In terms of cruise lines going to Europe, there is no bigger player right now than Royal Caribbean. Royal is increasing its European presence from eight to 11 ships next year and will cover 27 countries and 78 ports. Ann Tatko-Pterson of the Times-Colonist tried out a seven day, 12 city cruise aboard Voyager of the Seas to get a sense of what a Mediterranean cruise is like and shared highlights from her cruise in a recent article.
From ports like Barcelona, Rome, Pisa, and Genoa, Ann took time to do a lot of different excursions that were available to her. She seemed especially intrigued by the customizable half or full day plans made available by Royal Caribbean, "For our first port of call, we joined a small private tour, one of three excursion options offered on Royal Caribbean's European cruises. These tours allow guests to design customized half- or full-day excursions for up to 10 people."
For our third day in Italy, we opted for an On Your Own excursion -- transportation is provided but visitors determine their own itinerary.
First up: Pisa, or more specifically, Piazza del Duomo. I was charmed by a scene straight out of a storybook. The walled square had lush green grass and a cathedral, baptistery and the Leaning Tower constructed of mostly grey marble, white stone and coloured marble accents. All three looked surreal. No wonder Italian writer Gabriele d'Annunzio dubbed the square the Field of Miracles.