Europe- Cruise vs Land help

Old Jan 7th, 2014, 07:12 AM
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Europe- Cruise vs Land help

I need some advice. I bought my plane tickets to Rome in May for my daughter and I (47&22). I have a cruse reserved but now I am questioning it before I make final payment. We right now plan to arrive early and have 3 days in Rome before we take an 11nt Celebrity Reflection Cruise. It goes to Istanbul 2 days.Ephesus,Santorini,Mykonos,Athens and Naples.
We have never been to Europe before. Should we do a land vacation to the popular places and spend 4 or 5 days in say Venice,Florence and Rome instead or stick with the current plan?
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Old Jan 7th, 2014, 07:17 AM
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I think you could do either. The costs may be relatively similar. But if you enjoy Italian cuisine and have an adventurous spirit, you can certainly have a more qualitative experience by visiting fewer places on a land tour than by taking a cruise.

If you have your heart set on seeing Greece and Turkey, then I think you're better off with the cruise. But if you want to delve into Italy, by all means do it on land. I'd certainly add in Milan and perhaps Bologna to the mix and broaden your range of experiences rather than focusing solely on Venice and Florence. You can easily get by with 2 night sin each and still have 3 nights in both Florence and Venice.
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Old Jan 7th, 2014, 08:11 AM
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I did that exact cruise last May-June, absolutely loved it.

But (always a but) you probably are well aware will only see an overview of each port, although we crammed a lot into the 1.5 days in Istanbul.

I did not feel short-changed on the islands, Santorini and Mykonos, but had been to both before. I skipped Athens as it was very hot that day and had previously spent 5 days there.

The ship is gorgeous, we thought the food, services and public areas were excellent.

In April we're doing a transatlantic crossing out of Ft. Lauderdale on the Celebrity Eclipse.
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Old Jan 7th, 2014, 09:00 AM
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Two completely different experiences. I've done two similar cruises and loved them. However, that was after spending a good deal of time doing land only trips to Europe. I did the Greek Islands specifically for Ephesus, Athens, Santorini and Mykonos. Honestly, I do not think I got the best of any of them, but that was not my intent, and we had a good time.

Cruising:
Pros: It is fun and easy, everything is pretty much done for you, no moving around on your own with luggage, no looking about for restaurants, no packing and unpacking, and - you get to visit some interesting and beautiful places.

Negatives, and this is huge for some people: You have very little cultural experience in any of the countries you visit, no stopping by a local bakery to pick out tarts for an evening snack or buns for breakfast, no sitting out late at night in a piazza by a fountain, listening to a musician and watching local children playing, no night time walks to your hotel through quiet streets where you can hear your footsteps on cobblestones.

You will actually see and experience more on a land trip, but it will take more planning on your part.
May is a wonderful time to do either and a perfect time for a cruise. A cruise may be more relaxing, if either of you are needing that.
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Old Jan 7th, 2014, 04:01 PM
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A cruise gives you a taste of al these fairly painlessly. No great culture shock. We visited a lot of these ports aand loved them - real revelations. We have also visited several cities in Italy and would say that Rome and Naples are not typical. I guess that I would stick with the cruise. Not alwys good to second guess.
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Old Jan 7th, 2014, 11:10 PM
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The best of both world would be a pre-cruise land tour, the cruise, and a post cruise land tour.

I would suggest that you stick with your plan. You can see lots in 3 days if you plan it properly. Make sure you pick a hotel that is centrally located, walking distance to most attractions. If you dig around old posts around here, you will find information on tours, transfers, hotels etc in Rome.

If you have never been to Europe, the cruise will give you a sample of different cultures. There is no substitute for spending time with the locals. We were in Venice last August post cruise for a few days and the best memory was time with the "locals" away from the tourist araes and be among them; plus it was a whole lot cheaper than in the high traffic tourist area.

Another consideration is the command of the local language. Having a good phrase book handy and not too shy in trying new language is vital. The natives love it when you try to speak their language!

Cruise is a very "safe" way to travel to a foreign country and "sample" without the needs or efforts to learn the langauge or customs.
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 12:25 PM
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I would stick with the cruise. I have done three Med cruises (and about 20 other cruises) and countless European land vacations. Planning is the key.

Last cruise was on a 10 day Celebrity Med cruise. DH and I visited many of the sames ports. On Santorini, we rented a car and drove all over the island. We met a lot of local people and had a blast. Do not take the ship sponsored tours. Those tours are like cattle being lead around.

Join cruise critic. Sign up for the Celebrity Connections thread there. You can also research DYI tours at many ports. Another resource is Toms Port Guide dot com.

We stayed three nights prior to our cruise at the Hotel Grifo in the Monti District of Rome. The hotel is in a neighborhood with shops, apartments and restaurants all around. We were able to walk all over Rome from the hotel, which is close to the Colosseum and a metro station. Owners were so helpful with suggestions, directions, etc.

Have fun!
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Old Jan 10th, 2014, 03:21 PM
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For seasoned cruisers, self guided or private tour excursion is preferred. For total newbies, taking the cattle herding ship's sponsored excursion would be easier and less stressful and required zero planning, with low risk for nasty surprise.

We have done trips that is totally self guides as well as totally on ship's excursions. If you are not comfortable with the potential language barrier, self guided in a foreign country with a foreign language is NOT recommended.
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