This is one of those big group tours from the cruise line and when I say big group I mean that there were multiple busses doing the same tour, so we're talking about over 200 people on this tour. But, compared to some other big bus tours I have taken, this one didn't feel quite as heardy or touristy as I've experienced in the past.
We had an early meeting in a dining room, though not nearly as early as some of the other tours that left the ship this day, 8:30 am. Sailing alone I had hoped to meet some people on excursions, it turned out I had already met several people who were on my tour and was on a bus with 3 of them.
The first part of the tour went to Pisa, on the way our tour guide spoke about the region of Tuscany. Once we arrived we parked in a bus parking area we took a 5-10 minute walk to the tower and then got some information about the leaning tower and the other buildings. Then we got some free time, I think we had an hour before our meeting time, plenty of time to take photos and do some shopping or have a drink at one of the local street vendors. I will talk about the Pisa in the next few weeks, but I will say that if you got rid of the hordes of tourists, this would be a nice place to visit.
After Pisa we went to a winery for a tour and lunch. This winery had a stunning setting - it had that old, fancy farm feel and was nestled within the surrounding hills. We got a quick tour, which was just fine with me since I've been on winery tours in the past. If you want an in-depth tour of a winery, this is not it. Though the staff was very friendly and answered any questions asked. We also learned a little bit about making olive oil.
After that we returned to the ship with a little time to enjoy the ship before all the full day tours returned to the ship. This tour only took about 5 and a half to 6 hours. I thought it was a very nice tour for anyone who wants to have an experience other then Florence. While I do try to avoid some of the big group tours, they tend to have a much less authentic feel, this was one of the better big group tours I have taken with a cruise line. It also allowed me to save my energy for the next day in Rome!
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