Sylvia L

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Sylvia L

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Aug122014

Tour/Activity

Athens Shore Excursion: Athens Hop-on Hop-off Tour

Athens, Greece

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

We booked the Hop on Hop off bus as a shore excursion (cruise ship - Celebrity). They were just outside the port gates, on time with staff ready to help. We were given a map and information on how to get to the Acropolis which was our number 1 goal for the day. It drops you off right at the entrance to the Acropolis so it was very handy. Beware, the Acropolis is very very busy and the paths are rather uneven and slippery in some cases. For the price you pay compared to a guided tour, its affordable and does the job. However you are on your own at the Acropolis.

Aug102014

Tour/Activity

Kusadasi Shore Excursion: Private Tour to Ephesus including Basilica of St John and Temple of Artemis

Kusadasi, Turkey

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

Emre was our guide. He was a wonderful guide and I would recommend you ask for Emre if you book this tour. On time, courteous and very informative. He also gave us time to ourselves at various the various sites which was very good as sometimes you just need time to explore the site yourself a bit more without the ongoing lecture. But his knowledge of Ephesus and the House of the Virgin Mary was very useful. We were a family of 4 (two teenagers 16 and 13) and we booked this as a shore excursion as we were only in Kusadasi for the day. Ephesus is well worth the trip to make. The ruins are spectacular especially the library. On par with the Roman Forum and Palantine Hill. Much better (in my humble opinion) than Athen's Acropolis. We felt obliged to stop off at either a carpet making or leather factory. We chose the leather factory and was given a 'private' fashion show which was pretty entertaining (when in Turkey ....). Aside from that the rest of the trip was top notch and I would not hesitate to recommend it.

Aug042014

Tour/Activity

Skip the Line: St Peter's Basilica Walking Tour Including views from the Top of the Cupola

Rome, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

We were in Rome Aug 2014. The line ups to almost any thing is long. One of the main benefits of booking a tour is the ability to skip these long (and I mean LONG) line ups which is often in the sun. St Peter's Basilica is just simply on those MUST SEE places in Rome. There is nothing as spectacular as this church. We also walked up the 300 + steps and 1 short elevator ride to the top of the dome. You get some pretty spectacular views of the Vatican Colonnade and the surrounding outside areas. Also you are able to see the mosaics in the dome up close which is worth the price of this tour. You get such a better perspective of the art, mosaics and the size of this place by going up the dome. Highly recommend this tour.

Aug032014

Tour/Activity

Skip the Line: Crypts and Roman Catacombs Small Group Walking Tour

Rome, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This was a great way to see the Crypts and Catacombs. It sounds a bit macabre but it provides an interesting education around the history of the Christians and Roman's. The tour is by tour bus and starts with a short trip to the catacombs which is about 20 min by tour bus just outside of the city walls. There are 2 more stops - both were equally fascinating especially as you walk down the different 'layers' of the history. Its quite amazing to walk down hundreds of years of development. The last stop is the most macabre with the various skeletons re - designed into art by the monks. We found it really interesting and the kids were engaged (16 and 13) in the whole tour. As always the tour guides knowledge of these places really helps to bring alive the history. It wouldn't be the same to tour these on your own unless you had really researched the history behind these places on your own. Highly recommend this tour.

Aug022014

Tour/Activity

Viator VIP: Sistine Chapel Private Viewing and Small-Group Tour of the Vatican's Secret Rooms

Rome, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

We booked this tour as a family of 4 (2 teenagers 16 and 13). I was hesitant given the cost of this tour. But it is as all the other reviews before me have said, this is well worth the money. We were in Rome August 2014 and the lines and people at all of the various sites are massive and at times suffocating. This tour allowed us to see the Vatican Museum as a very small group (12) and we were for I would say 80 % of the tour in places just to ourselves. Our group had to be escorted the entire time by a Vatican staff because only he had the keys to unlock the various doors to the rooms no one else was allowed in. We saw rooms which were not open to the rest of the public and had the time to admire the incredible art completely to ourselves without having the jostle 200 people in front of us. But the best part is having the Sistine Chapel completely to ourselves. I kid you not. Our entire tour group of 12 plus our guide and the Vatican escort. That was it in the Sistine Chapel for about 40 minutes. We were able to hear our guide tell us the stories of the various panels and then just sit or walk around the entire chapel on our own. This is well worth every cent you pay. Our guide (a gentleman who I think his name is Tiber) was engaging, knowledgable and clearly loved the history of the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel). Thank you Tiber and Viator for organizing this tour. It truly was a highlight for us and we will never forget it.

Aug012014

Tour/Activity

Ancient Rome and Colosseum Tour: Underground Chambers, Arena and Upper Tier

Rome, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

We were in Rome August 2014. The line ups to almost all of the major sites were unfathomably long. As with all of the Viator tours, one of the benefits is you skip the huge line ups. Well worth the extra money if your time is limited. The tour started with a tour of the Forum and Palantine which are the ancient Roman ruins just on the other side of the Colosseum. Our guide was very informative and really gave us some great insight into the history. This tour however also gives you additional perspectives of the Flavian Amphitheater (aka Colosseum) as you are taken to the upper and lower levels which are not open to the rest of the public. It helped to make sense of the incredible work involved to put on "a show" during Roman times. Part of the lower chambers has been re - built so you can get a sense of how the various animals/gladiators etc were presented to the crowds. The tour was well organized, informative and well worth the money. I think we would have missed so much of the details and education had we just toured this on our own. As a note, our guide told us the movie Gladiator was as a story historically inaccurate however the set up of the underground Colosseum he felt was very accurate. Just keep that in mind if you want to watch the movie again to get a sense of the space. Highly recommend this tour.

Jul312014

Tour/Activity

Rome Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour

Rome, Italy

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

It will give you a overall perspective of the city especially if you have limited time. However we were there for 4 days and after this tour we started using the Metro (subway) which is very very easy to use. We found the Metro safe and pretty much took us where we wanted to go especially to the Vatican. But its always nice to ride around just to get a view of the city from up top of the bus.

Jul302014

Tour/Activity

Skip the Line: Uffizi Gallery and Vasari Corridor Walking Tour

Florence, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This was a great tour to go on. The crowds in the Uffizi (August 2014) were suffocating. So the first part of the tour was in the Uffizi but we still had to fight the crowds to see some of the main works of art. The second half was the Vasari Corridor. It was a relief to get out of the crowds. The Corridor itself is lined with paintings sent in by the 'who's who" in the days of the Medici's. Very interesting to hear the various history of some of the paintings as well as the purpose of the Vasari Corridor. Our guide was very knowledgeable and informative. I have found that we learned so much more by using a guide versus just walking through ourselves.

Jul302014

Tour/Activity

Florence Night Segway Tour

Florence, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

We are a family of 4 (with two teenagers 16 and 13). We had sooo much fun on this tour. Seeing Florence at night was really spectacular. Our guide was also incredibly friendly and informative. I think Florence is a great city to do this tour by Segway as a large part of the city center is pedestrian only. Also at night we found the crowds to be less so it was much easier to zip around all the sites. It also helped break up all the museums we were going to. The Segway is easy to use and pretty intuitive so if you have any concerns that you won't be able to manage it, don't be. It was great fun and a great way to get a tour of Florence.

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