December 02, 2023 Arrive 9:00AM – Depart 6:00PM

Exploring Rhodes’ Religious Past 9:30AM-1:45PM Tour#: RHO-210 (Easy Activity)


Rhodes Old Town
Rhodes’s sacred sites are a testament to the island’s turbulent history. After a drive from the pier past the city’s impressive battlements, you’ll disembark at the d’Amboise Gate near the Palace at the Grand Master. Here, you’ll meet your knowledgeable guide who’ll lead you past a number of mosques, churches, and synagogues. Among the highlights are:

Suleiman Mosque
Originally built after the Ottoman conquest of Rhodes in the 16th century, the city’s first mosque was reconstructed in 1808 with Christian pillars and adorned with rose-pink plaster.

Kahal Shalom
Greece’s oldest Jewish synagogue consists of ruins of a small house, a courtyard with a plaque inscribed with the synagogue’s founding date of 1577, and a fountain. On either side of the temple’s central door is an Ehal, a marble niche where the Torah is kept.

St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral
Built between 1936 and 1939, the church is adorned with 14 terracotta bas-reliefs depicting the Stations of the Cross.

Holy Trinity Catholic Church
Erected between the late 15th and 16th centuries, the church is noted for its beautiful frescoes. During the Ottoman rule, the church was converted into a mosque.

Church of St. Fanourios
Named for the island’s patron saint, the 13th century church continues to function as a parish church.

St. Dimitrios
Built upon the ruins of an ancient temple dedicated to Dionysus, this 12th century Gothic church has seen life as a Roman Catholic Church, and later converted into a Greek Orthodox Church when the Italians left the island in the early 20th century.

Everywhere you point your camera is one memorable photo after another.

At the end of your enlightening tour, you can enjoy a traditional sweet and beverage

Cobbled streets topped with arches and archways add to the experience of discovering the hidden corners and secrets of Rhodes’s religious heritage.

Just a quick note about Rhodes…the first time I cruised to this part of the world, Rhodes was one of my favorites of the Greek ports we visited…make sure you save some time for shopping in the Old Town section…it was an incredible sight being there in the fortress!

Mykonos, Greece

Sunday – December 03, 2023 Arrive 7:00AM – Depart 5:00PM

Mykonos Town & Island Drive 7:30AM-10:30AM Tour#: JMK-205 (Moderate Activity)


Board your motorcoach for a scenic drive through the rocky countryside en route to one of the most beautiful beaches on the island’s south-west coast, Agios Ioannis, home to soft sand, crystalline blue waters and an amazing view of the island of Delos – the historic Archaeological site and reputed birthplace of the twin Gods, Apollo and Artemis.

Then, continue your drive to the charming village of Ano Mera at the center of the island, home to the lovely Panagia Tourliani Monastery. Originally built in 1542 and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, its impressive architecture, whitewashed exterior and colored dome have long charmed visitors from around the world.

A beautiful marble fountain sits in front of the church, and its interior houses an impressive wooden iconostasis (altar screen), made in 1775 by Florentine artists. Note the hanging incense holders that line the wall: they’re decorated with silver dragons holding red eggs in their mouths, evidence of Eastern influences.

A welcome respite in your day is a stop at Kalafatis Beach, where the deep blue Aegean Sea and golden sand beckon you for a short stroll in the sunshine. Refreshments are available for purchase from local vendors.

Return to Mykonos for your guided walking tour; passengers who do not wish to continue may return to the ship.

Mykonos is a picturesque town with a labyrinth-like maze of tiny streets, white houses and red-roofed churches. Don’t be fooled by its small size; it is one of the most cosmopolitan towns of the Aegean. But despite the many shops, boutiques and stylish cafes, the town has not lost its charm and the island’s strict building regulations have kept its Cycladic architectural style beautifully intact. Your guided, walking tour through the narrow, winding streets introduces you to some of the area’s most treasured landmarks.

Look up and you’ll find windmills dotting the landscape. Although no longer operational, they hearken back to the days when the area was once an agricultural powerhouse.

You’ll want to have your camera ready to photograph Little Venice, famous for its narrow rows of brightly colored homes that literally sit in the sea. A timeless subject for artists, Little Venice is considered one of the most romantic spots in the Greek Isles.

No tour of Mykonos would be complete without the opportunity to see Paraportiani Church. A true Byzantine jewel, the island’s most famous church sits just outside the city walls. Paraportiani is actually five churches, four comprise its base and the fifth is built as the dome on the top. Widely photographed, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to capture it with your own lens.

At the completion of your tour, you are welcome to continue sightseeing on your own. As you walk through the streets, don’t be surprised if Petros the Pelican, the island’s mascot, pops out to say hello.

Special Notes:

Passengers must be able to walk for approximately 3/4 miles over narrow cobble-stoned streets that are uneven in places and have some steps. Passengers with limited mobility should take this into consideration.

Passengers who feel they are unable to participate in the walking tour of the Town of Mykonos will be given the option to return to the ship by motorcoach before the walking tour commences.

The tour finishes in the Mykonos Town after the walking tour. Passengers then have the option of returning to the ship directly or at leisure using the shuttle bus service.

Photography and video are not allowed in the Monastery. Respectful attire must be worn by all who visit the Monastery of Panagia Tourliani. Shorts and bare shoulders are not allowed.

NOTE: I took the above 3 photos on my first visit to Greece…Mykonos was my second favorite port…plenty of shops to explore!

Sicily (Messina), Italy

Tuesday – December 05, 2023 Arrive 7:00AM – Depart 6:00PM

Mt Etna & Time On Your Own In Taormina 8:45AM-3:45PM Tour#: QME-180 (Strenuous Activity)


Depart from the pier on a scenic ride two-hour journey to Europe’s largest active volcano. While en route, enjoy the delightful countryside of vineyards and orchards, while passing the villages of Santa Venerina and Zafferana and the fertile fields on the side of the mountain. You will see the remnants of the last eruptions in October 2002.

You will arrive at Silvestri Spent Craters, almost 6,400 feet above sea level where you will be able to walk along the brim of these craters. At Crateri Silvestri, not only will you be able to walk around the crater on your own, you’ll also get to take in some amazing views of the summit of the great volcano, the tallest and most active in all of Europe. It’s erupted over 130 times in recorded history. You’ll also see the town of Catania from above, buried by an eruption over 300 years ago. After visiting the craters, enjoy a refreshment with typical sicilian cakes at a local mountain restaurant.

Reboard your motorcoach for the drive to Taormina, well known the world over.The village is perched 700-feet above the sea and overlooks the Bay of Naxos. From the spectacular views, you’ll be able to see why this was a famed resort even in Roman times. You’ll find remnants of its Greek and Roman history, a fine medieval quarter and castle ruins, and many modern shops and restaurants.

You’ll have approximately 1.5 hours to explore the village at your own pace. Enjoy a cappuccino at one of the local cafe’s or shop along the exclusive boutiques on the Corso Umberto. You’ll can choose to visit the inspiring Greek theater on your own. Built in the 3rd century B.C., this structure is still perfectly conserved, and features striking acoustics, not to mention stunning views of Mt. Etna.

After an adventure filled with wonder, it’ll be time to re-board your motorcoach for the scenic ride back to your ship.

Special Notes:

The drive from Messina to Mt. Etna is approximately two hours.

The ascent higher than 6,400 feet is not recommended to those suffering from heart diseases and/or high blood pressure. The visit to the Silvestri Spent Craters involves walking uphill 330 yards on uneven terrain. There are no facilities available at the Silvestri Spent Craters.

The ground around the Crateri Silvestri is uneven and rough. Passengers should take care when walking. Wear comfortable, closed toe walking shoes and a sweater or jacket. Temperatures can drop dramatically at the summit. Due to climatic changes, views may become hindered at any given time. This tour cannot be operated in case of inclement weather.

Lunch and touring is on your own in Taormina; bring Euro. Buses are not permitted to enter the city of Taormina. After your arrival at parking lot you will reach the city center by elevator. On your return, even if elevators are available, you may be required to use a flight of about 140 steps.

Taormina is a popular destination and passengers should expect to encounter crowds. Some stores in Taormina close during lunchtime, on Sunday, holidays and Monday mornings.

Medical Restriction:

Due to changes in altitude, this tour is not suitable for guests with difficulty walking, or for guests with heart/blood pressure/respiratory conditions.

I took the two above pictures in Taromina on our first visit to Sicily…looking forward to seeing Mt. Etna this trip, but I wanted to return to Taromina, I liked it so much the first time!

Salerno, Italy

Wednesday – December 06, 2023 Arrive 7:00AM – Depart 5:00PM

Sorrento & Amalfi Coast 7:30AM-4:00PM Tour #: SL3-115


Your tour begins in Salerno where you’ll board an air-conditioned motorcoach for a scenic 90-minute drive to the stunning resort of Sorrento. Here you’ll have approximately 90-minutes of free time to explore the village. Sorrento boasts one of the biggest shopping districts along the Amalfi Coast-from lace sheets and fine furniture to table linens and handcrafted pottery. It’s a prime place for shoppers and ambiance seekers alike. Explore the cobblestone side streets and public squares, such as Piazza Tasso and Piazza Antiche Mura for great atmosphere.

Corso Italia is Sorrento’s flower-lined main boulevard and a window-shoppers delight where you’ll find charming local shops, designer boutiques and cafés. Pick up souvenirs, such as a bottle of the local limoncello liquor or spend time enjoying the festive ambiance. Sorrento offers ample photo opportunities with marvelous views that overlook the Bay of Naples. Stroll down to the Sorrento Pier and take in the fresh sea breezes or go beachcombing along the rocky shoreline.

You’ll re-board the motorcoach and head further along the Amalfi coast past the charming hillside town of Positano en route to our next stop: lunch at a local hotel/restaurant on the coast. You’ll experience an authentic meal using fresh, seasonal ingredients of the Campania region. After lunch, we’ll continue a few more miles along the coast to the city of Amalfi.

Upon arrival you’ll have approximately 45 minutes of free time to explore the village. At some point you’ll find yourself gazing upward at the awe-inspiring Amalfi Cathedral with its 62 steps leading to an impressive entryway. Its striking façade is Arabic-influenced Romanesque with a bold mix of stripes, arches, mosaics and textures. The bell tower and cupola are decorated with green and yellow tiles. The heavenly Cloister of Paradise is home to the tombs of Amalfi’s wealthy merchants and features Moorish styling in white marble. Take a stroll around the courtyard and see its lovely Mediterranean garden as well as the ancient artworks that grace the walkways. The cloister leads into the Basilica of the Crucifix where you can see some amazing frescoes. The cathedral’s museum and treasury is located in the basilica. The Crypt of St. Andrew is located in an altar decorated with beautiful Baroque murals dating from 1660. Church admission is extra and guests are asked to respect local custom and dress conservatively. (No bare shoulders or shorts and mini skirts.).

The return journey will proceed by motorlaunch and coach to Salerno.

Special Notes:

Due to local regulations and restrictions, an alternate stop on the Amalfi Coast (Minori, Maiori or Vietri sul Mare) will be made should a parking space not be available in Amalfi.

During the end of October and the months of November and December, due to the closure of most of the lunch venues on the Amalfi Coast, lunch might be served in Sorrento instead.

The drive from Salerno to Sorrento takes approximately 1 1/2 hours; the drive from Sorrento to the Amalfi Coast takes approximately 1 1/2 hours; the drive from Amalfi to Salerno takes approximately 1 hour.

Roads on the Amalfi Coast are narrow and winding. Passengers who suffer from motion sickness should take this into consideration.
This tour cannot be operated on pre-holidays and holidays, due to traffic regulation on the Amalfi Coast.

Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy

Thursday – December 07, 2023 Arrive 6:00AM – Depart 7:00PM

If you are staying on the ship for the next cruise, which is a Trans-Atlantic cruise from Civitavecchia to Fort Lauderdale, you may want to take an excursion today. (OR, if you are getting off the ship for a flight back to the United States, you may want to check out one of the “Debark” tours that Princess offers, depending on your flight schedule).

This is what I’ll be doing, as I’ll be staying on the ship and crossing the Atlantic to get home to Florida the slow way!

Etruscan Countryside & Olive Oil Tasting 7:30AM-11:30AM Tour#: ROM-310 (Moderate Activity)


Soak up the sights, smells and tastes of Tuscany with a four-hour excursion that celebrates central Italy’s glorious history. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring along a camera to record each memorable stop.

From Civitavecchia you’ll travel north through the countryside that was once covered in vineyards and olive groves. This was the home of the Etruscans. This mighty civilization of seafarers, merchants and farmers populated this region about 5,000 years ago and were eventually folded into Roman expansion. One of their most important towns was Tuscania and the site of your first destination.

Soon, you’ll arrive in the hilltop village of Tuscania, which dates back to the 9th century B.C. and, according to legend the city was founded by Tusco, the son of Hercules. After you disembark, you’ll join your guide for a walking tour through the narrow, cobbled lanes of the town’s medieval center, which displays remnants of the walls and towers that once protected the village. Etruscan and medieval structures sit side by side across the square, many of which were restored after an earthquake struck in 1971.

Have your camera handy; some of the exquisite sites you’ll see,from a vantage point, include the Basilica of San Pietro. Built in the 8th century but almost completely reconstructed 300 years later in Romanesque style, the Basilica stands atop an ancient Etruscan acropolis. Nearby are the impressive towers and bishop’s palace, the remains of a fortified citadel from the 11th century.

Then, you’ll reboard your coach and travel to a local farmhouse that produces a variety of olive oils. Tuscany makes between 5%-10% of all Italian olive oil and is renowned for its unique, sweet taste. After you reach the farmhouse you’ll be introduced to your host where you’ll learn the history and the process of olive oil production. The Etruscans were also avid olive oil producers and centuries ago, this rich elixir was used much like it is today – in cooking, cosmetics, medicines, soaps and as fuel for oil lamps. During your unforgettable tour, you’ll be able to sample a variety of oils accompanied bruschetta, tomatoes, different cheeses, salami and local wine. Relax and enjoy your Tuscan feast while admiring the stunning views.

Once you’ve completed this delicious epicurean journey, you’ll board the coach for the idyllic return to your ship.

Special Notes:

Please Note: free time may be modified to adhere to local regulations and guidelines for COVID 19 protocols.

This tour is not available to passengers beginning or ending their voyage in Civitavecchia (Rome).

The drive to Tuscania is approximately one hour and the return time from the farmhouse is approximately 45-minutes subject to traffic conditions.

Guests must be able to walk about one-half mile over uneven cobblestone surfaces with inclines and 15 to 30 steps.

Shops in Tuscania are closed on Sundays, Thursday afternoons, and holidays.
Guests must be of legal age to consume alcohol.
Tour sequence may vary.

This tour does not operate on voyages ending in Rome (Civitavecchia).

Medical Restriction:

Guests needing special assistance must be accompanied by an able bodied companion


If you would like to see what other shore excursions are offered, and would like to book outside of Princess Cruises, I recommend Project Expeditions. I’ve used them several times and have had wonderful tours. You can see which shore excursions they offer by clicking on this link.

Do these Shore Excursions look tempting, but you haven’t secured your cabin for this amazing itinerary? Check out this past blog post to give you more information about sailing with me!

Also, check out the shore excursions I plan to take on the cruise after this one…a 14 night Trans-Atlantic Cruise from Italy to Fort Lauderdale!

If cruising isn’t your favorite type of vacation, OR you would like to extend your vacation and see a bit more of Italy before your cruise, check out this amazing Italian itinerary by Globus Tours.

Then, contact me to begin planning your amazing vacation!