Best Way to See Italy and/or Greece?

Old Mar 5th, 2016, 08:15 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Best Way to See Italy and/or Greece?

My husband and I will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary in September 2017. We are looking to book a special trip to Italy and/or Greece. We have never been on a cruise before and have heard a lot of great things about them--both big cruise ships and river boat cruises. In fact, we're not big travellers at all. Any recommendations on the best way to see one or both of these beautiful countries over a two-week period? We aren't big travellers so we would welcome any insight you can offer.

We realize we can't possibly see all of these places in two weeks but the most beautiful places in Italy seem to be Venice, Rome, Naples, Capri, Amalfi Coast, Portofino, La Spezia, Sorrento and Positano. In Greece these would be at the top of the list: Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu, Parga, and Zakinthos. Any recommendations on which spots are "must-sees" for our first time there?

Many cruises I have looked at have cities on their itineraries which I am not interested in or ones that I want to see are missed altogether. Is it better to do a bus tour for say one country and do a cruise for the other? Which cruise lines would you recommend most and which would you stay away from?

Any ideas you might have would be most appreciated.

Thank you!
lilmaple is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2016, 11:39 AM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 612
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Big topic. Two weeks is a very short time--try pushing it to 3 if you can. That means if you did a cruise, you could spend some time in your embarkation city prior to the cruise to rest, or spend time exploring afterwards.

In my opinion, given that it's your 30th anniversary, and you're not big travellers, either a Greek Island cruise or one that circumnavigates Italy, like Rome to Venice. The latter would give you a selection of the places on your list. Greek island cruises usually include Santorini plus other places like Rhodes or Crete, depending on the route. Corfu is much-visited I believe, but perhaps not Zakinthos. Mykonos I believe is ultra-touristy and perhaps could be missed.

Depending on your activity level and mobility, you could do land trips in either place, either by car in Italy or by ferry in Greece, but considering who you are, either one of these cruise alternatives would be good ones.

Many cruise lines to choose from, depending on your budget.
WWanderer is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2016, 12:52 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,699
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Lil,

> the most beautiful places in Italy seem to be Venice, Rome, Naples, Capri, Amalfi Coast, Portofino, La Spezia, Sorrento and Positano. <

You are a person of excellent taste.

That would make an excellent 2 week visit to Italy.

Mid-August to Mid-September is a very good time to visit.

The Porcini mushrooms are in season, the olives are being harvested and the grapes are almost ripe for picking. The weather will be very pleasant.

Since this is your first visit, don't let anyone talk you out of The Big Three. There are reasons why tourists flock to certain places.

I suggest flying into Venice for 3 nights, training to Florence for 3 nights, , train to Rome for 3 nights, training to Sorrento to take the ferry to Positano - 2 nights, Limo to Naples (It's a splurge) for 2 nights before flying home.

It's not as rushed as it might appear. My Lady Wife and I did it in our 60's.

Train schedules are at click the UK flag
SITA bus schedules are at

Secret Itineraries tour of Doge’s palace Phone number from US is 011 39 41 520 9070. English-speaking operator.

You will not be charged for your tickets if you don't go on the tour.

Online bookings are at

You might also find my trip reports helpful.

Helpful Information: Italy 2

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2016, 07:06 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you, WWanderer and Ira!!!! I appreciate you taking the time to offer your valued insights. Great suggestions! I shall definitely check them out! ��
lilmaple is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2016, 11:44 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 23,014
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You have more detailed advice above than I will offer. Since you say you are not "big travelers" two reassuring things we noted in Italy. First, trains from city to city are wonderful - easy to comprehend and stations you can figure out.

And consider a guided day trip or 2 from one of your base cities. We did not want to rent a car and rarely take tours, but wanted to see more than just a city. Viator has a website that we found some day tours on - one included a lovely ride thru Tuscany and a stop for lunch at a farm/winery/cheese maker for lunch. Perhaps touristy, but lunch sitting outside overlooking farming hills drinking local wine was one of my best meals ever.
gail is offline  
Old Mar 8th, 2016, 02:41 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,930
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You have been given excellent advice above.

Personally I would not take a cruise to see these cities as cruises do not give one enough time in port to really
enjoy the city.
Rhea58 is offline  
Old Mar 8th, 2016, 01:27 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 6,629
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Cruises are wonderful but almost all of them are 50% or more about the cruise. For example, an eastern Med cruise often leaves from Rome or Venice with stops in Athens, one or two Greek islands, perhaps two stops in Turkey or similar. You have a combination of port days and sea days.

A two-week Med cruise, either eastern or western Med, will have about 6-7 port stops, usually just the daylight hours, off by 8 or 9 am, back by 5:00 pm. Some locations are quite far from the ship, Florence, for example.

So, cruises are a great way to get a taste of several places without having to worry much about logistics, having to pack and unpack several times, etc. But, in no way does it replace several days each in cities such as Rome, Florence or Venice.

Really depends on your interests and what type of trip you want. If you choose a cruise, there are good opinions here on various lines. is another good resource as are agents who specialize in cruises.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Old Mar 10th, 2016, 04:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,974
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Two quick comments; I wouldn't take a 2 week cruise as my first cruise. You might not like the whole cruise experience, you might get bad weather which affects a cruise much more than a land tour, and worst of all you might get seasick. I would suggest that you take a short cruise sometime this year and see if you like it.

Also, although the trains in Europe are far superior to those here in the U.S., keep in mind you will be dragging 2 weeks of luggage with you and it's not the easiest thing for a middle aged couple.

We did a couple of Mediterranean cruises of Spain, France and Italy and throughly enjoyed them but we were seasoned cruisers at the time.

You might want to consider a land tour, where everything is planned for you including sites, meals, hotels, transportation and luggage handling. Good luck.
Frank is offline  
Old Mar 10th, 2016, 09:03 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 10,931
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Are you still reading the responses on your other thread with the same title? Sometimes it is better if all posters are seeing the different responses. They may also wonder if they post on one thread that you may only see the other. I hope you are still comparing advice from both threads.
Sassafrass is online now  
Old Mar 13th, 2016, 11:54 AM
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 96
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello lilmaple,

As others mentioned, looks like lots of good advice given already. However, one that I'm not sure I agree with is that weather will be great in August (at least not in Rome). Please confirm but I believe August in Rome can be beastly and global temperatures are often much warmer these days. We spent 5 days in Rome a few years ago late June and it was a bit warm during the days but wonderful in the evenings. Later in the fall would be my recommendation and also summer crowds will be gone. We loved every minute in Rome and my other big recommendation is you cannot plan enough (not to say you need to lock in anything specific), but there is so much to see, you'll need to have some very good, even detailed ideas. (Maybe less so for seeing the Amalfi coast for example.)
I personally would also not recommend a cruise to see Italy (or in fact most places), but that's just me. Since you say you are not well traveled, perhaps it would be the perfect thing for you. You'll have to decide whether a day in each port is enough. (Funnily, I'm here asking about a cruise to Alaska.) One last recommendation would be to research the safety records of the cruise lines especially if they're not American cruise lines.
jlub is offline  
Old Mar 15th, 2016, 06:40 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 15
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We are leaving May 11th and returning July 3rd. We plan to do part of our Italy, Spain, Greece, Croatia trip via cruise with a fair over half it by land. We'll be on SilverSea Silver Spirit for a portion as well as Seabourn Oddessy. We're doing Santorini and Mykonos on our own. I'll be happy to update you on our return. We've cruised on Crystal Symphony prior however not either of these lines.

I'm sure your Anniversary will be grand!
CagneyBella is offline  
Old Mar 16th, 2016, 08:20 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks again everyone! We truly appreciate EVERYONE'S feedback!
lilmaple is offline  
Old May 26th, 2016, 11:57 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 98
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We are also looking at a Med cruise for Italy. NCL has some land/cruise combinations, I am sure other companies do also. We have traveled a great deal, and as was mentioned, when doing a train you need to remember you will be taking your luggage with you. We are in our 60's now and looking for a bit easier travel without driving ourselves. Enjoy!
roguemckenzie is offline  
Old May 26th, 2016, 07:05 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 6,629
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I don't know of any cruise line that does not offer land tours, I expect they are a significant source of revenue. You can choose from tours the ship offers, book your own or in smaller ports just go off on your own.

Typically the ship tours are pricey, the upside is should the tour bus be late in returning, the ship will wait to depart. Otherwise, you're on your own to get to the next port.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Old Jun 4th, 2016, 08:12 PM
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 117
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The Mediterranean Cruise is amazing. Great way to relax and see the hot spots. You can always go back later to a specific place if you really enjoyed it. Cruises are great for relaxing and stress free sight seeing. At the same time get so much covered. It's basically getting a preview of every country so you can pick which cities you would one day like to go back and visit
viranpooja is offline  
Old Jun 13th, 2016, 06:36 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 21
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My husband and I have done many land trips and several cruises. There is no better way to celebrate a special occasion than on a cruise ship. Driving and moving every three days to see several places is tiring and hard. Get on the ship, unpack and enjoy! I would suggest that you talk with an experienced travel agent and have a fabulous trip!
Woodlin is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2016, 11:31 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,737
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
First off,congratulations! 30 years is quite a mile stone.

You can stop at almost all of the places you listed on a 2 week "Grand Med" or "West Med" cruise.

My suggestion is to get a local travel agent (NOT an on-line agent) and talk to them about a cruise and the places you want to visit. Give them a budget and let them tell you what/where/when/how you can get. A good agent should be able to do everything for you with a minimal fee, if at all. Share your whole budget or maybe let them walk you through what you need to spend.

Since this is your first cruise, a crusie specailist travel agent would be even better. You may end up paying just a touch more, but in the end, it is worth it as you are getting the advise and service.

When you do your budget, plan for the following. The amounts are per person, ball park only:
Airfare: $800
Crusie fare: $1,400 and up depending on the cabin selected
Ship Gratuity: $200
Shore Excusrion $1,000 and up depending on number of stops and activities, could be zero if you just get off the baot and walk around on your own
Money for Drinks, souvenirs and other incidentals
extra Hotel stay and transfer to/from ship/airport.

Good luck!
Eschew is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Jan 6th, 2017 10:16 AM
Mar 11th, 2016 07:29 AM
Jul 11th, 2009 10:52 AM
Jan 19th, 2008 05:22 PM
Feb 15th, 2004 07:29 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information