Cruising in Europe - suggestions for 2010

Sep 23rd, 2009, 07:39 AM
  #1  
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Cruising in Europe - suggestions for 2010

Hi! I'm a brand new member to this forum. Here are my questions: My husband and I are considering taking a Medit. Sea cruise sometime next year. We would prefer a 7-10 day cruise that includes Barcelona, France, Italy, and perhaps Greece, Turkey or Egypt. Does anyone have any suggestions on what cruise to take ....what cruise lines to use and which ones to avoid ...what time to go (weather - we prefer to avoid the heat and the rainy seasons) ...any tips on cruising since cruising is new to us ...what website are available that might help us save a few dollars ...plus any other info that might help.

Your assistance will be greatly appreciated. This info may already be available somewhere else on this forum. If so, please let me know how to find this info. Thanks and have a great day!
Lisa
LisaACox1959 is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2009, 09:02 AM
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I would recommend going to see a travel agent to get a bunch of brochures from different cruise lines so you can compare itineraries.

Once you know what cruise you're interested in, you can use www.cruisecompete.com to get bids from different travel agents.

Oceania is our favorite cruise line for the small ships, wonderful staff, port intensive itineraries, no formal nights, excellent food, free specialty restaurants, and tourist office reps that get on board at each port.

We've done two Med cruises (Venice to Athens and Barcelona to Lisbon) in October and found the weather pleasant and touring not very crowded.

The first included stops in Italy, Croatia, Malta and Greece, the second in Spain, North Africa, Malta, Gibraltar, and Portugal. I haven't done extensive research, but I think it might be a challenge to fins a short Med cruise that stretched from Spain to Greece.

An excellent source of information about cruises is www.cruisecritic.com.
abram is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2009, 12:57 PM
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Thanks Abram for the advice! I will check it out!
Lisa
LisaACox1959 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 07:25 PM
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Celebrity Equinx has a cruise mext October that includes, Corfu, Alexandria, Naples, Rome, Florence, Haifa, and Sicily.. We have done their cruises from Barcelona which are wonderful...We did a t/a cruise from Barcelona on Celebrity which ihncluded Lisbon which was wonderful, Seville, Malaga, Casablanca, Cartegena, Spain... Stop talking to travel agents and book before prices skyrocket which I think they will
ParrotMom is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 07:27 AM
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Thanks ParrotMom...we hope to book soon...what is your opinion on cruise line excursions? Are they worth the price? Can you do your own just as well and save the money. Generally, we are very independent travelers, usually doing our "own thing". Is it safe to pick up a guide off the docks? What do you think?
LisaACox1959 is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 09:37 AM
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We don't care for the ship's shore excursions--we feel like we're being herded around in a crowd, don't like wasting time waiting for everyone to get on/off the bus, use the restrooms, they don't seem to spend the time we want at each stop, and they're expensive.

We have found cab drivers at the dock with no problems, and we've also done self-guided historical walking tours and partnered with other passengers to hire a private guide/driver.

Once you're booked, if you list your ports, we can make suggestions.
abram is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 09:38 AM
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IF you can check out references (we know guides in Barcelona and Rome) it is much better to do private tours we have found. Also on a couple of the other cruise boards you might hook up with cruisers on your exact cruise through www.criuisemates.com or www.cruisecritic.com and they would want to get together whether it's a van for six or eight.. We have done Tuscany and Lisbon that way and it was wonderful.. Also, have a great driver/guide in Barcelona..who I book as soon as I book my cruise. We have picked up a cab in Malaga at the dock to go to Mijas and another in another spot in Portugal.. For our cruise the end of November we have a group touring Rome and Florence..Malaga we have done MIJAS so we want to go to the Marina..but there in Malaga/Granada is the Alcazar and you might want to go with the ships tour.. In Rome this trip we missed getting Claudio who took us to Tusanny... and if your staying or leaving from Barcelona.. Auriello and Michael are who you want to go with the get the maximum out of your stay there.. There is also a great hotel on La Rambla, The Continental.
T
ParrotMom is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 09:41 AM
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Dont depend on trains in Europe.. on one of our trips the Captain held the ship up because there were over 25 passengers who were out on their own and the train broke down.. No I don't like being herded around.. and some guides are better than others///
ParrotMom is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 06:08 PM
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Wow guys! Thanks for the tips. We will certainly follow your advice! One final dumb question...do you have to follow the "formal night" dress code? My husband and I are not the formal wear types. Just wondering....
LisaACox1959 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 03:52 AM
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I answered your formal night question on your other post.

Being a "devil's advocate" here, not all private excursions or taxi driver's at the dock are good choices. We have had a couple of disasters with both. I have found with group private excursions you should make sure what is planned is what you want to do. One group laid out an itinerary and then during the excursion, we found out that all they really wanted to do is shop. We have had some wonderful ship excursions where we never felt "herded around" and "expensive" is in the eyes of the beholder. Look at all the angles is my point. I disagree with ParrotMom's general statement about trains in Europe. It very much depends on what country you are talking about when it comes to reliability. Cruise lines wait for their own excursions to return to the ship, they don't wait for late private ones. Hope you will love cruising, it is a fabulous way to see a little bit of a lot of places and only unpack once.
charli is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 06:15 AM
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Thanks Charli! Have a great weekend!
LisaACox1959 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 07:27 AM
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Charli, we have been lucky with private excursions..Claudio in Rome. Auriello/Michael in Barcelona and a woman whose name I've forgotten in Lisbon, a driver at the dock for Malaga and one for Puerta del Vada (sp)... As for formal wear.. depending on which cruise.. after more than 20 years of cruising Parrot Pop tired of tuxes..so he has a dark sport jacket and matching pants..as for me..a long skirt or dressy pants with a nice top with jewelry seems to get by
ParrotMom is offline  
Sep 27th, 2009, 05:37 AM
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Thanks everyone! Your tips have helped a lot.
LisaACox1959 is offline  
Sep 28th, 2009, 07:49 AM
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LisaACox1959, if you will visit Turkey, I would like to recommend you going to Ephesus, the travel agencies in Turkey offer Ephesus tours from Istanbul, Izmir and Kusadasi port. We were on Norvergian Jade line and booked a private Ephesus tour from Izmir, it takes 1 hour to go to Ephesus, they take you with a van, but it is worth seing! As the ship was about 9 hours in the port, we could everything we booked: the ruines of the Ephesus (well preserved), the St. John Basilica and the House of Virgin Mary, where it is believed she spent her last years. We booked the tour with www.onlineephesustravel.com and they are ok: came on time, our guide was a nice one, very knowledgable, besides as it was a private tour, you can skip the shopping part from the programm.
paubow is offline  
Sep 28th, 2009, 02:24 PM
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It's tough to cover all those places that you mentioned in 7 to 10 days. (Spain , France, Turkey, Egypt ....) You will have to make a choice of either West Med or East Med or a much longer crusie.
I am looking at 2010 "Holy Land" cruise. Starts at Athens, through Ephesus (Turkey), Israel, Egypt, Capri and ended up in Rome, 12 days in all, 9 ports and 3 sea days. Shore excursions can include Jerusalem, Giza Pyramid, Pompeii etc.
Eschew is offline  
Sep 28th, 2009, 03:41 PM
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Once again, thanks to all!
LisaACox1959 is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 05:08 PM
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For 2010 you have the opportunity to take advantage of some 2-for-1 pricing and FREE airfare with some companies like Crystal, Regent and Oceania. On Crystal, the best cruise line in the world, you will also receive $2000 per cabin shipboard credits that you can use towards anything on the ship including shore excursions and theirs are very good. We can also help you with private shore excursions if you don't want to go with a group on a bus. Selecting a cruise line is not all about price but value. Keep in mind that on all other cruise lines you will be paying for just about everything you do on the ship and you can run up a nice bill to be paid at the end of the cruise. I just came back with a group of clients from a Crystal Cruise that went from Istanbul to Venice for 12 days and most everyone had a hard time spending the $1000 per person in credits even after going on shore excursions, buying wine and drinks on board and spending money in the shops. Even though Crystal and Regent have formal nights you have options not to dress up if you don't want to. You can always eat dinner in your stateroom on the verandah and you get the same food as in the restaurant. Feel free to contact me if you'd like more information at [email protected]
BernieReumann is offline  

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