cruise or not to cruise

Aug 27th, 2007, 02:20 AM
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cruise or not to cruise

It will be my first time to Europe. Im looking to travel to Italy and Greece. I most often enjoy routes off the beaten path and really want to avoid tourist traps, but I don't want to miss anything. Is it better to go with a cruise or fly in and drive from city to city, in which case I would stick around southern Italy.
charchar1 is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 02:33 AM
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I asked similar question below - my concern is that with about 12 hours/city time to see anything other than highlights of a city would not be enough.

Never cruised to Europe - but on other cruises if you don't want to miss anything, a cruise is probably not going to allow enough time per port.
gail is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 04:47 AM
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Strictly MY opinion:
I dont think a cruise is the best way to see Europe - PARTICULARLY if you want to get off the beaten path. Flying in and renting a car will allow you a lot of flexibility.
A cruise of the Greek islands would be OK but frankly in Italy a lot of the most interesting stuff is inland.
I like cruises in the Caribbean - a great way to see multiple islands.
semiramis is online now  
Aug 27th, 2007, 04:52 AM
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Probably and based on what you said you prefer a land route is better. Port stops in Italy will give a chance to see the major attractions but it sounds like you want to explore the nooks and crannies so to speak. I think you would feel rushed stopping for a limited time. JM2C. Larry
jacketwatch is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 06:22 AM
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You miss be squarely deposited into the tourist zone if you choose to cruise.

Italy is my favorite place in the world and I love being there in the off or off off season and the early mornings and late evenings are the best times of the day.

Easy daytrips by train or bus into the countryside are wonderful. Cars are not necessary, IMO, except in certain instances. I have been to Italy 16 times so far with another trip this fall. In general, public transport is excellent.
If you are there in peak season, road traffic in spots like the Amalfi coast can be horrendous.

So, I go between October and March and find it the best times.

You will not experience the
kfusto is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 06:54 AM
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the best parts of the Med experience by cruise ship, IMO.
kfusto is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 08:07 AM
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I love cruising, but I never leave the ship! It definitely will dump you in tourist areas and you have to work extra hard to find shore excursions off the beaten path. I don't consider it the best way to see and experience any country. Have you considered train travel? Though I've only been to Italy briefly, I traveled throughout France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland by train and bus. Very relaxing and efficient!
LLindaC is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 08:12 AM
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Actually I have heard that cruising European rivers is pretty neat in that you stop at less touristed destinatons.
jacketwatch is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 08:49 AM
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Nobody mentioned that, true. In fact, we just chartered a boat and are cruising down the Burgundy Canal next June. But since she said 'city to city" I assumed she meant a commercial Med cruise. Some of the river cruises are very interesting.
LLindaC is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 09:57 AM
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The answer is - it depends. We took a Med cruise (in May timeframe, a few years ago on Crystal) that went to Rome/Sicily/Bari/Venice/Kusadasi/Mykonos/Santorini/Athens. It was FABULOUS! I've also been to a whole bunch of European countries by air - and they both are wonderful for different reasons. First thing that we came to grips with is that you're not going to see everything in one vacation. The cruise was incredibly relaxing, and we got to see alot of highlights that would have been a pain to travel between if going by land (and pack/unpack/pack/unpack, etc). Since then, I've been back to Italy a few times, and to Turkey - for more indepth visits to specific places. Depending on what you want from a vacation - there are lots and lots of options.....
Debi is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 06:55 PM
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We are goign on a 13 day cruise to Italy to see the gihlights so that we can focus ona place for next time. We have 2 days in Venice & Florence, the others are 12 hours...still OK for now.
The excursions are very costly though...any advice on "winging it?"
Cat4u is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 02:28 PM
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Our very first cruise was the Med. and out Ta said we could do the tours on our own or "wing it." we did and it went just fine. Just know what you want to see B4 you disembark. There will be cabs and private tour operators at the piers. Its not hards to do and you will save alot of $$ as well have doing it from a private car.
jacketwatch is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 02:56 PM
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CC1, vacationing is like getting in line at a buffet. The first time, it's wise to sample a variety of foods. The second time, linger around the foods that taste best. Simply put, cruise the first, indulge the second time when you know firsthand what tickles your palette!
togetherforever is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 03:03 PM
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togetherforever, nice thought for those who like buffets. I prefer to order exactly what I want and then to be served, with my choices prepared just as requested .

Buffets are a very last resort, only when no other options are available.
kfusto is offline  
Sep 1st, 2007, 10:39 AM
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I think a ship is an excellent way to go between continents (slower, but much more pleasant than flying), or to see something that can be best viewed from the ship (Alaskan coast comes to mind), but for moving within a continent, a train is faster, and gives you a better flavor of the area and scenery.

The places we have been where ships stop (Venice is perhaps the best example) are like two different places when the cruisers are in port, and when they are back on their ships. When the cruisers are in port, everything is crowded and hectic, with long lines even for the lavatories; after the cruisers have returned to their ships, the town becomes much more pleasant, with almost no crowds nor lines. We stayed there a week, and took to napping during the afternoon to avoid the crowds of cruisers, and seeing the sights at less crowded times, particularly the morning and evening.

I think cruising has its place, but touring Europe is not one of them. I can't comment on the river cruises as I haven't done one, but they sound interesting.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2007, 06:47 AM
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clevelandbrown, you said it very well and that is my opinion exactly. It is the cliff notes version of the European experience and one misses the best parts.
kfusto is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2007, 02:57 PM
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We LOVE cruising, and have been on several Med. cruises, but they are not the best way to see Europe. Since you sound like you are not afraid to drive, that would be a better way to see Italy.There are also some very good tour companies that will let you see a lot, in a shorter period of time, because you won't have to waste time finding hotels/directions, which could be a little problem, if you don't speak the language.

We are taking a cruise to the baltic countries because we have no interest in an indepth tour. This will work for us. Italy should be done on land, though.
lindam is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2007, 03:02 PM
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Thanks for helping. I think I'll skip the cruise.
charchar1 is offline  
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