For many high-powered vacationers, the only way to see the world is from the deck of a cruise ship. As you glide across magnificent seas and oceans, you are able to visit pristine Caribbean beaches, spectacular European cities, and dramatic Northern expanses. Every night, you return from an enchanting excursion to the comfort of a luxury cruise liner; fine dining, comfortable lodging, and entertainment rivaling anything that you could find in Nashville or Las Vegas.

By design, many of these cruise itineraries move quickly from destination to destination; visitors often have only 10-12 hours on land to experience a city with days of sights and attractions on offer. For example, a 12-night Mediterranean cruise could include Barcelona, Nice, Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice, and Montenegro. With so many places to see and so little time to spend in each place, it can be a difficult task trying to plan each individual visit.

Explore Italy Tours has designed several tours and excursions specifically with cruise travelers in mind. We understand how stressful it can be to try to make the most out of a short visit, and we recognize that the busy schedule of our visitors often leaves little time for researching and planning. A vacation should be stress-free, and we can help alleviate stress by providing a meticulously organized day in several of Italy’s finest cities.

Here are three tours that we have designed for our cruising visitors:

Rome in a Day

Of course, it is impossible to see all of the history, art, and architecture in Rome in just one day. However, our eight-hour tour comes as close as possible by visiting the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums, the Colosseum, and beautiful Trevi Fountain. Many visitors to Rome are satisfied by visiting just one of these incredible destinations, but our special VIP access makes it possible to see several in a short period of time.

Your tour will begin with transportation provided from Civitavecchia Port: no need to worry about finding your way from the ship to the center of Rome. We arrange for skip-the-line tickets to all of Rome’s major monuments and attractions so that you don’t spend any of your precious time waiting outside. Our knowledgeable guides will provide tons of information about each attraction, offering a depth of understanding that is rarely possible on such a brief visit.

We can guarantee that you’ll be tired and satisfied by the end of your eight hours in Rome. To save you the challenge of a long walk back to the port, we arrange for transportation back to your ship. Enjoy a relaxing evening on deck as you process your exciting journey through the Eternal City!

Venetian Glassblowing and Gondola Ride

There are some things you must do on a visit to Venice, and then there are some things that not everyone has a chance to experience. Our daylong Venetian tour experience puts together a little bit of both so that your excursion is the envy of everyone on the ship.

Of course, an essential component of your Venice visit is the world-famous gondola ride. We combine style with function on this excursion by using the gondola as your main form of transportation between two exciting Venetian isles. Your Venice gondola experience will be exclusive unlike many of the crowded and dirty rides offered by some tourist companies.

The two isles that comprise this day trip are Murano and Burano, charming locations that are renowned for their unique, high-quality industries. On Murano, you’ll find some of the most exquisite blown glass and crystal in the world. Your visit will include stops at a glass factory (including ample time to consider the many products available in the showroom) and at the Murano Glass Museum. The museum’s extensive collection describes the evolution of glass-making from ancient Egypt to the present day, providing substantial context for your experience at the modern-day glass factory.

Burano is an artisanal hub in its own right, as it was once a medieval capital of lacemaking. While the industry no longer thrives today, the isle’s legacy lives on in the Museum and School of Lacemaking. After your tour of the museum, you’ll enjoy a walk around the four interconnected islands that comprise Burano; the village’s colorful houses will surely make an impression on friends and family in the pictures that you bring home.

Experience Florence City Tour

Like Rome, Florence is a city that is best experienced over multiple days. However, for travelers who only have one day to spend in the Tuscan capital, Explore Italy Tours has collected the very best experiences into a compact three-hour Florence city tour.

Our local guides will take you to some of Florence’s most famous sights, as well as some of their favorite local gems. Your tour will include a visit to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, an incredible work of Renaissance architecture that will surely leave you awestruck. The cathedral’s bell tower offers the best panoramic views in all of Florence.

Another popular stop on this tour is the Ponte Vecchio bridge; the shops lining either side of the Arno River are a classic photo opportunity. Also along the Arno River is the 15th-century palace Palazzo Pitti. Be sure not to leave your camera on the ship, as these pictures are worth far more than a thousand words.

Souvenir-seekers will enjoy a visit to Florence’s Mercato Nuovo, a centrally-located market with local artisans selling leather goods, silks, and other high-quality Italian products. Remember to convert your money to Euros before making landfall on Italy; conversion rates at local exchange kiosks will not be favorable!