First Time Cruiser (Orient-Medit cruise)

Mar 20th, 2001, 10:51 AM
  #1  
deedee
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First Time Cruiser (Orient-Medit cruise)

Hi, Everyone!
Gosh, I'm going through all these posts and one minute I'm happy, the next I'm doubting myself if I made the right decision.

I have a 7 day reservation hold on a Rome and the Riviera cruise on the Crown Odyssey of the Orient Lines. I chose the August date.

I have so many questions, and concerns. Seeing that we're going to shell out a lot of money for this trip, my husband and I, we want to ensure a good trip.

First, we will be on the S3 level. is that nice, and is it worth it?

Second, we like the idea of a land-cruise-land itinerary. Has anyone done this and liked it?

Is August a good time in the Mediterranean?
We'll be in Rome, Livorno, Portofino, Cannes and then Barcelona.

We're 27 and 37 years old. Will the crowd be ok? I'm just worried in general. It's beaucoup money. Will we get our money's worth and how inclusive is their package?

What did some of you have to pay for that you thought was included? ANY feedback would help.
We're excited and paranoid at the same time. More me than my husband, cuz I'm doing all the arrangements!

thank you.
 
Mar 20th, 2001, 03:09 PM
  #2  
Lisa
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Deedee,
Here are some URLs that I have found very useful for info on our first cruise, especially some of the reviews. soem review are really detailed and it is wonderful to get this information.
cruisecritic.com,
cruise-addict.com
cruisemate.com (could be cruisemates.com)
and cruisediva.com.

From my research it looks like the biggest expenses after the actual cruise money are shore excursions, unless you do them yourselves, tipping and drinks.

I found that doing the land portions on my own worked out a lot cheaper than using the cruise lines hotels. Lots of information on the Europe board for this part. But start booking soon. August will be very crowded in the port towns as this is prime vacation time for Europeans.

Also from what I have read, you will find people in your age group. The other websites have positngs to find fellow travelers on your cruise.

We are going on a Med cruise in June/July. Also our first cruise and like you, I am very excited.

Enjoy.
 
Mar 20th, 2001, 06:29 PM
  #3  
Lisa
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That's odd. the header is showing up as having no replies, when there was one

Just testing to see if it shows up as having 2 replies now.
 
Mar 21st, 2001, 01:08 PM
  #4  
Kristi
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Deedee, we've sailed on Orient Lines before (Athens to Istanbul) and really enjoyed it. I really liked the fact that we got to spend a couple of days in both Athens and Istanbul so that you get to see a bit more than what you can cram into a day in port. It's impossible to see everything in either Rome or Barcelona in a day, much less a week. You might even consider adding a few days to one city or another if you've got the time. We are going on another cruise in late June to the Baltic countries, also on Orient Lines.

We never travel in August, mostly because of cost and crowds but also we've heard that Europeans tend to travel in August so a lot of small shops and restaurants are closed in August. You might consider moving it to early Sept. if that's an option, we've always had good luck with weather in Europe in Sept.

The only additional costs we had on the cruise were drinks, tipping and shore excursions. Shore excursions tend to be expensive so we always look into doing it on our own and usually spend a fraction of what the ship charges.
 
Mar 21st, 2001, 09:07 PM
  #5  
Surlok
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Beware of August, mostly in Rome. It's unbearably hot, suffocating, I would say. The Romans are on holidays, so many shops and restaurants are closed, whereas the touristic sites are packed. Also, the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel are not air conditioned, so you get the picture. Barcelona is hot, too, but since is close to the sea, there's always a little breeze, whereas in Rome there isn't any. Florence will be the same as Rome, maybe worse, since it's below the sea level, and inland. Portofino and Cannes will be extremely packed, also with Europeans on vacation. The weather will be nice, because of the sea breeze.

I've done the land and cruise trip, but I booked the land myself_ it was not a package, although worked out the same. It was August, 1994. Since then, I've been back to Europe, Rome and Barcelona a few times, but I've been always skeeping August.
 
Mar 22nd, 2001, 04:27 AM
  #6  
deedee
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Thank you all!
Keep those advice coming!
Maybe I'll look in late Sept/October then,like I originally did. Just that Orient was having Airline Specials for August (probably cuz of those reasons you all mentioned). $199 to fly to Europe from East Coast! Pretty nice deal. But since I'm coming from Bermuda, doesn't make much difference!

Anyway, I'll keep looking! This is almost so frustrating. Should just get an agent and let them do it all. I just have to DECIDE what what I want!

 
Mar 22nd, 2001, 05:06 AM
  #7  
Beryl
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Hi Deedee

Relax - it's fabulous. We did the Crown Odyssey 20 August 2000 from Barcelona - Istanbul. Read a review I wrote on www.cruisereviews.com/misc/CrownOdyssey.htm.

I thought it was the holiday of a lifetime. August is just fine - the weather was absolutely wonderful all the way through; a little warm the day we were in Rome but the crowds were not huge at all.

You might find the crowd a little older than you but remember these are destination cruises and hey, just because someone is older than you, does that make them a bad companion!!!

I think you'll get your money's worth - course I don't know what you paid! We seemed to get a really good deal (booked from Australia really early) compared to some of the people from the US we spoke to.

Any specific questions feel free to email me directly.

 
Mar 22nd, 2001, 03:51 PM
  #8  
Surlok
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Deedee,

I guess you did the perfect choice as to ship and itinerary, I'm thinking of doing the Greek Islands and Italy on the Crown Odyssey, too, it's a very well balanced itinerary, covering the most intyeresting ports of the Med and Aegean, but since you mean to do the land trip in Italy, even if is costing you more, if you can afford, make it a little later, or a little earlier. June would be perfect, or even late August. I keep advising you to avoid late July and early August, mostly for the land part of your trip.

Surlok
 
Mar 23rd, 2001, 07:54 AM
  #9  
deedee
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Thank you all again.
I'm still looking and deciding. Time is running out! Surlok, I know you told me to avoid August, but it's the my best shot at taking as little vacation time as possible. (I have two holidays on August 2nd and 3rd...so I don't have to take my own vacation days from work.)
Anyway, I'm trying to decide between Celebrity Millenium and Crown Odyssey.
on the millenium,I'm in the 2C level. On CRown, I'll be in class D. I like the land-cruise itinerary on CO. Like the price for the room on Millenium. Right now, I have to see which agent gives me the best prices for the two packages.
One's trying to rip me off or something!!
anyway, I will let you all know when I finally decide!!!!

So, surlok, now that August is pretty much the month, how about the cruise experience itself. tell me what you think.


thanks!!!
 
Mar 23rd, 2001, 09:08 PM
  #10  
Surlok
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Ok, Deedee, here you are:

I haven't yet cruised on the Crown, nor on the Millenium, but as far as I know, both are wonderful ships.

My very first cruise was sailing the Aegean, for the Greek Islands, on a very old, but lovely Greek ship, the Stella Solaris. It was the cliche itinerary for that region, but what a cliche. I would say Santorini is the most amazing place I visited so far. The impact of seing the island approaching from the ship, getting inside the former crater is unbelievable! There's nothing to compare. The other islands are lovely, but not as special as Santorini. Sailing from Istanbul at the sunset is quite a thrill, the sight of the enlightened moskes and minaretes is spectacular.
The cruise experience itself is also wonderful, the heat won't bother you, since when outside, there's always the sea breeze to cool you off, mostly in the Aegean.
I'm choosing the Crown over the Millenium ( the Millenium as ship is nicer and newer) because, and only because Santorini is included in the Crown itinerary. I was back to some of the Greek Islands after that first cruise, but still didn't have the chance of making it to Santorini again, and don't want to miss it this time.
I've heard, though, that Orient Lines handle shore excursions and ground operations much better than Celebrity, and this is something to be considered, too.
 
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