The tour of Pompeii was good. We felt we could have been given more time to explore, though. We were unable to hike Vesuvius because it was closed. While we understood that the tour was not responsible for that, we felt that the guides should have known this and not wasted our time driving up to it for nothing. Recommend in the future for such an event to change plans and spend more time in the open venue.
Trip to Pompeii was interesting, guide was knowledgeable and informative. There is a lot of walking over rough surfaces. A detraction is the amount of visitors, The place is crowded. Vesuvius tour is basically a ride to the site. It really isn't a tour. When you get there you are really on your own. The 30 minute walk to the top is challenging, especially for older people. It's doable ..... just take many,many, many short rest breaks and you will finally get to the top. The day was overcast so there was no view of the surroundings and the hole in the ground is disappointingly small.
We booked this tour specifically because it included transportation to both sites and then back to the hotel in Sorrento. I had not read the fine print and didn't realize until we were already in Italy, that it did not include the tickets for Pompeii or Vesuvius. While this was unfortunate it did say it on the document, I missed it!, both tours were fantastic! The shuttle picked us up on the main road near our hotel short walk. It was a small group in an air conditioned shuttle bus with Carmela our guide. The air conditioning did not work that well on the shuttle, but it was better than nothing as it was 95 degrees outside. Carmela did a great job explaining the sites at Pompeii and seemed to be very knowledgeable. The tour included lunch 2 pieces of pizza and water at a restaurant on the way back to shuttle. We sat outside and had great conversation with the other folks on the tour. After lunch, we boarded the shuttle again for our 7 mile trip to Vesuvius. The shuttle takes people up to the main lot and then you walk up from there. Be warned, this was far more of a workout than I expected! Wear closed toe shoes as the terrain is loose and dusty. I am a fairly active person so I enjoyed the workout, but many people need to stop along the way to catch a breath. The views from the top are amazing! Our guide did not venture up to the top with us. We were given about an hour and twenty minute to make our way up and back down to the shuttle. The time of the tour states 8:00-5:30, but the tour time is inclusive of picking up and dropping people off at their hotels. We were back to our hotel by 4. In all honesty, it had been a long, hot day so I was not disappointed that we returned to the hotel. We were able to get into the hotel pool and get ready to go out for dinner. I would recommend this tour as it was very informative, Carmela was great, lunch was very good, and we all got an excellent workout! I gave the tour a four just because of the air conditioning on the shuttle bus. It was painfully hot and on the way back from Vesuvius, it didn't seem to be working all that well. Other than that, it was great!
If travelling during the summer you will be pleased to know that the tour bus had air conditioning.
Sasa, the tour guide was humorous, entertaining and extremely knowledgeable about not only Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius but also the surrounding areas.
As mentioned on Viator the entrance fees to Pompeii are not included so we paid this to Sasa so we could avoid the queues at Pompeii. This was 15 euros per person.
Earphone devices where supplied to us all, so we could hear the Sasa at all times. The day started with the Pompeii tour, Sasa who knows the site inside and out was able to guide us to the areas with most value. Such as a preserved body that was stowed away in a more secluded less-tourist-filled spot.
The only down-side was that there was not time to explore the ruins for ourselves. But considering the ruins have no sign-posting there would have been a good chance of getting lost, plus without the guide you would have no context of what you are looking at. Two hours of tour was plenty for us, especially as we visited in the height of summer.
If you are a die-hard history buff, perhaps book a tour that is dedicated to Pompeii only that lasts longer than two hours so you can cover more ground. Sasa did also mention that the Herculaneum is a good site to visit also.
The Pompeii trip concluded with a small snack of two slices of pizza and a bottle of water. This was fine for us both but there is an option to order more should you be hungry!
We then headed onto Mount Vesuvius - the bus ride was incredible for the views. Sasa did point out that the 'hike' to the top is optional costing 10 euro per person and the ground is steep and uneven underfoot. We did the hike, which was fine - there was a gentleman who provided free hiking sticks to aid the trek but a tip is suggested on the way back! there is a gift shop half way up too where they sell items made out of lava rock etc.
The view at the top was fine, but personally more of a tick list activity. I would have been just as happy seeing the volcano from surrounding areas such as the hotel we stayed at Grand Hotel Vesuvio, Sorrento
In hindsight we would have done full day Pompeii or one with the Herculaneum and left Mount Vesuvius to an afternoon with a trip to the vineyards located close by. This is no reflection on the quality of the tour itself, just how we felt about the duration/timing of the day and the value of each site.
The highlight of the tour was the guide himself, he provided real insight and humour to the day.
I was so looking forward to this tour as I've always wanted to see Pompeii and my daughter and I had high hopes for the day. However we felt SO disappointed! I don't know if our guide, Annalisa, was just having a bad day but we just didn't receive much real information either on route or at Pompeii itself. Unfortunately her English was just not good enough to be leading an english speaking group and we often struggled to understand her. There did not seem to be any in depth knowledge of the site and our guide repetitively used the same phrases thoughout we actually found out more about the people who lived there and their lives by eavesdropping on other tour guides! It was all incredibly rushed and we were constantly following Annalisa's blue umbrella as she swiftly moved onwards, onwards. In frustration, we left the group and went off on our own as this seemed to be the only way to actually see anything and take some photographs. Slightly late back to the meeting point due to an unhelpful and virtually useless map of the site, I felt like a naughty school child being told off by her teacher! The restaurant where we were seated for 45 minutes or so served a couple of slices each of obviously their cheapest fare, the tour really didn't benefit from this being included as it was very poor. The trip up Vesuvius was also a disappointment due to the heavy cloud which masked any view at all - just bad luck for us on that day unfortunately - so the strenuous climb was not even rewarded when we got there! On our return to the coach, our guide was ready and waiting with comment cards in hand and proceeded to ask each of us in turn what we thought of her as a guide and also the driver. This made us feel extremely uncomfortable. The driver was excellent ... she was poor ... but she gave both of them a 5 rating! Difficult to be completely honest when put on the spot like that! We were then allowed to fill in the remainder and she then proceeded to read all the comments on returning to her seat and gave a good impression of dozing off at one point on the way back to Sorrento! Such a pity, could have been so much better with an informed and knowledgeable guide, with a better command of english, which would have left us with a much better impression.