I'm taking my mom (age 71) on a cruise with me, and was hoping to get some feedback on what to do with her in each port? She's ok to walk a couple of miles if there's breaks to stop and rest. Should we book through the cruise line, or on our own? I'm leaning towards booking tours on our own, but was hoping folks had cruised it before and had some real insights. I know she'd also get a kick out of riding a moped, but probably not driving one on her own.
Itinerary is as follows: Barcelona, Villefranche (Nice), La Spezia (Florence/Pisa), Civitavecchia (Rome), Naples, Sea day, Venice (1.5 days), Ravenna, Kotor, 2 sea days, and return to Barcelona.
Thanks in advance for your help!!
Most of the time it is both cheaper and easier to get around if you do it yourself (I have severe arthritis, so some of the same problems). Make sure at each of the ports where you dock that there will be taxis -- to and FROM -- where you want to go on a particular island or land site. Some are better to book the cruise line version if there is limited access and fewer taxis, so it would be worth asking this on tripadvisor for particular sites. For example, if one of your stops is Patmos, you will almost certainly want a taxi because the climbing can take a great toll. Just always make sure to leave plenty of time to get back to the ship since others will be doing so at the same time.
Sorry I didn't read your itinerary more closely. I haven't been to Barcelona, but have been to the other places -- you're in for a treat. Most are fairly flat, so walking shouldn't be a problem and all should have easily accessible transportation that you can do on your own. Buy a vaporetto pass for Venice (for the whole day if that's how long you'll be there), because it will end up being cheaper, you can see more, enjoy the Grand Canal at a leisurely pace, take a trip out to Murano, etc. That will limit how many bridges your mother will have to cross and give you time for sitting in between. In Ravenna, most of the best sites are quite far from the train station, which is my point of reference, but what you can do is take a taxi to the basilica of San Vitale (the biggest must see of all the great places in the city) and walk back, visiting the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia (behind San Vitale), then the Neonian and Arian baptisteries (very, very early Christian), Santi Apollinare di Nuova, the monument to Dante, etc. Hope this helps!
We booked every port excursion on our own. Most of the companies know you are on a schedule and will have you back in plenty enough time. Ours was a Southern Caribbean cruise and when we booked our excursions they asked us which ship we were on and what time we had to be back. I would think that the companies in the ports you are stopping would do that as well. You may find a lot more information on another forum on cruisecritic.com. That was a huge help in planning our cruise. The community is way more active than this one. There are even Roll Call topics so you can chat with others that will be on your particular cruise. There are also threads about each port. Hope you have a great trip!