For A Few Euros Less: From Sorrento To Pompeii On Our Own By Train

Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle
On its way to anchor in Sorrento this morning, Crystal Serenity passed the mystical isle of Capri. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

Occasionally, I like to get away from the sanitized experiences that cruising offers. You know what I mean: Disembark the air-conditioned ship, board the air-conditioned bus, hustle along with the herd into the attraction of the day, gather round the tour guide, then get back in the bus for the trip back to the ship.

Today, my son and I were hot, sweaty and tired when we finished doing Pompeii on our own. We were traveling like the locals because we were traveling with the locals. Ours was an experience, one filled with the soul, sounds and smells of Italy on a rickety train that traveled through a series of tunnels along the Bay of Naples

Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle
On the train to Pompei Scavi. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

The ship’s tour, which I am sure was fabulous, would have nailed us for $276, required that we leave at 8 a.m. and return 5.5 hours later.

We left after a leisurely breakfast at 10 a.m., spent $48 and returned to the ship at around 3:30, also 5.5 hours.

Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle
Alex off the train and ready to see ruins. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

I’m certain we did not travel as efficiently as those on the shore excursion. We tendered ashore, shuttled to Sorrento city center (using Crystal’s complimentary shuttles), walked to the train station, traveled by train 40 minutes to Pompei Scavi (€4.20 return trip), walked three minutes to the entrance of Pompeii (the ruins are Pompeii; the modern town is Pompei, with one i), paid €11 to enter the ruins and toured for a couple of hours before returning to Sorrento and Crystal Serenity.

Interested in doing the tour on your own next time your ship calls in Sorrento? Simply dare to be a little daring. It’s easier than you may think and more rewarding that you could imagine.

Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle
Exit the train station in Pompei Scavi and follow the signs. You can’t miss Pompeii. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle
Cost of entry, €11 each. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle
Making our way along the old streets of Pompeii. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle
Pompeii was partially destroyed and buried under 4 to 6 meters (13 to 20 feet) of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle
Pompeii was lost for nearly 1700 years before its rediscovery in 1748. Since then, its excavation has provided an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city during the Pax Romana. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle
 The UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Italy, with approximately 2.5 million visitors annually. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle
Today, my son Alex, with Mount Vesuvius in the background, was among the happiest of Pompeii’s visitors. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
Crystal Serenity © Ralph Grizzle
Back in Sorrento and on the tender to Crystal Serenity. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

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