The best thing about the shore excursion trip from Livorno to Tuscany is the insight you will get from the tour guide.

As it was our first time visiting I didn’t want the hassle of fumbling around with a map, figuring out how to ask for the trains station or remembering to drive on the wrong side of the road. No. For me, I always think it’s best to leave it to the experts. You may have to pay a little more. But as this was a cheap all inclusive mediterranean cruise we had managed to get a good price for our holiday and so we were willing to spend a little more on the excursions. Our tour guide Mario was the quintessential charming host. He was able to share little bits of local knowledge about the best places to eat and shop and so equipped with his knowledge we set off for an afternoon day trip to Florence. In fact, if it wasn’t for Mario we probably would have missed the Leaning Tower of Pisa way off in the distance towering over the sloping olive groves and vineyards.

The trip itself if fascinating. Especially if you’re like me. In other words, a history buff with a penchant for architecture. I was agog at not just the sheer beauty of the buildings, but moreso at how they were built so long ago using just primitive tools and practices compared to nowadays.

If the shore excursion organised by the cruise line or your <a href =””>cruise holiday travel agent</a> is beyond your budget, the second way you can get from Livorno is to board the train at the port. It’s about 15 minutes by taxi and will save you the hassle of renting a car and remembering to drive on the other side of the road. I say this jokingly, however, Italian drivers are not only crazy but they will beep you if you are not driving 100 miles per hour also. So either drive like a maniac or take the train. The downside of the train is the number of rail strikes you will have to negotiate. Italy is notorious for them. So despite Tuscany being one of the most beautiful parts of the world, if your ship sails without you because the train was delayed, you will soon be cursing the place.

The third option for getting from the ship to Florence is by car. The cruise line can arrange this for you. Or if you prefer you could always arrange it with your tour operator. In our case we used to book everything for us when booking our last minute cruise special. It was easy to reserve a car and we had a wide choice at quite reasonable rates. The rental station is located in Livorno port itself and it’s easy to get from the ship. Just ask one of the cruise staff and they will be able to assist. As always, make a note of your departure time before heading off and always leave enough time to get back in time to the ship. I have heard numerous horror stories of people missing ships and having to make their way to the next destination.

Having said that. I’ve done it myself. Enjoy your trip.