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
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.
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.