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There was a bit of confusion about where to meet the van. Fortunately one of the guys at the station called the local office and we were directed OUTSIDE the drop-off area to find our driver on the street holding a sign with our name on it. Ok, into the van and were off! Our fellow tourists were a very nice family from the same ship. If they hadnt been nice, this would have been awful because seating was tight! They oversold the space a bit. Every seat was taken and then in Rome we picked up our guide. Fortunately the nice family had one of their kids on their lap. Our guide, Guilia sp? Italian Julia, first took us to a place to use the restrooms. The owner of that little cafe was NOT happy about this and kind of chased us out.
Rome is crowded. This was Holy Week, so it was even more crowded. Julia tried her best to get us a good view at St. Peters Square, but she kept getting turned back by guards. This did make it look like she didnt know where to go!
She was going to take us somewhere other than the Forum, but we all agreed we wanted to see the Forum so thats where we went. It was so worth it! The Forum, the Coliseum, the Pantheon - all so wonderful! And the Trevi Fountain!
Most important, our driver got us back to the ship in plenty of time. Very important on an independent tour!
Small crowded bus into Rome and only 4 of us paid for this tour, which was amazing, with a guide who knew so much history of the Roman life and Architecture. I would recommend this to anyone. The part we didn't like was our small bus was filled with cash paying return tickets into Rome and they got all the best seats on the bus, and we had to wait on them so cut our visit to the Vatican short as we ran out if time.
Pick up was from where the shuttle coach dropped us off. Man waiting with our name on a board so that part was easy. He was very good and hung on an extra 5 minutes as 2 people had not turned up and even when he took us to the mini bus he went round the block to make sure they hadn't turned up which I thought was very fair.
Now the mini bus has air conditioning but it was about as much use as a chocolate teapot and given the time you are on it we were roasting, this was my biggest problem with this tour.
We arrived in Rome and were met by a local guide who spoke very good English and showed us round the main sites. There is a lot of walking involved and it was over 30 degrees when we were there so make sure you have water etc. We walked past hundreds of lovely cheap eateries onloy for the guide to put us on the minibus and take us to the Colliseum and say you have 45 minutes for lunch and there are 2 cafe's over the road. Call me sceptical but this is obvisouly arranged with the cafes as we could have stayed near Vatican and ate in a cheap plave but we were instead taken to a place where a coke was 7 euros and a pizza 15 euros we saw lots of other areas where a 3 course meal was 10 euros before we were halled off My tip would be tell the guide you want lunch in the main area before you head off to Colliseum. Trip arrived back well in time for us getting back to ship so no problems at all.
I have only scored down as we spent so much time in bus and it was roasting and it was really annoying to feel ripped off with the food, apart from that it was a good trip and excellent value compared to ship price.
Donnatella was our guide and she was Aaaamazing! She displayed so much passion and knowledge and I love her. I will go back to Rome because of her, she referenced a very great book that displayed the before and after of many of the important sites, I enjoyed her perspective. She made time for photos and lunch at a very nice resturant steps from the Colosseum where I had a mmm personal size vegan pizza and ice tea by lipton.
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