Tag Archives: tours

The Truth About Getting Into Vatican City

28 Jul

While in Europe last month, my husband and I made a last-minute decision to fly to Rome. We actually ended up visiting Vatican City twice while we were there- The first day, we made our way into The City through the walls, and returning to visit the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel.

Since the trip was so last-minute, I didn’t have time to research anything. We got off of the metro line at Ottaviano and with only my smart phone app map, started to wander aimlessly. It was no issue. We had no time constraints. Getting “lost” is a great, wonderful part of travel. There were many shops to keep our attention in this beautiful area, and we were not in a hurry.

It was what was being constantly asked and told to us that was the issue. Dozens of tour reps lined the streets and continually asked us if we had our tickets to the Vatican Museum yet. When we said no, they proceeded to tell us that a ticket with a tour guide was the only way to get in without standing in the long queue (the queue WAS wrapped around the building). One rep even told us that the ONLY way into The Vatican at all was with a ticket (through his company). Also, we were continually told we were going the “wrong way.”

Now, I wasn’t that uninformed  gullible. I did start to feel hounded- As if I was in Mexico, but instead of being offered jewelry on the beach, I was being offered a tour of the Vatican Museum. I later found out from others that these tours were going from anywhere from €75-90 per person. Even online, I see website sites selling “skip the line” passes for $72 per person. I’m going to give you some great advice in a minute. However, we found our way into the walls of Vatican City (for free, yes, you just walk right in, no ticket or guide needed)….And behold St. Peter’s Basilica!


​It was after we returned to our hotel and doing a bit of networking and research that I discovered that For €30 per person (18 and up; €21 ages 6-18), you can skip the long line, walk right up and enter the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. You won’t have a tour guide (honestly, I don’t want to know how long that tour would be). If you have the time and if you are a huge history buff, a tour guide might be AMAZING for you (you can upgrade this special purchase ticket to include a guide if you’d like). The museum is massive and I couldn’t ever see myself doing a guided tour. To see this museum’s immense collection would take days. As you enter, there are special posters that plot a choice of four color-coded itineraries. They are repeated throughout the museum and are easy to follow. I loved it and I loved being able to come and go as I pleased. My husband and I spent a few hours there on our own. I thought we’d never get to the Sistine Chapel! If you think a guided tour is for you, then go for it!

If you would like to take advantage of this pricing, e-mail us at bluegrottotravel@outlook.com. 



Labor Day Cruises

8 Jun

Labor Day is quickly approaching. For some, it signifies the last chance to take a vacation before the kids are back in school. (Unless you live where I live and the kids go back around mid August). This is one of the best offers out there. It applies to any Norwegian cruise 5 days or longer, but I’ve included the latest rates for Labor Day sailings to Bermuda. More dates and cruises are available including Bahamas, Alaska, and European sailings.

Book an inside cabin and receive a FREE BOTTLE OF WINE. Ocean view cabins receive free wine and CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRIES, balcony booking receive all of the above plus an ITALIAN DINNER FOR 2 onboard. Other cabin categories have increasingly awesome extras such as onboard and spa credits.

  • August 31- September 7 cruise on the Norwegian Dawn from Boston to Bermuda. Space is still available from $1218 per person.
  • Prices start at $1078 for September 2-9 onboard the Norwegian Star (pictured) departing from NYC to Bermuda.

Other destinations are available and space is filling up fast, and driving the prices up. Many people do not realize that once the lowest priced cabins are gone, the next price point is rolled out, then the next. The above rates are what the inside cabins are going for as of today via Norwegian’s booking system.

Today is the last day to book to receive the Norwegian promotional offer! (817) 607-3693.

Want more examples?

  • For a shorter getaway, consider Carnival Imagination. The 3 day cruise to the Bahamas departing August 31st from Miami. $289 per person gets you there.
  • There is also Carnival Ecstasy leaving from Orlando on September 1st for a 5 day sailing to the Caribbean. $249 per person.
  • Royal Caribbean’s Majesty and Monarch of the Seas both depart on August 31 for a 3 day sailing. Majesty departs from Miami and Monarch departs from Port Canaveral. Staterooms are from $319 per person. A $200 deposit is due at booking and the balance is due on July 2.
  • Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas- 7 night Alaska cruise tour departing from Vancouver on August 31, from $599.

Many other itineraries are available. Call us for more information!