For everyone that has booked this Trans-Atlantic Cruise from Civitavecchia, Rome to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 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.
This Trans-Atlantic cruise aboard the Island Princess can be booked to sail after the Mediterranean/Israel cruise for a relaxing voyage home, instead of flying back to the United States. Or, fly into Rome and get on the Island Princess for a relaxing 14 day vacation crossing the Atlantic, stopping in some really cool ports along the way. I’m really excited about returning to Malaga, Spain! And, I’m so excited with the chance of visiting Casablanca, Morocco, as this will be my first time on the continent of Africa.
PLEASE NOTE: MISSING DATES BELOW ARE “DAYS AT SEA” AND DO NOT OFFER SHORE EXCURSIONS!
If you’ve booked only this Trans-Atlantic, but are thinking of adding on to your vacation, you can read more about the Mediterranean/Israel cruise here.
Click for the shore excursions that I’m taking here during the Mediterranean/Israel Cruise.
Or, if 14 days is “enough” time on a ship, why not check out this tour of Italy with Globus…the tour that begins on Nov. 25, 2023 would end a few days before this Trans-Atlantic tour…giving you a few extra days in Italy before your cruise back to the United States.
ALSO — If you are booked on the 28 day Grand Mediterranean Cruise already, but just feel like you are going to miss out on some of what Italy offers– the Globus Tour of Bella Italia can be booked for November 11, 2023, would end on November 19, 2023 giving you four days more in Italy to “rest up” for your Grand adventure on the Island Princess through the Eastern Mediterranean!
Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy
Thursday – December 07, 2023 Arrive 6:00AM – Depart 7:00PM
For those that have booked BOTH cruises (This Trans-Atlantic cruise & the Mediterranean/Israel Cruise)…this tour of Tuscany is available. Please note that this shore excursion is not available if you are embarking the ship today…only if you are staying on and doing the 28-day cruise.
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.
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).
Guests needing special assistance must be accompanied by an able bodied companion
Sardinia (Cagliari), Italy
Friday – December 08, 2023 Arrive 9:00AM – Depart 5:00PM
Cagliari Drive & Villasimius 9:30AM-1:30PM Tour#: CAG-210 (Easy Activity)
Enjoy a scenic drive from your ship towards the Mount Urpino belvedere and take advantage of the guide’s narration to get all the information about southern Sardinia and its natural beauties.
Board the comfortable motorcoach and settle in as the scenery goes by. Take in the sights as you climb to the top of Mount Urpino, a large and lush public park high on a hilltop that offers magnificent panoramic views of the entire city. You’ll want to disembark to take photos that capture the port of Cagliari, the salt works, and Sardinia’s sparkling coastline all the way to the Molentargius Pond, which several species of birds, including pink flamingos, use as a nesting ground.
Your destination is Villasimius, approximately a one-hour drive. This charming resort village is famous for its lush vegetation, rocky coves, sandy beaches, crystalline waters, and quaint shops. With just 3,000 permanent inhabitants, fishermen and shepherds once populated the town, but since the 1960s the town has bloomed with a robust tourist industry drawing visitors to its scenic splendor. Stroll along the narrow streets, peer into the windows of shops selling mementos and visit one of the small workshops to watch local artisans craft an array of products. Sit at one of the many outdoor cafes, stroll with a sweet gelato or grab a slice straight from the oven at one of the pizzerias. Relaxed and unhurried, explore at your own pace.
At the designated time, meet the motorcoach to relax and watch the Mediterranean coastline go by on your journey back to port.
Sunday – December 10, 2023 Arrive 7:00AM – Depart 5:00PM
Ronda 8:15AM-4:15PM Tour #: AGP-120 (Strenuous Activity)
Your tour begins as your board your motorcoach for a scenic drive to Ronda, traveling along Serrania de Ronda.
Ronda retains much of its historic charm, particularly its old town, and offers a myriad of photo opportunities. You’ll drive around the city’s old fortified walls, complete with Arabic-style gates. With your guide by your side, you stroll to the old Don Juan Bosco house, and see the Plaza del Toros, considered the birthplace of the modern Corrida de Toros. The arena, the largest and oldest in Spain, sits in an impressive 16-sided building that also houses the Antonio Ordoñez Bullfighting Museum. The museum offers great insight into the origins and history of one of Spain’s greatest traditions.
Also on your itinerary is the Santa Maria La Mayor Church, another “not-to-be-missed” photo opportunity. One of the most important sacred monuments of Ronda, the church dates back to the 13th century as a mosque. Next, you’ll witness perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring views of the medieval city. The Puente Nuevo,”new bridge,” built in 1793, crosses the river Guadalevin and the El Tajo, a gorge more than 500 feet deep that separates the old part of town from the new town.
Almost as inspiring are the shops in Ronda. You’ll have approximately 30 minutes to browse and shop, or relax in one of the many cafés. Ronda is famous for handicraft guitars and wickerwork, and its wares range from contemporary to chic, including street merchants selling Spanish silver, antiques, paintings and clothing.
Before departing for Malaga, you’ll enjoy a refreshing lunch and a glass of wine in a first-class restaurant. Your tour concludes with a walk back to your motorcoach, and a relaxing drive back to the pier. With Ronda behind you, you leave with a myriad of unforgettable memories of a lifetime.
Tour groups are not allowed inside the Cathedral or churches during mass services. Entry will be allowed on an individual basis to view the interior quietly and reverently; guides will explain the Church from the outside.
Participation is limited.
Casablanca, Morocco (for Marrakech)
Monday – December 11, 2023 Arrive 8:00AM – Depart 10:00PM
Casablanca & Rabat 8:45AM-6:45PM Tour#: CAS-105 (Moderate Activity)
Board your motorcoach and begin your narrated drive through Casablanca. Immortalized by Bogart and Bergman, Morocco’s largest city is a romantic mix of history and exotice cultures.
Drive along Boulevard Houphet Boigney and note the bustling shops and boutiques. Continue down Avenue Mohammed V, one of the city’s largest streets, past the business district. See the lively outdoor markets and colorful souks. A beautiful coastline road brings you to the historic site of the Allied Conference during World War II.
Your first photo stop is the Habous Quarter, built in the French style. Here, the narrow streets lead to shaded squares. The area makes for wonderful photographs and if you wish, you’ll have a brief period of time to explore some of the marketplace offerings. Sample some of the local delicacies and purchase souvenirs.
Re-board the motorcoach and drive to admire from the exterior the famed Hassan II Mosque. Completed in 1993, the mosque combines contemporary technology with traditional Moroccan architecture. The result is a vast mosque that can accomodate 25,000 worshippers in its interior and another 85,000 worshippers outside on the esplanade. The mosque boasts the world’s tallest minaret, stretching 650 feet in height. At night, a laser beam shines from the top in the direction of Mecca.
Board your motorcoach for a scenic drive along the main highway and past beautiful farmland en route to the exotic city of Rabat. Dramatically situated in the middle of Morocco’s Atlantic coastline, Rabat is the political capital of Morocco and the official home of the king. Culturally sophisticated, the city contains a rich mix of modern and historical offerings.
Upon arrival to Rabat, enjoy an exquisite lunch at a local restaurant in the Medina of Rabat.
Our next stop is the magnificent Royal Palace, built in 1864 and a superb example of Islamic architecture. At the heart of the palace lies the Mechouar, a magnificent garden courtyard, which you can stroll through and photograph.
Continue a short distance to the Mausoleum of King Mohammed V, one of the country’s most important shrines. Here you’ll see members of the Royal Guard standing proudly at the final resting place of Morocco’s great king. The building’s austere exterior gives way to an interior of exquisite Moroccan craftsmanship. Enter the mausoleum from the white marble terrace where the tomb of Mohammed V rests between those of his two sons.
Hassan Tower is located next to the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. The 144-foot-high minaret was built in the 12th century as part of a mosque that was never completed. The tower has walls eight feet thick and looms over the ruins of the mosque, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1755.
Then, a short drive brings you to the exciting Oudaya Kasbah. Walk through the city’s picturesque old quarter where whitewashed buildings are trimmed in bright blue. Follow narrow alleyways as you admire traditional Moroccan architecture in the peaceful Kasbah.
The drive between Casablanca and Rabat is approximately 1.5 hours each way.
Due to ongoing road construction in the city of Casablanca, passengers should expect traffic and delays. Construction may force tours to take alternative routes.
Time on own to shop will be granted if timing allows it and will be limited.
Madeira (Funchal), Portugal
Wednesday – December 13, 2023 Arrive 8:00AM – Depart 5:00PM
Best Of Madeira 8:45AM-4:15PM Tour #: FNC-105 (Moderate Activity)
WHAT YOU VISIT
Perched above a steep ravine overlooking the sparkling ocean, the resort town of Ribeira Brava was founded in the 15th century, making it one of the island’s oldest communities.
Scenic viewpoints, seawater filled lava pools, and beautiful forested mountains are this village’s star attractions.
Paul da Serra
Often described as ‘The Roof of Madeira,’ this central plateau sits nearly 5,000 feet above sea level and separates the island’s sunny southern half and its wetter, more lush northern half.
Known as the island’s most-lively spots, this seaside town boasts the the Engenho da Calheta distillery, where white rum is produced from the island’s sugar cane. Learn how rum is distilled and enjoy a sample of poncha, an island beverage made with rum and honey accompanied by a slice of traditional Madeira cake.
Your camera will be working overtime as you capture the day’s dazzling panorama of earth, sea and sky.
A stop at Cabo Girao will reward you with breathtaking shots of the second highest sea cliff in the world, and the highest in Europe. With a sheer drop of over 1,500 feet from the top to the waves below, the viewpoint affords dramatic views of the coast and Funchal in the distance.
When hunger calls, you’ll stop in the town of Sao Vicente, a picturesque village tucked in the slopes of the verdant mountains. Here, you’ll indulge in a lunch of island specialties including soup, roast pork or flounder fish fillet, bread and butter, fruit salad with ice cream accompanied with coffee and mineral water, and wine.
WHAT YOU SEE ALONG THE WAY
Travel past vineyards, terraced fields, and pinewoods and eucalyptus groves to the cliff top of Cabo Girão.
Wear comfortable clothes and bring a jacket – Madeira features a wide range of microclimates.
Visibility from all scenic outlooks is dependent upon the weather and therefore cannot be guaranteed.
Bring local currency for additional purchases.
Sequence of tour stops may vary.
After we leave Madeira, Portugal, we will have 6 Glorious days at sea before arriving back in the United States.
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Thursday – December 21, 2023 Arrive 6:00AM
There are several shore excursions that include a drop-off at the local airports of Miami & Fort Lauderdale. (I’ve done the Everglades Airboat ride with the visit to Flamingo Gardens and really liked that one, BUT, since I’ve been on this ship for the past 28 days, it’s time for a rental car straight home to Vero Beach for me!
ALL OF THE ABOVE SHORE EXCURSIONS ARE OFFERED BY PRINCESS CRUISES AND MAY BE BOOKED ONCE YOU LOG IN TO YOUR PRINCESS ACCOUNT, AND CLICK ON “BOOKED GUESTS”.
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.
Are you reading this and think, this sounds like amazing excursions, but I’m not booked…well, contact me and let’s get that fixed. This is going to be an amazing cruise!