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Travel to Genoa

Genoa has some interesting architecture

Genoa has some interesting architecture

Because Louis Cruises don’t offer fly-cruise packages from the UK, we made our own way to Genoa. There were no flights on the day which would guarantee we would reach the cruise ship in time, so we chose to travel a day early and spend the night in Genoa.

Once onboard however, we discovered Diamond Travel and GN Holidays offer Coral cruise/rail packages with Eurostar and the TGV (the French high speed trains) to Marseilles. Despite all our research online, we hadn’t found either of these companies prior to booking.

Instead, we made our own travel arrangements:

Ryanair flight to Genoa

Ryanair’s flights were lower cost than BA’s and for us, Stansted is more accessible than Gatwick Airport. Although the aircraft wasn’t the most comfortable in the world, the service was good for a budget airline.

A word of warning though – make sure you are at the right gate for your flight at the airport!

There seemed to be little notice paid to tickets and the passenger’s destination. This was highlighted by a family with young children boarding the plane to discover they were on the wrong Ryanair flight. They had gone through the gate checks and the priority boarding book-in completely unaware. We can only hope they didn’t miss their intended flight.

On the other hand … the gate numbers and boarding details were clearly displayed at Stansted, so the blame isn’t entirely on Ryanair’s shoulders.

Baggage Charges
Much of Genoa is built on the hillsides

Much of Genoa is built on the hillsides

If you’re flying with Ryanair, be sure to check the baggage allowances and surcharges. While you are allowed to carry hand luggage (size limited), there is an additional charge for luggage stored in the hold.

Cases were weighed at the airport, both in Stansted and Genoa, and some were caught out. We witnessed a few passengers hurriedly repacking and reorganising bags. At Genoa, we spoke to a fellow passenger who was aggrieved at having to pay a £40 surcharge to travel with a tennis racket – it was outside the size allowed for hand luggage and it wasn’t packed in a suitcase.

However, baggage sizes and weights are clearly stated on Ryanair’s website. We recommend you read these carefully to avoid any surcharges or problems.

If you don’t have the facilities to weigh your baggage at home, it’s worth buying a hand-held baggage scale. They are low cost and could save you from costly surcharges.

Priority Boarding

We were advised to pay for Priority Boarding with Ryanair. The cost was £5 per passenger, per flight. This was money well spent!

The flight to Genoa was fully booked. With Priority Boarding, we were amongst the first passengers on the plane and had a choice of seats. Passengers without priority boarding embark in queue order – with the flight booked to capacity, this was a bit of a scrum.

Baggage Retrieval

Because Ryanair flights board as soon as the previous passengers have disembarked, the baggage retrieval is fast. The hold is unpacked quickly to allow for a fast turnaround, so we didn’t experience any delays.

Genoa’s AMT Volabus

The old hospital at night

The old hospital at night

Genoa’s Cristoforo Colombo Airport is some 4 miles from the city centre. We choose to use the AMT Volabus, which is the regular bus service from the airport. Our hotel was very close to the main ‘Principe’ station where the bus stops. The Volabus runs every 20 minutes.

The bus stop is right outside the arrivals part of the terminal building. Genoa Airport is small, so you can’t miss it!

The Volabus was an air-conditioned coach rather than the sort of bus you would expect to see in the UK. Passengers place their cases in the hold underneath themselves and board the bus. A ticket machine was available, but because we wanted to check we were on the right bus, we chose to pay the driver.

At just 6 Euros per person, the bus was easy, efficient and low cost, and the journey took around 15 – 20 minutes. The driver spoke some English, although I did take the opportunity to try out my Italian on him and he kindly managed not to laugh!

The AMT Volabus got 10/10 from us for ease of use. I’m sure we’re not alone in having been taken on scenic routes by taxi drivers, and charged extortionate fares to go short distances!