We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

May cruise stop

Boston...
Level Contributor
187 posts
112 reviews
Save Topic
May cruise stop

Our cruise will stop in La Spezia on Wednesday, May 21 (7:00-19:00). We would like to spend the day visiting/exploring Cinque Terre. We do not plan to hike any of the trails, but enjoy walking and would be happy to do walks/trails that fit our plan or improve our plan.  I have read many travel books and sites for information about the trains and boats.  Since we must be back to our ship comfortably before sailing time, I need to know if I am being realistic to plan to use boats and trains.  Here is what I am thinking:

--train from La Spezia to Riomaggiore

--visit Riomaggiore

--boat to Manarola--visit

--boat to Vernazza--visit

--boat to Monterosso--visit

--train back to La Spezia

Of course we would start as early as possible and plan to be back by 17:00.  Does this make sense? Should we use the trains instead of the boats? Will it be difficult to find schedules that allow the changes without losing too much time?  Is there something I am missing?  Should we modify our plan?  Is there a better plan?

I appreciate any comments/suggestions you can make and any tips you can offer.  We would like our plan to be reasonable.  We want the day to be pleasant...not stressful.  Thanks for any help you can give.

Brentwood, United...
Level Contributor
2,611 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: May cruise stop

It might be better to do your trip in reverse since the flat paved path from Riomaggiore to Manarola is closed and unlikely to be open by your visit . Suggest you get the train from La Spezia to Monterosso which has a 'new' town and the old town seperated by a tunnel. When you have seen enough go down to the ferry and take it to Vernazza, the ferries run about once an hour. You can either get an 'all day' pass or a single ticket just to Vernazza, I would recomend you get the all day pass. From Vernazza you can take the train to Manarola which only takes a few minutes, no point going to Corniglia since the station is way below the village itself.

If you buy an all day pass on the ferry since you are going back to La Spezia you could take the ferry from Manarola or Vernazza to Portovenere which is a delightful place and usually not so crowded as the CT villages. From there you can catch a frequent bus direct back to La Spezia . There is no train service from Portovenere.

With the limited time you will have available I myself would just limit myself to Monterosso, Vernazza and Portovenere using the ferry, you could however include Manarola using the train but you will have to take note of the relative timetables.

Boston...
Level Contributor
187 posts
112 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: May cruise stop

Thanks for the suggestions. I looked for information regarding the ferry to Portovenere. The travel guide I have says that the ferry to Portovenere runs June-October. True? We will be there mid-May. It does sound like a great place to include.

Do the ferries connecting CT towns run in May? Also, is there a ferry between Vernazza and Manarola or only the train?

It sounds like you are suggesting that we skip Riomaggiore. Is that because of time limitations or are there other reasons?

If we reverse the order as you suggest...Here is the plan...

--train from La Spezia to Monterosso --visit

--ferry to Vernazza -- visit

--train (ferry?) to Manarola

--train to La Spezia

OR

--ferry to Portovenere (if available)

-- bus back to La Spezia

We thought we would go to Monterosso last so that we could spend any extra time there.

Also, we thought taking the train directly back to La Spezia would be easier than worrying about stops and reboarding (making it easier to know how much time to allow for the return trip), and faster than taking a boat all the way back from CT.

If the ferry to Portovenere is not running in May, do you still think we should reverse the order?

Thanks again. We appreciate your help.

Edited: 12 April 2014, 23:32
Cinque Terre, Italy
Destination Expert
for Cinque Terre, Monterosso al Mare, Italian Riviera
Level Contributor
1,545 posts
89 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: May cruise stop

The ferry to Portovenere is running now, so yes, in May it will be running too, but remember it is subject to cancellation depending on the weather.

Brentwood, United...
Level Contributor
2,611 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: May cruise stop

I agree that there would be some advantage in finishing at Monterosso particularly since it is the only village with a true beach.

Since the ferry should be running when you visit a suggestion is for you to take the bus from La Spezia to Portovenere at the start of your day, it would avoid the crowd on the train from the station. The bus does not stop at the station except on certain days at the weekend. This Thread shows the bus stop for the bus to Portovenere.

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g187824-i1785-k5…

You can then get the ferry to one of the CT villages, either Manarola or Vernazza and then use the train from there on. You are lucky in that your cruise ship is docking in La Spezia which makes things relatively easy , apart from the crowds!

I have read your posting regarding your trip to the Amalfi Coast, things are much more difficult there for one day trips due to the distance from Naples and the limited ferry, rail and bus connexions. In order to ensure you get back to your criuise ship in time you really only have two options, take one of the organised trips or have private car hire which would be quite costly. Have a great trip.

Boston...
Level Contributor
187 posts
112 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: May cruise stop

Thanks. If the ferry is running, I think I like your first suggestion. We will get an early start and train to CT and plan to ferry to Portovenere to end our day.

After reading about Portovenere, it sounds like the church, the castle, and the views are the standouts there. Do you have any other suggestions?

Do the buses leave Portovenere from an obvious location? Easy to find/spot? Where does the return bus from Portovenere to La Spezia drop off? Is there anything special we need to do or say to be certain to return to the correct place to get back to our ship? Is it enough time If we allow one hour for our return from Portovenere to the ship?

Thanks for suggesting a stop in Portovenere. We never would have thought of it on our own.

Thanks too for your comments on the Amalfi coast plan. It sounds like we need to scrub that idea and find another. Any suggestions?

Brentwood, United...
Level Contributor
2,611 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: May cruise stop

You are correct about Portovenere it is quite small but I was lucky going straight there from Sestri Levante and virtually had the place to myself until the ferry arrived around about lunchtime with the folks from the CT villages.

The bus stop in Portovenere is not at all clear I ended up walking out of town to the bus stop there , the problem being that the bus does not usually go to the station and a one way system! I suggest you print out that Google Map and ask when you are there if you decide to go there first. If you decide to return from Portovenere one hour will be plenty the bus usually runs hourly so check it before you start your wanderings it starts from down by the habour.

See in your Amalfi posting some one has suggested Ischia, that certainly is something to consider. I went there on an organised trip from Sorrento and was very much taken by it , in fact I preferred it to Capri. Big advantage is that the ferry from Naples departs from quite close to where the cruise ships dock. The only problem is that with your restricted time the local buses are not really an option. You will have to settle for the surroundings of Ischia Port or spend some money on a taxi. The Walton Gardens are well worth visiting but are only open certain days of the week and you would probably need to use a taxi one way at least. Look it up in your guide book.

Brentwood, United...
Level Contributor
2,611 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: May cruise stop

Amend my para 2.

The bus stop in La Spezia is not at all clear..........

No problem in Portovenere a tiny place, you will see the bus waiting down by the harbour. You better ask the driver if you use the bus to return to La Spezia to drop you off for the cruise ships which will be down by the new marina.

Boston...
Level Contributor
187 posts
112 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: May cruise stop

Thanks for all your help. I think we will be all set with a plan for our La Spezia stop...as long as the weather cooperates and the ferries are running!

Looks like our Naples stop will be a challenge...thanks for the suggestions and the cautions.

Edited: 14 April 2014, 00:40
9. Re: May cruise stop

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 15 April 2015, 06:16